Patent of the month April

01/04/2021
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Plasma coating for recyclable high barrier packaging

Recently, an RWTH development for plasma coating received funding from the EXIST research transfer program of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). Within the scope of technology transfer, it shall now be brought into industrial application. The Institute of Plastics Processing (IKV) filed a patent application for the basic technology titled "Process and equipment for the continuous vacuum-based treatment of web material", which was published in February. The patent application EP3771747A1 is therefore our April Patent of the Month!

With the new process, the Aachen inventors have optimized the state of the art for producing plasma-coated plastic sheets. The aim of the EXIST funding is to scale up the method to the production of recyclable plastic containers.

Plastic materials for barrier applications, such as canisters or pharmaceutical blisters, are produced by the packaging industry primarily as composite materials. These consist of several layers of different plastics or various combinations of materials (cardboard, polymers, aluminum). Thus, they are material-intensive and difficult or impossible to recycle. With the new technical solution, the multi-material mix is replaced by the combination of a plastic monomaterial with a wafer-thin coating. This allows packaging that can be recycled and also scores in terms of sustainability with a lower material input.

Surface coatings of plastic sheets are already known to the state of the art. However, some process-related problems, such as the undesired deposition of coating material on system components, lead to higher maintenance costs. This results in downtimes and lower throughputs. The IKV scientists have now succeeded in reducing the deposition of coating material by changing the division of the reaction chamber. Through this and other improvements, the throughput could be increased decisively.

The EXIST-funded project will investigate the application to transparent and chemically resistant container coating by constructing a prototype, that can be flexibly integrated into existing coating processes. This project is implemented by the RWTH spin-off IonKraft , formed by graduates Montgomery Jaritz (industrial engineering, involved in the patent as inventor), Benedikt Heuer (mechanical engineering) and Alexander Jahn (electrical engineering and software development).

The Patent & Standards Centre cordially congratulates and wishes good luck!

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Sources:

https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/search/family/071846243/publication/EP3771747A1?q=EP3771747A1

https://ionkraft.com/de/

https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasmaunterst%C3%BCtzte_chemische_Gasphasenabscheidung