Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Precise Measurement Technology for Complex Plastic Films Enables Resource Savings

05.08.2010
Together with the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) of the RWTH Aachen University, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is presenting the prototype of a film monitoring system to measure individual layer thicknesses in multi-layered films at the International Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber (Hall 14/ IKV Stand C16).

All over Europe, the average demand for plastic packaging is increasing by 5.5 percent annually. As the second largest producer worldwide, Germany has profited from this increased demand, ranging at 7.5 million tons of plastic packaging a year. In addition, consumers require more and more from plastic packaging, especially for foods.

End users expect fresh products to have a longer shelf life and the packaging to have increasing functionality, such as a display of the degree of freshness. These increasing requirements upon packaging films are reflected technologically in a more and more complex layer composition and an increase of functional layers of plastic films.

As functional layers, expensive materials such as the plastic EVOH, for example, are commonly used. Thanks to its ability to act as a diffusion barrier for oxygen and water vapor, EVOH guarantees a longer shelf life of food. Due to the comparably high material price of the functional plastic, however, plastics processors have been making an effort to keep the share of the product’s raw materials as low as possible while retaining functionality. The thicknesses of the functional layers produced here lie mostly between 1 µm and 20 µm. In order to guarantee a fully functional barrier effect, manufacturers must continuously monitor integrity and thickness of the functional layer. Until now such a film inspection system has not been available, one which can measure the layer composition of multi-layered films at production speeds of up to 450 m/min.

Cost Advantage through Precise Measurement Technology
“While the measurement of the total thickness during the production process is already state-of-the-art, but analyzing the layer construction still occurs in the testing laboratory and not directly at the plant itself. We want to close this technology gap,” explains Janina Overbeck, leader of the working group Blown Film Extrusion at the IKV. “The contactless measurement of individual layer thicknesses during production is the most important step toward automated regulation of production plants for multi-layered plastic films.”

Within the scope of the IRIS project, researchers from the Fraunhofer ILT together with the IKV are developing a system to measure plastic films. This measuring system is based on an interferometric sensor and uses infrared light to detect refractive index changes within a measurement sector. Such refractive index variations appear on the surface of the film as well as on the transitions between the individual film layers.

In addition to better process control, the interferometric sensor will enable a control concept for individual film thicknesses to be implemented. By saving raw materials, companies can attain significant cost reductions. For a machine of medium capacity, this can add up to around €100,000 per year. On the International Trade Fair for Plastics and Rubber (Düsseldorf, Oct. 27 – Nov. 3, 2010), the research partners will be presenting the prototypes of their film inspection system to trade experts at Stand C16 of the IKV in Hall 14.

Close Cooperation with End Users
From the Fraunhofer ILT, Stefan Hölters places great emphasis on practical relevance of the joint research activities: “While the new measuring system has been in development, we have always considered, from the very beginning, the requirements of the plant builders and the film producers.” For this reason both of the institutes have cooperated closely with four small and medium-sized enterprises for this project. For this, Octagon GmbH from Würzburg and Elovis GmbH from Karlsruhe placing their long-term experience in the area of measurement technology into the development. In the coming year, the measurement system will be tested at the plant construction company Kuhne GmbH in Sankt Augustin under near-production conditions, before it is installed at the company A+C Plastic Kunststoff GmbH in Eschweiler on a production plant, where it will go into operation for several months.
Contact Partners at the Fraunhofer ILT
The following experts would gladly answer any questions you may have:
Dipl.-Phys. MBA Stefan Hölters
Measurement Technology
Telephone +49 241 8906-436
stefan.hoelters@ilt.fraunhofer.de
Dr. Reinhard Noll
Leader of the Competence Area Measurement Technology
Telephone +49 241 8906-138
reinhard.noll@ilt.fraunhofer.de
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen
Tel. +49 241 8906-0
Fax. +49 241 8906-121
Dipl.-Ing. Janina Overbeck
Blown Film Extrusion
Telephone +49 241 80-28349
overbeck@ikv.rwth-aachen.de

Axel Bauer | Fraunhofer ILT
Further information:
http://www.ilt.fraunhofer.de

All articles from Materials Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

Im Focus: Gamma-ray flashes from plasma filaments

Novel highly efficient and brilliant gamma-ray source: Based on model calculations, physicists of the Max PIanck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg propose a novel method for an efficient high-brilliance gamma-ray source. A giant collimated gamma-ray pulse is generated from the interaction of a dense ultra-relativistic electron beam with a thin solid conductor. Energetic gamma-rays are copiously produced as the electron beam splits into filaments while propagating across the conductor. The resulting gamma-ray energy and flux enable novel experiments in nuclear and fundamental physics.

The typical wavelength of light interacting with an object of the microcosm scales with the size of this object. For atoms, this ranges from visible light to...

Im Focus: Basel researchers succeed in cultivating cartilage from stem cells

Stable joint cartilage can be produced from adult stem cells originating from bone marrow. This is made possible by inducing specific molecular processes occurring during embryonic cartilage formation, as researchers from the University and University Hospital of Basel report in the scientific journal PNAS.

Certain mesenchymal stem/stromal cells from the bone marrow of adults are considered extremely promising for skeletal tissue regeneration. These adult stem...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Structured light and nanomaterials open new ways to tailor light at the nanoscale

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

On the shape of the 'petal' for the dissipation curve

23.04.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Clean and Efficient – Fraunhofer ISE Presents Hydrogen Technologies at the HANNOVER MESSE 2018

23.04.2018 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>