PBI-Dansensor in Denmark said its PermMate tests the oxygen transmission rate (OTR) of packaging at different temperature and humidity conditions. The machine can be used to test the permeability of flexible and rigid packages, and bottles. It can measure a whole sealed package for OTR and for volume, thus reducing the wastage due to destructive testing. The permeability and the barrier qualities of a foil often change when it is shaped into a finished package. As a result the product shelf life is often altered, and therefore the predicted shelf life will not be kept, the company stated. A reduction in shelf life can lead to moulds being formed before the "expiry date", resulting in dissatisfied customers and a risk of damage to the food producer's reputation. PBI-Dansensor said the PermMate can be used together with its spot test gas analyser CheckMate II. CheckMate II measures oxygen levels in modified atmosphere packaging. PermMate can also test numerous packages at one time, higher than the 1 to 8 package rate of competing products, the company claimed. Both the PermMate and CheckMate II are controlled via a computer software programme, which makes it easy to perform various tests. A key feature of PermMate is its ability to determine the volume of the packages to be tested, which is a way of directly determining the OTR of the package. Knowing the volume of the finished packages can be a valuable tool in monitoring the total gas consumption during production and can provide documentation of volume for transportation requirements, the company claimed. PermMate is also supplied with computer interface and software, which makes it possible to make full data logging and statistics as well as to generate measuring reports. The software program is divided into a product, test, measuring, report, statistics, and system menu. PermMate is capable of keeping track of numerous packages by means of an optional bar code scanner and a bar code printer, which are handled from the product software. "This means that the product is developed to comply with various standards of quality for handling and collecting of data," PBI-Dansensor stated.
A new machine can help processors test the barrier properties of packaging to ensure food products maintain their stated shelf life.