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Plastics packaging: Priced to sell, a new OTR testing system

A new device for testing the oxygen transmission rate of plastic film or packaging is priced to enable processors to take charge of their own testing, even bringing it in-house rather than outsourcing it. The manufacturer's president describes his company's new product as "the Ford 150 truck of the permeation industry—we do the jobs that need to be done, and we do them well for a long time and at an affordable cost."

The company is OxySense (Dallas, TX) and its new product is the second generation of its OxyPerm permeation system. Peter Gerard, the company's president explains that the OxyPerm System consists of the company's OxySense 5000 instrument with the OxyPerm Software Suite and the OxySense Permeation Chambers.
 
The base price for the OxySense 5000 with the OxyPerm Software Suite is $12,750, the price for the Oxysense Permeation Chambers is $1750 each, and the recommended accessories, which would enable the user to perform permeations test on bottles and finished flex packs, as well as all the other oxygen measurement test typical to a packaging lab (such as head space analysis, shelf life studies, dissolved oxygen studies) would add another $1500. In addition, with the OxyPerm System the user can test perforated films, a test that cannot be done with conventional electro-chemical cell permeation systems.
 
For comparison, he says the industry's established product (a two-chamber unit) currently retails for approximately $40,000, with that competing manufacturer's seven-chamber unit approaching $100,000. The two-chamber unit from the competitor is limited to permeation studies only. "It is like the Rolls Royce of permeation systems with a price tag to match," states Gerard.

An OxyPerm system with two chambers and the ability to do unlimited permeation testing of containers and flex packs, as well as all the other studies noted above, would cost approximately $17,500. The user could then scale up his installation to handle seven chambers for an additional $8750—for a total of $26,500, or 66% of the cost of the established two-chamber instrument and 26% of the seven-chamber instrument.
 
In addition, he explains, those other units require the system be flushed with nitrogen on a continuous basis while tests are being run, with correspondingly higher operating costs. In addition, they typically need an annual factory calibration and periodic replacement of the electro chemical sensor. The OxyPerm System requires only flushing with Ni when setting up the sample, and requires little or no maintenance and no annual factory calibration, he says.
 
"We are pleased to be able to deliver to the packaging industry a single system that can perform the permeation tests and oxygen studies that laboratories want to run, yet is affordably priced," added Gerard. The newly released version of OxyPerm offers improved flat and perforated film OTR testing in addition to improved measurement of oxygen scavenging. The unit also enables permeation tests of PET containers (in gas or dissolved O²) and flexible packages (with real product inside).

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