Fresh coffee is the best coffee. The quality of coffee is directly linked to freshness, and maintaining freshness requires adequate packaging. In simple words, packaging is what holds coffee products and maintains its quality. However, maintaining freshness and shelf life of packaged coffee is often a challenge for manufacturers. The flavors and oils in coffee are oxygen sensitive, while flavor profile being the key differentiator for consumers. External conditions like high temperature, light, or high humidity can increase the rate of staling. Under such conditions, whole beans will lose significant amounts of flavor and develop stale fragrance in 1-2 weeks, while in case of ground coffee the process takes 1-2 days. Compromised package integrity can result in oxidation, flavor degradation, and spoilage. Leaks as small as 10 microns can draw oxygen into the package over its shelf life. If a consumer encounters a product that exhibits oxidation, the bitterness and stale flavor will likely affect the consumer’s decision to repurchase. This explains why manufacturers give prime importance to evaluating integrity of coffee packaging.
Conventionally, water bath was the most popular technique for leak testing coffee products. Although water bath is a simple and effective leak testing method for rigid containers, it fails to meet critical needs associated with flexible coffee packages. Additionally, the cost associated with maintaining standard destructive methods is high. Subjective test results, variable test standards, and higher risks associated with the use of other methods emphasize the need for better alternatives. Hence manufacturers today opt for non-destructive testing methods that eliminate the cost associated with wasted product, and ultimately facilitate better quality control.
Package integrity testing using Vacuum Decay technology
PTI’s Vacuum Decay technology is an ASTM-approved, FDA recognized non-destructive Container Closure Integrity test method with proven capabilities to provide reliable, reproducible, repeatable and accurate quantitative results. It can detect oxygen critical leaks, providing a more reliable and sensitive solution for a range of packaging formats that is designed to protect oxygen sensitive products. This method involves drawing vacuum on the sample package kept in the test chamber, and analyzing the vacuum level for any defect-indicating a leak. VeriPac systems reliably detect leaks as small as 10 microns, identifying process issues before they become critical, avoiding costly quality deviations.
For coffee sachets, stick packs or pouches, PTI’s VeriPac FLEX series offer the highest level test sensitivity, detecting micro leaks into the single digit micron range. These are versatile non-destructive package inspection systems designed specifically for flexible packages. To accommodate various package specifications, the VeriPac FLEX is available in several configurations. Each model achieves a specific range of test sensitivity and various test chamber sizes are available depending upon the package size and characteristics. Hence, VeriPac vacuum decay is a practical alternative and significant improvement to the destructive test methods commonly used for flexible packaging.
Benefits of Vacuum Decay technology:
- Reliable and sensitive leak detection of quality critical defects
- Cost savings
- Using a non-destructive leak test method allows an increase in the number of product samples tested
- Rapid test cycle and minimal training required to operate tester
- Rapid ROI due to substantial cost savings and elimination of product loss
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