All too often, packaging is forgotten when talking about total quality control of a manufactured product.  Even if everything is done correctly, and a high quality, tasty and enjoyable product is produced, if it is not packaged correctly, your customers will have a disappointing experience. 


Some products will benefit from being packaged in a “Modified Atmosphere” – which can mean the addition of a gas such as Carbon Dioxide or Nitrogen, or the removal of Oxygen to protect against chemical reactions that cause spoilage.  Taken collectively, these modifications to the air in the package are referred to “gas flushing” or “modified atmosphere packaging” 

Mätt Solutions have a range of solutions that can verify the packaging is achieving the desired goals and is suitable for its purpose. This starts with the MAP lab, and extends to empirical, real-world testing to determine the best packaging, gas mix and sealing technology needed for any product. 


What is MAP Lab?

Consumers want fresh, they want quality and increasingly, they want natural, additive free products. The way to satisfy all of these demands while extending shelf life and maximising profits is with the use of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP). 

What is MAP?

Simply put, MAP is the process of replacing the everyday air all around us (in a sealed package) with a specialised gas mixture designed to keep a product fresh, natural, tasting great and looking wonderful. 

Will MAP work for me?

This is exactly the service that MAP Lab offers.  It is a consultancy that works with you to answer all the critical MAP questions you have, explore if MAP delivers a measurable increase in profitability and what tools you need to make this happen. 

The questions that MAP Lab will answer include: 

·       What MAP gas mix is right for my product? 

·       By how much will MAP extend my Shelflife? 

·       What packaging do I need to succeed when using MAP? 

·       What quality control measures are there to ensure my packing process is working? 

·       How do I prepare the correct gas mix for my packages? 

In short, the MAP Lab will share with you all of the experience that Matt Solutions has built over the last 20 and more years working directly with a wide variety of the best success stories in MAP/Gas Flushing to ensure that you can share in this success and enjoy the boost in profitability that MAP promises. 


When should the permeation/barrier properties of packaging be tested?

Before changing the packaging film that is being used, launching a new product or updating the gas mixture in use during gas flushing it is important to understand the (potential) impact this will have on product quality and shelf-life. 

Not all oxygen transmission rate (OTR)/water vapour transmission rate (WVTR) testing is undertaken at the same temperature and/or humidity. When comparing the barrier properties of different films it is important to ensure that the testing conditions are as realistic as possible.  In other words – the conditions used to calculate the OTR/WVTR should mimic as closely as possible the actual conditions experienced (expected) for a specific product during its shelf-life life.  This includes shipping, warehousing and eventual display. 

Working with Ametek-Mocon, Mätt Solutions is able to offer specialised testing undertaken to your specifications for: 

Packaging Materials:

• Simple polymers
• Multi-layered materials
• Coatings
• Coated Paper

Finished Packages:

• Pouches
• Bottles
• Trays
• Blister and single-dose packages

What is “permeation”?

Permeation refers to gas (oxygen/carbon dioxide) or vapor molecules moving through (or permeating) a barrier. These molecules will always move from a higher to a lower concentration – meaning that it can lead to a moist product ‘drying our” or a dry product ‘wetting up” (gaining moisture) and going soggy. 


What is meant by “barrier properties”?

Barrier properties refers to how well a packaging film protects a product from permeation.  It is measured via a “transmission rate” – or how quickly gas or vapor molecules can enter or leave a sealed package.  The LOWER the transmission rate, the better the barrier properties.  

How is WVTR measured?

WVTR or Water Vapour Transmission Rate is a measure of how quickly water vapour will permeate a packaging film. Values are expressed in g/m2/24 hr. WVTR is dependent upon both temperature and humidity – so when checking the specifications of a barrier film it is important to check at what temperature and humidity the WVTR was measured at. 

How is OTR measured?

OTR or Oxygen Transmission Rate is a measure of how quickly Oxygen will permeate a packaging film. Values are expressed in g/m2/24 hr. OTR is dependent upon both temperature and humidity – so when checking the specifications of a barrier film it is important to check at what temperature and humidity the OTR was measured at. 

What is considered a “good” OTR or WVTR?

“Good” is always dependent upon how well it meets your needs.  The lower the OTR/WVTR the greater the protection offered.  However greater protection also means greater cost, so it is important to match the WVTR/OTR to the expected shelf life of a product, and how the product will be affected by the movement of moisture or gas through the barrier.  For a fuller discussion on this we have the “MAP lab” to give comprehensive advice.  

Can we compare the OTR and WVTR of different packaging/film?

Yes, there is a standard measurement of g/m2/24 hr for WVTR and OTR. HOWEVER, it is very important to note at what temperature and humidity this measurement was calculated at.  There is no one prescribed method for measuring OTR and WVTR.  This is where the Ametek Mocon MAP Lab can help.  We can test a barrier film at your preferred humidity and temperature to give OTR and WVTR rates specific to the conditions you expect.  They an also calculate the OTR and WVTR of your finished 9sealed) packaging

Can my product affect the WVTR/OTR of the packaging?

Yes, as both gas and water vapour will move from a high to a low concentration, the contents of your package will have an affect on the WVTR/OTR.  The product itself may also interact with the packaging and have an effect on the WVTR/OTR.