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New measuring system for process monitoring of foamed plastics

New measuring system for process monitoring of foamed plastics

2024 FoamResControl
Ultrasonic transducer inspecting an extruded plastic foam. (Photo: SKZ)

The SKZ, a leading research and development institute in the field of plastics technology and part of the Zuse Association, is pooling its expertise with SONOTEC GmbH. The result: innovative methods for non-destructive testing of foamed plastics. The cooperation is a response to the increasing demand for efficient testing methods for foamed plastics.

Together, the partners are establishing advanced testing technologies. This will enable accurate and reliable evaluation of foamed plastics. This will benefit industries ranging from automotive to packaging, as lightweight and efficient materials become increasingly important.

The joint project "FoamResControl" increases resource efficiency in the production of plastic foams. The measurement technology uses innovative air-ultrasonic transducers to record specific measurement data. This data is then correlated with relevant foam parameters. An artificial intelligence, a neural network, is created, trained and optimized for this purpose. This enables reliable and reproducible in-line process monitoring.

Direct and automated measurement offers many benefits: Savings over current time-consuming and manual processes, linking measurement data to process and system data, and developing models for predicting failure.

"Beyond the project, there is technological potential to sustainably design production processes in the manufacturing industry for a wide range of materials and components," says Pierre Pfeffer, Senior Scientist in the field of non-destructive testing at SKZ. "The digital-ecological character of the innovation leads to resource-efficient, transparent production based on real-time data - a real added value for the realization of a sustainable digital transformation."

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety (BMUV) and stands for innovative solutions in materials testing.


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