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STABLE MICRO SYSTEMS HELPS OUT IN A STICKY SITUATION

APRIL 2007

Flexible Substrate Clamp

Confectionery manufacturers can now evaluate and improve the functionality of sweet wrappers, thanks to an innovative new test from Stable Micro Systems. The Wrapper Release test provides an accurate analysis of the difficulty required for consumers to remove confectionery wrapping. The results obtained allow manufacturers to select or alter packaging materials to allow for an effortless consumer experience.

A large proportion of boiled sweets and chewy candies are presented in individually wrapped pieces, due to their adhesive nature. The wrapping must be of a unique, non-stick quality to allow it to contain and protect the product, without being problematic to remove. Materials that adhere tightly to the product will split and tear on removal - leading to consumer frustration. The Wrapper Release test will allow manufacturers to develop and select the ideal packaging material for their product, optimising the consumer's experience.

The innovatively designed Wrapper Release rig, used in conjunction with the TA.XTplus texture analyser, incorporates a multi-slot plate and a clamping fixture. A large, rectangular sample of the confectionery product is placed on the underside of the multi-slot plate, while the wrapping material is attached to the upper fixture. During the test, the arm of the texture analyser brings the attached wrapping material down into each hole so that the wrapper repeatedly contacts and withdraws from the product.

The maximum force required to withdraw from the product is recorded, providing a measure of the adhesiveness of the material to the confectionery. For optimum performance, as low a force as possible would be the target. Using the results obtained, manufacturers can identify any issues with current or proposed wrapping materials and make changes accordingly.

The Wrapper Release rig is the latest addition to a wide range of innovative instruments from Stable Micro Systems for the assessment of adhesive products. Other tests include the measurement of peel strength, extrudability, hardness, elongation and 'quick stick' of products, such as labels, sealants, tapes and pastes.

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