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
Axel Bauer | Fraunhofer-Institut
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In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.
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The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
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