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Silicone coated paper is used every day on items such as printed labels, postage stamps and adhesive-backed hygiene articles.

Any form of contamination can affect product performance and safety, or simply aesthetics – and all may influence a customer’s response.

In the case of personal care items, manufacturers must take precautions against such contamination, or risk the potentially damaging financial and reputational consequences.

Case Study: A Fly in the Ointment

In one example, a manufacturer of silicone-treated paper release liners asked SGS to analyse a contamination issue. 

The manufacturer wanted to know whether it was responsible for a dark speck attached to a strip of release paper and the adjacent disposable fabric, used to contain a personal care article. 

Personal Care A

SGS Investigates

SGS completed the analysis and found that both the paper strip and adjacent fabric contained parts of an insect resembling the common housefly. The issue then was to establish when (and where) the contamination occurred.

The majority of the insect lay on the paper surface, with a few parts loosely attached to the non-woven fabric pouch. Therefore, it may have seemed logical to suggest that contamination happened when the paper and non-woven fabric were assembled. However, closer inspection showed that the fly’s legs were covered with fiber strands, later confirmed to be paper fibers.

Personal Care B and C

Conclusion

The SGS analysts concluded that the paper fibers overlying the fly’s legs proved that the insect entered the manufacturing process during the paper-making stage. In all likelihood, the insect landed when the paper had a high water content; its legs becoming entangled with the pulp fibers while its body floated on the water. 

This analysis may seem rudimentary; it simply required examination with a dissecting microscope. However, an in-depth knowledge of the manufacturing process and the various entities involved – the papermaker, the silicone coater, the fabric pouch manufacturer and the personal care producer – was needed. 

This is where the highly-trained and experienced SGS analysts bring their industry expertise to bear. Our scientific lab professionals, based at the recently acquired IPS testing facility, were able to demonstrate their problem-solving capabilities and identify that, in this case, the papermaker was responsible.

About SGS-IPS Testing

SGS recently acquired IPS, a testing lab that specializes in paper, non-wovens, consumer products, and packaging. Its tests support product development and quality control, or investigate product claims, contamination and other issues. 

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Tom Kremer
SGS-IPS Testing 
Technical Supervisor - Microscopy
3211 E. Capitol Dr
US – 54911 - Appleton
t: +1 920 749 3040 29222