Practical courses, projects and research work take place in the laboratory area and in the technical centre of packaging technology. These focus both on the analysis and evaluation of packaging materials, packaging materials and their interactions with the packaged goods as well as on all processing procedures (forming, separating, joining, dosing, conveying, storing, arranging) and their exemplary, machine-based implementation. Packaging materials and products of all relevant shapes, materials and formulations are examined, such as films and sheets as flat products, bulk products, Newtonian and non-Newtonian liquids as well as piece goods.
Teaching & research
Focus points of work and research
Packaging aids, packaging materials and packaged goods
- Analysis of filling material: Interaction of the filling material with water vapour, sour substance and climatic changes.
- Packaging material analysis: Sealing parameters and
properties, gas and water vapour barrier effect, surface properties (friction, surface energy, bonding properties), mechanical parameters, interaction with machinery, analysis of crush resistance.
- Packaging optimisation: Packaging material/packaging material selection, compound optimisation, minimisation of packaging material use, labelling and product safety.
- Quality assurance: Leak-tightness, mechanical load-bearing capacity, climatic influence on packaging
- Rapid prototyping: 3D CAD design, 3D printing, folding box design with cutting plotter
Process and machine technology
- System analysis and optimisation: 3D layout planning and simulation for manufacturing and packaging systems, process optimisation
- Packaging technology: Dosing accuracy, parameter determination for wet and dry cleaning, filling jet analysis with slow motion recording, measurement of flow properties (e.g. bulk materials), foreign object management
- Robotics: Concept development, motion analysis and optimisation, development and testing of gripper systems, adhesive application.
Research activities to date
- Cleaning optimisation to reduce downtime
- Increasing the uptime of capping parts
- Barrier layers from alternative raw materials
- Variation of the protective gas atmosphere of a package
- Evaluation of the process parameters of packaging materials
- Optimisation of set-up times
- Resilience of food and packaging systems
Measurement of the sorption isotherm
The determination of the sorption isotherm allows the observation of the behaviour of food towards water vapour at different relative humidity values. In addition, predictions can be made about the relative humidity in a package and the packaging material can be re-evaluated in terms of packaging material minimisation and recyclability.
Oxygen consumption measurement
By knowing the oxygen consumption of a food, the oxygen barrier or the oxygen permeability of the packaging material can be individually adapted to the respective food. Balancing the oxygen consumption in the packaging and the permeability of the packaging material allows the characterisation of the interaction of a food and its packaging.
The simulation of manufacturing processes can be an important tool for companies to make production more cost-effective, efficient and with fewer losses. Through the simulation of reality, production processes can be analysed in advance, possible weak points can be identified and avoided from the outset. This contributes to the conservation of all resources.
Various software systems are available in the packaging laboratory with which corresponding simulations of food production and packaging processes can be carried out.
The basis for this is a comprehensive and modern range of test rigs, analysis and measuring devices.
Analysis and measuring systems
- Stationary and mobile measurement of moisture, temperature, pressure, displacement
- Speed and vibrations for the analysis, evaluation and optimisation of packaging materials, packaged goods and finished packaging.
- Test systems for tightness, seal strength, tensile strength, thermal conductivity, adsorption, barrier, material stiffness and strength
- Gas analysis (including use of oxygen, inert gas, etc.)
- Surface activation and modification, e.g. with plasma generator
- Test systems for evacuation, gassing and sealing
- Contact angle measuring device, thermal imaging and slow-motion camera
- Shear cell for determining bulk material parameters
- Test and measuring systems for control and regulation
Process and machine technology
- Test rigs for volumetric and gravimetric metering of bulk solids, liquids and pasty goods, such as pump systems, screw metering and vibratory feeders as well as test rig filling jet optimisation for liquids with slow-motion camera.
- Delta, Scara and articulated arm robots with image recognition and conveyor technology both for pick-and-place solutions with mechanical and pneumatic gripper systems and for complex movement paths of the working elements, e.g. for dosing, adhesive application and ultrasonic cutting, etc.
- Test rig for wet cleaning and disinfection (including with chlorine dioxide) in the powder area
- Test rigs for discontinuous and continuous ultrasonic use, e.g. cutting of packaged goods, welding/sealing and separation of plastic films, cleaning
- Test rigs for thermal forming (thermoformer, 3D printing) and mechanical joining/sealing (can crimping, bag sewing machine)
- Large-format cutting plotters and marking systems, such as label printers and mobile ink-jet hand printers
- Complete packaging systems, such as vacuum chamber machine, form, fill and seal machine with screw dosing (tubular bags) as well as fill and seal machine for pre-made bags including online printing, continuous finisher for packaging material pads
Holistic view of food and packaging as one unit
Device for measuring the surface tension
Mapping of simulation software available in the laboratory for production planning of manufacturing processes
Brief insight into the general activities in the packaging technology laboratory with a focus on the packaging process