Sealing technology plays a crucial role in many industrial and consumer products. Seals serve the purpose of preventing leaks and ensuring the safety and efficiency of products, whether it be in the healthcare industry, food industry, or other industries. However, with so much responsibility resting on these small components, it is important to ensure their reliability.
Why Is Seal Integrity Testing So Important?
This is where seal integrity testing comes in. The testing allows for the detection of defects or damage that may have occurred during manufacturing or in-service use, before they cause a problem. In the medical industry, for example, seal integrity testing is used to prevent leaks in sterile medical devices and ensure the safety and efficacy of these products – thus playing a vital role in maintaining the health and well-being of patients.
Early testing and detection leads to prompt repairs or replacement, preventing leaks and ensuring the safe operation of the product. Whether it’s a medical device, food packaging, or another type of product, regular seal integrity testing is essential for maintaining product quality and consumer safety.
But it’s not just about detecting defects. Seal integrity testing also helps us verify the performance of seals under actual operating conditions. This includes testing the seal’s ability to withstand pressure, temperature, and other environmental factors, as well as its ability to maintain a proper seal over time. It’s like putting a seal through a fitness test to make sure it’s ready for the job. At FlexPak we understand the necessity of your packages arriving at their destination fully intact. It’s better for you, better for the consumer, and better for your brand!
Seal Integrity vs. Seal Strength: An Important Distinction
So what exactly is the difference between between seal integrity and seal strength? Seal strength refers to the ability of the seal to withstand a specific pressure or load, whereas seal integrity refers to the ability of the seal to maintain a proper seal and prevent leakage. A seal can have high strength but poor integrity, or vice versa. Think of it like a weightlifter versus a marathon runner, both have different strengths but both are important.
What Are the Different Methods Used to Test Seal Integrity?
There are several methods for seal integrity testing, including visual inspection, pressure testing, and leak testing. The specific method used will depend on the type of seal and the application in which it is used.
At FlexPak, we have our own patented leak detector to provide several seal integrity testing solutions for whatever you or your business may need. FlexPak’s diverse seal integrity tests can ensure your packages meet the required ASTM testing standards in your industry, with the ability to test a variety of product and packaging types. Our seal integrity tests include the following:
- Bubble Leak Testing: Bubble Leak Testing is completed in an acrylic vacuum chamber. The sealed product is submerged in water and, when put under pressure, bubbles will form at any compromised points in the packaging. It’s is an easy visual test that will ensure your packaging’s integrity while adhering to the ASTM D3078 testing standard.
- Detecting Gross Leaks In Packaging By Internal Pressurization: The ASTM F2096 Testing Standard provides highly accurate testing for pharmaceutical and medical packaging, allowing users to detect leaks, substrate holes, and channels accurately and reliably. The sensitive nature of this test enables us to look at a variety of package shapes and sizes, and is even more accurate than the bubble leak test.
- Altitude Simulation Testing: Otherwise known as the ASTM D6653 testing standard. This is a package integrity testing method that simulates the extreme pressure changes a package may undergo during transport. An altitude test is able to simulate ascent and descent rates, as well as a set altitude for an extended period of time. This ensures that the packaging can withstand its transport and ultimately reach consumers intact.
- Dry Chamber Tests: A Dry Chamber Test is performed without liquid in a leak detector tank. This procedure is best suited for packages containing liquids, such as condiment sachets or bottles with lug-style and threaded caps. The package is placed within the chamber on an absorbent material and, when put under pressure, any leaks will result in the presence of liquid within the dry tank. The ASTM D5094 testing standard is performed in a dry tank environment.
Seal integrity testing is a critical step in ensuring the safety and reliability of various industrial and consumer products, and part of who we are here at FlexPak. Not only does it help detect defects and damage, it verifies the performance of seals under actual operating conditions. This helps to prevent leaks, ensures the safe and efficient operation of the system, and maximizes the life of the seals. This enables you to feel confident that your package will reach its destination safe and sound, every time. So, next time you see a seal, remember the important role it plays in all industries, and the testing that goes into making sure it’s ready for the job.