Materials & packaging

In addition to fundamental and strategic basic research, imo-imomec also offers scientific services in collaboration with the industry. For these scientific services imo-imomec focusses on four pillars:analytical chemistry, analytical microscopy, device physics & engineering, and physical characterisation.

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Meet MPR&S

The Materials and Packaging Research & Services (MPR&S) research group, formerly VerpakkingsCentrum (VC), has over 30 years of expertise in the field of mechanical materials characterisation and performance. This with a focus on innovative packaging research in which MPR&S is active within the complete chain (material, concept, process). MPR&S is a research group whose service activities are aimed at supporting the packaging problems of various industrial sectors.

With modern characterisation and testing techniques and a correct scientific interpretation of the measurement results, MPR&S supports each customer in making a responsible choice or adapting its packaging concepts. MPR&S's services to industry include applied research and evaluation of materials, packaging & accessories, technical advice, packaging innovation & eco-design, training, etc.

Do you have a specific question or would you like to receive a quote? Our business developer will be happy to help you.

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Gas permeability

Within the spearhead of gas permeability, imo-imomec has an extensive range of equipment for testing oxygen permeability (O2), carbon dioxide permeability (CO2) and water vapour permeability (H2O). In addition, there is also extensive expertise for testing non-explosive and non-corrosive gases (e.g. helium, argon, nitrogen, etc.).

Application

Imo-imomec has significant expertise in studying the structure and properties of materials and their effect on gas permeability. The tests can be performed under different environmental conditions (for example: variable temperature and variable relative humidity). This enables us to perform subsequent analyses according to the standard for a wide range of application fields:

  • Carbon dioxide permeability
    In accordance with e.g. ASTM F2476
  • Water vapour permeability
    According to, a.o., ASTM F 1249, TAPPI T557, JIS K-7129 and ASTM E-96
  • Oxygen permeability
    In accordance with, a.o., ASTM D-3985, ASTM F-1927, DIN-53380, JIS K-7126, ASTM F-1307 and ISO CD 15105-2
  • Permeability of other gases
    Differential pressure method (amongst others: helium and argon)
    Brüger BBP-C
    Fluorescent decay
  • ...

Specimen

Within gas permeability testing, different packaging and barrier materials can be investigated. Typical examples of specimens for this research are:

  • Packaging concepts - sealed or unsealed (trays, jars, bottles)
  • Rubber seals in medical packaging
  • Plastic films (mono and multilayer)
  • Flat film materials
  • ...

Key equipment

For the gas permeability study, imo-imomec can call on specialised test equipment to solve the problem. An overview is given below.

  • MOCON Permatran-W
    model 3/33 (MG, SW and MW)
    model K101
    model 700
  • MOCON Permatran-C
    model 4/41 (MC and SC)
  • MOCON Oxtran
    model 2/21 (ML, SH, SS and ST)
    model 702
  • MOCON Optech-P O2 Platinum
  • BRÜGGER BBP-C
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Conditioning and accelerated aging

Imo-imomec is equipped to investigate the influence of climatic factors on (packaging) materials and material systems. This includes the imposition of temperature and humidity profiles to simulate different weather conditions, as well as exposure to UV and daylight.

In addition, specialised equipment is available to measure the material properties during these accelerated ageing processes. This includes colour intensity and opacity changes.

Application

Imo-imomec has significant expertise in the conditioning and accelerated ageing of (packaging) materials. This enables us to perform the following analyses according to the standard for various application domains:

  • Colour intensity and opacity changes
  • Registration of T- and RH-profile
    According to a.o. ISO 187 and ISO 291
  • Thermal ageing
    According to, a.o., ISO, DIN and ASTM
  • Impacts due to moisture
    In accordance with, a.o., ISO, DIN and ASTM
  • Daylight ageing
    According to, a.o., ISO 4892, ASTM G-151, ASTM G-155, ASTM D-2565 and ASTM D-4459
  • UV aging
    In accordance with, a.o., ISO 4892, ASTM G-53, ASTM D-4587, ASTM D-4329 and ASTM D-4799
  • ...

Specimen

Within the framework of conditioning and accelerated ageing, different (packaging) materials and material systems can be investigated. Typical examples of specimens for this research are:

  • Pre-conditioning for gas permeability
  • Biodegradable packaging
  • (Dispatch) packaging
  • Solar panels
  • ...

Key equipment

For conditioning and climatic ageing, imo-imomec can call on various specialised test equipment to solve the problem. An overview is given below.

Climatic ageing

  • CTS Benelux CW-40/19
    up to 2.7 x 2.1 x 2.7 m3
  • Gram F210 RG DL 3N
  • Weiss SB 2-300-40
  • Weiss WEKK 0057
  • Memmert HPP108
  • Memmert HPC105
  • Field recording

Light Aging

  • XENON tester
  • QUV tester

Drying oven

  • Heraus T6120
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Transport simulation and performance

Do you have problems with collapsed boxes? Undesirable product quality at your customer? Damage due to transport? Your product is created with the greatest care, but what about afterwards? You can come to us to check whether your transport packaging is suitable to withstand the risks en route.

