Businesses that package products that are then prone to either liquid or gas leaks use leak detection equipment as an aspect of their quality control. There’s a range of commercial leak detection methods available, and fitness to a particular packaged product depends on a number of factors. Choosing the appropriate technique requires answering the following five questions:

What Type or Types of Packages Will You Test?

The most obvious of the five question deals with the specific requirements of your particular packaging. Each kind of packaging, such as vacuum packaging, has a testing method that’s best suited to it. While often an easy question to answer, it can lead to some concerns that are more difficult to work out, such as when you employ hybrid packaging or require one solution for multiple package types.

Is a Destructive Leak Test Suitable?

Leak detection equipment and the methods they employ can be either destructive, which means that the test subject is destroyed in the process, or non-destructive, which means that the product can then be put through another quality control test or even sent to a seller or consumer. Whether you choose destructive or non-destructive will usually depend on the size of the sample that you require.

Do You Require Inline or Sample-Based Testing?

Sample-based testing is when you pull one or more packaged products from a batch and test them. This approach is usually best when your required sample size is relatively small. Inline testing is when the leak detection equipment is built into the manufacturing process and usually automated. This approach is ideal when you need to test all products package or at least a very high percentage of them.

How Much Gas Does Each Package Contain?

If your packages don’t contain gas, then you can skip this question. If they do contain gas, then you must determine the pressure per package. Most leak detection equipment for gas will require a certain level of pressure, and you’ll have to make a choice based on that amount as well as the package type.

What Leak Size Must Be Identified and What Is the Detection Limit?

This is actually two questions in one, but these questions are tightly coupled, and through the process of answering one, you’ll likely answer the other. These questions center on your confidence limit and determining if all leaks must be identified or if there’s a particular risk threshold. Bubble testing, for instance, is relatively inexpensive but not suitable to detecting microleaks. Using test gases, on the other hand, is more expensive but quite effective at isolating those microleaks. You might be interested in visiting FlexPak for more information.

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