A fully-automated leak testing system has been developed by Mocon to help food processors ensure that individual modified atmosphere packages (MAP) do not have undetected micro leaks.

The Dansensor LeakProtego is claimed to be a first-of-its-kind online system, having been engineered to test for potential leaks at levels lower than previously possible.

Because MAP leaks degrade shelf life, compromise product safety and negatively impact brand image, the US firm’s goal was to develop an inline system that provided food processors with package integrity information further upstream to facilitate cost savings. Currently, most food processors test for leaks further down the line when the product has already been placed into cases or shipping crates.

Steen Andreasen, product manager for Mocon Europe A/S, said: “The LeakProtego has been commercially installed for several months and we are now able to confirm to its reliability in a food processing facility.

“We have also learned that the system is not sensitive to changes in the plant environment such as variation in surrounding carbon dioxide. Food processors can be confident in the data’s reliability and the ability to objectively ensure the integrity of each MAP package produced in the facility.”

Using a patent-pending sensing system with carbon dioxide as a trace gas to detect pinholes down to 50 micron, the technology relies on modular units, each of which can test up to 12 packages per minute. Multiple modules can be combined so that individual package testing can keep up with MAP equipment output. The modules provide processors with critical information such as individual leak size and rate so that production line optimisation can be acheived quickly.

More information from Mocon, 7500 Mendelssohn Ave, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55428, US. Tel: 1 763 493 6370. Email: info@mocon.com. Web: mocon.com