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Non-destructive and non-contact process monitors plastic sheet quality in real time.

Norbert Sparrow

March 6, 2024

1 Min Read
Image courtesy of SKZ Plastics Center

At a Glance

  • Project led by Germany’s SKZ Plastics Center in collaboration with two partner companies
  • Radar-based system reportedly improves on conventional and costly inline measurement technology
  • Can be used to inspect wood and glass products as well as plastics

A radar-based system that precisely monitors the quality of plastic sheet extrusion is under development by Germany’s SKZ Plastics Center and two partner companies. The non-destructive and non-contact process enables real-time identification of defects in the sheets.

SKZ has launched the federally funded project in collaboration with Trilitec GmbH, a provider of radar-based measurement technology, and VendOs Industrietechnik GmbH, a specialist in industrial automation.

Radar waves are used to inspect the plastic sheets. A combined transmission and reflection setup identifies defects such as blowholes and the presence of foreign materials. The use of narrow-band and modular microwave radar systems enables cost-effective solutions with high lateral resolution, an improvement over conventional and costly inline measurement technology, according to SKZ.

Automatic defect detection technology is based on machine learning techniques, especially deep learning, and artificial neural networks, said SKZ. This technology is especially well suited for precise pattern recognition in images, said the Würzburg, Germany–based climate protection organization.

The joint project aims to minimize material waste and, thus, reduce production costs. “This resource-saving approach not only promotes sustainable and digital production, but also strengthens the profitability of the local plastics industry," said Pierre Pfeffer, a senior scientist working on non-destructive testing at SKZ.

Related:New Frontier in Injection Molding Process Monitoring

The technology can be used to inspect wood and glass products as well as plastics.

The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, and Nuclear Safety (BMUV).

SKZ is a member of the Zuse Association, which groups independent, industry-related research institutions dedicated to improving the performance and competitiveness of industry, especially SMEs, through innovation and networking.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.


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