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DISPATCHES FROM PACK EXPO 2012, CHICAGO

New PTI retort pouch seal sensor risks redundant beagles

By Ben Bouckley , 06-Nov-2012

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Speaking live at Pack Expo, PTI’s Oliver Stauffer explains why checking retort pouch seal integrity is vital for food and beverage producers, and presents his firm’s new ultrasound system as a solution.

Stauffer, vice president inspection technologies, Packaging Technologies and Inspection (PTI), tells Ben Bouckley in Chicago that if you don’t have package integrity, then you don’t have a product.

“It’s a hot button issue because it does risk the brand equity of corporations all the time,” he says.

“When a product leaks – you can get oxygen, moisture, bacteria ingress. And there are synergistic effects of, say, oxygen and moisture when they get into a product,” Stauffer adds.

Products can spoil, oxidize, and in some worst-case scenarios you don’t even know that bacteria ingress has occurred, and you can eat a very poisonous meal.”

Ultrasound, fruit flies or dogs?

PTI’s airborne ultrasound system detects the seal quality (the bond) of sealed materials in retort pouches, and Stauffer explains how it improves on the firm's previous model.

Ultrasound technology first emerged around 10 years ago, and Stauffer says that alternative technologies were crude, and that he had even seen food firms resort to introducing fruit flies or beagles to detect defective retort pouches in crates.

“The next generational PTI seal sensor can be mounted on any production line…and will detect the seal quality of pouches as they pass through the seal sensor, which detects channel defects, seal defects and leaks in pouch seals,” he says.

“It has improved greatly: the footprint has reduced, it is a much smaller, sleeker design. But more importantly it has a much faster pulse rate: we’re detecting seal quality at 500 pulses per second…detecting seal leaks and channel defects down to around 150 microns.”

(Above: an unemployed beagle, picture Copyright: Carrera911/Flickr)

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