Metsä Board, a leading European producer of folding boxboards and linerboards, is to start live testing of foam forming on a production scale at its Kyro mill in Finland. The company has already done extensive development work for years to commercialise the new technology, which is expected to result in considerable benefits to its customers.
In foam forming technology, the water-fibre suspension is aerated with a stream of tiny bubbles. By using foam forming, the paperboard structure becomes bulkier, lightening the board’s weight. In addition, fibres are distributed more evenly in the web, improving formation of the board and resulting in more consistent properties and appearance. On top of these benefits, the technology reduces the use of raw materials, energy and water, enhancing sustainability.
“We have already seen that the technology works in a laboratory environment as well as on pilot machines,” says Mika Joukio, CEO of Metsä Board. “Following promising laboratory scale results and our detailed feasibility studies, we reached a decision to invest in further development of the technology on a production machine. Our target is to offer our customers even more efficient and ecologically sound paperboards in the future.”
Metsä Board is a forerunner in developing the foam forming technology. The company has been undertaking research as part of the Finnish Bioeconomy Cluster FIBIC’s research programmes which have been successfully scaled up together with VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland. Different phases of research and development have been accelerated through funding support from Tekes – the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation.
Valmet, the leading machine supplier to the pulp and paper industry, is installing the technology at Metsä Board’s Kyro mill.