The testing processes that PI Global have put into place for the AidPod have been extensive and thorough.
1 Selection of the sealing film
Firstly, four different sealing films were heat-sealed to the AidPod and then subjected to under-water pressure tests. The pressure was reduced to -300mB and held for 1 minute to stress the seal, then the pressure was increased to measure the burst point.
One foil was rejected as it tended stick to the jaws of the sealing machine. This left the three in the image above which all passed the pressure test. However, 29FF was rejected as it tore in all directions when pealed off. Mediflex had the weakest seal and is not micro-porous. You can see from the image above that the Mediflex foil is under tension due to the fact that it was sealed in the UK and this picture was taken in Lusaka at an altitude of 1,300m where the air is thinner. So the film of choice is 40FB. This peels cleanly with no tendency to tear. The seal temperature for 40FB is 130C with a dwell time of 0.75 seconds.
2 The micro pores
The films tested have been supplied by Amcor who have pioneered the use of micro-porous films. These films have the tiniest holes in them, made using lasers. The holes are big enough to allow air to pass through them, but too small for water molecules or pathogens. The video below shows an upside down AidPod being put under pressure under water to test these micro pores.
3 The heat sealing machine
With the film chosen and the sealing temperature and dwell time determined it was time to test the sealing machine. We will be using a PA217 heat sealing machine manufactured by Packaging Automation. This is a standard machine with jaws made especially for the ColaLife AidPod. As the video below shows, the machine seals two AidPods at a time.
4 And finally…
But we are not finished yet. Before the manufacture of the 41,000 AidPods starts and before the machine and film are shipped to us in Lusaka, we will put together 100 ADKs here using the production AidPods, the 40FB film and a special iron (to simulate the PA217) and test them in Coca-Cola crates in field conditions. If all goes well, then we will give the OK and this will trigger the start of the manufacture of the AidPods by Charpak and the shipping of the AidPods, film and sealing machine to Lusaka.