After all, transport simulation and performance is an important and growing pillar. Using common standards (e.g. ASTM and ISTA), a trajectory and risk definition can be made that concretely leads to the execution of transport tests (e.g. drop, compression and vibration). This research focuses on the transport of goods in all its forms: rail transport, road transport, air transport, etc.

Application

Imo-imomec has significant expertise in studying goods transport and its effect on packaging. This includes optimisation of individual transport packaging to pallet packaging using simulation software. This enables us to carry out standardised analyses within various sectors (e.g. automotive, pharmaceutical and food).

  • Optimisation of shipping packaging
  • Compression tests
    In accordance with, a.o., ISO 1184, ISO 1924/1, ISO 1924/2, ISO 5273, ISO 8295, DIN 53112, ASTM D-1894 and FEFCO50.
  • Vibration tests
    In accordance with, a.o., ASTM D-4728, ASTM D-4169, ASTM D-3580, NBN EN 22247, NBN EN 28318, ISTA, IEC, ISO, MIL std 810 E and IEL 68.
    Possibility to measure and (accelerated) reproduce the vibrations occurring during transport on the vibration table
  • Drop tests
    In accordance with, a.o., NBN EN 22248 and FEFCO 51.
    Possibility of measuring and reproducing the shocks occurring during transport in the drop test
  • ...

Specimen

Within the framework of the transport simulation tests, various packages can be investigated with regard to the performance of their application. Examples of samples for this research are:

  • Individual transport packaging
  • Semi-manufactured packaging
  • Palletised packaging
  • Medical packaging
  • Unitary packaging
  • Customised packaging
  • Buffer materials
  • ...

Key equipment

For the transport research, imo-imomec can rely on various specialised test equipment to solve the problem or to check the performance. Below an overview.

Vibration tests

  • Lansmont VTS 10000
  • Lansmont ELVIS

Compression tests

  • Techlab Systems VAL-100
  • Multifuctional testbench

Drop tests

  • Drop table
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Mechanical characterization & seal research

Under the broad heading of mechanical materials characterisation, imo-imomec can offer a wide range of test options for characterising the mechanical, physical and optical properties of materials and/or packaging.

Besides testing paper, cardboard, plastics and other (packaging) materials, imo-imomec has extensive expertise in both seal research and the standardised testing of bags for household waste.

Application

Imo-imomec has significant expertise in the mechanical characterisation of (packaging) materials and research into seal performance. The analyses in our labs can be performed according to the standard.

Plastics

  • Standardised testing of plastic bags for household waste
    According to EN 13592
  • Static and dynamic friction
    According to a.o. ASTM D-3248-73, FEFCO 104 and TAPPI-T-549 and ISO15359
  • Impact resistance
    In accordance with a.o. ISO 7765/1 and ASTM D-1709
  • Tear through resistance
    According to, a.o., ISO 1974, ISO 6383/2 and ASTM D-1922
  • Pierce resistance
    In accordance with, a.o., ASTM F-1306
  • Density determination
  • Seal testing
  • Gloss determination
  • Colour inspection
    In accordance with, among others, CIE LAB, LCH, CMC, Hunter LAB and XYZ
  • Thickness measurement
    In accordance with, a.o., ISO 4593, ISO 534, DIN 53105, ISO 3034 and FEFCO 3
  • Tensile testing
    In accordance with, a.o., ISO 1184, ISO 1924/1, ISO 1924/2, ISO 5273, ISO 8295, DIN 53112, ASTM D-1894 and FEFCO50.
  • ...

Paper and cardboard

  • Air permeability and surface roughness
    According to ISO 5636-3, ISO 8791-2, DIN 53108 and DIN 53120
  • Water absorption of paper and cardboard
    According to e.g. ISO 535, EN 20535 and FEFC O7
  • Water resistance of an adhesive
    According to e.g. ISO 3038 and FEFCO 9
  • 2-point and 4-point deflection
    In accordance with e.g. ISO 2493, DIN 53121, DIN 55437, TAPPI T 820 and TAPPI T 836
  • Compression resistance
    In accordance with, a.o., ISO3035, ISO3037, DIN53134, DIN53149 and FEFCO 06-08
  • Breakthrough resistance
    According to a.o. ISO 3036, ASTM R 0078, DIN 5342 and FEFC 05,
  • Burst resistance
    In accordance with, a.o., ISO 2759, DIN 53141, TAPPI T807 and FEFCO 4
  • Grammage
    According to, a.o., FEFCO 02-010
  • ...

Specimen

Within the framework of mechanical characterisation and sealing research, various (packaging) materials can be investigated. Typical examples of samples for this research are:

  • Plastic bottles
  • Paper and cardboard
  • Rubbish bags
  • Plastic film
  • Plastic
  • ...

