Feb 2021

Understanding Force Decay Leak Testing

Understanding Force Decay Leak Testing

Leak testing is a process that has high demand in industries such as pharmaceutical, food and nutrition and medical devices to ensure integrity of manufactured products. The primary objective of any package leak test is to identify defects can compromise the integrity and safety of the product. Even minute defects and faulty parts can make products unfit for consumption or use. Additionally, compromised seal integrity in pharmaceutical packages can accelerate decomposition process. Therefore, package inspection and leak detection is an essential part of the the manufacturing process to insure package quality and process is under control.

What is Force Decay leak testing?

Force Decay is a quantitative leak detection technique particularly suited for packaging with low-headspace. Packaging formats can be non-porous materials including films, laminates or foils. Being a non-destructive test method, it does not damage or alter the sample packages. Once the test is completed, packages can be placed back into the batch and need not be discarded.

The test system uses a nested tooling to position the package in a consistent location and to limit the unmeasured expansion of the package being tested. Once the test is initiated, a vacuum is drawn on the test chamber causing the package to expand within the chamber. Vacuum levels are monitored during the test cycle to evaluate the package using the ASTM F2338 vacuum decay leak test method. The expansion of the package being tested applies force to the VeriPac force measurement system.

Multiple packages can be tested per test cycle with the force decay measurement system identifying if there any defective packages. Defective packages show a decay in the expansion force or vacuum level during the test cycle. The location of the defective package or cavity is identified. Force decay is the most effective technology to deploy when multi-cavity package formats are being tested.

PTI’s VeriPac 410 inspection technique uses force decay technology for non-destructive seal and leak detection for blister packs, sachets, and pouches with low headspace. VeriPac 410 is a vacuum based Container Closure Integrity test method, capable of testing multiple packages per test cycle with the force decay measurement system identifying if there any defective packages. This technology is capable of measuring force from the surface deflection of a package during a normal vacuum based test cycle. This force measurement of packages enables VeriPac 410 series to understand which package is defective while also being able to leak test packages with minimal headspace. Force decay is the most effective technology to deploy when multi-cavity package formats are being tested.

Benefits of Force Decay leak testing

  • Non-destructive, non-subjective, no sample preparation
  • The test protocol is programmed into the testing unit, hence force decay tests are repeatable
  • Multiple packages can be tested in a single test cycle
  • The test is operator independent and can be performed with minimal training
  • Supports sustainable packaging initiatives
  • Great choice for in-process testing
  • Cost effective with rapid return on investment
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