VIS-trajectory – Optimalisation and improvement of sealing materials and systems

This subproject within the IWT-VIS trajectory "Sustainable and functional packaging" aims to offer concrete solutions for various aspects of the sealing problematic in packaging.

Sealing of a package is one of the main issues in the packaging of foods with negative effects such as delays of the packaging process, shorter shelf life and creation of more packaging waste. In order to gain a more detailed understanding of the problems related to sealing which companies face, an extensive survey was sent to the members and contacts of Pack4Food, BVI and Packaging Center. From the companies that have completed the survey, 12 were food producers, 5 packaging manufacturers and 4 suppliers of packaging systems or gases. This shows that this issue concerns various stakeholders. Also, two companies from the pharmaceutical and cosmetics sectors showed their interest in this topic.

Within the sealing processes the main problems are:

  • leaks (25%)
  • quality of the seal (21%)
  • contamination of the seal (14%).

Many companies have also indicated that there is a need for an on-line detection system, specificaly for the identification of micro-leaks.

The purpose of this project is to identify all the factors that play an important role in the quality of the seal:

  • thickness of the seal
  • settings of the sealing machine
  • type of food
  • compatibility between the films (eg. thermoforming trays and the top foil).

In addition, various off-line and on-line techniques used to check the seal quality of the packaging will be evaluated. This should lead to reduced number of defects due to leakage in the packaging itself which can also be a good indicator of the economic benefits that may result from this subproject. A better seal quality and less micro leaks can also have a significant impact on the shelf life of the packed foods. This should enable companies to maintain their markets at distant export zones and even expand further.

Research into the applicability of bio-seals can further lead to an increase of the quota of the innovative bioplastic films. Finally in this projects attempts to give additional functionality to the seal by integrating selective permeability towards certain gases.

Involved research centers: UGent, KULeuven, BVI en Packaging Center.

Start: 1st of September 2011

Duration: 3 years

Pack4Food contact persoon: of 09 264 99 30

Events organized during this project:

Reports: only available for the project members

This research is part of the IWT-VIS trajectory "Sustainable and functional packaging materials", which in addition to this project on seals deal with another two projects (project on heat resistance of renewable / biobased packaging and project on the drafting of GMP procedures for production of food packaging).

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