The occurrence of leaks fall into two categories; the first is leaks that randomly occur during a regular product packaging run which is a measure of the overall process capability. These leaks cannot be attributed to any fault condition and occur at random intervals through the production run. Here the leak detection equipment can alert the staff thus actin taken immediately. The other type of leaks caused by a fault condition and are known as cluster of leaks or a stepped increase in the occurrence of leaking packs. Contaminations build upon seal tools, and web tension problems will create groups of holes that can appear and disappear during a production run.

1. Offline Sampling

The manufacturers of packages may decide to use offline sampling method; the overall production capability accessibility is simple. On an average line running at a throughput of 80 packs per minute, a well-managed sampling regime could sample 1 % of the product, which is an eight-hour shift could produce a sample size of 300 packages per shift. The sampling will give a good indication of the process capability and can be a reference point from shift to shift performance. The overall process capability makes monitoring easy, as changes in production setup and parameters checking is on a shift basis. Visit FlexPak for additional resources.

2. Random Sampling

The effectiveness of the offline leak detection is very much reliant on an operator continually sampling packs during a production run and maintaining this discipline during the full production run. The random sampling machine removes this requirement by continuously sampling product automatically and removing the subjective nature of a person loading the machine. A person will not test a pack that is leaking, as they know it will fail, thereby distorting the actual profile of a production run, while a machine will collect the sample and reports the results objectively.

3. Inline Leak Detection

Inline or 100% leak detection has a range of advantages as it tests each pack leaving the sealing machine. Not only is every leaking load removed from the production line, but also the information collated is a 100% picture of the process and every change in the process. As a machine is testing every pack, the device can instantly recognize any changes in the process leak rate. Since an inline equipment checks every package coming from the sealing apparatus, the amount of information collated is huge, it stores all leaking information for analysis.

There is a conflicting set of pressures on packaging companies to improve the shelf life and quality of their products and at the same time reduce the amount of packaging used for leak detection. This leak detection is driving the need for greater process control and overall understanding and monitoring of sealing operations. It then makes sense that only by having an accurate and robust leak testing machine or regime, can a company hope to drive process monitoring and control thus meeting the needs of the current market.

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