Blogs

16
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.
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seal integrity testing, seal quality inspection, medical device package inspection, medical device packaging, airborne ultrasound technology, benefits of airborne ultrasound technology
137
15
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.

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seal integrity testing, airborne ultrasound technology, seal quality testing, airborne ultrasound, package integrity testing, vacuum decay technology
376
10
Sep 2020

Automated CCI technologies- Revolutionizing medical device testing

Automated CCI technologies- Revolutionizing medical device testing

Medical device industry is crucial to health care system as they play a vital role in the delivery of many health care services. Over the past few decades, tremendous developments in medical technologies have challenged the medical device packaging industry to ensure quality and reliability in packaging. Although testing package quality of all medical devices is critical, in case of Class III medical devices it amplifies several folds. Class III medical devices are understood as devices that sustain or support life, are implanted, or present potential unreasonable risk of illness or injury. Examples include pacemakers, breast implants, and respiratory ventilators. Since these devices are directly placed into human bodies, proper packaging is required to ensure the quality of the product until it reaches the patient. Any breach in the packaging can cause contaminants to enter the device, thereby making it more of a threat to the patient than a treatment. Hence appropriate CCI technologies are needed to ensure standardized packaging quality.

Container Closure Integrity Testing is a leak detection test conducted using a non-destructive package inspection system to ensure sterility and product quality throughout its shelf life. Earlier, probabilistic test methods such as bubble test, dye ingress and manual visual inspection were used to test package quality of medical devices. However, these traditional methods lacked accuracy and provided uncertain and subjective results. In order to overcome the shortcomings of probabilistic methods, industries are now moving towards deterministic methods that assures a higher level of accuracy with quantitative results. 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 method. 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.”

Packaging Technologies & Inspection-PTI’s VeriPac Vacuum Decay Technology and Airborne Ultrasound Technology have revolutionized automated CCI Technologies.

Vacuum Decay Technology is a CCI testing method that detects leaks in nonporous, rigid or flexible packages. Such tests are conducted by placing a sample in an evacuation test chamber, drawing vacuum and monitoring vacuum level for any decay, indicating a leak. Such tests are known to provide reliable and quick results. PTI’s VeriPac Vacuum Decay Technology is a non-destructive package inspection system based on the ASTM vacuum decay leak test method (F2338-09) and accredited by the FDA for package integrity testing. Its applications include empty and pre-filled syringes, liquid-filled and lyophilized vials and other flexible and rigid liquid-filled packaging. PTI’s PERMA- VAC technology, known to provide consistent and reliable results is the latest development in the VeriPac line of test systems. The VeriPac Universal Blister Verification (UBV) system designed for non-destructive blister package leak detection uses a volumetric imaging technology to measure the motion of a blister package under vacuum to detect leaks.

PTI’s Airborne Ultrasound Technology is a non-destructive Seal Integrity Test used to examine seal quality for defects. “Ultrasound is one of the only technologies that are telling us what the quality of that physical bonded nature of the seal materials are,” says Oliver Stauffer, CEO of PTI. Under this method, high-frequency sound waves are passed through the pouch seal area, causing the reflection of sound waves. Variations of the reflected signal strength are used to reflect defects if any. PTI’s Airborne Ultrasound Technology for 100% Inline inspection of pouch seals has been extremely helpful in verifying final pouch seal quality. Any defect in the pouch seal including voids and delamination, foreign materials and inclusions, incomplete seals and misaligned seals can be detected using a Seal-Sensor scan and are automatically rejected from the production line.

Vacuum Decay Method (VDM) is used by manufacturers of packages for the food, beverage, industrial and pharmaceutical industries in order to detect leaks in rigid or flexible packages.

Both methods are established ASTM test methods: Vacuum Decay ASTM F2338 and Airborne Ultrasound ASTM F3004.These technologies are non-destructive methods and can be chosen depending on the characteristics of the product to be tested.

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CCI technologies, Airborne ultrasound technology, seal integrity testing, Class III medical device package integrity, vacuum decay technology, container closure integrity testing
384
08
Sep 2020

Airborne Ultrasound Technology-The ultimate choice for Seal Integrity Testing

CCIT - A risk mitigation tool for parenteral products

Seal integrity is the key to ensuring quality of packaging goods. Testing the integrity of package seals helps ensure that packaging provides sufficient product protection. Seal quality test analyses the mechanical strength of the seal thereby securing appropriate material bonding to maintain package quality throughout the product’s shelf life. Any defect in the seal can initiate a leak and will contaminate the product while directly harming its shelf life. With the increasing trend towards flexible packaging, the demand for seal testing has readily grown. Since flexible packaging involves using materials that are sustainable, environment friendly and lower in cost it is essential to ensure that the seals of such package remain intact from the point of manufacture throughout its distribution and use. Seal integrity testing is widely used in different industries including Pharmaceutical, Medical Device, Food & Beverage, Nutrition, Bottles & Containers.

Destructive Vs. Non-Destructive Test Methods

Destructive methods are identified as methods that may damage the product during the assessment and even though the seal passes the test the product becomes useless. Since these tests were incapable of finding non-leaking seal defects, demand for such tests has steadily declined. Traditional test methods like peel strength burst or fish tank bubble come under this category.

Unlike destructive methods, non-destructive test methods are those that do not harm the product and they can be returned to the mark after testing. Reduction in wastage coupled with material cost advantage gives non-destructive methods an edge over destructive methods. 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”. Non-destructive test method can be of the following types:

  • 1. Vacuum decay test
  • 2. Ultrasonic seal test

Vacuum Decay Method (VDM) is used by manufacturers of packages for the food, beverage, industrial and pharmaceutical industries in order to detect leaks in rigid or flexible packages.

Ultrasonic seal test is an innovative non-destructive Seal Integrity Test used to examine seal quality for defects. The ultrasonic seal test has wide application and is primarily used to detect any defects in the seal area. PTI uses Airborne Ultrasound technology which is a non-destructive and non-invasive seal quality inspection method. “Ultrasound is one of the only technologies that are telling us what the quality of that physical bonded nature of the seal materials are,” says Oliver Stauffer, CEO of PTI. This method is applicable for many materials types such as Tyvek®, paper, foil, film, aluminum, plastic & poly. The test is conducted by allowing ultrasound waves to pass through the package seal causing the reflection of sound waves. To identify the defects, variations in the reflected signals strengths are analyzed

PTI offers two variants of Airborne Ultrasound testing technology; Seal-Scan® and Seal-Sensor. The Airborne Ultrasound testing technology creates a quick analysis of the seal area without tampering with the packaging to identify defects such as incomplete or missing seals, wrinkles, channel defects, and so on. The technology is in high demand due to its applicability across different industries.

Reasons to choose PTI’s Seal Scan and Seal Sensor Method:
  • 1. Provides quantitative results using non-destructive seal quality inspection
  • 2. Accurate and reliable outcome
  • 3. Cost-effective
  • 4. Can be used on materials like Tyvek®, paper, foil, film, aluminum, plastic & poly
Readmore...
seal integrity testing, airborne ultrasound technology, seal quality testing, airborne ultrasound, seal scan, flexible packaging
327

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