Impact Analytical's new barrier testing capability is getting a workout from the food industry, with increasing interest into the capabilities of synthetic corks.
Winemakers and their suppliers need to know exactly how the plastic replacements for natural corks will treat wine intended to be stored for years, or even decades, said Gary Deborski, market development manager, during a June 23 interview at NPE.
Impact Analytical (Booth E11232) opened its lab in January, with the capability to test for gas and vapor transmission in a temperature and humidity-controlled environment.
Most samples tested are relatively thin, Deborski noted. The sheer size of the corks, however, make for a more complicated test.
``Instead of being something that's a few mils, you're looking at something that is an inch or an inch-and-a-half,'' he said.
Synthetic corks were introduced in the 1990s.
Impact Analytical works with both the cork makers and some elite winemakers who are concerned about how the corks will influence both their own reputation and that of their wines in the long run.
The barrier lab considers the migration of oxygen, moisture and carbon dioxide not only on wine, food and bottled water, but also paint, coatings and some chemical compounds that also may carry a ``freshness'' date.
Impact has two of its 15 full-time technicians assigned full-time to the new laboratory. It also has a large group of consultants on call as needed.
Impact Analytical specializes in a wide variety of material testing for a cross-section of industries.