When foods are packaged for the shelves, the last thing the manufacturers want to deal with are leaks. Leaks can compromise product, costing the company money. It can also cost customer retention and brand loyalty due to a lack of trust a customer will have in a product if it is bad before eating. In order to prevent these problems, leak detection equipment can be used.
1. Altitude Simulation Method
The altitude simulation method involves using a vacuum chamber to test the quality of packaging at high altitudes. This is needed if the foods will be transported via airplane to their final destination. If products go untested, the high altitudes can cause the products to collapse, which can be quite costly.
2. Bubble Emission Test
If produce contains air, it can be tested with the bubble emission test for leaks. Taking the product and submerging it in water is all this test requires. If the package contains bubbles post-test, that means it did not pass and the manufacturer needs to pull the product and repackage. Bubbles indicate the water was able to infiltrate the packaging. This test looks for breaks in a packages seal, and the defects can be discarded before making it to store shelves.
3. Gas Leak Detection
Gas leak detection can occur when looking for holes in food packaging. This can also be used for both commercial and industrial leak testing. Some of the gases involved in the testing include helium, carbon monoxide, and hydrogen. Typically this is done through modified atmosphere testing. This means that the leak detection equipment will measure the amount of gases present in the packaging to see if leaking has occurred.
4. Dry Chamber Technique
The dry chamber technique looks for leaks in liquid products, such as beverages. This requires taking the product and putting it into a chamber before putting it into a vacuum. Absorbent material will help to test whether the product is leaking, and any presence of liquid produces a positive test.
In addition to vacuum testing, chambers can also be used to pressure test an item. In this case, the chamber is pressurized and packages that contain leaks will take too long to reach the pressure range.
5. Ultrasonic Imaging
Ultrasonic imaging uses wavelengths to detect defects in packaging. Similar to how an ultrasound produces an image of a fetus, an image is produced of the product for the defect to be detected and removed.
6. Machine Vision Testing
In this method, a computer with a camera is used to detect leaks. This technology is so sharp and cutting edge that it can detect leaks as small as only five millimeters.
7. Human Inspection Testing
Sometimes human inspections are necessary. While leak detection equipment proves valuable during the packaging phase, once transport occurs, all bets are off. Before shelving materials, companies will often hire human inspectors to check for new leaks so they can maintain their products’ integrity.
Leak detection tests are an essential component of the food industry. Leak test equipment lets you conduct assess and choose the right packages and seals for different altitudes. Below are six benefits of using leak detection equipment.
1. Avoid Leaks
No one wants his or her product to leak once it gets to the market. Whether it is at the store, during transit, or at the market, leaks can taint your company’s reputation. It can make it harder for customers to establish trust in your brand. Conducting tests lets you assess if a product is packaged properly.
2. Drive Your Revenue
Revenue will rise as you improve your product packaging. Proper packaging minimizes cases of product returns and wastage. It also ensures that you provide quality products that will leave customers happy and satisfied. Moreover, knowing about leak detection allow your company to improve its packaging. It enables you to create better products and avoid cases of product returns.
3. Minimize Cases of Product Spoilage
Leaking packages can cause your beverages and foods to spoil before the date of expiration. Even the smallest leak will cause food to rot. Remember that customers expect nothing short of quality products from you. Spoilage often results in wastage and returns and may taint your reputation. Potential customers might never buy your products if they have purchased spoiled products from you in the past.
4. Maintain High Quality
The goal of every company is to provide the best possible service or product. Spending an extra day to test your packaging ensures that products are sealed the right way before they get to the market. Investing in hi-tech testing equipment assures you that your product will not leak. It is also vital to stamp a valid expiration date on all your products before they get to the market. Otherwise, a product might disappoint you if it expires before the date stamped on the packaging material.
5. Hone Your Packaging Skills
Your packaging skills will improve when you conduct tests on premises. That way, you will be able to choose the packaging technique that works for you. If cartons have failed you in the past, you might want to try another packaging technique. You can use your leak detection tools to test packages such as cans, bags, and boxes. If you find that your packaging has issues, you can go back to the drawing board until you get the packaging that suits your products.
6. Prevent Environmental Pollution
Customers will ultimately send leaking products back to you. The more you send out products without testing, the more you are likely to get product returns. However, testing can help you determine the best packaging that will ensure all your products are sold.
Presence of leaks in packaged foods may be dangerous since they contain organisms that contaminate the food. Consumers need to be aware of such leaks, methods, and some of the leak detection equipment to be used to detect them. The following methods can be used to detect the leaks:
1. Bubble Test
This is a quite simple method to apply. If the consumer suspects any leak in food packaging, he should pressure the package and submerge it in a basin of water. If there are bubbles emerging from the water surface it, therefore confirms that the packaging material is leaking.
2. Ultrasonic Measurement
Leaks present will always produce sounds that are relative to their sizes. The sounds also produce frequencies that are either high or low. Smaller leaks will produce high frequency sounds hence need to use the ultrasonic detector to detect the sound.
The ultrasonic detectors are normally held in the hand. They are accompanied by a meter, a pair of headphones, and a sensitive adjustment nozzle. They normally measure the packaging leaks as well as the rate of the leaks.
