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Setting the seal of quality on retort film food packaging

25 October 2012

A famous food manufacturer uses a Mecmesin peel testing device to reduce wastage resulting from seal adhesive defects and provide their customers with a safe, well-sealed, edible product at minimum cost.

The food packaging industry has long had concerns about pinholes, flex cracks and leaks in the flexible materials and seals of retort packaging. A famous global food and drink maker needed to test the laminated retort packaging films that protect products such as their popular microwaveable stir-in pots.

Efficient, economic peel testing of the seals of their microwavable pots reveal the force required for peeling and identify inconsistencies in the adhesive layering between seal and pot. Using their Mecmesin peel test solution, they are able to observe materials performance and adhesive layer performance in detail, store multiple tests, and overlay results for comparison purposes.

The results are cost savings through elimination of excess adhesion, reduced wastage, and greater batch consistency, which translate to fewer returns, fewer customer complaints, and contribute to a successful, popular product.

Retort film is manufactured from multiple layers of laminate foil and withstands extensive thermal processing to heat seal and sterilise food contents. This packaging method provides the product with shelf-stability, while giving consumers convenience and protection from harmful microorganisms.

Since blown seals or breaches in film can lead to contamination or spoiling that can cause food poisoning, this maker needed to run peel tests to determine the following:
? tensile strength of pre-cut retort foils
? peel performance of finished packaging
? compliance of tensile and peel performance with in-house specifications

To obtain a reliable picture of the performance of their packaging seals, this manufacturer selected a Mecmesin computer-controlled test system fitted with a custom-designed pull-peel table.

The Mecmesin system enables a 90 degree peel test. The pot-shaped container is held between four gripping pegs on a level base plate secured to an assisted peel table, and the container's foil tab is held by a flat-faced jaw grip. The table moves the container horizontally, against the direction of peel, at the same rate as the grip pulls the foil tab upward (150mm/min). These synchronised motions cause the foil to be steadily peeled away at 90 degrees.

The test stops when the foil is fully separated from the container. The advanced MultiTest 1-i system uses Mecmesin's Emperor™ force testing software running on a PC to record and display the performance of the sample during the test. Peak force is identified and a detailed graphical display of each test is presented, enabling identification of defects and locations of adhesive failure.

The result is improved consistency in adhesive application and foil-container seal quality.

For more information seehttp://www.mecmesin.com/test-solutions/solutions-by-industry/packaging/retort-packaging-peel-testing


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