What To Do if You Have Product Contamination

product contaminationProduct contamination is a challenge that may occur at any stage in the production process. For instance, if mold release or cleaning agents are not properly removed from a component, it may contaminate the finished product. Contaminated products may be discarded, or more serious consequences may occur if the contaminant isn’t found before the product’s distribution.

There are many ways for product contamination to occur. However, finding the cause of contamination can be difficult. The first step is often to determine what the contaminant is. Determining the composition of a contaminant requires material testing to identify the foreign material, and then find out how it appeared on your product.

Product Contamination Case Studies

When quality assurance personnel or consumers find and report contamination, some initial assumptions can be made upon observation of the contaminant’s characteristics. If the contaminant isn’t easily identifiable, you may need to reach out to an analytical testing laboratory like Innovatech Labs for help. Our analysis team will first conduct tests to identify what the contaminant is. Once our analysts know the exact composition of the contaminant, they can then help the client create a solution to their product contamination problem.

Want real world examples of how Innovatech Labs troubleshoots contamination? Please read these two case studies of how Innovatech Labs helped manufacturers find the root cause of contamination.

Contaminant on Molded Part – Innovatech Labs received a sample of a molded plastic part that exhibited a white residue in its crevices. Our analysts used FTIR analysis, which measures infrared light absorption to identify materials, and determined that the sample was a surfactant used in processing of the part. Upon confirmation of the material, analysts determined that the residue was present because the part was inadequately rinsed after being cleaned with a surfactant.  Additional rinse steps were added to the process and the residue was no longer present on the parts.

Contaminant on Polyethylene – A plastics manufacturer sent Innovatech Labs a polyethylene part exhibiting brown-colored contamination. Because of the part’s proximity to a piece of steel, the brown material was suspected to be rust. Our analysts used Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA analysis) to survey the thin layer of discoloration on the sample. The results of the test showed materials such as iron, magnesium, silicon, sodium, and oxygen upon the polyethylene, all together supporting the initial assumption of rust.

Avoid Product Contamination with Analytical Testing

To avoid contamination and undue business costs, incorporate materials testing for cleanliness and contaminants into your product testing cycle. Rely on an analytical testing lab like Innovatech labs to support your manufacturing team, so that you can focus on keeping production running smoothly.

The experienced analysts at Innovatech Labs will do more than tell you that you have a product contamination issue. They’ll identify the composition of the contaminant and work with you to identify the source of the problem. Contact us today to get help finding a solution for contamination.

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