Fraunhofer – Recyclable packaging and more efficient processes  

What would have been there at interpack 2020?

Recycling of multilayer packaging materials using the CreaSolv Process. Photo - Fraunhofer

What would have been there? – This question may be asked by more than one expert in packaging industries worldwide. Talking about Interpack, packaging specialists always have a look at the research activities of the Fraunhofer Institute. We think it is worth a look at the news from there – not knowing whether that news will be presented or relevant at the postponed fair in February 2021. The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV is working on innovation in recyclable packaging, automation, and assistance for more effective processes. The experts at the German Fraunhofer IVV, design packaging systems to meet the precise requirements of specific products. They develop customized barrier concepts, assess the machinability of recyclable packaging materials, and use the CreaSolv process developed at the Fraunhofer IVV to separate the polymers in plastic laminates effectively. One pilot user and part of the developing project is Unilever, who installed a first sachet recycling plant in Indonesia, which started operation at the end of 2018.

Sealing seam analysis 4.0 – flexible and smart with Pack Peel Scan

Newly developed recyclable materials are initially subjected to thorough testing for machinability and product safety. The assistance system for machine operators integrated into the Pack Peel Scan uses methods of artificial intelligence to detect weak points in the sealing seams of peelable packaging and to analyze the causes. The system means that during the packaging process, shortcomings such as folds or contaminants in sealing seams can be rapidly and effectively-identified, faulty products can be rejected, and process parameters can be adjusted accordingly. The human-machine interface (HMI) of the Pack Peel Scan was designed using a new approach for effective information presentation. This design made use of recent expertise in engineering psychology acquired by the Fraunhofer IVV in Dresden and enables continuous data acquisition and clear presentation.

Increased plant efficiency using the self-learning assistance system for machine operators (SAM)

The use of new biobased and recyclable materials demands a great deal of processing knowledge and practical experience from the operators and technicians. To keep valuable knowledge within an organization, the Fraunhofer IVV in Dresden developed a self-learning assistance system for machine operators (SAM). Using machine learning algorithms and research findings on the psychology of information representation, a system was developed and designed to provide machine operators with the ability to customize existing knowledge. It also motivates them to learn, document, and exchange their ideas. Peerox GmbH, a spin-off of the Fraunhofer IVV, has used the research findings to develop commercial software as a modular add-on for new and existing plants. This product development enhances plant efficiency, reduces the number of rejects, and contributes to sustainable production.

Reproducible cleaning with effective use of resources using the ‘Mobile Cleaning Device 4.0’

The latest version of the Mobile Cleaning Device has an innovative multisensor system for the adaptive cleaning of production areas and hygienic areas. This gives the self-propelled robot orientation even under demanding conditions such as during spray cleaning and in the spray. It can be employed in the entire production area. The single physical connection is the cleaning agent hose. A freely programmable jet cleaner is the basis for efficient and targeted cleaning of production areas. Higher regions of plants are reached by the automated height adjustment of the cleaning and sensor head. The control software with digital twin adjusts the motion planning precisely to the degree of contamination and guarantees continuous documentation of the cleaning. This enables the cleaning of hygienically demanding areas to be carried out thoroughly in an automated and systematic manner. In addition, it is done reproducibly, and with minimum use of resources for the first time.

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

It is the right time to support our high-impact reporting and authoritative and technical information with some of the best correspondents in the industry. Readers can power Packaging South Asia’s balanced industry journalism and help sustain us by subscribing.

– Naresh Khanna

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