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Flexible packaging has revolutionized the way products are packaged and presented to consumers. Its lightweight, customizable, and cost-effective nature has made it a popular choice for a wide range of industries. However, as the demand rises, assuring its quality is crucial. In this article, we explore flexible packaging testing methods and their vital role in upholding product integrity.

In recent years, the United States has witnessed a substantial shift towards flexible packaging across various industries. According to the Flexible Packaging Association, the flexible packaging market in the USA accounted for approximately 19% of the total packaging industry in the last years. This growth is attributed to its numerous advantages, including reduced material usage, enhanced product visibility, and improved sustainability.

What exactly flexible packaging is?

Flexible packaging refers to packaging that can be easily shaped and molded to fit its contents. This versatile option is gaining traction across diverse sectors such as medical packaging and food packaging due to its adaptability.

Common materials used in flexible packaging include paper, aluminum foil, film, and combinations of these materials. Within the flexible packaging market, you’ll find a variety of popular formats including bags of various sizes, shrink wrap, and specialized coatings designed for liquid storage.

The production process for this type of packaging can involve a single material or a blend of properties from different flexible packaging materials, each serving a distinct purpose. Some examples of flexible packaging incorporate multiple layers, such as the coating, external layer, structural layer, barrier layer, and sealing layer, each contributing to specific functions.

Unlocking the benefits of flexible packaging

Safeguarding products with optimal protection:

Flexible packaging stands as a stalwart defender of the products it houses. It acts as a shield against physical threats that arise during transportation and storage, ensuring that goods remain intact throughout their journey. Beyond this, it offers a formidable defense against environmental factors such as temperature fluctuations, light exposure, humidity, and gas penetration. This protective layer ultimately extends the shelf life of products, maintaining their freshness and integrity for longer periods.

Empowering branding and convenience:

The allure of flexible packaging goes beyond its practicality; it’s a powerful marketing tool. Whether it’s plastic, foil, or other materials, flexible packaging enables vibrant and eye-catching images to be printed, bolstering company branding and capturing the attention of consumers. Furthermore, its convenience factor is a win for end users. With easy storage, resealing options for opened packages, and microwave suitability, flexible packaging seamlessly integrates into consumers’ daily lives.

Economical Efficiency and Sustainability:

A standout benefit of flexible packaging lies in its efficient use of resources. Through clever engineering, it can be thinner and lighter, resulting in up to a 50% reduction in material usage. This translates to cost savings in package production. Furthermore, the reduction in weight and volume translates directly into reduced transportation costs, contributing to a more sustainable supply chain.

plastic-and-food

Adaptability and Versatility:

The dynamic landscape of the flexible packaging industry is marked by constant innovation. The packaging adapts to its contents and caters to the demands of commercialization, storage, and transportation. Consider the innovative examples:

  • Films that extend the freshness of food items like vegetables and meat within refrigerated environments.
  • Dried fruit pouches with user-friendly zippers, maintaining freshness after each use.
  • The Doypack, a versatile option capable of containing solids, powders, gels, or liquids, preserving their properties with finesse.
    Creative supermarket display options, such as the stand-up pouch or peg-friendly hanging designs.
  • Beyond physical adaptations, flexible packaging also integrates cutting-edge technology. QR codes provide supplementary product information, while embedded sensors monitor the condition of the packaged goods.

Increased Sustainability

Flexible packaging boasts a reduced environmental impact compared to alternative packaging options, consuming less energy and producing fewer waste materials. Moreover, by elongating the lifespan of food items, it substantially curbs the production of food waste.

Flexible Packaging Testing: Methods and Machinery

Testing flexible packaging is an indispensable practice that determines the right materials and configurations, ensuring optimal product safety while streamlining costs.

At Safe Load Testing Technologies, we’re here to guide you through the comprehensive range of tests and cutting-edge machinery involved in the process, we specialize in providing advanced testing equipment to empower your packaging journey.

Essential Tests and Innovative Machinery:

Before diving into testing methodologies, understanding the physical and chemical properties of the materials used in flexible packaging is fundamental. From tensile strength and surface energy to barrier properties and heat sealing conditions, a range of characteristics must be assessed. Additionally, chemical properties testing evaluates the interaction between packaging materials and their contents under different conditions, ensuring the utmost safety.

1. Dimensional Precision:

In the world of flexible packaging, size matters. The adaptability of this packaging type demands meticulous dimension testing. It’s not just about measuring length, breadth, and depth, but also evaluating grammage – a metric that reveals film density. A higher grammage denotes a denser film, impacting factors such as strength and overall package yield.

