Packaging Testing: Ensuring Safety and Quality


Packaging plays a crucial role in protecting products during transportation and storage. It shields items from external factors like temperature changes, vibrations, and impacts. For packaging to effectively perform this function, companies must rigorously test packaging materials and designs.

Physical Tests

Physical tests subject packages to forces resembling those experienced in distribution and retail environments. These include drop, vibration, and compression tests.

Drop tests mimic packages being dropped or falling off conveyor belts. Packages of varying weights are dropped from predetermined heights onto different surfaces like concrete. This evaluates things like cushioning adequacy and integrity of seals.
Vibration tests simulate transportation vibrations experienced in trucks, trains, and ships. Packaging Testing are secured to a vibration table and shaken at various frequencies for extended durations. This testing ensures bottles, jars, or containers inside do not break loose from the packaging.

Compression or stacking tests assess a package’s ability to withstand downward forces from other packages stacked on top. Weights are placed on packages stored in layers to check for punctures, dents, or bulging. This is crucial for heavy or oddly shaped items.

Climatic Testing

Changes in temperature, humidity, and atmospheric pressure during distribution can also impact package performance. Climatic tests expose packages to typical environmental fluctuations.
Temperature testing ensures packages can withstand thermal shocks between freezing and high temperatures. Packages cycle in temperature chambers between prescribed lows and highs over time. This checks for materials degradation, seal integrity issues, or condensation problems.
Humidity testing subjects packages to different relative humidity levels for defined periods. It checks materials for embrittlement, adhesive weakening, or label/ink bleeding issues at low and high humidity conditions.
Pressure testing mimics changes experienced during air transport by subjecting packages in pressure chambers to high altitudes. This identifies potential leaks or structural weaknesses like delamination in multi-layer laminates.

Durability and Aging Tests

These evaluate the longer-term effects of stresses on package materials, coatings, inks, and adhesives over extended storage periods.

Flexibility testing bends or creases packages repeatedly at stress points to check durability. This simulates stresses during distribution like stacking, unstacking, and transportation vibrations.

Accelerated aging exposes materials to extreme conditions like heat, UV light, or humidified atmospheres for short durations which equate to years of typical product shelf life. This identifies material degradation issues.

Chemical resistance testing exposes package materials to common industrial, agricultural, or household chemicals to identify compatibility. For example, exposure to solvents tests resistance of inks and adhesives.

Safety and Regulatory Testing

Compliance with safety and regulatory standards is imperative. Key tests packages undergo include:

Heavy metal testing analyses materials, inks, coatings for unacceptable levels of heavy metals like lead which can contaminate products.
Absorbency testing checks package materials do not absorb dyes, flavors, fragrances, or preservatives from contained products.

Microbial testing cultures package materials and interior spaces to check absence of fungal or bacterial growth which could contaminate products or pose health risks.
Oxygen and moisture barrier testing quantifies abilities of layers, seals to prevent intrusion of gases or moisture migration which could impact perishable products’ shelf lives.
Child-resistant testing assesses whether specialized packaging for hazardous materials like pesticides or chemicals is truly difficult for young children to open.

A variety of testing protocols rigorously evaluate packaging performance under different conditions simulating expected distribution abuses and shelf life. Only packages passing such comprehensive testing provide assurance products will reach end-users intact and shelf stable without compromising quality, safety or legality standards. Regular testing also verifies packaging solutions continue maintaining performance over design lifetimes.

1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research.
2. We have leveraged AI tools to mine information and compile it.