3. Helium Sniff
A helium sniffer is an effective equipment to detect any leaks. The pressurized helium is charged into the material for food packaging and its surface scanned with a helium sniffer. The sniffer identifies the concentration of atmospheric air of the leaking area. The method is more efficient since it targets the exact location of the leak.
4. Pressure decay
The packaging material is first charged with dry air or nitrogen since the presence of a leak in packaging material reduces the internal pressure of the material. The pressure is then monitored for some time. In case the pressure of the packaging material reduces then it shows the presence of a leak. This method has proven to be simple, reliable and compact. It is also relatively cheap hence preferred by many people.
5. Vacuum Decay Test
It is the opposite of pressure decay testing. It entails evacuation of a certain part of the packaging material completely while the pressure is kept stable. The pressure that builds up after stabilization is the measured. This method is more appropriate since it is not affected by the changes in temperature. However, it requires food packaging material that can survive if placed in a vacuum.
6. Helium spray
This involves the separation of the food packaging material which is then attached to the detector. Helium gas is then sprayed on it. In case of any leaks, the gas will penetrate. Into the material.
It is important for consumers to know ways of detecting leaks in food packaging because these may are harmful to human life.
No one likes to think about harmful chemicals or outside materials seeping into the food that they eat.
Unfortunately, however, such leaks are a real concern for those in the food industry, as well as for consumers. The good news, though, is that there is a wide array of leak detection equipment currently on the market that is specifically designed for use with food products and food packaging.
You can make use of this equipment in addition to following simple tips for detecting and reducing leaks in food packaging. If you can do that, you should get great results and ultimately experience much fewer (if any) leakage issues.
1. Consider the Altitude Simulation Technique
To start off with, one of the best ways to test for and find leaks in food packaging is through a technique known as the altitude simulation technique.
With this method, you can test foods and their packaging at various altitudes using a vacuum chamber.
While this method is beneficial for a wide range of situations and for many different packaging types, it is particularly effective if you will be shipping food by plane or by other methods that involve severe altitude changes.
Via this method, you can protect against leaks no matter what your shipping process may involve.
2. Avoid Plastic Packaging
Something else you may want to consider, if you are really serious about avoiding leakage, is to ditch plastic packaging for your food products altogether.
While it is certainly true that not all plastic packaging is bad, it is also true that plastic tends to be one of the worst culprits when it comes to “springing a leak” or, vice versa, to letting harmful chemicals seep into food.
If you want to be truly safe and eliminate a lot of worry and hassle, then abandoning plastic packaging altogether is not a bad idea.
3. Try Ultrasonic Sealing
If you’re truly serious about leakage detection and prevention, then you may want to consider a more advanced technological solution: ultrasonic sealing.
This modern sealing method allows you to seal food packaging via a vibration process. This process can get rid of any contamination, if present, and keep further contamination from happening, all within just a few seconds of use.
While this method may be costly, it is certainly worthwhile due to its effectiveness and the peace of mind it offers.
4. Try the Bubble Emission Test
One final thing you may wish to try is the “bubble emission test,” which allows you to check for any packaging leaks by submerging the packaging in water.
Obviously, if bubbles appear once submerged, the packaging is not leak-proof and will need some work, making this a very simple, affordable, and surprisingly effective method to test your packaging.
As you can see, there are many great ways to detect and avoid leakage in food packaging. By following these tips, you can ensure your food products are as safe and as healthy as you designed them to be.
Most manufacturers will use airtight food packaging. It is because air lowers the shelf life of food and it can have a negative impact on its quality. It is the reason why it is critical that they use Leak Detection Equipment to ensure the integrity of the packaging they are using.
1. Vacuum Decay
In this method, there will removal of any content in some part of the packaging material completely and stabilizing the pressure in that area. After that, you will use equipment to measure any changes in pressure after the stabilization. However, you can only use this method for the packaging materials that can survive in vacuums. A key benefit of this method is that temperature changes cannot affect its integrity.
2. Pressure Decay
The pressure decay test works on a concept opposite to that of the vacuum decay. It works on a scientific concept that anticipates the internal pressure of packaging material to reduce when there is a leak. Before the test begins, you will fill the material will dry nitrogen at a specific pressure. After that, all you have to do is monitor the pressure. If the pressure does not reduce with time, it means that packaging is not leaking. If the opposite happens, then the packaging is leaking.
3. Bubble Method
The bubble test is one of the simplest tests that an individual can use to detect if a food packaging is leaking. Also, it does not require the use of complex Leak Detection Equipment compared to the other tests. In this method, you will need to pressurize the packaging using air. You should take care to ensure that you do not put excess pressure such that it bursts. After that, you will submerge it into a container filled with water. If the packaging is small, it would be better to submerge it in a transparent container. After that, you will observe for any bubbles. If it is leaking, you will witness the emergence of bubbles. A key benefit of this method is that you can pinpoint accurately the area where the leak is coming.
4. Ultrasonic Test
All leaks will produce sounds. The reason why you cannot hear them most of the times is that their frequency is too low or too high for your ears to pick. It is the reason why in this test you will need to use an ultrasound to detect if there are any sounds. Ultrasound detectors are very portable devices which you can comfortably hold in your hand. Some will have headphones, a nozzle for adjusting the sensitivity, and a meter. Other detectors have the capability of measuring the leak rate.