How FTIR Analysis Identifies Packaging Defects

Box wrapped in plastic packaging material.For all manufacturers, product packaging is key to protecting a product’s quality, ensuring freshness or eliminating safety hazards. However, packaging materials are becoming more complex as technology advances.  As a result, identifying defects that could sabotage quality is also becoming more complex. For example, many packaging materials are now composed of more thin layers than ever before, which makes it more difficult to detect defects with the human eye.

Fear not. Whether a defect has already been discovered or you’re considering a new packaging material, FTIR analysis can detect visible and microscopic defects that could sabotage quality.

What is FTIR analysis?

FTIR analysis (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy) is a fast and accurate materials testing technique that is able to identify the chemical composition of defects in a material.

Get an introductory overview of FTIR analysis.

How does it work?

FTIR analysis measures how a material absorbs infrared light. The absorption is measured at various wavelengths to determine a material’s molecular composition and structure.

Get the full picture: How FTIR Works

How can FTIR help identify defects?

Many times packaging defects are obvious, such as a stain or strange odor, but they can also be microscopic. FTIR analysis is able to identify small particles or fiber contaminants quickly and with minimal or no damage to the sample. Once the contaminants are identified, the source can be located and eliminated.

For example, a medical device company discovered unknown fibers in its plastic packaging trays. The company’s devices have critical components that can’t function properly in contact with contaminants like the fibers. FTIR analysis was used to identify the fibers as a cellulose-based cardboard. The company was then able to trace the fibers back to cardboard dividers it was using on the processing line.


Some other examples include:

  • As mentioned above, today’s packaging has many different layers. FTIR analysis can identify the chemical makeup of each layer and help identify contaminants within the layers.
  • Adhesive labels are a critical part of product packaging. Labels that lose their adhesion over time, or delaminate, are failed products. FTIR can be used to analyze the adhesive after it has failed to help identify a cause.
  • Thermoformed plastic packaging is used to protect a variety of consumer products including electronics and cosmetics. Bubbles and fogging within the material are signals of a quality issue. FTIR analysis can be used to identify any contaminants or defects causing these issues.

Quality packaging is essential for product quality. FTIR analysis helps ensure that your packaging is defect and contaminant free.

For more information on FTIR analysis services from Innovatech Labs, get in touch with us today.

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