Avery Dennison is mainly known for its adhesive tapes and labels, but they do amazing things with these products. The company shows a valve, called Flexis Steam, which can be integrated into the packaging and enables steam to escape in microwave meal cooking.
The valve is self-venting, which eliminates the need to puncture the lid or film before cooking. The valve also guards against the entry of contaminants by remaining hermetically sealed until the food product is cooked.
During the cooking process, the valve actuates at a predetermined temperature and allows a precise amount of steam to escape from the package. Depending on the baffle configuration designed into the valve, more or less steam will be permitted to escape.
For example, a floret baffle design might be specified for a rice, vegetable and protein meal because it retains an additional percentage of moisture inside the package. An “X” baffle design releases a bit more moisture and thereby thickens the meal’s sauce, being better suited for a chicken and pasta dish.
The steam valve system can be used in both microwave and conventional oven applications.
The steam valve system, as an integral part of the food package, is applied at the package converting stage. The Flexis steam valve system uses a proprietary design that provides a hermetic seal when applied over a pre-cut hole in flexible packaging or lidding film.
Users can print and apply the valves (e.g. form fill and seal) or source finished packaging with plain or printed steam valves pre-applied. Avery Dennison offers label applicators, printers and engineering assistance to integrate the system into existing packaging lines.