Leak Detection in Food Packaging in Canada
During the manufacture of products, some micro leaks occur on the items unintentionally, and this affects the general quality of the item. Therefore, there is different equipment that the manufacturers of packages use to optimize the process of packaging and check for pressure differences. Leak detection equipment help in reducing the wastage of products, increase the shelf life of the food products, as well as minimize the chances of rejection of the products. Additionally, the leak detection testing helps in determining the quality of their product packaging methods.
Offline versus Online
The leak detector system is either online or offline. Offline detection is a manual process that involves the placement of the product onto the leak detection equipment. A sensor then alerts the manufacturers in case of the compromise of the seal integrity of the product packaging. Online leak detection, on the other hand, involves the integration of the quality requirements into the production process. The system alerts the manufacturers of the packages whenever it detects a leak as the items move along the conveyor belt.
Leak Detection Methods
The equipment check for rigidity, flexibility, and the leaks on the vacuum packed goods such as coffee or rice. They also check whether the seals or caps are airtight and verify the seal’s integrity. Various methods used in determining the leaks on the food packages include:
Bubble Emission Leak Testing Method
Packages with some amount of air or gas use this method in detecting the leaks. The manufacturers of packages submerge the items in water and close the lid. They then check for bubbles in the water. The presence of bubbles means that the product is faulty and there is a compromise on the integrity of the seal. This visual leak detector helps in determining the bursting point on the seals and allows for correction of the problem.
Dry chamber method
It is ideal for the liquid products that contain a headspace or air in it, for example, milk. It involves placing a covered product in a dry chamber and then drawing the vacuum to the product covered by an absorbent material.
Altitude simulation method
Use this method on the products traveling at different altitudes for example by air. The test is carried out to ensure that the products would not be affected during takeoff and landing of the plane. This method depends heavily on the bubble emission and the dry chamber methods.
The Trace Gas Leak Detection
This means of tracing a leak on product packaging uses a closed airtight chamber to test for leaks. The airtight chamber has a section that detects the release of gas from the product. This method traces even the micro leaks in a product. Some of the gases used include helium, hydrogen, and carbon dioxide. The FlexPak website has more online resources available.