Trade fair preview 08.03.2023
Brabender at Interpack: Live extrusion of seaweed at the booth
This year, from May 4 to 10, the global packaging industry will meet at the Interpack trade fair, where innovations along the entire value chain and top trends in the industry will be presented. Brabender will also be there and, at the booth C54 in hall 4 of the VDMA Food Processing and Packaging Machinery Association, will be presenting live, together with the Technical University of Dresden, processing from dried seaweed to formed packaging: “We will be showing processing from seaweed to cup. Compared to packaging made from crude oil, with seaweed it is possible to implement the processing up to the production of a package on just a few square meters of an exhibition booth”, explains Ludwig Schmidtchen, Head of the seaweed polymer project at Brabender. Interested visitors can find out about seaweed quality determination using ViscoQuick at Brabender and view flat film extrusion with the TwinLab-C 20/40 laboratory twin-screw extruder and associated film drying. With the film samples taken, the next step will be to form the film into a cup on the forming unit developed for this purpose by TU Dresden.
Sustainable films for washing powder and dishwasher tabs
Seaweed is suitable as a raw material for biodegradable packaging. For example, it can be used as a film for washing powder or dishwasher tabs. Ludwig Schmidtchen is conducting research at Brabender together with the Technical University of Dresden and the University of the Philippines on the processing of this cost-effective and sustainable raw material source: “By means of extrusion, the seaweed is processed into a polymer material in the form of granules, strands, a film or a 3D molded part. All the components of the seaweed are then also contained in the end product”, explains Schmidtchen.
This reduces processing to a minimum. The sum of the CO2 footprint of the raw material, processing into the product, its use and disposal therefore has the potential to be minimal. Due to the simplicity of the manufacturing process and the low raw material costs, the material from seaweed not only has great potential to provide an environmentally friendly alternative to certain plastics, but also to be economically competitive.
Many years of experience in quality determination
Building on Brabender’s 100 years of experience in raw material quality determination, starting with flour characterization, a method has been developed to determine the quality of seaweed. The company’s ViscoQuick viscometer is used for this purpose. On this basis, the processing of raw material with fluctuating composition can be realized. After quality control, suitable processing is then carried out in extrusion to produce the desired product, for example a film.