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MicVac patent attempts to tackle wrinkles and bubbles in packaging

By Joe Whitworth , 15-Jan-2013

MicVac has filed a patent for a package with a valve that limits the formation of wrinkles in the material and bubbles between the different layers of the valve and the film on which it is applied.

The invention relates to a food package for cooking, storing and heating of ready-to-eat food.

It comprises of a food container, a plastic film for sealing the package from ambient air and having an opening, which is covered by an openable and resealable valve membrane of a thermoelastic material.

It aims to provide a valve that may be reliably fastened to the plastic film of the food package in a manner that is less complicated, compared to previous valves.

The intended purpose of the valve is that it should open when the package is subjected to heating, and steam is created, and close when there is no more steam within the package.

Invention aim

The Swedish-based firm said the invention is targeted at reducing the formation of wrinkles in the material and bubbles between the different layers of the value and/or film after cooking and during resealing, as at present there is still a large risk of these things occurring.

MicVac said when the food in the package is heated, either when it is being cooked or when it is finally heated prior to consumption, steam is created. The purpose of the valve is that it should open and release the steam from the package and when the heating process is stopped, the valve should close in order to assist in preventing the food from being contaminated.  

How it works

“The present invention is based on the finding that if the first area has an angle in relation to the machine direction of the polymers that is within an interval of 60° to 90°, the relaxation will actually tighten the canal during steam release, and thereby reduce the risk of wrinkle formation,” said inventors Joel Haamer and Martin Gustavsson in the patent published this week.

“This way the canal may be made shorter whereby the valve may be made smaller and not hindering visibility of the food within the package.”

To prolong shelf life, pasteurisation is combined with a
removal of oxygen from the interior of the package to minimise bacterial growth.

The company has its own pilot plant for research and development and develops, markets and sells a method for the production of convenience food based on rapid cooking using microwaves.

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