An innovative method for measuring the oxygen permeability of packaging film could result in significant cost savings for the food packaging industry in future.

The new method, which also ensures less waste for the consumer, has already been incorporated into PBI-Dansensor’s PermMate packaging machine which has demonstrated its cost and waste efficiency savings.

The new measuring technique, called the Ambient Oxygen Ingress Rate (AOIR) method, can measure the permeability of oxygen through films in finished packaging.

The rate at which oxygen passes through a packaging film is a key factor for food products packaged under a modified atmosphere, designed to exclude oxygen and inhibit the growth of microorganisms - thereby prolonging the shelf life of the product.

All encompassing
Most existing techniques measure oxygen permeability of the film before it has been incorporated into the package – where the process of heating, stretching and forming can affect the film’s properties.

Because the technique can be used on the finished article, it can carry out permeability testing under the conditions in which the product is stored – at any temperature, rather than a single standard temperature.

The AOIR method has been incorporated into the PermMate machine produced by Denmark-based PBI-Dansensor, a specialist in quality control and assurance equipment for the food industry.

PermMate has already shown how it can save costs and reduce waste for a manufacturer of bread products, according to PBI-Dansensor’s Sales & Marketing Director Karsten Kejlhof.

“The company had a problem with ingress of oxygen into the packaging and had decided to go for a thicker packaging film, from 180 micrometres to 240 micrometres, assuming that this would solve the problem,” Kejlhof said.

“They tested both sets of packaging with PermMate and found that the difference in oxygen ingress between the two films was so little that it would not have been worth making the switch. They would have wasted money on extra packaging material, and there would have been more waste once the packaging was discarded by the consumer.$quot;

$quot;Without PermMate they would have simply relied on their intuition, which in this case was shown not to address the problem.”