Recyclate processing, Circular Economy and Digitalisation – IKV at K 2022

At K 2022, the Institute for Plastics Processing in Industry and Craft at RWTH Aachen University (IKV) will show three processes in operation: a batch variation tolerant process control for recyclate processing in injection moulding, an Additive Manufacturing technology for the production of large-volume components with load-case tailored layers, and the prototype machine for coating large-volume blow mouldings of the deep-tech startup company IonKraft, which has its roots at IKV. Besides, the Centre for Analysis and Testing of Plastics (KAP) will present an example from its portfolio for material characterisation.

Efficient material characterisation| Picture: IKV/Fröls

ADAM – Advanced Dimension Additive Manufacturing | Picture: IKV/Fröls

Plasma coating: Protoype machine of IonKraft start-up

Batch variation tolerant recyclate processing

The process control system Injectix developed at IKV can compensate for batch fluctuations in the recyclate during the injection moulding process. Contrary to previous process designs, Injectix applies a cross-phase control of the injection and holding pressure phase using the cavity pressure as the control parameter. The cyclically operating quality control specifies the cavity pressure trajectories to be controlled based on interactions between material, process values and component quality mapped out in a quality model. To demonstrate the proficiency of Injectix, IKV will produce stacking boxes made of PCR-PP at the IKV booth. Production will be carried out with and without intelligent process control. A measuring cell for monitoring the component quality is combined with the injection moulding machine to make the differences apparent. The produced parts will be provided with a laser marking in the form of a QR code.

Efficient material characterisation

A targeted material analysis helps to identify the possibilities and limitations of recyclate in relation to the intended application. At K 2022, the Centre for Analysis and Testing of Plastics (KAP) will show an example from its portfolio for material identification focusing on the characterisation of recyclate. Using the FTIR-ATR method (Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy – Attenuated Total Reflection), the presence of dominant organic or partially organic components, like fillers and impurities, can be detected. In the case of recyclates, for example, polypropylene can be traced in polyethylene and vice versa. In addition to material identification, the services of KAP also include damage analyses, the evaluation of product qualities, and product testing. At the IKV booth, we will provide information about the service portfolio, the testing and analysis methods available, as well as approaches to individual problems.

ADAM – Advanced Dimension Additive Manufacturing

Large-volume components can be manufactured efficiently using additive manufacturing, if the melt delivery of a screw extruder is combined with the installation space of a jointed-arm robot. The Advanced Dimension Additive Manufacturing (ADAM) developed at IKV enhances the application range of plasticising additive manufacturing processes even further. Using ADAM, the individual layers can be curved and arranged three-dimensionally, as desired, and do no longer have to be in one plane parallel to the build platform, as in the conventional method. This way the process makes specific use of the anisotropy of the mechanical properties caused by the layer-by-layer build-up of components by aligning the layers to the relevant loads. At K 2022, IKV will demonstrate the performance of ADAM and produce pieces of furniture in a fully integrated production cell.

Plasma coating: Protoype machine of IonKraft start-up

The deep-tech startup IonKraft, which has its roots at IKV, will present its prototype machine technology for the coating of large-volume blow mouldings for the first time to the public on IKV's stand at K 2022. The barrier coat has been shown to prevent the migration of substances out of the contents as well as out of the packaging into the contents. Besides it can be applied to the outer surface of the packaging where it could serve as an odour barrier for the often unpleasant inherent odour of recyclate material. Both features open up new possibilities for the use of recyclates in packagings. During K 2022, IonKraft will apply a coating to containers in a demonstration on the prototype machine and show how it can be integrated into a production line for large-volume blow mouldings.

IKV’s K 2022 project partners:

Batch variation tolerant injection moulding

  • Datalogic S.r.l. Niederlassung Central Europe: Lettering
  • Der Grüne Punkt – Duales System Deutschland GmbH: PCR material (Systalen®)
  • HASCO:  Standard mould units
  • Kistler Instrumente GmbH: Sensor systems and measurement
  • Kroma International GmbH: Mould unit
  • LyondellBasell: PCR colour masterbatch
  • WITTMANN BATTENFELD GmbH: Machine supplier, temperature control, material feeding and conveying

Advanced Dimension Additive Manufacturing (ADAM)

  • Motan-Colortronic GmbH: Material drying and feeding
  • Rehwald GmbH: Extruder screw
  • RK Rose+Krieger GmbH: Machine foundation and frame
  • Simona AG: Enclosure
  • Stäubli International AG: Jointed arm robot