Blow-fill-seal (BFS) containers can now be found in a variety of markets thanks to multiple benefits of increased safety, lower costs and flexibility of shapes compared to glass vials. Blow-fill-seal technology offers endless possibilities of different product formats and is a reliable and economical solution for unit dose aseptic packaging. Checking leakage on BFS containers is very important to avoid contamination of the product caused by small pinholes. A container with pinholes represents risks for human use because of all the bacteria it can carry.

There are a number of commonly used techniques to detect pinholes or leakage on containers. Such tests vary from vacuum tests, to immersing the containers in a colored water and check for the presence of the colored water inside the container to more sophisticated tests using camera systems. However, some of these tests consume a lot of time, cannot be done inline and can damage good containers and their packaging material.

The high voltage leak detection technology (HVLD)

The high voltage leak detection technology (HVLD) is a non-destructive test widely used due to its numerous advantages. The most relevant gain with this method is that you can do it in line at a very high speed, unlike other leak detection tests that require separate chambers. Many pharmaceutical manufacturers are now shifting to the HVLD technology because it gives highly accurate results, does not require a lot of space in the production line and takes very little time compared to some other offline tests.

The HVLD test uses two electrodes and its principle is based on applying a high voltage to a specific area of the container and then measuring the electric current between the two electrodes. The solution inside the container must have a different conductivity than the plastic which is often the case. If the container contains a small hole, then the current volume would be higher. With this method, it is possible to detect pinholes down to 15μm.

The Multi-Purpose Leakage Detection Machine

Tell me about “The Multi-Purpose Leakage Detection machine” from Graniten.

I can tell you the leakage detection machine story. We got approached by a customer, I would actually say it was kind of repeatedly. They asked us if we could design a modern leak detector dedicated to BFS products for them. We said of course we can, but we don’t know the HVLD technology, that’s something we need to buy it. We ended up buying the HVLD technology from our partner Brevetti C.E.A. That was many years ago and that’s how the Graniten Leakage Detection machine story started.

What is special about the Graniten Leakage Detection machine?

The Leakage Detection machine from Graniten has the modern HVLD technology from Brevetti and is integrated with a linear servo drive system XTS from our partner Beckhoff. The XTS can be used as a buffer in order to regulate the product flow to match the downstream equipment. The XTS was a perfect solution for our customer who had a problem with the uneven product flow to their flow wrapping machine. However, it is useful for both upstream and downstream equipment. We were a very early adopter of the Beckhoff XTS system. We saw the potential in this, as a machine element. I think at one point in time, we were the only machine supplier in Europe that had this technology out at the customer site. The leak detection itself is very accurate and fast. The machine can check up to 200 strips with 5 ampoules each per minute, detecting pinholes down to 15μm. Our leak detectors are very reliable and have proven to be effective for many years now.

If you want to learn more about the Graniten Multi-Purpose Leakage Detection machine, please contact us.