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A new generation of airtight packaging

Drawing on its packaging expertise and unique Stora Enso AT Master testing equipment – based on the use of tracer gas to verify packaging integrity – Stora Enso is developing a range of new food-packaging solutions around specially developed airtight paperboard.
Stora Enso Consumer Board

Airtight packaging based on the use of paperboard offer a number of benefits, from improved product safety and extended shelflife to new branding opportunities, thanks to greater printing and converting capabilities, and valuable environmental goodwill.

To make the most of the opportunities this type of packaging offers, however, calls for extensive expertise in substrate materials, barrier coating options and production, filling, and testing technology.

A good example of what this type of expertise can achieve is the new airtight paperboard packaging concept that Stora Enso has launched for dry foods such as snacks, cereals, confectionery, biscuits, and tea.

This combines specially developed nonfoil paperboard with optimised heat-sealing, raw-edge protection, and innovative lid sealing.

The Stora Enso AT Master is a fast and accurate solution for verifying the integrity of airtight packaging, and can be located both before and after filling and lidding units.

The design provides a highly effective water-vapour barrier that protects the contents against caking, loss of crispiness, mould growth, softening, and changes in colour, taste, and odour; while an oxygen barrier protects against rancidity, loss of vitamins, microbial growth, lipid oxidation, and changes in appearance, taste, and smell.

Innovative leak detection

The Stora Enso AT Master – an innovative, non-destructive leak detection system suitable for testing all kinds of packaging – has played an important part in development work on the new airtight paperboard concept.

The AT Master is a fast and accurate solution for verifying the integrity of airtight packaging, and can be incorporated into production lines both before and after filling and lidding operations.

The system uses hydrogen as a tracer gas, as it does not affect the quality of packaged food. Packaging is filled with a gas compound containing hydrogen and nitrogen, after which a detector sensor scans for potential leakage points. These are revealed when the hydrogen in the tracer gas is forced out of the package.

The virtually immediate feedback this provides for those running a packaging line is invaluable for reducing the number of products rejected due to leaky packaging and for fine-tuning a production process to eliminate future defects.

Increased profitability

Stora Enso’s pioneering work has resulted in a revolutionary new packaging concept and sophisticated new technology that can be utilised in a range of applications.

Innovative packaging solutions like these offer numerous benefits, including fewer package components and a simpler production process. It is also easier to produce more user-friendly designs and more intuitive opening and closing mechanisms.

The result: enhanced profitability throughout the supply chain, from the food manufacturer to the retailer, and more satisfied customers.

Innovative cooperation with customers

Stora Enso has prioritised developing new packaging systems and products in cooperation with its customers as an important way of bringing the company closer to its ultimate end-customers – and as a means of further enhancing the competitiveness of packaging board over alternative materials.

Prior to the new airtight solution for dry food described here, for example, Stora Enso Consumer Boards’ New Business Innovations unit launched a new child-resistant, senior-friendly reclosable packaging solution for pharmaceuticals, known as Stora Enso Pharma SHR.

This meets the child-resistance requirements of the European ISO 8317 standard, and has achieved the highest F=1 child-resistance and senior-friendliness rating in the US.

Working with Xeikon International, New Business Innovations has also developed ‘Stor Enso DBS powered by Xeikon’, a turnkey solution for the on-demand printing, die-cutting, assembly, and filling of DBS (Discbox Slider) packs for CD and DVD media in the music, film, games, and software industries.

> Jalliina Järvinen
(Published in High Technology Finland )