A product’s packaging not only helps it stand out on the shelf – it also protects the contents from exposure to light, moisture, handling, oxygen and other atmospheric gases.
A high level of barrier protection is especially vital when it comes to maintaining the freshness, flavour and aroma of perishable foods and beverages, and for keeping medical, pharmaceutical and personal items safe and sterile.
Naturally, regular barrier testing occurs to ensure a packaging material’s barrier protection levels are up to scratch. Traditionally, this is done when a packaging material is freshly created, before it is turned into a pack.
Unfortunately, testing at this point does not take into account the numerous stresses a package is subjected to during manufacturing, processing and distribution – all of which may affect its barrier properties.
Now, a new and unique method of stress-testing packaging material is changing everything.
The Gelbo Flex Tester
The Gelbo Flex Tester takes a new and more thorough approach to the testing of packaging laminates. It does this by simulating stresses the material will undergo during the printing, cutting, packing, freight and handling processes.
After specialised Gelbo Flex equipment has repeatedly twisted and flexed the film, the packaging is examined for micro cracks that may allow an increase in water vapour and oxygen transmission rates.
Testing this way builds a more accurate understanding of how the packaging’s barrier properties will perform after manufacturing and distribution.
What we’ve learned
Because aluminium-based packaging has traditionally offered the highest barrier protection against light, moisture, handling, oxygen and other atmospheric gases, it has long been the go-to material for the packaging of sensitive products.
However, the trade-off with metallised films is a lack of transparency.
The use of transparent windows can be a great packaging option from a marketing perspective, as it allows consumers to see the product before purchasing. Colours also print brighter on metal-free materials, as there is no grey background, helping products stand out on crowded supermarket shelves
Manufacturers of sensitive products had to make a choice when it came to product packaging. They could choose high barrier protection or transparency – or have both, but typically at a much higher price.
Thanks to the Gelbo Flex Tester, we now know that there is another option.
An exciting new development
An innovative new range of packaging material, called AmLite, offers manufacturers a viable alternative to aluminium.
Instead of aluminium or metallised films, AmLite uses a micro-thin barrier layer that is deposited on a PET or PP base web. The result is a transparent packaging material with high barrier properties and a high-performance sealant at a much more reasonable cost.
According to tests performed by the Consulting & Testing Service Group of MOCON Inc, AmLite Ultra is the first and only packaging material to provide a superior oxygen barrier to aluminium after stressing on a Gelbo Flex Tester.
Amazingly, AmLite Ultra with Ultra SiOx barrier coating showed up to 10 times greater oxygen protection than aluminium after 50 flex cycles.
While aluminium is still an excellent choice for product packaging, AmLite’s new line of metal-free packaging materials are an exciting new development.
And we have the tests to prove it.
Learn more about the AmLite range of metal-free packaging.
Emma food trends and insights
Global Green Packaging Market 2016-2020
Ultra high barrier, transparent packaging
AmLite Value Proposition: Introducing a unique metal-free platform for high barrier packaging, p.6