Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Inline measurement system successfully tested on flat films

05.10.2012
As part of the IRIS collaborative research project funded by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi), the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT collaborated with the Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) at RWTH Aachen University to develop a film inspection system for multilayer films. The InnoNet project, which began in 2009, recently completed its final stage with the successful testing of the system on a flat film line under production conditions.

In 2011, the German plastics processing industry generated revenues of 55.9 billion euros, up 15 percent on the previous year's figure. Approximately one third of these revenues were generated by the packaging industry, which makes more than half of its sales from extruded packaging systems.


Production line for multilayer flat films with measurement system, Kuhne GmbH, Sankt Augustin.

Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen


A film inspection system with the VenPad from Octagon Process Technology GmbH measures the individual layer thicknesses of a multilayer flat film.

Source: Fraunhofer ILT, Aachen

As demand increases, so too does the complexity of the plastic packaging solutions requested by customers – and this challenge is pushing manufacturers to place more and more emphasis on functionalizing packaging films by offering complex layer structures. For example, adding a layer of ethylene vinyl alcohol (EVOH) copolymers creates a diffusion barrier against oxygen and water vapor which ensures that food products keep fresh longer. Currently, the minimum thickness of individual functional layers lies between 2 - 100 µm. In order to ensure they meet the minimum thickness requirements, plastics manufacturers apply more of the expensive functional material than is strictly necessary. As a result, EVOH and comparable plastics such as polyamide (PA) have come to represent a significant cost factor.

Guaranteeing quality and reducing material waste

The challenge faced by manufacturers of multilayer films is to make the functional layers thick enough without using excessive amounts of material. This is where a film inspection system can make a real difference: The system's measuring beam is moved diagonally across the film from one side to the other and takes a series of readings which enable it to determine the thickness of each individual layer. The sensor is capable of measuring multiple layers simultaneously at production speed. A software program analyses the data and triggers an alert if the readings deviate from the target thicknesses. This enables the manufacturer to correct the ongoing process immediately after detecting an out-of-tolerance reading and to maintain quality by either reducing or increasing the quantity of material used in response to the inline measurements. There is currently no other tool on the market capable of performing these inline measurements.

A further benefit of the film inspection system relates to the even distribution of the functional layer across the film's entire width. The nature of the production process means that the functional layer gets thinner towards the edge. As a result, manufacturers are forced to remove the edges of the film on both sides, representing a significant waste of material. Minimizing this wastage is an important issue. The inline measurement system makes it possible to determine precisely where this critical drop-off in thickness begins, thereby keeping wastage to a minimum.

Measurement system suitable for continuous use

Under the coordination of Stefan Hölters from Fraunhofer ILT and Janina Overbeck from the IKV, long-term measurements covering a period of more than 12 months have already been performed on blown films at the company A+C Plastic Kunststoff GmbH in Eschweiler, Germany. The results confirm that the measurement system is suitable for long-term, continuous use. The »VenPad« measuring system developed by the project partner Octagon Process Technology GmbH kept the measuring conditions constant and ensured that the results were accurate at all times. The experts have now applied these results to flat films: Under close-to-real-life manufacturing conditions, they successfully operated the measurement system in a series of tests run over a period of several days at the plant engineering firm Kuhne GmbH in Sankt Augustin.
Contacts

Dipl.-Phys. Stefan Hölters MBA
Head of the Group Clinical Diagnostics and Microsurgical Systems
Phone +49 241 8906-436
stefan.hoelters@ilt.fraunhofer.de
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen
Assistant Professor Dr. Reinhard Noll
Head of the Competence Area Measurement Technology and EUV Sources
Phone +49 241 8906-138
reinhard.noll@ilt.fraunhofer.de
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen

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

More articles from Machine Engineering:

nachricht PRESTO – Highly Dynamic Powerhouses
15.05.2017 | JULABO GmbH

nachricht Making lightweight construction suitable for series production
24.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.

All articles from Machine Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

Im Focus: On the way to a biological alternative

A bacterial enzyme enables reactions that open up alternatives to key industrial chemical processes

The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....

Im Focus: The 1 trillion tonne iceberg

Larsen C Ice Shelf rift finally breaks through

A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...

Im Focus: Laser-cooled ions contribute to better understanding of friction

Physics supports biology: Researchers from PTB have developed a model system to investigate friction phenomena with atomic precision

Friction: what you want from car brakes, otherwise rather a nuisance. In any case, it is useful to know as precisely as possible how friction phenomena arise –...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA looks to solar eclipse to help understand Earth's energy system

21.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

Stanford researchers develop a new type of soft, growing robot

21.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Vortex photons from electrons in circular motion

21.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>