More than 30 exhibitors at the accompanying exhibition in the Würzburg Congress Center showed what can already be achieved with functional coatings today. Exhibitors included the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC with highlights such as electrically colorable windows, printed sensors and biodegradable coatings for compostable packaging films.
“This year’s event in Würzburg was truly perfect,” said Prof. Dr. Günter Bräuer, chairman of the International Organizing Committee of the Trend Show and director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Technology IST, Braunschweig.
The automotive industry also presented itself on this platform as an important driver of innovation. “We can clearly see a new trend here,” Bräuer continued. Driven by electric mobility, innovative glazing is needed in cars. Accordingly, glass and coating solutions that make glass components more functional, stable, smarter and lighter are in demand - requirements that are also interesting for applications beyond the automotive industry. The experts regarded achieving multi-functionality with as little material and technology as possible via coatings as a primary challenge. “Many things are already in the drawer, but are not gaining acceptance,” Bräuer said. Some things may have been too expensive or too complex, but some simply are not known where they are needed.
Further development of films for plastic packaging was also discussed. Prof. Dr. Gerhard Sextl, head of Fraunhofer ISC in Würzburg, emphasized in his presentation the necessity of rethinking towards environmentally and resource-friendly alternatives: “We will only be able to tackle the problem of packaging waste and microplastics in the environment with biodegradable, compostable new plastics in the future,” Sextl continued.
At the beginning of the year, the development of bioORMOCERs from the Fraunhofer ISC was awarded the internationally renowned New Plastics Innovation Prize of the Ellen McArthur Foundation. The material serves as a compostable barrier lacquer to make bioplastic packaging impermeable to oxygen, aroma-tight and moisture-resistant, so that it can also be used for food packaging.