The Foodservice Packaging Institute has commenced production and shipment for its modernized Rigidity Tester used by manufacturers for testing rigidity of single-use foodservice packaging products.

The 2007 model of the Tester is an electrified, digitized, and ergonomically enhanced version of the Institute’s original rigidity tester developed for industry use 20 years ago. It has been used by the industry to determine the rigidity of paper and plastic plates, platters, bowls and trays used in foodservice venues.

The 2007 Tester model is a product of the Institute’s Foodservice Packaging Standards Council, an Institute body that reviews and develops testing protocols for single-use foodservice packaging products.

The Standards Council spent nearly a year developing its requirements for a new Rigidity Tester, and then monitored ten months of “Beta testing” of the new unit at Georgia-Pacific Corporation’s Dixie laboratory facility in Lehigh Valley, Pa. In addition to the testing device, the Council oversaw development of new a 16 page Operating Procedure for the Tester.

“It has been a long, and sometimes trying, process,” said Institute Standards Council Chair Rick Kornbau of Pactiv Corporation, “but the end result is well worth the wait.”

The new device is being manufactured by Peerless Machine & Tool Corporation of Marion, Ind. Shipments to Institute members began on February 5.

Mr. Kornbau said that the Standards Council’s next project is to use the Tester, and a third-party laboratory, to establish and harmonize numerical ranges of rigidity used by marketers to designate products as “lightweight,” “medium weight,” “heavy duty,” and “ultra heavyweight.” The first products to be harmonized will be nine-inch, flat plates.