Plastics – a producer of thermoformed plastic packaging – is now using equipment from Hammer-IMS in its production facilities in Wellen, Belgium. Hammer-IMS, a joint start-up from KU Leuven University Belgium and LRM Belgium, recently delivered its Marveloc 602-CURTAIN measurement system to the packaging producer. The system contains four M-Ray sensors, continuously measuring the plastic thickness on an ANL Plastics production machine. ANL Plastics experiences the technology of Hammer-IMS as fast, robust, secure, ecologic and easy-to-install. The technology is considered as a potential game-changer for the plastic packaging market, since Hammer-IMS products do not use nuclear energy.
Stefan Tielen, CEO ANL Plastics: “The disruptive technology of Hammer-IMS fits our strategy to play a leading role in downscaling the widespread use of X-ray and nuclear measuring systems in our sector.”
ANL Plastics is a European manufacturer of thermoformed plastic packaging products. ANL Plastics, headquartered in Wellen, Belgium, has three manufacturing plants in Europe, enabling distribution across the continent.
Hammer-IMS is a KU Leuven spin-off company, commercializing systems for measuring thickness and weight of industrial products. Its revolutionary M-Rays measuring technology is based on 8 years of research in the university conducted by general manager Noël Deferm and technical & product manager Tom Redant. One year ago, they received a two-year funding from Vlaams Agentschap Innoveren en Ondernemen (VLAIO) to commercialize the technology with ANL Plastics as a reference user. Hammer-IMS has the ambition to gradually make its technology the golden standard in a range of application domains.
“It is great to see these kinds of innovations coming from local start-ups,” says Tielen. “As a company, we are always looking for innovation and we are happy to cooperate with Hammer-IMS as it has provided a win-win situation. In addition to innovation, Hammer-IMS being located in our backyard is practical in terms of service and language.”
The Marveloc 602-CURTAIN measurement systems set themselves apart in many ways. No emission licenses are needed for using the electromagnetic M-Rays measurement technology of Hammer-IMS. Many of Hammer-IMS’s competitors do require emission licenses since they typically use high-voltage (>5kV) X-Ray systems or nuclear systems. M-Rays are harmless because they are non-radioactive and non-nuclear. In addition, Hammer-IMS typically incorporates multiple sensors in its measurement systems, yielding a near 100 % coverage of the material while producing. Another advantage of the Marveloc 602-CURTAIN is the measuring accuracy it maintains for high stand-off distances, avoiding scratches and defects on the material. The Hammer-IMS solution also allows for shipping automatically generated test reports to customers.
Hammer-IMS has transitioned from the university to the market place. The product offering is being improved systematically and investment capital has been attracted to finance the further growth of Hammer-IMS. In April 2016, Hammer-IMS has received a capital injection of 800.000 euro. The investors are Gemma Frisius Fonds KU Leuven and LRM. Both investment institutions have gained years of experience in supporting high tech start-ups. Last month, Hammer-IMS presented itself in C-mine in Genk where policy makers from Limburg province discussed with KU Leuven the innovation entanglement of Limburg and Leuven.