When your company is packaging food products, it’s highly imperative that you implement leak detection tests. Potential food packaging leaks could not only alter the taste of the food, but they can provide easy access for contaminants to penetrate the food which can make consumers sick or even cause death. This could lead to a lot of money in damage claims from unsuspecting consumers and is something you can work to avoid by using these following food packaging leak detection tests listed below.
1. Dry Chamber Method
When your business is packing liquid food products, such as juices or milk, this is the best method to check for leaks. This method works by putting the packaged liquid product into a chamber. An absorbent container is placed underneath the product. A vacuum is used to apply suction through the absorbent into the package. If there is any liquid on the absorbent when the test is performed, the packaging is deemed faulty. For example, if there is a slight leak in a milk jug, the vacuum will suck milk through that leak and dampen the absorbent material. This will notify the test administrator that there is a leak in the jug.
2. Gas Leak Detection
For products that use hydrogen, helium, carbon dioxide, or other types of gases, the gas leak detection method is the best test to implement. This works much like the dry chamber method, except the chamber has a gas sensor that can detect specific forms of gas that are present. If the chamber shows there is a gas present, it’s an indication that there is a leak somewhere in the product packaging.
3. Bubble Emission Test
This is a very common method used for leak detection in food packaging. This is perfect for food packages which contain air. For this specific leak test, the food product gets submerged into a chamber of water. The concept is that if bubbles appear, there is an air leak in the packaging. If bubbles start to appear after submersion, a vacuum is turned on to draw up the bubbles. This will allow the test administrator to easily view where the leak is coming from in the packaging. This is great to showcase not only leaks in one package but is extremely helpful for identifying common leak patterns so you know where you need to fix your packaging production.
4. Altitude Simulation Seal Integrity Technique
Any business who plans on using air transportation to get their product to where it needs to go will have to test their product packaging for altitude changes. This test uses a special vacuum to simulate the change in altitude that products would experience if they were in an aircraft. The point of this test is to ensure that a product’s packaging doesn’t have its integrity compromised when a change of altitude is reached in the aircraft. These tests can be performed in a wet or dry tank depending on the specific packaging type of the product.
5. Ultrasonic Pulse Imaging
Products that are sealed with flexible packaging are becoming more and more popular due to their low cost of production and easy transportation. These flexible packages are sealed with hermetically heat-fusing the seal surfaces together. These packages can have channel leaks and imperfect bonds if not fused correctly. By using ultrasonic pulse imaging technology a business can test for seal integrity issues in a non-destructive way. This method uses non-contact ultrasonic pulses via a machine to identify any leaks, their size, and their location on the food packaging.