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					                                                                                                Aachen,
                     Press Release                                                              August 4, 2010




                                                Precise Measurement Technology for Complex Plastic Films
                                                Enables Resource Savings
                                                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
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT   which can measure the layer composition of multi-layered
Marketing and Communication
Dipl.-Phys. Axel Bauer
                                                films at production speeds of up to 450 m/min.
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen                                    Cost Advantage through Precise Measurement
Telephone 0241 8906-194
                                                Technology
Telefax 0241 8906-121
axel.bauer@ilt.fraunhofer.de                    “While the measurement of the total thickness during the
www.ilt.fraunhofer.de
                                                                                 August 4, 2010
                                                                                 Page 2




                                                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
Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT   film producers.” For this reason both of the institutes have
Marketing and Communication                     cooperated closely with four small and medium-sized
Dipl.-Phys. Axel Bauer                          enterprises for this project. For this, Octagon GmbH from
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen                                    Würzburg and Elovis GmbH from Karlsruhe placing their
Telephone 0241 8906-194                         long-term experience in the area of measurement
Telefax 0241 8906-121                           technology into the development. In the coming year, the
axel.bauer@ilt.fraunhofer.de
www.ilt.fraunhofer.de
                                                measurement system will be tested at the plant
                                                                                                   August 4, 2010
                                                                                                   Page 3




                                                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.


                                                Online-Press Release: www.ilt.fraunhofer.de


                                                Caption:
                                                Blown film plant at a pilot plant of the IKV with a running film inspection system integrated
                                                in the contact-free thickness profile measuring sensor VanPad by Octagon Process
                                                Technology.
                                                Source: Fraunhofer ILT.




Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Marketing and Communication
Dipl.-Phys. Axel Bauer
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen
Telephone 0241 8906-194
Telefax 0241 8906-121
axel.bauer@ilt.fraunhofer.de
www.ilt.fraunhofer.de
                                                                                                August 4, 2010
                                                                                                Page 4




                                                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
                                                www.ilt.fraunhofer.de

                                                Dipl.-Ing. Janina Overbeck
                                                Blown Film Extrusion
                                                Telephone +49 241 80-28349
                                                overbeck@ikv.rwth-aachen.de




Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT
Marketing and Communication
Dipl.-Phys. Axel Bauer
Steinbachstraße 15
52074 Aachen
Telephone 0241 8906-194
Telefax 0241 8906-121
axel.bauer@ilt.fraunhofer.de
www.ilt.fraunhofer.de

				
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