With LeakCheck, GEA is launching a new in-line measurement system capable of contactlessly checking seal and package integrity on all forms of modified atmosphere packs (MAP).

Based on GEA’s OxyCheck quality control system, LeakCheck uses an in-line process on the GEA thermoformer to test the seal and package integrity of each individual package.

The test procedure comprises three steps. First, the residual oxygen content in each package is measured with a fluorescent sensor spot printed on the inside of the top film. Optical sensors mounted on the thermoformer project light onto the sensor spot, gauging the wavelength of the light emitted by the dye to accurately determine the oxygen content.

Next, packages are subjected to overpressure and underpressure in a stress unit before a second contactless measurement is taken. If the new result differs from the first, the package seal is broken. Using the GEA CombiPick, for instance, the leaky package is automatically detected and removed on exiting the packaging machine.

GEA argues that thanks to LeakCheck, the two key factors for ensuring food safety – residual oxygen content and seal integrity – can now be continuously recorded and monitored on an end-to-end basis. In addition, the company says that process errors are rapidly detected, and the delivery of faulty packaging is virtually zero.

In summary, Volker Sassmannshausen, senior product manager of thermoforming packaging systems at GEA, again aims to make it emphatically clear that: “With the GEA LeakCheck, all units leaving the packaging machine are tested non-invasively. Since the measuring techniques are non-invasive, neither the packaging material nor the contents are wasted. Besides efficiency and sustainability, the upshot is that practically no defective packaging reaches the market.”

Both systems are offered as optional extras with GEA’s PowerPak or PowerPak PLUS thermoformers.