Mar 2021

Evaluating Quality Assurance Solutions for Coffee Packaging

Evaluating Quality Assurance Solutions for Coffee Packaging

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
package integrity testing, coffee packaging, ccit, quality assurance solutions, vacuum decay technology, veripac flex series
Sep 2020

Ensuring Bottle and Container Integrity through VeriCon Technology

Ensuring bottle and container integrity through VeriCon Technology

What is VeriCon Technology?

VeriCon system encompasses a complete line of leak testers for empty bottles and containers. It is a powerful leak detection system that operates round-the-clock to ensure high leak test sensitivity with the capability to measure down to 200 microns. Under this process, the container is filled with pressure to a certain level. The rate of pressure decay is analyzed and measured which corresponds to pressure within the container. The operating panel displays pass/fail results and the defective container is rejected from the line . With PTI’s VeriCon technology, users can choose from a wide range of leak tester configurations, according to different container specifications. Its applications include plastic, blow molding, food, beverage and pharmaceutical industries. VeriCon technology works well for small, medium to large size containers and has inspection rates upto150 bottles/min. range. According to Heinz Wolf, general manager, Packaging Technologies and Inspection “In addition to the basic inspection economics of identifying leaking containers and minimizing false rejects, VeriCon systems offer many additional advantages that increase overall operational efficiency. The Auto-learn feature for example, automates setup of accept/reject criteria. Real time inspection data with reject statistics and test result With reject statistics & test result trends, VeriCon technology ensures on demand analyses of container quality.”

VeriCon technology can be implemented using pressure decay or vacuum decay technology. Plastic containers of almost all sizes use pressure decay technology. In situations where due to specific characteristics of the container, pressure decay technology is not capable of detecting leaks, Vacuum decay technology is applicable. Depending on the line speed/hole size requirement, VeriCon testers are available in one to four station configurations.

VeriCon Configurations

  • Trimmer mount: available in single and dual station configurations, VeriCon trimmer mount systems are designed precisely for indexing systems installations.
  • Linear Leak Testers: available in single or multi-station configurations for standard online linear leak detection with inspection speeds up to 70 bottles/min.
  • Continuous Motion Testers : available in 1 to 4 station configurations with inspection speeds up to 150 bottles/min. Continuous motion inspection’s high speed testing ensures uninterrupted inspection of containers.

Benefits of VeriCon technology:

All VeriCon systems offer the following features and benefits:

  • VeriCon technology uses high-resolution non-drifting transducers thereby ensuring consistent leak detection.
  • Accurate leak testing with repeatable results
  • 24/7 operation
  • Capable of accommodating multiple container specifications and test sensitivity requirement

Ensuring packaging quality is pivotal in all manufacturing. For efficient packaging, it is important for manufacturers to have complete knowledge of packaging material used and test sensitivity desired, so that appropriate package integrity tests can be undertaken.

pharmaceutical package testing, VeriCon Technology, pharmaceutical package integrity, package integrity testing, pressure decay technology
Sep 2020

The Importance of Seal Integrity Testing in the Food and Nutrition Industry

Importance of Seal integrity testing

Food and nutrition packaging are much more than attractive containers kept on a retail shelf. Packaging executes multiple functions since it conveys information about the product, educates the consumers, ensures product protection, helps market the product and much more. Therefore, manufacturers of food and nutrition products must keep package quality at the forefront.

Innovations in packaging including the use of flexible packages and shift from plastics to more sustainable materials have accelerated packaging challenges. Hence, ensuring package quality is vital for preventing possible contamination and resultant spoilage of goods. Often, customers may or may not be aware of such contamination, which can cause serious health problems. In case of high-risk individuals such as the elderly or children under 5 years, the consequences may be fatal. Such consequences have a direct impact on company/brand image resulting in product recalls and huge financial losses.

This stresses the importance of implementing appropriate packaging integrity testing solutions in the production line. Among many other techniques available in the market, seal integrity testing is a popular choice for most manufacturers. There are multiple methods of conducting a seal integrity test including destructive and non–destructive test methods. A method applicable in one situation may not be so in other. Manufacturers should choose the appropriate technology depending upon package type, product specifications, defect profile, and testing requirements.

Methods of Seal Integrity Testing

Under destructive testing methods, the sample package may get destroyed and become useless even though the seal passes the test. Demand for such tests has steadily declined due to its inability to detect non-leaking defects. Common test methods under this category include water bath/bubble testing and peel strength test.

