We conduct research into fiber-based materials, thermoplastic biopolymers and bio-based functional coatings for packaging applications. Based on profound scientific knowledge of the structure-interaction relationships of bio-based materials, we are able to specifically create property and processing profiles and adapt them for the target application. We use these materials both alone and in combination with various substrates.
We are able to perform every step required in this process, including extrusion, lacquering and laminating, from laboratory up to pilot scale. In addition, we use standard industrial functionalization methods such as nano-level surface functionalization via PVD (Physical Vapor Deposition) to realize material-efficient packaging solutions. The result is innovative packaging concepts that are not only ideally tailored to the needs of the contents, but also promote the use of sustainable resources. The focus is on optimizing the technofunctional properties of bio-based materials for paper and film applications and improving the recyclability of composite materials.
Fiber-based materials can be used in a wide range of packaging solutions and are distinguished by their good image as renewable raw materials. However, they require suitable barrier and protective coatings to protect the packaged goods.
The aim of our development is the minimal use of non-fiber-based materials to ensure the protective properties of fiber-based packaging. In doing so, we focus on the required functionalization of paper, while minimizing the amount of materials that could later negatively affect recycling.
In our research projects, we analyze possible coating materials with regard to their processing, recyclability and suitability as a protective layer. Our network also enables us to specifically assess recyclability for disturbance potential.
Following current legislation, the packaging industry also focuses on cutting down on fossil resources. The targeted use of bio-based and / or biodegradable polymers brings great benefits, which we analyze in the course of application development.
The development, functionalization and optimization of biopolymers relating to application and processing is based on systematic additives, modification and reinforcement. In this process, we assess the extent to which various biopolymers can be processed and whether they are suitable for thermoplastic molding. For the protection of packaged food, we investigate the use of possible additional protective layers and evaluate the developed packaging materials made of biopolymers with respect to the EU regulation for food contact materials. We also analyze the developed packaging solutions for their mechanical and solvent-based recyclability.
When selecting bio-based coating materials, the focus is on waste materials and rapidly growing biomass raw materials that have not yet been tapped and that are not in competition with food or animal feed. Depending on the target application, the barrier and surface properties of fiber- or plastic-based substrates can be modified and optimized with coatings.
For this we have various application systems available. For example, the permeation properties towards gases, mineral oil or the sealing properties can be precisely adjusted. In addition to the technofunctional characteristics of coating materials, we assess their safety from a human toxicology viewpoint and their life cycle. In our pilot plant, we can scale up the developed packaging solutions and make them ready for the market through application tests.