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Fraunhofer to Display Barrier Coatings Made of Whey Proteins at ICE Europe

Published on 2011-10-14. Author : SpecialChem

The Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV will organize a technical conference on 9 November 2011 entitled "Sustainability in Packaging - Processes and Materials". This conference will form part of the International Converting Exhibition Europe ICE which is being held from 8-10 November 2011 in Munich.

The conference will focus on sustainable packaging from a number of viewpoints: Lower material usage, in-line process monitoring to reduce waste, optimized processes with lower energy consumption, and novel materials from renewable sources.

New coating made of whey protein on show at the stand of the Fraunhofer IVV

At stand 1031 in hall B5 the Fraunhofer IVV will present a new packaging film with a barrier layer made of whey protein. This product was developed as part of the EU "Wheylayer" project and means that the use of synthetic polymers as barrier coatings on conventional packaging substrates can now be avoided. The required whey protein formulation and the coating process were developed at the Fraunhofer IVV. The multilayer film, which can be used to manufacture flexible transparent packaging systems for foods, is a world first. "At the Fraunhofer IVV we have succeeded in manufacturing such a multilayer structure in a roll-toroll process for the first time using a patented process," explains Dr. Klaus Noller, Head of the Materials Development department.

This step represents a key prerequisite for being able to fulfill commercial criteria using this process. The formulations and processes that have been developed on a laboratory and pilot plant scale will be transferred to an industrial scale this year as part of the project work, so that the new whey-based material can be used in the near future by the packaging industry. In order to use existing plants for whey protein systems, only slight modification is required. Following the successful use in film laminates, the Fraunhofer IVV is also working on replacing EVOH (ethylene - vinyl alcohol copolymer) in thermoformed laminates by a barrier film based on whey protein.

Films with ultra barriers and active functions

By functionalizing films with ultra barriers and active components the Fraunhofer IVV is making a further contribution to sustainability. Under the motto "Sustainability is not only bio" the Fraunhofer IVV will present ultra barrier films that have been specially developed for demanding technical applications. They are suitable as ancapsulating materials for flexible displays based on liquid crystals (LCDs), inorganic light emitting diodes (LEDs), and organic light emitting diodes (OLEDs) and for flexible inorganic thin film solar cells and printable organic solar cells, as well as for high quality long-life insulation materials for housing, so-called vacuum insulation panels. At ICE 2011 a patented process will be presented which allows high quality barrier layers to be applied and which allows the favorable cost roll-to-roll manufacture of resistant high-barrier films. The process is already being used in industry to manufacture photovoltaic modules. For the manufacture of moisture-sensitive thin film solar cells this means that the back side made of glass can be omitted, saving 40% in weight.

The Fraunhofer IVV integrates active components into polymer films in order to preserve the quality of foods and guarantee long shelf-lives. These components are able to bind condensation in the packaging, to control the headspace humidity for fresh products such as vegetables, and to release antimicrobial agents from the packaging onto the food surface.

In the area of humidity regulation, the Fraunhofer IVV has developed special packaging materials by incorporating water vapor absorbing salts into a polymer matrix. The salts regulate the relative humidity in a packaging by absorbing and releasing water. Examples of such salts include sodium chloride and calcium chloride. These new packaging materials have prospective uses for packaging food products and also for chemical substances, hazardous products, electronic products, cultural objects, and plants.

About Fraunhofer IVV

Fraunhofer IVV is a competent and professional organization that carries out contract research and development work for industry. The activities are partly supported by publicly-funded investigative applied research projects as well as by the participation in scientific, standardization and industrial bodies. They develop and optimize products and processes in the area of Biogenic Raw Materials, Functional Ingredients, Food Processes and Products, Food Quality and Sensory Acceptance, Compliance of Packaging Materials, Functional Materials, Processing and Packaging Machinery, Recycled Plastics.

Source: Fraunhofer IVV

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