To overcome the shortcomings of destructive test methods, non-destructive test methods and technology advancements have been developed. Such methods cause no harm to the package or product and they can be returned to market after testing. According to Oliver Stauffer, Chief Executive Officer at PTI - Packaging Technologies & Inspection “There is a huge shift in the industry toward deterministic and quantitative test methods”. PTI’s VeriPac Vacuum Decay Series and Airborne Ultrasound technology are non-destructive test methods having high applicability in the food and nutrition industry.

PTI’s VeriPac Vacuum Decay technology is a non-destructive package inspection technique, applicable for rigid and flexible packages and with a capability of detecting leaks as small as 10 microns. It has the potential to test different size pouches, stick packs or sachets without any changeover in parts or system settings. VeriPac FLEX Systems, a non-destructive package inspection technique specifically for dry-filled flexible packaging (pouches, stick packs and sachets). The VeriPac FLEX Series are available in several configurations taking into account varied package specifications and test sensitivity requirements.

Pouches are the common form of packaging for many food products like juices, snacks, nuts and coffee. Therefore, ensuring package integrity of such pouches are crucial. PTI’s Airborne Ultrasound technology is a non-destructive seal integrity test that serves as an ultimate solution for pouch seal quality testing, specifically to check that final top seal after filling and sealing the pouch contents. When high frequency sound waves are passed through the pouch seal area, reflections of sound waves are created. Defects are identified by analysing variations of reflected signal strength. It ensures 100% defect detection of pouch seals. PTI’s ultrasound technology can be applied to 100% defect detection of pouch seals as well as for in-depth seal quality testing and analysis.

VeriPac Vacuum Decay technology (F2338) and Airborne Ultrasound technology (F3004) are both ASTM test methods and also FDA consensus standards for package integrity and seal quality inspection. According to the specific nature of the product and package, appropriate testing methods can be selected.

seal integrity testing, airborne ultrasound technology, seal quality testing, airborne ultrasound, package integrity testing, vacuum decay technology
Sep 2020

CCIT - A risk mitigation tool for parenteral products

CCIT - A risk mitigation tool for parenteral products

Today’s healthcare industry assures treatments that were unimaginable a few years ago. As pharmaceutical industry grows in importance, the techniques of primary packaging for healthcare products, especially parenteral products has taken on new prominence. Common parenteral packaging methods include Liquid-filled containers such as vials, ampoules, syringes, blow-fill-seals and auto-injectors and containers filled with lyophilized products. Since these drugs are directly administered into human bodies, high sensitivity integrity tests are required to ensure product quality throughout its shelf life. For reasons of safety, packaging material, integrity and design are regulated by Food And Drug Administration as strictly as the product itself.

Container Closure Integrity Testing is a leak detection test conducted using a non-destructive packaging inspection system to protect the drug from any possible contamination. It is a crucial step in evaluating safety and integrity of the primary packaging so as to maintain a sterile barrier and to avoid leakage resulting in contamination of the drug. Packaging components like bottles, vials, syringes that are in direct contact with the product are called primary components while aluminum caps, cardboard boxes are secondary components as they are not in direct contact with the product. Proper packaging should be a priority for all drug products, but in case of parenteral products, these concerns amplifies several folds as they are directly injected. Hence initiating a proper container closure system is vital for product and consumer safety.

Although Container Closure Integrity Testing can be performed in many different ways, it can be broadly classified into Probabilistic methods and Deterministic methods. Probabilistic test methods including Microbial Challenge by Immersion, Tracer Liquid Tests (e.g. Dye Ingress), Bubble Tests etc. are traditional test methods where result accuracy may be uncertain. On the other hand, Deterministic test methods like Electrical Conductivity and Capacitance Test (HVLD), Laser-based Gas Headspace Analysis, Mass Extraction, Pressure Decay provide quantitative results with high accuracy. The United States pharmacopeia released guidance in 2016 stating that deterministic methods are preferred over probabilistic test methods.Packaging Technologies And Inspection (PTI’s) Microcurrent HVLD technology and vacuum decay technology are the latest inventions in package integrity testing of parenteral products.

1. Microcurrent HVLD Technology: Microcurrent HVLD is a unique High Voltage Leak Detection Technology, highly effective across all parenteral products. Its Applications include liquid-based products ranging from extremely low conductivity sterile water for injection (WFI) to proteinaceous products with suspensions. Its ability to detect small pinholes, micro cracks and seal defect detection down to single-digit microns makes it an ideal choice for testing parenteral products.

