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UF packaging history: Short and illustrious

Packaging World presents more information about the University of Florida’s Packaging Science program than could fit into the July 2004 feature article.
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Planning for UF’s Packaging Science program began in 1996-1997 at the Gainesville FL university. Feedback from alumni as well as discussions with industry organizations made it clear that there was a need for more college-level education in packaging. The University of Florida’s College of Agricultural and Life Sciences hired its first Packaging Science faculty member in 1998 to spearhead development of a proposal that was submitted to the Board of Reagents.

The Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department was chosen as the home for the new Packaging Science program for several reasons including strong relationships with the College of Engineering the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences and with the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Also important was the fact that the ABE Department was slated for a $10 million reconstruction of its building and facilities. Upon its inception Packaging Science moved into a new dedicated state-of-the-art pilot plant and laboratory.

Examples of courses include the three most popular Principles of Packaging a course that also attracts nonpackaging majors; Packaging Decoration which assistant professor Bruce Welt says is especially appealing to graphic arts students; and “PKG4007” a computer course of 3-D modeling programming and relational database design. Welt expects the broad appeal of “Packaging and the Environment” a general education course will raise awareness of the Packaging Science program throughout the University.

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UF packaging equipment

University of Florida Gainesville FL owns a growing list of testing analytical and lab-scale packaging machines. The listing of packaging department equipment as of spring 2004 follows.

Packaging Machines

Multivac A300 – Vacuum/gas-flush machine

Multivac T200 – Vacuum/gas-flush Tray Sealing Machine

Sencorp 12SC/1 – Precision Impulse heat sealing machine

RJE – 96” Corrugated prototyping table and 96” 2 bar slitter.

Syngenta Crop Protection Inc. recently donated RJE corrugated prototyping table equipment. This equipment will be used extensively in three different packaging courses.

MTS/LAB Shock Machine donated by Hershey’s with installation support donated by LAB. It is expected that this machine will be used for demonstration and testing in “Distribution and Transport Packaging.”


Analytical Equipment:

MOCON Pac Check headspace analyzer

MOCON Permatran – Water vapor permeation analysis

MOCON Oxtran 2/20 – Oxygen permeation analysis (2 units for high and low transmitters)

MOCON Aromatran – Organic volatiles permeation analysis

Theller HT - Hot Tack/Heat-Seal Strength Tester

Polaris 1000 FTIR

Varian 634S - UV/VIZ Spectrophotometer

Ocean Optics – 4 channel fiber optic oxygen and pH measurement system

Accumet AR60 Dual Channel pH mV ORP DO meter

HP5430 gas chromatography plus O (“olfactory”) equipped

GOW-MAC Gas Chromatograph equipped with for headspace analysis

Gardner Digital Handheld Colorimeter

Technidyne Opacimeter


Digital micrometer

Digital Caliper

Intel Digital microscopes (3)

Nikon CoolPix 5000 Digital Camera

Note: Plan to acquire thermal analysis instruments (DSC & TGA)

Testing equipment include a Lansmont PCT-5000 Box Compression strength tester and an MTS/LAB 886 Shock (Vibration) Machine.

Caption: Students use a vacuum sealer in the University of Florida packaging lab. Assistant professor Bruce Welt can seen in the green shirt.

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