Headspace Gas Analysis (HGA) is a quality control method that uses laser absorption spectroscopy (TDLAS) to check that the headspace in packaging does not contain excessive concentrations of certain elements (oxygen, carbon dioxide or water vapor) that could damage the product.
The presence of higher-than-expected concentrations of these molecules can adversely affect product quality, reducing shelf life and triggering contamination with potentially serious consequences for consumer health. Ensuring that the presence of these molecules is within certain limits ensures that the products you market are safe and uncontaminated. This protects not only future consumers, but manufacturers as well, since it prevents the risk of costly product recalls, which are damaging to both the company’s image and its bottom line.
Is HGA really the most appropriate
test for finished products set to leave the production line for store shelves? While the answer to this question naturally depends on both the characteristics of the product and the needs of the company, HGA certainly offers many advantages.
Headspace Gas Analysis is an effective test method for pharmaceutical and cosmetic products as well as certain types of food and beverage products.
In the pharmaceutical sector, HGA has been included in the list of test methods endorsed by the United States Pharmacopeia, explicitly mentioned in United States Pharmacopeia USP <1207.1> as one of the seven main types of non-destructive and deterministic tests recommended for drug quality control.
For food products, although GMP do not specify which tests should be used to verify a correct package seal and the absence of contamination, HGA testing is useful for product quality control. This is because bacterial contamination and oxidation are the main causes of deterioration of packaged food and verifying the absence of excessive oxygen or carbon dioxide inside packaging provides crucial guarantees for the correct preservation of the product during its entire shelf life.
Bonfiglioli Engineering’s extensive HGA experience allows us to offer solutions that are tailored to client needs and production line requirements. A variety of equipment solutions are provided, to operate directly on the production line, or to perform sample analysis, with semi-automatic or laboratory machines.
The HGA solutions provided by Bonfiglioli Engineering include technologies developed in partnership with universities, to minimize signal noise (caused by the Etalon effect) and provide precise results. Over the past 25 years, the company has worked to optimize the size and performance of its HGA sensor and control system to guarantee reliable results even on high-speed lines.
Bonfiglioli Engineering machines can be used in combination with other automation systems providing multiple solutions in one system for even greater safety. Combined testing, pairing the benefits of HGA with those of other technologies like Vacuum Decay or Visual Inspection, is the best way to guarantee thorough and efficient quality control.