Quarter 1 I March 2021



Coated Paper as Barrier Materials for Sustainability

To reduce plastic waste, people are increasing looking to paper-based material as primary barriers for packaging.  Tetra Pak, one of the world’s most famous multi-layer carton manufacturers, recently called for collaborative innovation with partners to create the world’s most sustainable package that secure food safety and availability while reducing the impact on the planet.  This includes removing the traditional layers of plastic and aluminum and replacing them with plant or wood fiber-based barrier materials.  According to The American Forest & Paper Association (AF&PA) 2020 Sustainability Report, the paper industry continues to demonstrate leadership in sustainability across the entire value chain with essential products for everyday life.
Due to their porous nature, paper products by themselves are not considered to be good barrier materials for product shelf life.  By applying a thin layer of polymer coating or laminate plant-based barrier layers to the paper, it can become a reasonable barrier material.  To assess the barrier properties of coated paper, a permeation study for Oxygen Transmission Rate (OTR) and/or Water Vapor Transmission Rate (WVTR) needs to be conducted.  This is commonly an iterative process through the development of new paper-based barriers. 
However, coated paper barriers can be challenging to get accurate transmission rate test results from.  With over 50 years of experience in this industry, the experts and MOCON have solutions to overcome these challenges with special laboratory guidance on how to prepare coated paper samples for accurate testing and unique tools to simplify sample preparation.  You can learn more about this in the Applications News portion of this newsletter.



New Permeation Laboratory Management Software

Operating an efficient permeation laboratory requires high utilization of the analyzers and safe management of the test result data.  Knowing that most permeation laboratories have multiple permeation instruments, MOCON has launched their new PermWare Permeation Laboratory Management Software to improve efficiency and security. 
The new PermWare software is a secure data management system for all generations of MOCON permeation instruments.  It collects and stores test report data in one secure database using the SQL encrypted server platform.  The reports and data are easily filtered and completely sortable using the powerful functions built into the History Management system.  Reports and data sets are easily exported or printed.  PermWare utilizes safe and secure Windows® 10 operating system allowing it to be safely connected to common networks to provide access and data back-up functionality.
Additionally, PermWare offers a convenient dashboard master controls system for all of the Next Generation MOCON analyzer types connected to the PermWare LAN.  The dashboard provides real-time view of connected Next Gen analyzers with color coded status and hot links to test results, events, notifications and more.  The PermWare dashboard is configurable to show only the instruments desired and can be accessed remotely. For more information on PermWare please refer to our brochure.



Better Solutions for Challenges of Coated Paper Testing

Paper-based barrier structures innately have been more difficult to obtain accurate data due to their porous nature.  Since permeation consists of random molecular motions, once oxygen or moisture moves into a paper structure, some of the gas flows laterally often causing erroneous data.  Testing due diligence must be taken to ensure a consistent barrier coating.
To obtain accurate data one must impede diffusion through the sample edges.  This may be done in different ways.  The most secure method is to use one mask to define the exposure area and seal the edges with epoxy prior to analysis*.  Double foil masking may also be sufficient to seal edges on thin films below 12 mil thickness*.  If the paper has consistent coating on both sides, the edge effect cartridge may be used*.  For more information see the Application Note about Edge Effects. This innovative film cartridge blocks the sample’s edges from the atmosphere without the use of epoxy of masks.  Paper films having a textured surface often leak making it impossible to get accurate results.  In this case, sealing the sample/mask interface with epoxy blocks lateral diffusion only allowing permeation normal to same surface.
MOCON experts have provided the solutions to overcome paper-based testing challenges with special guidance on how to prepare coated paper samples for accurate testing.  To gain insight into the root causes of coated paper challenges, and how to avoid them, please click the button below to read the Application Note “Overcome Challenges Related to Permeation Testing of Coated Paper Packaging”.
*See the Application Note for images and more details



Watch Our Latest Permeation Product Videos

AMETEK MOCON has created various new videos related to our permeation products. You can find them in our website’s Resource Library along with many other resources, or click below to view a specific video.

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