PBI-Dansensor has launched a new cost-effective and versatile system for measuring the oxygen permeability of finished packages, for use within the field of food and food packaging.

The system, called PermMate, will enable packaging engineers to rapidly obtain the information they need to create the most appropriate package, to achieve the necessary shelf life for a given product.

Conventionally, packaging engineers rely on permeability data provided by suppliers of the packaging materials. However, during the process of forming the package the packaging foil is heated and stretched, which will affect its permeability properties. PermMate now brings packaging permeability testing within the reach of engineers.

PBI-Dansensor’s Sales and Marketing Manager Karsten Kejlhof explained, “We use a more simple principle than the other types of equipment, we are flexible and versatile and can test a lot of packages in a short space of time.”

The system works by first flushing the headspace of the sealed package with nitrogen, using a fine needle inserted through a septum. The oxygen concentration is measured and the package is then placed in a controlled environment at ambient oxygen conditions and known temperature and humidity. After a given period of time the gas within the package is tested again for its oxygen content.

The difference between the ‘before’ and ‘after’ readings enables an in-situ permeability rate to be calculated for the finished package. This novel approach allows multiple packages to be tested simultaneously, whereas conventional package testing can only cope with one or a few packages at a time.

“Oxygen permeability is the key to a product’s shelf life and PermMate can help to ensure that packaging is designed appropriately for a given product,” said Kejlhof.