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Seal Strength Testing: Is 1 lb. Still the Go-To Metric? ASTM WK57656 Update


Published on March 13, 2020

A few years ago, I started a journey on behalf of packaging professionals everywhere—to validate or debunk the 1 lb. standard for seal strength testing. For as long as I can remember, it has been a popular topic of conversation and debate in every gathering or get-together with veteran and beginning packaging engineers alike. We discuss where the 1 lb. standard came from, why 1 lb. became the go-to metric, and if 1 lb. is right for every package out there.

This became a passion for me, so I volunteered to lead an ASTM task force dedicated to developing a new standard for seal strength testing. The ASTM committee I am leading, ASTM-WK57656, is working hard to find the answers to these timeless questions. We have taken a holistic approach to solving this challenge, using a bottom-up approach—implementing one of two methods to determine package seal strength:

  • Edge of Failure (EOF)

  • Guard Banding

Writing the new standard is not meant to disqualify current methodologies for determining seal strength, because these methods often work just fine. The new standard, rather, is meant to challenge and guide new packaging as a way to innovate and improve. The main message will always be to justify your chosen value with rationale and data-driven evidence.

The process has taken longer than we expected but considering how pervasive the 1 lb. history has been in our industry, the team is committed to getting it right for our community. At times, it feels like we’re not moving the needle forward, but then we remind ourselves that no one has ever done this before. The next step will be to get our draft on the ASTM voting ballot, which I’m hopeful will be later this year. We’re getting closer every day, but there are still many unanswered questions.

Want to learn more about my journey? You can find my original article on LinkedIn here, plus an on-demand webinar I did called “Developing a New Standard for Seal Strength Testing” here.

Geoff Pavey
Technical Fellow - Technology Manager | Oliver Healthcare Packaging

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