Fraunhofer IAP and IAO push innovations with microencapsulation
What comes after carbonless copy paper?
The Fraunhofer Technology Platform Microencapsulation proves to be a successful concept, also in the fourth year. The network project, founded in 2009 by the Fraunhofer Institutes for Applied Polymer Research IAP in Potsdam-Golm and for Industrial Engineering and Organization IAO in Stuttgart is dedicated to new applications for the encapsulation technology. Primarily, the information platform focuses and communicates the available knowledge on the subject of micro-encapsulation and opens up new ideas for using them. It also offers a network of experts. Twelve companies are currently involved in the project, including BASF, Clariant, Henkel, Lanxess, as well as companies from Spain and Denmark. On 11 July 2012 they met again at Fraunhofer IAP for a workshop to discuss current trends and developments in the field of microencapsulation.
With the introduction of computer technology, the demand after copying papers decreased significantly. A serious problem for their manufacturers. The outdated copy technique is based on microcapsules, which were filled with a dye, and loaded onto the back of a paper. The pressure of a pen destroyed the capsules, thus producing a copy of the written word. But in the era of copying machines and personal computers microencapsulation is here much less application - a development that causes losses for many other sectors, as well. New industrial applications for the old technology are sought that ideally can be implemented with existing equipment. The Fraunhofer Institutes IAP and IAO followed this trend and established the Microencapsulation Technology Platform. "The participants of our internet platform receive various information on technical advances, current applications and new scientific publications or patents in the field of microencapsulation. Starting this year, they can even participate by video conference at lectures. " explains Fraunhofer IAP's microcapsule expert Monika Jobman. The offered range of topics is extensive. Active ingredients and additives for food, pharmaceutical, textiles, construction and chemical industries, the assessment of market opportunities, details how to raise funds from the EU or an overview of the Asian research activities are only some examples. A further centerpiece of the project is a networking facility in which microcapsule experts are identified and presented in interviews with their respective research areas. "With the platform we want to connect research institutions and companies from industry, working with microencapsulation. Representatives of different sectors come together here, for example from the display and interface technology, cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry, agriculture, architecture or medicine. " said Maximilian Kauffmann, project manager at the IAO. And this concept seems to work: The number of partners is constantly growing. "The workshop brought many new ideas and suggestions that we will pursue. However, we will continuously improve the quality of the platform by creating additional services to attract more participants to the network. Newcomers are always welcome." explains Monika Jobman. And even if it is not the stated goal of the platform is to generate projects, Jobmann and Kauffmann are rejoiced that several collaborations have emerged from this.