Innovative manufacturing processes
About one billion film packages are produced for consumer goods each year. Manufacturers are continually endeavouring to find efficient production solutions. Two new manufacturing techniques are now available that contribute to greater safety in food packaging. Saudi Basic Industries Corporation
The Saudi Arabian chemical and metal group Saudi Basic Industries Corporation
(SABIC) has created an innovative polymer mixing process that increases the robustness of shrink and stretch films used for the protection of food packaging. It reduces cracks in thin materials and increases the processing speed. These PE and PP plastics are used, above all, in the manufacturing of packaging for fresh and refrigerated food, as they help towards a particularly long shelf life. Fraunhofer Institutes
90 per cent of film packaging intended for private use is sealed with hot tools. But this so-called contact method means that traces of the packaged product can accidentally reach the sealed seam from time to time, so that the package loses its tightness. So far the only way this fault could be detected was through spotchecks or through inspections applied to each package. In the future such work can be avoided, thanks to a device developed by the Fraunhofer Institutes in Freiburg and Dresden. Working together, they have created a thin-layer temperature sensor which assesses the packaging process on the actual sealing track. Known as inline monitoring
, this process automatically conveys information about the packaging unit for each sealing process. It discerns temperature fluctuations and then adjusts the machine straightaway. This is made possible by high-precision sensors, coated with extremely thin thermal elements. They can even detect residues of ground coffee, thus leading to long-term savings in terms of effort, time and money.