Key equipment

For mechanical material characterisation and sealing research, imo-imomec can rely on various specialised test equipment to solve the problem. Below an overview.

Plastics

  • Computer controlled test bench
  • Sealing machine for plastics
  • Datacolour Microflash 3057
  • Dart tester
  • Balances

Paper and cardboard

  • COBB tester
  • Crush tester
  • Balances
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Packaging research (material, concept, process)

Throughout the years, imo-imomec has built up significant core expertise in the design of optimal packaging. Our experts are always up to date with the rapid changes that are occurring in the field of packaging.

Imo-imomec offers you and your company innovative and optimised packaging solutions with a focus on packaging diagnostics, life cycle analysis and eco-design. Our research expertise and research methodologies are indispensable tools in this matter.

Packing diagnosis

Packaging still receives a lot of criticism today. However, it is evolving rapidly, thanks in part to the efforts of companies to optimise the function and format of packaging. Small companies, too, can achieve many ecological and financial benefits through packaging optimisation. However, they do not always have the time or the resources to deal with this matter, which is more complex than it appears at first sight.

That is why imo-imomec, in cooperation with Fost Plus and Valipac, offers a quick and free diagnosis of their members' packaging systems. This diagnosis should help companies to prevent packaging waste and to reduce the environmental impact of the product/packaging combination. Both ecological and financial aspects are taken into account, allowing companies to quickly realise quick-wins.

Why apply for a packaging diagnosis for your company?

Our packaging diagnoses:

  • question the packaging process in order to tackle ingrained actions and methods and propose efficient packaging that contributes to product preservation, transport and presentation, among other things;
  • provide an incentive to reduce the environmental impact of both product and packaging;
  • aim to encourage the prevention of packaging waste;
  • are business-oriented, completely tailored to the customer;
  • are non-binding, "no strings attached".

Life cycle assessment

To map the environmental impact of your packaging, imo-imomec uses a number of tools including our software Simapro. This allows us to make an LCA (life cycle analysis) to determine the environmental impact of a product or packaging throughout its life cycle. This means from the extraction of raw materials, production, transport, use up to and including waste processing.

Why can an LCA be useful for your company?

You can use the information from an LCA:

  • as justification for labels (e.g. green marketing) or as information to the customer;
  • to compare packaging materials during the design phase or optimisation;
  • to determine where in the chain the greatest environmental impact occurs.

Depending on the direction you want to take with the LCA, we can help you with a more or less detailed LCA.

Ecodesign

With eco-design or environmentally oriented product development, not only economic, technical and human criteria are taken into account during the design process, but also environmental criteria. The aim is to achieve an optimum between sufficient protection of the packaged product and minimum environmental impact of product and packaging. Environmentally oriented packaging development, ranging from the adjustment of the current packaging concept to a completely new concept, is one of the options offered by imo-imomec. With tools such as the ecolizer, various software packages and an extensive network, we can fully support and guide you until the final phase.

How can we help you?

  1. brainstorming about a packaging idea or concept;
  2. elaboration, sketching and analysis of positive and negative points per idea based on our expertise in the field of material properties;
  3. drawing up of a technical drawing of the new or optimised design;
  4. design of logos and graphics on the packaging concept;
  5. realistic 3D presentation of the packaging concept;
  6. guidance in realising the design in cooperation with companies from our extensive network;
  7. testing and fine-tuning of the design.

Packaging optimisation

Transporting products with a minimum of damage or loss and at the lowest possible cost to both the environment and the company is the objective when loading pallets, trucks or containers. It is therefore very important to already think about the transport phase during the development phase of products and packaging. Optimal arrangement of products or packaging during transport with a minimum of air transport can be calculated with our available software, using optimal stacking patterns that take into account surface and volume efficiency.

How can imo-imomec assist you in optimising your (transport) packaging?

  • simulation of your pallet loads and truck loads;
  • analysis and optimisation of packaging dimensions, taking into account the different steps in the chain;
  • optimised loading means less "air" transport, which usually results in both environmental and financial benefits;
  • an optimised plan (3D stacking pattern and stacking method per layer ) for the pallet or the truck with which one can immediately start working;
  • Support in development & elaboration of a packaging with higher packing density (more products / surface); an optimised loading means less "air" transport, which usually results in both an environmental and financial advantage;
  • analysis of pack or stack strength. With strength calculations and compression tests, the strength of your packaging is determined and we work with you to determine whether the strength and environmental impact of your packaging can be reduced based on your situation, for example: route transport, temperature, moisture, storage time, etc.

Contact

dr. Jorne Carolus

Jornecarolus
Location
Wetenschapspark 1, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
Function
Business Developer

Packaging technology

Technologiecentrum
Location
Wetenschapspark 27, 3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium
Function
Research institute