GammaLab

Bench-top O2 analyser 

&  leak detector

  • Measure leaks > 5 µm
  • Immediate digital data
  • Accurate analysis results
  • ISO 22000 & HACCP compliance
  • Leak size visualization
  • Operates without consumables
  • 3 years warranty
  • For laboratories and R & D

The GammaLab is a bench-top leak detector and O2 analyser dedicated to Industries using Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP)  to pack food products. It has been specially designed for Factories who want to safely optimize the shelf life of their products, while complying to Food Safety Management Systems like ISO 22000 & HACCP.

GammaLab and MAP: after the product has been packaged under MAP, the manufacturer prints the shelf-life on the packaging. Implicitly, this a promise that the safety, taste, appearance, crunchiness… in short, the consumability of the product will be guaranteed until the last day of the shelf life.

This promise will be fulfilled only if the original gas recipe injected into the packaging remains uncompromised till the end, meaning that the exchange between the outside atmosphere and the gas inside the package through leaks is limited.

There are two extreme pitfalls to be avoided:

  • Not carrying out an air tightness check of the packaging and just hoping for the best.
  • setting maximum leakage rates too strictly, which will result in very high product rejection rates and will unnecessarily generate high costs.

It is also important to stress that the value of the maximum allowable leak cannot be zero. Zero leak does not exist. What needs to be determined is the leak value above which the gas recipe has altered too much, leading the manufacturer to decide that the characteristics of the product have subsequently excessively changed, and therefore do not fulfil the promised quality levels to his customers.

The purpose of the GammaLab is to assist manufacturers to identify this value.

To achieve this, the manufacturer will select samples from his production line, store them, and test them after a period of time with a GammaLab. Values like the leak (in cc/mn) and the O2 levels will be recorded.

For each package, he will then review each important characteristic of the products (appearance, taste, crunchiness….) and decide whether the product fulfils the Quality level promised to his customers. It is the same process as when the product was originally qualified.

By carrying this procedure out with a sufficient number of samples, the Manufacturer will identify the value of the leak (in cc/mn) above which a packaged product should be rejected. The Manufacturer will also be able to determine what should be the minimum O2 content at the end of the shelf life to achieve sufficient preservation.

In addition, the Manufacturer will need to anticipate what kind of stress the packaging will be exposed to until it is consumed, for example, should the product be transported by air, or stacked in a carton and have the weight of the other products on top of it. It may be necessary to simulate these stresses and check the O2 and leak levels after stress exposure.

Eventually, what should be identified is the maximum allowable  leak that will preserve enough of the gas recipe until the last day of the shelf life to fulfil the promised quality to the end Customer.

Once this value is determined, the manufacturer is able to monitor his production, either manually with a GammaLab, or automatically with an AlphaPro or a GammaPro.

Operating instructions:

Just place a sample under the perforating tower of the GammaLab, adjust the tower manually downwards until it is in contact with the sample, and perforation starts automatically, followed by the O2 test and the leak test.
You can check as many samples as you wish, all the results will be recorded.
The O2 analysis is performed first, immediately followed by the leak test (it is a destructive test).

Full digital results are immediately available (the GammaLab will measure leaks > 5 μm), visible on the screen, and can be instantly transmitted to your computer via a USB connection. Analyse the results on a pivot table, and visualise the results on a Gauss chart.

Warranty: 3 years.

1. Establish the relation between the magnitude of the leak and the O2 content over a period of time for MAP:

When for example potato crisps are packaged, the oxygen is removed from the head space by way of vacuum followed by an injection of super-dry nitrogen and sealing of the package, the process being optimized to obtain less than 0.5% residual oxygen. The manufacturer has printed the shelf-life on the package (usually 2 to 3 months from the date of manufacturing) and is implicitly guaranteeing that the potato crisps will not taste stale or have lost their crunchiness.

However, if there is a leak, the oxygen will rush back into the package, and the content will lose it’s taste & crunchiness, and perhaps before the end of the shelf-life.

Each product of the Astaara range can detect a flow (leak) range of 0-1,000 cc/mn @ +/- 0,1 cc/mn. This is a very small leak. The challenge for the manufacturer is to decide what is the correct rejection value for the leak. If 0.1 cc/mn is entered, which is the minimum, it is very likely that a very important quantity of packages will be rejected.

It is for the manufacturer to decide upon what is acceptable, taking into account the specificities of the product he is manufacturing. The GammaLab will show values establishing a relation between the size of the leak in cc/mn and the Oxygen content of a package at a given pressure after a certain period of time. Manufacturers can follow these results to identify a rejection value.

For more information, please consult us.

2. Immediately available digital data:

Tests results (destructive test) can be instantly transmitted to your computer via a USB connection. Analyse the results on a pivot table in order to identify area to improve, and visualise them on a Gauss chart.

3. Accurate analysis results:

No more blocked needles, compromising the results of your tests, no more guessing the size of the bubbles… Well adapted to packaging where there is little or no headspace (chocolate bar…), the GammaLab will deliver extremely accurate results to help you to improve your process in a very short period of time.

4. Cost savings:

With the Perforating Tower, consumables like septa and needles are no longer needed. In addition, you can reduce wastage by better controlling the seal(s) of your flexible packaging, optimize the thickness of your film and save costs (the thickest film is not necessarily the best for your product).

