Package integrity testing may be understood as a set of techniques used to protect the contents of a package from potential physical, chemical and microbial threats. It plays a crucial role in determining and maintaining sterility and shelf life of pharmaceutical products, medical devices, and food and nutrition products. Since such products are extremely sensitive to external environmental conditions, even a minute breach in the package can cause micro-organisms, reactive gases or other harmful substances to enter the product. This can result in serious health issues to the end user and affect brand loyalty of manufacturing companies. As such, testing for leaks is an important aspect of the manufacturing process.
Historically, manufacturers relied on destructive testing methods like Water Bath or Dye Ingress as well as other unreliable methods such as Visual Inspection to test integrity of packages. However, such tests lacked accuracy and reliability in test results. Moreover, being destructive testing methods, it caused damages to the package being tested making it unfit for use. These limitations of destructive techniques prompted manufacturers to opt for non-destructive testing methods that do not harm the product and provide reliable, repeatable and quantitative rest results. Reduction in waste coupled with material cost advantage gives non-destructive methods an practical edge over destructive test methods. Examples of non-destructive testing methods include Vacuum Decay technology, Airborne Ultrasound technology and Microcurrent HVLD technology.
VeriPac test systems for precise and reliable package integrity testing
PTI’s VeriPac series are non-destructive, non-invasive inspection systems for leak detection and package integrity testing. These systems reduce waste and provide operators with a clear understanding of package quality. The VeriPac test system produces real time results from precise quantitative measurements that identify packaging defects before critical process issues get out of control. Tests can be performed in any sequence and even repeatedly on a single sample. Good packages can be returned undamaged to the packaging line. Testing is more reliable, sensitive and efficient than destructive methods. VeriPac series utilizes the ASTM approved patented Vacuum Decay leak test method F2338, recognized by the FDA as a consensus standard for package integrity testing.
PTI’s VeriPac leak testers connect to a test chamber that is specially designed to contain the package to be tested. The package is placed inside the test chamber to which vacuum is applied. The absolute transducer technology is used to monitor the test chamber for both, the level of vacuum as well as the change in vacuum over a predetermined test time. The changes in absolute and differential vacuum indicate the presence of leaks and defects within the package. The test cycle takes only a few seconds, results are non-subjective, and testing is non-destructive to both product and package. The sensitivity of a test is a function of the sensitivity of the transducer, the package design, the package test fixture and critical test parameters of time and pressure. Test systems can be designed for manual or fully automated operation. This inspection method is suitable for laboratory offline testing, QA/QC statistical process control, automated batch or 100% inline testing.
Benefits of VeriPac series
- Non-destructive, non-subjective, no sample preparation
- Deterministic, quantitative test method
- Defect detection down to 0.2 ccm
- High level of sensitivity, repeatability and accuracy
- Short cycle time provides operator with PASS/FAIL result
- Small footprint and modular portable design
- ASTM test method and FDA standard
- Referenced in USP 1207 guidance
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