Digital Magazine

Plastics and packaging – understanding test and inspection solutions

A question-and-answer with Toby Lane, Product and Applications Manager.

What are some of the biggest myths surrounding plastic in packaging that you feel should be debunked?
The simple myth is that plastic is the bad guy. And absolutely - there are applications where a paper product alternative can be more suitable than plastic.

But the performance of plastic materials can lead to environmental benefits that we don’t want to lose by completely rejecting plastics. Because of their ability to be recycled effectively, plastics can often offer a more sustainable future that sees high performance packaging with a low environmental impact. The challenge facing us is implementing an infrastructure that supports this result.

What types of test and inspection solutions do you offer?
Industrial Physics is a global packaging, product, and material test and inspection partner that has been protecting the integrity of manufacturers, production lines, and laboratories for almost a century. Across the Industrial Physics group, we have a number of well-known brands, including Ray-Ran, United Testing Systems, Messmer Buchel, Testing Machines Inc., TQC Sheen, and many more.

The Ray-Ran product line covers typical plastics materials characterization techniques such as melt flow, pendulum impact, falling dart impact and HDT/vicat softening point testing.

We also supply less common but highly regarded testing instruments such as our Instrumented Falling Weight Impact Tester and our Density Gradient Apparatus. The other side of our product offering is our test sample preparation equipment.

What are the biggest benefits your solutions give to customers?
It’s our purpose to protect the integrity of our customer’s brands and products. And we pride ourselves on building robust instruments for industrial environments that offer customers the simplest and most reliable method of achieving characterization results from their polymer samples.

We optimize our products to satisfy the precise requirements of international testing standards and only include additional features that contribute to better results, or standards conformity. Allowing customers to get the maximum return on investment - only spending what is required to satisfy their application.

What do you think are the biggest trends impacting customers right now, and how can you (Industrial Physics) support them?

The biggest trend we are seeing is greater research into materials including a higher percentage of either recycled materials or environmentally friendly additives.

The difficulty this type of testing has always presented is the need for versatile testing equipment.

Broadly speaking, the introduction of new materials calls for greater testing requirements from the full spectrum of materials testing areas. Companies like Industrial Physics that offer such a wide range of equipment are therefore hugely beneficial partners, as they can often advise on and support all the pieces of equipment in a given laboratory. Customers can work with a single supplier and organize calibration and maintenance for the entire laboratory at once.

What do you believe is the single biggest challenge facing your customers today and how do you help them overcome this?
There will be many innovations across the board. Ultimately, our customers are keen to establish a long-term relationship with a packaging, product, and material testing partner like Industrial Physics - one that will allow them to remain supported and explore new techniques and test types with confidence as they progress. There are very few companies like Industrial Physics that can provide this broad scope of on-going support, so we are diligent in understanding and offering the latest innovations in materials testing so that our customers can continue to adapt in a changing and unpredictable environment.

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