Heat, cold, humidity, moisture, UV radiation, shocks, falls, and vibrations: The range of potential stress factors that can affect your packaged goods during storage, handling and transportation is almost unlimited. Proper packaging should protect the respective packaged goods against all foreseeable occurring stress factors on the way from producers to consumers – including during and beyond storage.
Testing by strain
Packaging tests can help precisely determine whether the packaging performs its respective tasks properly. An extensive set of test specifications standards apply for the corresponding packaging tests. The specified load values can be realistically simulated “like in a time-lapse film”. Appropriate tests with positive test results – implemented by certified or accredited testing institutes – are often an important prerequisite for insurance coverage too. Testing is performed in compliance with international standards such as ASTM, ISTA, DIN and ISO. Special priority is given to mechanical strain as well as climatic and chemical exposure:
Mechanical loads and strains are simulated by fall, vibration and impact tests. This process monitors the impact on the packaged goods and the dampening effect of the packaging. The process can also help identify possible “excessive packaging” – and reduce the packaging costs accordingly.
Temperatures up to 70°C and a relative humidity of almost 100% can be reached during overseas shipments. This can damage hygroscopic (i.e., binding water vapor) packaging materials as well as the respective packaged goods. If such vulnerabilities are suspected, it is advisable to make sure prior to serial production by means of suitable safety simulations – and possibly make any necessary changes.
Unfavorable environmental conditions can result in components of packaging materials causing unintended changes to the packaged products – e.g. discoloration or corrosion. Production residues on the packaged goods also often play a role in this! Chemical analyses almost always help identify the respective causes of damage. It is therefore advisable, given the slightest suspicion of particular sensitivities, to use appropriate simulations to establish certainty and make any necessary changes before the start of series production.
The various analytical tasks can be performed with modern laboratory equipment: Photometer, high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) and thermo-microbalance as well as Karl Fischer titrator for determining water content in polymers.
Damages and Quality Defects – identifying causes, prevention
Every material has a more or less stable material composition. Materials used in packaging have corresponding mechanical properties that determine their functional capacity. The respective mechanical properties can be precisely measured.
Both the mutual incompatibility of various materials as well as process or handling-related contamination can result in impaired functional capacities and in turn trigger undesirable side effects, malfunctions and damage!
Our decades of experience in professional industrial packaging – including in specialized areas such as corrosion protection with VCI packaging – have given us outstanding expertise in both damage prevention and the determination of causes. The following questions, among others, can be precisely clarified in the laboratory:
- Does a given material contain undesirable substances that preclude the intended use? What substances that were not declared by the manufacturer does a sample contain?
- Does such a sample possibly even contain harmful substances?
- Do various samples of a product always contain the same quantities of the same substances?
- What are the causes behind unexpectedly occurring discoloration or other surface changes?
- Integrated into a specific packaging material for corrosion protection: Which anti-corrosion agents, for example, does a particular oil or a specific plastic film contain?
- And how many of the agents are released (as planned) as a gas into the air space of the respective surroundings?
- Is a specific process or cleaning solution appropriate in the first place? And for how long should it be used?
- What are the causes when transport or storage results in corrosion damage?
- Is this caused by critical levels of contamination on the surface of the damaged goods?