Food packaging film - the essentials of testing
Developing food packaging is a challenge for all parties in the value-chain, from producers of base raw material to the food industry. The process is time-consuming and expensive, with no margin for errors. The driving force for development of packaging solutions is the food industry together with the consumers, demanding higher levels of security, convenience and appearance at a cost-efficient price. This is an excellent opportunity for solution-providing suppliers.
Innovative film suppliers understand customer needs and know that time is crucial. Fast and reliable development is essential. Precise testing of films for food packaging solutions secures that the needs of the whole value-chain; converters, food industry and consumers, are met throughout the life cycle of the package, saving time and money.
But what is precise testing? How it is linked with processes of the customer? And how do you combine high testing quality with economic efficiency?
The testing processes are driven by customer needs
Food packaging innovations require complex product development and testing processes with many parties involved. The starting point is most often a specific improvement need from the food industry or from a packaging converter. Today, secure and easy-to-open peeling is a hot topic for converters of multilayer films. The improvement need arises from end customers and consumers, but the actual product development and testing work starts at the film manufacturer. In some cases a converter is also involved in the pre-testing before final tests can be made on a food packaging line.
Is there a shortcut in making food packaging tests?
Food industry related packaging development and testing are regulated and time-consuming. The use of standardised tests is expected due to high hygiene demands and product safety requirements. There is no shortcut in making these tests. However, by selecting a film manufacturer equipped with a pilot line, lead times can be shortened and the initial testing phase is faster.
In most cases, new food packaging films with enhanced properties are first produced on a pilot line. The film properties are tested in a laboratory in order to find and qualify different properties required by the customer. After passing the laboratory testing, new tests continue in real environment: either on a testing machine for packaging or on the food producer's production line.
It is said that a multilayer film innovation process can take years from idea to final product. We at KWH Plast disagree, as we are currently making final tests for a new oxygen barrier film with state-of-the-art peel properties. Keep posted!