5. ISO 22000 & HACCP compliance:

Identify flexible packaging related critical points, conduct root cause analysis, establish your critical limit, test, correct, verify & document easily with the GammaLab. Avoid product recall by making sure your food is safe to consume until the last day of the shelf life.

6. Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) packaging Control:

The GammaLab will check that your products are within the acceptable leak range & that they will be preserved until the last day of the shelf life.

7. Brand protection and lasting taste for your products:

Avoid humidity and bacteria getting into your package and compromise the taste of your products. For potato chips manufacturers, preserve the crispiness and pillow effect.

8. Visualize the size of the leak:

When you test samples, the GammaLab may deliver very different leak values, like 1 cc/mn or 30 cc/mn or 100 cc/mn. Sometimes, it is necessary to be able to visualize if it is a very small leak, or an important one. The GammaLab has a coupler connection on the front panel that enables to you connect an accessory (supplied as a standard) with a small adjustable flow controller. You have to connect this accessory to the front panel by pushing the probe into the coupler, and put the other end in a glass of water. By turning the knob on the small flow controller, you will be able to adjust the flow, and therefore, visualize the bubble size output of the same leak in the glass of water.

CheckLab

To check the calibration of your GammaLab annually, Astaara offers an optional calibration check kit with RFID, the CheckLab. It is an extremely simple operation, and you don’t need to have your equipment verified by professionals. This accessory allows you to compare the flow rate of your instrument against that of a calibrated leak. If the flow rate of the GammaLab at a given pressure is between the minimum and maximum limits, no further checks are needed, and you can continue to use your GammaLab. If not, further investigation is required.

The GammaLab consists of 2 separate units: a GammaTower (O2 analyser & patented perforating device) and a GammaBox (leak testing unit). The GammaTower & the GammaBox are communicating via a PS/2 cable and a PU tubing.

  1. GammaTower:

O2 analyser & patented perforating device.

OLED display 1,5 “.

Touch sensitive buttons for perforating depth, Oxygen-reject adjustment.

Servo driven internal perforating thin conical stainless steel pointer.

Silicon bellows diameter: 15mm* (* other sizes / shapes: consult us).

Cantilever holder for free movement of tower.

O2 sensor: FIGARO KE 25 from Japan.    www.figarosensor.com
Temp: min/max 5 – 60°C.
When calibrated at both 0% and 100% of O2, accuracy in the range from 0-100% O2 shall be within ±1% of full scale.
Life expectancy at 20°C in normal air (1013hPa / 20.7% O2): 3 years.

Micropump XAVITECH V200 orange from Sweden.    www.xavitech.com

  1. GammaBox:

Leak testing unit.

The GammaBox operates according to flow measurement at a Constant Pressure following DIN 55508-1 of 01/02/2018.

Structure: steel and ABS.

Display: 3,5” resistive touch screen.

Internal air pump.

Alicat electronic pressure controller from U.S.A., 1000 mbar scale.    www.alicat.com

Alicat mass flow meter from U.S.A., 1000 sccm scale.

Microprocessor: embedded ATMEL2560, 16 Mhz.

Calibrated leak port.

Foot print: 260 x 250 mm     Weight: 10 Kg.

If the GammaTower is to be stored for a long period of time, it must always be stored in vertical position, or on its side. Never upside down.

The GammaLab is guaranteed 3 years.

Maintenance: No specific maintenance required.

We recommend that the calibration of each ALICAT is checked every 12 months.

Weight: 10 kg approx. unpacked, 12 kg packed for export.

Dimensions: Export packed = 55 x 34 x 20 cm.

All components ROHS.

HS Code = 820730 Tools, interchangeable; (for machine or hand tools, whether or not power-operated), tools for pressing, stamping or punching.

1/ Why do I need a special leak tester for flexible packaging? Are the leak testers available not suitable?

Most leak tester would use a leak test method known as Pressure Decay, which measures the difference in pressure during the test. Problem is that, for flexible packaging, the Volume of the package is also changing during the test. And since Pressure x Volume is a constant, you cannot measure the leak accurately if both Pressure and Volume are changing at the same time during the test. The Pressure Decay is however perfectly suitable for rigid packaging. The GammaLab is using the “Flow Measurement at a Constant Pressure” method according to DIN 55508-1 of 01/02/2018, particularly adapted to flexible packaging.

2/ Who can assist me if anything goes wrong?

We can assist you by remote video conferencing if there is no Service Company in your area / Country. We can do it during normal office hours and we are located in Singapore (GMT + 8 time zone). We can always support you outside of normal working hours with prior arrangement.

3/ Is there a risk that the package will be perforated totally, and the perforating pointer be damaged?

No, it is not mechanically possible that the perforating pointer will come in contact with the base, as it will stop 1 mm before.

4/ Do you plan to have a CO2 analyser?

We do not plan to have one. We concentrate on leak analysis & O2 measurement for the flexible packaging Industry. To measure the transformation of the gas recipe inside the packaging when there is a leak, measuring O2 is sufficient. Besides, CO2 sensors are extremely expensive and need to be regularly calibrated.

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