Package test technology turns pacifist

The methylene blue test for package integrity is being challenged by higher tech newcomers. The software-driven technologies are nondestructive in contrast to their blue counterpart.

They are lasers, ultrasonics, gas sniffers and load cell technologies to monitor physical changes in packaging under vacuum conditions. Each provides greater specificity than the traditional test, says Pharmaceutical Technology Europe magazine. They can pinpoint which pocket in a blister pack is leaking, for example, which may aid in identifying recurring problems.

The non-destructive nature of the testing technologies allows manufacturers to recover product that would otherwise be destroyed, contributing to cost savings. Packaging equipment supplier Sepha cites the case of a laser test machine user who saved more than $250,000 in product costs within three months of replacing blue dye testing on a single line producing a high value drug.

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