2. Mechanical Resilience:

Flexible packaging faces an array of physical challenges. To ensure it stands strong, a battery of tests is employed:

Tensile Strength: The force required to break and the extent of elongation before failure are measured, offering insight into material durability.
Dart Impact: A controlled drop test employing darts of varying weights assesses the packaging’s toughness.
Bond Strength: Lamination is scrutinized, testing how well layers hold together under stress.
Seam Strength: The strength of junctures between different layers is assessed, providing valuable data on overall resilience.
Flex Crack Resistance: This test gauges the packaging’s ability to flex without succumbing to cracks or fractures.
Coefficient of Friction (CoF): CoF unveils how effortlessly surfaces glide over each other, essential for smooth packaging operations.

3. Functional Properties Evaluation:

The performance of flexible packaging extends to its functional attributes, including preservation and protection:

Water Vapor Transmission Rate (WVTR): WVTR assesses water vapor permeation, crucial for maintaining internal humidity levels.
Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR): OTR evaluates the barrier’s effectiveness against oxygen transmission, vital for product freshness.

4. Packaging Strength and Integrity Assessment:

Ensuring packaging endurance and reliability is a cornerstone of the testing process:

Seal Strength: The resilience of seals over time is evaluated, a critical aspect of packaging longevity.
Drop Test: This examination simulates real-world scenarios, ensuring the packaging remains intact after falls.
Vibration Test: The packaging’s capacity to withstand vibrations is scrutinized, relevant for various distribution environments.
Compatibility Test: Assessing the harmony between packaging materials and enclosed products safeguards against adverse interactions.
Global Migration: Assessing chemical migration risks safeguards consumer safety.
Scuff Proofness: Packaging durability against scratches is examined, preserving aesthetics and integrity.
Leakage Test: This examination identifies any leakage points, ensuring package contents remain secure.
Environmental Stress Crack Resistance (ESCR): Resistance to environmental stress cracking is measured, critical for packaging durability.

5. Visibility and Appearance Analysis:

The visual allure of packaging is not to be overlooked:

Color Fastness: Packaging color stability under duress is evaluated, maintaining aesthetic appeal.
Haze and Gloss: Clarity and glossiness are gauged, critical for branding and consumer appeal.

Safe Load Testing Technologie’s solution for flexible packaging testing

Flexible packaging’s journey from concept to consumer is guided by comprehensive testing methodologies. At Safe Load Testing Technologies, we’re dedicated to providing the machinery that empowers you to ensure the quality, resilience, and reliability of your flexible packaging.

Drop Test: Simulating real-world scenarios, this examination guarantees packaging integrity even after falls, safeguarding your products from potential damage.

innDrop
Discover our drop testers

Vibration Test: Scrutinizing the packaging’s capacity to endure vibrations is paramount, especially in diverse distribution settings. Our machinery ensures your packaging can withstand the challenges of transit.

innWave
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Pioneering packaging testing: exciting developments in flexible packaging

Amazon, a pioneer in online retail, continues to push the boundaries of innovation to provide the best customer experience possible. In this regard, Amazon has recently introduced the “NEW Flexible Packaging Self-Certification” as part of its Amazon Frustration-Free Packaging program. This certification aims to enhance the quality of flexible packaging and further improve the delivery process. At Safe Load Testing Technologies, we’re excited to delve into the details of this groundbreaking development and highlight its significance for businesses and consumers alike.

The “NEW Flexible Packaging Self-Certification” by Amazon introduces a remarkable shift in the certification process for packaging. Items packaged using flexible materials, such as bags, carton envelopes, and padded mailers, are now eligible for certification under this new framework. This signifies Amazon’s commitment to addressing packaging challenges unique to flexible materials and ensuring they meet the highest standards of quality, durability, and performance.

Amazon Drop Test Evaluation for Flexible Packages:

A crucial component of the self-testing process is the Amazon Drop Test Evaluation for Flexible Packages. This evaluation simulates real-world scenarios in which packaged items may experience impacts or drops during transit. Flexible packaging must demonstrate its ability to protect the contents from damage under these circumstances.

By conducting drop tests, manufacturers and sellers can gain insights into the strengths and weaknesses of their packaging designs. This information empowers them to make informed decisions regarding materials, cushioning, and overall packaging structure, resulting in enhanced protection for the products and an improved customer experience.

The Safe Load innDrop Drop Tester was expertly crafted to meet the rigorous standards set forth by ISTA, ASTM, ISO, and MIL. These esteemed industry standards encompass the testing of palletized goods’ packaging.

Our expertise also extends to 6-Amazon.com procedures. We are adept at adhering to these multifaceted protocols, ensuring comprehensive and accurate testing across a spectrum of scenarios.

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