Mar 2021

Why Seal Integrity Testing is Critical in Medical Device Industry

Why Seal Integrity Testing is Critical in Medical Device Industry

In the medical device industry, appropriate packaging is meant to ensure product protection and integrity throughout the entire supply chain. Medical device packaging requirements are very strict and should adhere to health and safety regulations across borders, signifying the relevance of packaging validation standards. Faulty packaging can cause various problems for medical device companies as well as patients. A package containing a sterile medical device should not only reach the doctor or medical facility damage free, but it should also be able to maintain its quality and sterility until used. Hence seal integrity testing of medical device packages is critical.

Seal integrity testing is a crucial element to ensure quality of packaged sterile products. A compromised seal can initiate a leak, destroying the protective atmosphere of products and reducing its shelf life. It can also lead to massive product recalls, causing huge monetary loss and tarnished brand reputation. Hence, applying the right seal integrity testing system is vital to ensure that the packages are properly sealed to avoid potential contamination and breach in sterility.

Although there are multiple methods to conduct a seal integrity test, it can be broadly classified into destructive testing methods and non-destructive testing methods. Under destructive testing method, the package may get destroyed and cannot be returned to the market after testing. On the other hand, non-destructive test methods do not cause any harm to the packages resulting in material cost advantage and reduced waste. “There is a huge shift in the industry towards deterministic and quantitative test methods,” comments Oliver Stauffer, Chief Executive Officer at PTI - Packaging Technologies & Inspection. “This includes Vacuum Decay and Airborne Ultrasound for medical device applications. The industry is currently moving away from dye ingress and manual visual inspection because there are so many blind spots in applying them and there’s a huge false sense of assurance.”

Seal integrity testing using Airborne Ultrasound technology

PTI’s Airborne Ultrasound technology is an ASTM Test Method F3004 and FDA recognized standard for seal quality integrity testing. It is a non-destructive seal quality inspection method for effective seal quality testing and analysis. With the capability of non-destructive and non-invasive seal quality inspection, Airborne Ultrasound technology is a optimal choice for testing integrity of pouches, flexible packages and tray seals.

This method operates by propagating ultrasound waves through the package seal as they move along the sensor head, causing reflections of sound waves. In the presence of a leak, the seal strength is either reduced or eliminated. Signal strength variations are closely monitored to detect defects. The ability of Airborne Ultrasound technology to identify several types of seal defects; visible and invisible, leaking, and non-leaking, process-related and random makes it a practical choice for seal quality inspection in the medical device industry.

Benefits of Airborne Ultrasound technology

  • Non-destructive seal quality inspection technique with quantitative test results.
  • Eliminates subjective manual inspection methods.
  • Cost effective
  • Non-destructive, non-subjective, no sample preparation
  • Supports multiple packaging materials including Tyvek®, paper, foil, film, aluminum, plastic & poly
  • ASTM Test Method F3004, FDA Recognized Standard and referenced in USP 1207 Guidelines.
seal integrity testing, seal quality inspection, medical device package inspection, medical device packaging, airborne ultrasound technology, benefits of airborne ultrasound technology
Dec 2020

Role of Vacuum Decay Technology in Medical Device Package Inspection

Role of Vacuum Decay technology in medical device package inspection

Apart from validating the functionality and design of medical devices, ensuring package integrity is crucial to make sure that the product reaches the end-user intact. Packaging and delivery formats available for medical devices range from porous flexible packaging to non-porous rigid containers. Each packaging format has a unique set of characteristics and requirements, which necessitates a comprehensive approach while selecting an appropriate inspection technique.

With increasing innovations in packaging formats and materials, packaging challenges have also increased. Among other medical devices, Class III medical devices pose the highest level of risk associated with ensuring package integrity. Such devices sustain or support life and are implanted. Examples of Class III devices include pacemakers, cardiovascular stents, respiratory ventilators and breast implants. Since these devices are directly placed into human bodies, even a minute breach in the packaging can pose significant risk to patient safety. Hence testing container closure integrity (CCI) of medical devices is crucial.

Vacuum Decay is a non-destructive Container Closure Integrity test method focused on package integrity and detection of leak paths. Compared to manual inspection and other non-deterministic test methods, Vacuum Decay offers quantitative, deterministic and reliable test results to ensure package integrity. Vacuum decay technology is capable of accommodating a wide variety of packaging formats including filled and sealed rigid, semi-rigid and flexible packaging made of non-porous or porous materials. This test operates by placing packages in a well fitted evacuation test chamber, which has an external vacuum source. The vacuum levels are continuously monitored to identify any variations from a pre-determined targeted vacuum level. A defect in the package will cause air to escape from the package into the test chamber. On the other hand, packages without any defect hold in the air, maintaining constant chamber vacuum level. Vacuum Decay technology has been proven over years to be one of the most practical and sensitive vacuum-based leak detection solutions.

PTI’s VeriPac inspection technique is an ASTM approved (F2338), FDA recognized testing method capable of evaluating wide range of high-risk package applications. It can be efficiently incorporated into the packaging process to ensure quality, reduce waste and allow operators to have a proper understanding of package integrity. Multiple vacuum supply types along with single or dual high-resolution transducers configuration enables the VeriPac series to provide fast and reliable test results that are quantitative and deterministic. It is an ideal solution for medical device manufacturers to ensure that the product meets regulatory standards. Based on packaging materials used and the level of test sensitivity required, manufacturers can select the appropriate VeriPac model.

PTI has revolutionized Vacuum Decay technology with the development of next generation PERMA-VAC technology, that offers increased test sensitivity and repeatable results. The technology is capable of detecting leaks in the MALL range for parenteral packaging and can accommodate a variety of flexible and semi-flexible package formats. The advancements in PERMA-VAC technology has made the VeriPac series the most reliable and practical vacuum-based leak test method available today.

Benefits of Vacuum Decay technology:

  • Non-destructive, non-subjective, no sample preparation
  • Capable of detecting defects down to 0.05 ccm
  • Accurate, reliable, repeatable results
  • Supports sustainable packaging and zero waste initiatives
  • FDA recognized standard for package integrity testing
  • ASTM test method F2338
vacuum decay technology, medical device package inspection, package inspection technologies, Class III medical devices, CCIT

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