22/02/2023 – Packaging / Technology / Fraunhofer / Institute / Interpack
Fraunhofer IVV to present new tech for packaging and F&B industry at Interpack 2023
The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging will be presenting its new technologies and solutions for business in the packaging and F&B industry at the interpack trade fair in Düsseldorf from 4–10 May 2023.
Presenting its advanced solutions at the leading packaging technology event from VDMA’s booth (#C54, Hall 4), German research institute Fraunhofer IVV will showcase an array of new developments that can help companies establish digitalised value creation processes and take their first step into the circular economy.
Training machine operators from any location with VR and digital twins
Fraunhofer IVV is developing digital training systems based on virtual reality (VR) to provide support for vocational training and continued professional development for operating and technical staff. This enables the staff to master the steps involved in processes such as changeovers. The systems will also assist with developing in-depth process understanding as quickly as possible — a necessary step for eliminating and avoiding faults on a long-term basis.
The training program can be run as a stand-alone application on VR terminals; there is no need for the machine itself to be present for the training activity. Learners are able to make mistakes and gather experience without impeding a machine’s availability for other uses or even risking damage.
The VR training scenarios are based on a CAD model of the machine and the corresponding process model. This is coupled with a curriculum that is individually tailored to the specific tasks involved in operators’ work and includes a range of learning modules.
Visitors to the booth will have the opportunity to try out the training system for themselves using the example of a production plant for thermoformed packaging.
Consultation services for future-proofed digitalisation strategies
When it comes to challenges such as ensuring the resilience of processes, implementing the circular economy or addressing skilled worker shortages, digitalisation can offer solutions. Fraunhofer IVV assists companies undergoing transformation processes – i.e., implementing concepts such as networked production, the industrial internet of things and data exchanges encompassing the entire value chain – by developing company-specific technology and assistance solutions, individually tailored software for supporting system integration, and AI applications for the production process.
Ensuring product safety with intelligent cleaning tech
The quality of manual processes for cleaning machines, plants and production environments can vary widely. These processes are not reproducible and, in view of the ever worsening shortage of skilled workers, pose major challenges for companies. In view of this, Fraunhofer IVV is working on intelligent technology solutions for automating manual cleaning processes.
At the interpack trade fair, Fraunhofer IVV will demonstrate its AR-based technology CleanAssist, alongside two variants of the Institute’s Mobile Cleaning Device. These pioneering technological applications enable efficient, resilient production processes that ensure a high level of quality. Cleaning processes can be documented in a fully automated manner using intelligent sensor technology and a digital twin. This means it is possible to genuinely validate cleaning processes, offering quality assurance with digital assistance.
Indeed, CleanAssist is the first virtual cleaning assistant for manual cleaning. Tracking sensors on the cleaning lance can be used to analyse and document the rate of volume flow applied (i.e., the rate of cleaning efficiency), as well as spray shadows. A digital twin is transferred to the real-world cleaning environment with the help of an AR device; the actual progress of the cleaning is displayed to the user in real time. This means that areas that have been overlooked, insufficiently cleaned or cleaned too much are visualised to the staff and thus belong to the past.
The Institute’s Cleaning 4.0 approach – i.e., one that is fully automated and flexible – is realised in its Mobile Cleaning Device (MCD), an intelligent, modular cleaning robot. Fraunhofer IVV will present two models at interpack for different applications. The first model is an autonomously moving device and can be used for automatic cleaning of entire production environments. The fully integrated contamination sensor technology in the MCD automatically detects the degree of contamination and allows the cleaning process to be documented. An innovative adaptive jet cleaner (AJC), which rotates on three axes, takes care of the cleaning. The second model, an inline version of the Mobile Cleaning Device (Inline MCD), can be used to automatically clean processing plants and process lines. The Inline MCD is additionally equipped with a variety of cleaning nozzles and brushes. During the cleaning process, it travels along the same path as the product through the process equipment, via conveyor belts or rail systems.
Circular economy advancements in packaging solutions and material substitutes
The packaging industry is facing growing demands for recyclable packaging systems – in response, Fraunhofer IVV is developing customised, fibre-based packaging systems and technologies that can reliably control the processing behaviour of paper and alternative materials in high-speed machines. At interpack 2023, the Institute’s exhibits will demonstrate the variety of shapes of thermoformed fibre-based packaging that can be created and what can be achieved when 3D-moulded parts are combined with embossing processes in consumer packaging. They will also show how moulded parts can be combined with functional – and sometimes even organic – barriers.
By focusing on efficiency, safety and feasibility, Fraunhofer IVV offers holistic support for companies making the switch to alternative materials and recyclates. At interpack, the Institute will provide insight into advanced forming, joining, measuring and monitoring technologies, as well as research services along the process chain (ranging from material selection and characterisation, to process and machine analysis and packaging design). To this end, Fraunhofer IVV is developing inline monitoring technologies, specifications for process parameterisation, and needs-based process and machine designs. It is also conducting on-site efficiency analyses in industrial production environments.
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