Food & Beverage

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Food and Beverage Package Inspection

Food and beverage package inspection can be challenging and complex. Packaging affects consumer perception of a product, quality, brand, safety and value. Food and beverages are packed in such a way that it is correctly assembled, tamper-proof, defect-free and complete so that manufacturers are assured that the products reach the consumers safely As food and beverage packaging trend toward lighter weight packaging formats the containers and closures get more challenging, the technology to inspect the containers has been adapting.

Food and Beverage Package Inspection Technologies

Food and beverage package inspection technologies keep quality in check, identifying manufacturing and process defects that affect package quality and shelf life. PTI technology platforms include Vacuum Decay, Airborne ultrasound and HVLDmc. PTI’s VeriPac Series utilizes vacuum decay technology, a proven reliable solution for many food packaging formats.

Maintaining shelf life for packaged coffee is a continuous challenge. The flavors and oils in coffee are oxygen sensitive, and the flavor profile is the primary value being delivered to the consumer. Oxidation, flavor degradation, and spoilage are all results of compromised package integrity. Leaks as small as 10 microns can draw O2 into the package over its shelf life. Coffee comes in a variety of package formats, but all coffee has one need in common, package integrity assurance for extended shelf life.

Popular package formats for coffee include stick packs, pouches, plastic containers and composite cans. The form-fill-seal packaging process increases the complexity of producing quality packaging, introducing an added risk of systemic defects. While each package provides its unique benefits, each format presents its unique challenge to quality. An effective package integrity test method can provide accurate and sensitive feedback to assure a high level of quality.

The PTI VeriPac Vacuum Decay Series of inspection systems have a proven capability of non-destructively testing packaging down to O2 sensitive leak sizes, thereby reducing waste and improving testing capabilities. The system reliably detects leaks as small as 10 microns, identifying process issues before they become critical. VeriPac provides both a definitive attribute result (PASS or FAIL) as well as quantitative data that correlates to leak rate and leak size.

To test flexible packaging formats, the VeriPac FLEX Series features a patented FLEX-Chamber that eliminates the need for changeover when testing different size pouches, and is immune to package variations. It’s also possible to test multiple packages in a single test cycle.

For MAP Meat Tray Package testing, the VeriPac Series utilizes a test chamber designed for rigid packaging. The test system operation can be configured for either semi-automatic or manual operation, depending on production requirements.

The VeriPac Series is a practical alternative to destructive testing because it eliminates the subjective results. Water bath testing also increases the risk of bacteria and moisture contamination of the production area. Case studies have proven that vacuum decay leak testing technology provides a quick return on investment when evaluating only the dramatic reduction of waste produced by destructive test methods.

Maintaining shelf life for packaged snack foods is a continuous challenge. Most snack foods are moisture and oxygen sensitive. Mold, oxidation, flavor degradation, and spoilage are all results of compromised package integrity. Bacteria can contaminate a product with leak sizes smaller than 10 microns, and moisture or O2 ingress occurs at similar leak sizes. Snack foods come in a variety of package formats, but all snack foods have one need in common, package integrity assurance for extended shelf life.

Popular package formats for snack foods include flexible packaging (sachets, stick packs and pouches), composite cans and modified atmosphere packaging (MAP). They serve as ideal package presentation for snack products such as nuts, savory snacks, chips, crackers, cookies, beef jerky, nutrition and granola bars. They provide shelf stability and easy open convenience. While each package provides its own unique benefits and product appeal, each format presents its own unique challenge to insure package and seal integrity.

Specifically for pouch seal inspection, PTI’s Airborne Ultrasound technology is a non-destructive seal quality inspection solution. Airborne ultrasound can be used for many materials. The ultimate solution for pouch seal quality testing, as a package seal passes through the sensor head, ultrasonic waves propagate through the material causing reflection of the sound waves. When defects are encountered, they result in a reduction/elimination of the signal strength – identifying the defect. Food and beverage inspection technologies are a valuable tool for manufacturers not only for its labor, time saving or cost but it also gives them a secure competitive advantage.

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