With the help of a large number of analytical instruments we can do almost every test related to flexible packaging. This is useful for improving the packaging materials as well as for testing incoming raw materials. Thanks to infrared spectrometry, DSC analyses, microtome slices, gas chromatography, mass spectrometry and so on, no detail is lost to us.
The navigation will lead you to a short description of the most important analytical possibilities.
Principles of Calorimetry (DSC)
DSCs or Differential Scanning Calorimeters are used to analyse a polymer, such as polyethylene (PE). For example, with our DSC we can determine the proportion of LDPE or LLDPE in a PE layer.
To do this, the device heats a specimen and records the temperatures at which it absorbs and releases the heat. This is the fingerprint of the polymer. For a more detailed description of the function of a DSC, please consult Wikipedia.
How we put our DSC to use on your behalf
Our DSC is an invaluable device. Originally purchased to develop PE formulas, it is now also used for daily quality assurance. We use our DSC for:
- Developing New PEs: We have acquired considerable experience in developing PE formulas in the course of our work with technical laminates. With the DSC, we can analyse formulas or sealant effectiveness accurately.
- PE Improvement: If you are unhappy with your current flexible packaging supplier and the sealant or hot-tack function of a PE, we can determine its composition and improve the formula.
- Testing Raw Materials: We check each incoming supply of sensitive sealants (such as special peel film) to establish whether it is fully compliant with specifications. This ensures consistent sealing properties.
Principles of gas chromatography (GC)
For packaging materials, gas chromatography (GC) is used to analyse solvent residues in printing or adhesive layers. If solvent residue levels are too high, this poses a risk, as it could lead to undesirable odours or poor laminate adhesion. That is why we measure each production stage multiple times.
GC can break down a solvent compound into its individual components, so you can see the constituent parts of solvent residues. For a more detailed description of gas chromatography, see Wikipedia.
How we use GC for you
It’s all about quality assurance. We check each production stage carefully to ensure that.
- Solvent residue levels are so low they cannot affect your product (there are always some solvent residues).
- There are no undesirable components, such as toluide.
Every responsible printing company uses GC for quality assurance these days. The only differences lie in how reliably it is used and how frequently measurements are taken. Our system is therefore equipped with a so-called auto-sampler, which enables us to carry out a large number of measurements.
What solvent residue level is allowed?
There is no definitive answer to that question. However, the following basic rules have been developed after years of experience in cooperation with major brand-name companies:
- Solvent residue level <= 20 mg/m2 can always be achieved and is sufficiently low for food in almost every case.
- Values <= 5 mg/m2 are sometimes required and are achievable, but drive costs up. Lower values therefore require slow production speeds and ongoing measurement of solvent residues. Technically possible, but expensive.
- Values significantly above 20 mg/m2 are difficult.