At the 2019 PDA Container Closure Integrity Testing Workshop in Gothenburg, Sweden, the following presentation was given as a 20 minute introduction to the use of helium leak detection for container closure integrity testing (CCIT).
Presented on behalf of Leak Detection Associates, the world’s premier manufacturer of custom-built helium leak detection solutions for pharmaceutical, biotechnology, medical device and food packaging clients, the presentation seeks to impart reviewers with an overview understanding of helium leak detection principles of operation, realistic methods for application to pharmaceutical packaging, and case study applications.
Helium gas is a small, nonreactive molecule, making it an ideal tracer for leakage testing, as employed by LDA’s SIMS 1915+ Helium Leak Detector. However, when it comes to preparing samples and subjecting them to a test, there are a range of approaches, each with respective ideal use cases. This presentation aims to illustrate some of the more common ways in which helium leak testing is applied to pharmaceutical packaging such as blisters, vials, and syringes. Reviewed approaches include the sniffer test, filling samples with helium prior to sealing, post-seal helium fill, using LDA’s proprietary vial filler and HSAM, and continuous fill using unique fixtures. Test approaches with reference to ASTM F2391 are discussed.
Important to the message of the presentation are the two case applications presented. The first discusses the application of helium leak testing to vial capping optimization, or assembly validation. In the second case application, an approach for evaluating individual ribs of a plunger is proposed. This type of approach is beneficial to those evaluating inherent integrity or defining their sterile barrier, which has implications for plunger movement during transit. This concept is becoming increasingly relevant as the expansion of prefilled syringe and cartridge-based delivery systems continues.
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