A unique challenge
The packaging of food presents a unique challenge in the sector due to the conflicting objective requirements of functionality and legislation and the subjective, emotional and sensory judgement of aesthetics, ease of use and ultimately the product contained.
The increasing consumer demands for innovative packaging designs that are more eco-friendly and evolving trends in food ingredients, formulation and nutrition are variables which make consistency in quality and continued customer loyalty harder to guarantee.
Being able to quantify those attributes that influence the end user empowers the manufacturer, supplier or producer to measure their own product's performance with confidence. New or revised designs can be checked against existing product benchmarks which uniquely relevant to the company's business:
• Optimise design
• Guarantee production quality
• Minimise costs and reduce waste
• Conform to standards
A structured testing strategy can put a figure on How strong? How secure? How efficient? How easy or How fresh?
Answering the important questions
Mecmesin has been designing and manufacturing force and torque testing systems since 1977 and offers a wide range of universal, dedicated and custom testers to meet the needs of all food packaging-related industries:
• The precise force to tear a packet, peel a seam, pierce a foil, remove a cork or actuate a pump on your packaging product.
• The torque characteristics of your tamper-evident twist cap.
• The robustness and integrity of your packaging under storage and transportation conditions.
• The required physical properties of your raw materials.
• Guarantee your products meet all relevant national and international standards, as well as in-house specifications.
Can the consumer operate the flip-cap of your packaging closure easily but will it remain securely closed when not needed?
Tensile testing is invaluable in determining a broad variety of packaging material properties and evaluating the dissociation strength of jointed components, by pulling apart. Typical tests include tensile strength, elasticity and elongation, plus peel, tear and joint strength; particularly relevant to openability. A Mecmesin Universal Testing Machine (UTM), fitted with appropriate grips can perform these tensile tests. For material properties calculations, appropriate software and instrumentation is needed, all included in the OmniTestTM range with VectorProTM Materials Testing software.
Could you reduce the wall thickness of your PET bottle, and lightweight it without compromising its crush resistance?
Compression testing can be performed by the same type of machine; squashing the test sample to measure its crush or burst resistance or pure compressive strength. In the food packaging sector, the top-load testing of boxes, cartons and bottles is vital to verify recommendations for stacking load. Mecmesin's MultiTest range of systems provides the ideal solution.
Are you able to check the application torque of your bottle capping line to eliminate leakage, but still allow the end user to remove the cap easily?
Torque testing measures the turning effort required to twist screw caps and other treaded components, most commonly packaging closures. Again, a software controlled tester is the optimal choice as it is able to differentiate between the discrete events than can occur in complex rotating closure containment systems which in the food and beverage industries may include a tamper-evidence element. The Mecmesin Vortex range is motorised to ensure the best possible accuracy and repeatability. We also offer manually operated testers for quick checking closure application and removal torques.
The above cases are examples of fundamental tests which should be applied to food packaging. Mecmesin's solutions also include dedicated testers, designed for specialised procedures, and our engineers are able to build custom test solutions for individual needs:
• Could you reduce the surface roughness of your packaging material to decrease processing cycle time?
• Can you compare the shelf-life implications of alternative packaging methods on food texture?
Yes … just ask.