Inline quality assurance for the extrusion and transfer coating of polymer webs – SmartExtrusion

Project term: 1.1.2017 to 31.3.2019

Project management / project funding: Federation of Industrial Research Associations AiF (via the Industrievereinigung für Lebensmitteltechnologie und Verpackung e. V. (IVLV)) / Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi)

Web materials made of polymers and polymer laminates are widely used in, for example, the packaging, medical technology, automotive, and furniture industries. The quality of these web materials is highly dependent on the manufacturing and finishing processes and the evaluation of web flatness is becoming increasingly important. The inline measurement and control of quality-related parameters offers the potential for ensuring high web quality.

The objective of the SmartExtrusion project is to identify, quantify, and assess quality-related parameters during the extrusion and transfer coating processes. The project is studying both flat film extrusion and transfer coating for the manufacture of polymer webs. In both processes, the chosen parameter and measurement location used to evaluate the web quality is the line along the trailing edge on which, for example, delamination of the polymer web and the temporary base occurs. The findings will enable guidelines to be drawn up for optimized flat film extrusion, optimal storage of polymer webs, and optimal reuse of transfer paper.

The Fraunhofer IVV Dresden is investigating how selected process parameters affect web flatness and delamination forces. Using the optical Web-Tension-Profile (oWTP) scanner, limit values for permissible variation of the trailing edge are being determined for later studies on the flat film extrusion and transfer coating plants. Also, the effects of varying the storage conditions and duration of storage are being investigated.

The final guidelines for the optimized production of flat webs and improved inline process control will enable manufacturers of polymer webs to reduce product losses and the number of customer complaints by optimizing the quality of their production process. The findings will enable manufacturers of polymer webs to demonstrate and ensure the high quality of their products. Furthermore, optimal reuse of the transfer paper used in the transfer coating process will be determined.