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Multifunctional surfaces 

‘Cluster Innovative Coatings’ IBN as a desk for coating sectors

The 'Innovative Coating' cluster project unites companies and organisations from the full value chain of the coating sector - raw material suppliers, formulators, technology suppliers, job coaters, integrators, end users, etc. - from various industries (metal, plastic, textile, timber, etc.). It allows players to meet each other, start open innovation projects and start cooperating as partners. The cluster project is an IBN (innovative business network) established by CoRI, Centexbel and Sirris with the support of the Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO; Agency for Innovation and Entrepreneurship). 

During 2017, the first year of the cluster, more than 230 participants found their way to the events: four thematic workshops, three company visits and four partner-matching events. More than 80 companies are currently members of the cluster. 

CleanSurface is meeting the challenge of stainless steel fouling in the food industry head-on 

Can the adhesion behaviour of stainless steel be changed by means of chemical and physical surface treatment providing a preventive and curative solution for fouling and biofilms?


Although stainless steel is widely used in the food industry, the material still has fouling and biofilm forming issues, two phenomena that have an impact on performance, safety and quality of food products. The CleanSurface VIS project (VIS: Vlaams Innovatiesamenwerkingsverband; Flemish Innovation Partnerships) wants to implement changes through the development of innovative treatments of stainless steel and the application thereof to be used in the food industry in combination with modified cleaning products. The ultimate result must be lower product loss, lower production costs, longer shelf life, fewer bacteria-related contaminations and a smaller environmental impact. 

Sirris, ILVO, Ghent University, Flanders' FOOD and KU Leuven are the project partners. Sirris guarantees state-of-the-art research into surface treatments and coatings and the preparation and mechanical characterisation of treated surfaces before and after fouling testing. 


A list of 20 treatments was drawn up for testing from state-of-the-art research documents. The adhesion behaviour of various surface treatments are tested at KU Leuven in a fouling set-up for various food products. Case studies are conducted based on the treatments in the pilot set-up with the best results and at the participating companies to determine the relevance and impact of the laboratory result in practical terms. 

Actipoly makes multifunctional food packaging environmentally friendly 

In the autumn of 2017, the Actipoly Cornet project came to an end. The objective of the project was the development of active multifunctional packaging as the basis of environmentally friendly fibre material. Packaging materials used for food trays often consist of plastic or plastic composites that are not recovered or recycled. The packaging must also be improved to reduce the quantity of food that is disposed of as waste every year. There are no renewable solutions on the market today, especially for trays.


The partners from Belgium, Germany and Poland worked together during two years to develop recyclable packaging for meat and fish with a longer shelf life. The objective of the project was developing a new thermo-formable and recyclable sheet material based on paper on which specific coatings were applied. A film with antimicrobial properties was required to seal off the packaging.


A sample tray was presented at the end of the project. Sirris successfully developed superhydrophobic coatings that are suitable to be in contact with food. 

Test equipment to test the wash and scrub resistance of the coating 

In 2017, the Sirris Coating Lab purchased a TQC Scrub Abrasion and Washability Tester. These machines are used to perform scrub resistance and washability tests on a coated surface. 

The resistance of paint, varnish or related products against scratches, wear and colour loss due to dry or wet tearing can be determined with the TQC Scrub Abrasion and Washability Tester. The machine simulates every-day wear and tear caused by cleaning activities or general use. The tester can be used in pass/fail tests, by applying a specified number of strokes or a minimum number of strokes at which the coating will fail when checked on a regular basis. The washability test will be used to evaluate chemical resistance, scrub abrasion resistance, stain resistance and cleanability of easy to clean coatings or anti-graffiti coatings.


Sirris deployed the washability tester at Veldeman to test the use of cleaning products on coated canvas.


This test equipment is part of the extensive test infrastructure that Sirris has distributed over several testing laboratories at various locations.