2. VeriPac Vacuum Decay Technology: VeriPac Vacuum Decay Technology, based on the ASTM vacuum decay leak test method (F2338-09) and accredited by the FDA for package integrity testing, is a non-destructive inspection system, capable of defect detection down to 0.002 cc/min. This system is applicable for empty and pre-filled syringes, liquid-filled and lyophilized vials and other flexible and rigid liquid-filled packaging. Depending on the package type and leak test sensitivity needed, appropriate VeriPac model can be selected.

PTI’s next generation PERMA- VAC technology addresses vacuum decay detection at the very core of physical test measurement by controlling the test system volume and maximizing the SNR between good and defective samples. This makes PERMA-VAC the most reliable vacuum-based leak test available in the market.
CCIT, parenteral product leak testing, container closure integrity testing, container closure integrity, package integrity testing, ccit pharmaceutical, hvld
Sep 2020

Container Closure Integrity Testing (CCIT) - An Ideal Solution for the Pharmaceutical Industry

Container closure integrity testing - An ideal solution for pharmaceutical industry

The global pharmaceutical industry has seen tremendous growth over the last few decades. The complex nature of the industry coupled with frequent breakthroughs has made it a favorite subject of scrutiny. Since any defect in the packaging of drugs can have serious consequences, assuring the quality of the packaging is of prime interest for every manufacturer. Pharmaceutical products are expected to be free from microbial contamination and safe to use right from production throughout their shelf-life. The drug’s stability can be adversely affected through contamination in the form of oxygen, humidity or microbiological ingress. In order to prevent such risks, integrity tests with high sensitivity are required.

Previously, only sterility testing was conducted on pharmaceutical packaging. However, when it was realized that sterility testing alone is not sufficient to hold the integrity of the medical products, the US FDA published Guidance for Industry for Submission Documentation for Sterilization Process Validation in Applications for Human and Veterinary Drug Products. This emphasised the importance of verification of microbial barrier properties of a pharmaceutical product package (i.e., CCI). FDA defines Container Closure Integrity Testing (CCIT) “as the sum of packaging components that together contain and protect the dosage form”.

Container Closure Integrity Testing is a method of leak detection using a non-destructive packaging inspection system to prevent possible contamination. Such a test is essential since any defect in the container can cause external particles to enter the product, thereby reducing its shelf life. Implementing right Container Closure System has been of prime importance for a manufacturer as it affects both the product and the patient. Hence, the relevance of CCI Testing in the pharmaceutical industry has steadily increased over the years. Contaminants that can enter a product include micro-organisms, reactive gases, and other substances. CCIT ensures product quality is maintained from the point of manufacture throughout its distribution and use. Container closure systems include primary packaging components and secondary packaging components. Components such as a glass vial or syringe, which come into direct contact with the product, are primary packaging components. On the other hand, components that are crucial to ensure correct package assembly, such as aluminum caps, over stoppers etc. are the secondary packaging components

CCI Testing Methods

Container closure integrity testing can be performed in many different ways. Each method has its own merits and demerits. A number of factors have to be considered while selecting appropriate testing methods. These factors include, but are not limited to; the reliability of the test method, material of the primary package and inline versus an offline testing requirement. CCI testing methods can also be selected depending on specific desired outcomes. Examples of desired outcome include: identifying the presence of leak paths, understanding leak path’s location, evaluating leak rate for the whole package, and measuring potential for microbial ingress. The United States pharmacopeia released guidance in 2016 stating that deterministic methods are preferred over probabilistic test method.

1. Probabilistic methods: Here, the testing methods are more traditional, and the accuracy of the result is uncertain. The probabilistic methods include the following:
  • Microbial Challenge by Immersion
  • Tracer Liquid Tests (e.g. Dye Ingress)
  • Bubble Tests
  • Tracer Gas (Sniffer Mode)
2. Deterministic methods: Such methods provide quantitative results with a higher level of accuracy. The chances of errors are also minimal. The deterministic methods include the following:
  • Electrical Conductivity and Capacitance Test (HVLD)
  • Laser-based Gas Headspace Analysis
  • Mass Extraction
  • Pressure Decay
  • Tracer Gas (vacuum mode)
  • Vacuum Decay
CCIT, container closure integrity, container closure integrity testing, pharmaceutical product leak testing, pharmaceutical package testing, package integrity testing

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