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On Wednesday, November 3, 2021 the Plastics Application & Training Center (KATC) officially opened its doors to the general public at the Delta Agrifood Business (DAB) lab in Bergen op Zoom. This new location gave them the opportunity to grow into an open innovation center, where education and business meet in the field of development of new (green) plastics, natural fibers and composites. In addition, the KATC is an education and training location for students and employees from the plastics industry. A unique combination.

In the transition to a circular biobased economy, the use of renewable raw materials and recycled materials is an important starting point. The demand for new materials and products is increasing, especially in the field of plastics and composites for use in construction, infrastructure and packaging. KATC, part of Curio, is responding to this trend.

Training professionals
This trend also calls for professionals with the knowledge and skills to develop, test and produce these new materials. Manfred van de Kreeke, Curio: “On the one hand, at KATC we prepare our MBO students for a job in the plastics sector. But on the other hand, employees from industry can also come to us for basic or in-depth training tailored to their needs, such as a training course in injection molding technology. The KATC offers a combination of knowledge development and practical experience in the field of sustainable plastics and processing techniques.”

The Agrofood & Biobased Practorate at Curio bridges the gap between practice and education. The research group of teachers and students, led by Practor Leon Joore (Millvision and Natural Fibre Application Centre) work on research questions from companies and institutions. The KATC is one of the locations where research projects of the Practorate on Agrofood packaging are carried out.

Helping companies to innovate
The KATC helps companies to develop sustainable plastic materials and products. For example, a company that wants to have its product made from recycled or natural plastics filled with vegetable fibre material. Or a start-up that wants to get started with materials and product development, but does not have the necessary facilities. For example, last year students worked on a material, developed and tested for a hand film wrapping unit (the XT e-motion) for the company Packtools 2.0. The request from this company was to develop a handle that is stronger, lighter in weight and made of recycled plastic. Meanwhile, this application is widely used in the market, a successful result.

Van de Kreeke: “We facilitate companies in the development of an idea, the development of the material or product and support them in their research into material properties. To this end, we have an extensive range of machinery, a characterization laboratory and specialists who, with their knowledge and experience, are eager to help companies further.”

Have you become interested in what the KATC does? Or do you have a question that KATC can work on? Then contact Manfred van de Kreeke m.vandekreeke@curio.nl and stop by. Website: www.curio.nl/katc