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Leybold's Leak Testing Station Passes.

Leybold Inficon recently released a leak testing station for flexible food packages, the Contura Z. The company says the station's long-term characteristics are so predictable that some coffee manufacturers using this method have started to reduce the quantities stocked in their intermediate stocks.

Operation of the Contura Z is based on the detection and quantification of the tracer gas, helium, in a mass spectrometer. Small amounts of helium (which need to be contained in the package) will flow through any existing leaks and into the test chamber, where they are detected inside the mass spectrometer. While it is not common practice to add a tracer gas such as helium to a package, the coffee manufacturers solved this problem by injecting helium into the already finished package with a simple syringe arrangement and sealing the hole with ordinary scotch tape.

It may be possible to identify the sources of greater leaks by using water bath or penetrating dye test methods, but such test methods are not sensitive enough to detect very small leaks or even micro-leaks. Leybold Inficon states that owing to the superior sensitivity of Contura Z, even leaks in the range of virus and bacteria tightness may be detected.
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Publication:Tea & Coffee Trade Journal
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 20, 2000
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