Research Project Summary Information
Feasibility of Ultrasonic Spray Coating of Biodegradable Films for the Food Industry with Energy Sav(ST10460-1)
SONO-Tek Corporation is a New York State energy products manufacturing company that develops and markets unique spray technology using ultrasonic atomization nozzles. Food manufacturers have approached SONO-Tek to utilize the spray technology to improve productivity of the manufacturing process by reducing energy use and increasing cost savings within the food industry. SONO-Tek has also helped other industries reduce over spraying, resulting in cost and energy savings. SONO-Tek has already successfully demonstrated its laboratory scale processing units by coating a biodegradable film with nano-clay.
The project designed and built a prototype machine capable of operating in a continuous mode, ultrasonically coating rolls of biodegradable packaging films with different nano-materials. The technical performance, energy, environmental, and economic impacts were to be evaluated for performance.
These improvements were anticipated to lead to increased food safety, improved oxygen barrier properties, and increased shelf life of products through enhanced spraying of natural antimicrobial solutions, nano/micro layer compounds and glazing compounds. Savings were anticipated to be in the range of 10-15% in overall energy use (elimination of petroleum-based plastic use and reduction in process energy and waste incineration), and over 50%, in coatings materials usage.
SONO-Tek designed and built a prototype machine capable of operating in a continuous mode, ultrasonically coating rolls of biodegradable packaging films (e.g., Poly Lactic Acid [PLA]) with different nano-materials. An external lab tested the coated film versus uncoated film; the coated PLA film demonstrated a significant improvement of the barrier properties against oxygen transmission, at an economically attractive cost of goods. However, surface chemistry between the nano-clay dispersion and the PLA film was not uniform enough to meet industry standards, because the nano-clay formed discrete droplets, which partially failed to coalesce. Additional capital investment in equipment and in process development is required in order to meet the desired uniformity specified for an industrial-scale quality.
2012 Route 9w
Milton, NY 12547
NYSERDA Contact Information
R&D - Mfg Tech & On-Site Pwr