Silicone release paper and films are used in electronics manufacturing, the automotive industry, and numerous other sectors. Despite the widespread use of them, though, silicone release papers were never reused, which resulted in a great deal of waste detrimental to the environment. But with the contributions of Techlan, a provider of high-quality silicone release liners based in Wales, reusability of this material has been achieved. 

Working closely with its customer, GTS Flexible Materials, a world-leading manufacturer of flexible composite laminate, Techlan developed its Re-Liner, a silicone release material that is 100% recycled, and can be reused up to 10 times in a circular system. The quality of the product is ensured by the SMASH system from ISRA VISION, a leading provider of technologies for industrial image processing. The SMASH system allows Techlan to identify even minimal contamination and damage on the release papers, which helps lower costs and conserve resources. 

Brought to market maturity during a research and development period spanning over four years, Techlan’s patented method involves a number of key components. After using the release liners for the first time, GTS rewinds the waste rolls after use. Techlan collects the rolls and transports them back to their recycling center in Swansea. Techlan then cleans the waste liner on both sides using their patented process. Quality checks are carried out and then they are converted to size before being returned to GTS for reuse once again. To guarantee the best possible quality and ensure that only immaculate release liners reach the customer, Techlan places its trust in automatic surface inspection with the SMASH system from ISRA VISION. These powerful inline inspection solutions check the prepared materials for contamination with resin and other process materials, thereby providing feedback on the effectiveness of the cleaning processes.

As a result, the parameters can be adjusted quickly and efficiently in order to achieve consistently high production quality, as well as maximum productivity and production speeds. The optical inspection systems with the high-resolution embedded technology from ISRA VISION also identify defects of different sizes – including even the smallest cut marks that are invisible or difficult to see with the naked eye – reliably and at an early stage. SMASH Vision systems thereby ensure that this defective material is not reused. Their fully automatic, 100% inspection allows the production speed of the system to be raised beyond the previous parameters, while monitoring quality at the same time. As a central quality assurance system, the SMASH inspection system from ISRA VISION has enabled Techlan to develop and expand its innovative cleaning procedure and increased the company’s production output by more than 130%.

“The ISRA system has enabled Techlan to develop its innovative recycling process from an initial development stage into a commercially viable, rapidly expanding manufacturing business which produces a high-quality recycled product, without compromising on quality,” said Mark Thompson, Managing Director Techlan. “The manufacturer support during installation, integration and training has been exceptional.”

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