Metsä Group’s development company Metsä Spring and Valmet have decided to continue the progress collaboration are related to 3D fiber products and to invest together around EUR 20 million in a new R&D project. Since part of the project, a greenfield pilot plant will be made on Metsä Group’s mill site in Äänekoski, Finland. When operational, the pilot plant will employ approximately ten persons.
The technology implemented in the pilot plant converts wet wood pulp into final 3D fiber products without any intermediate steps. In other words, the new environmentally-friendly 3D fiber products are ready to be shipped to end consumers as such.
We aim to develop a novel wood-based 3D fiber product, which can replace, for standard, packages made out of fossil raw materials.
The pre-study period with Valmet was a success. We have thus decided to accelerate the step of growth by constructing a pilot plant. I believe that our opportunities for developing a new significant added-value product for the Finnish forest industries are excellent, says by Jarkko Tuominen, head of the Metsä Spring project.
The primary raw material used to make the new products are renewable, sustainably-grown, and pure Finnish wood fiber. The 3D fiber products are recyclable. However, in the case of recycling is not possible. The material also decomposes biologically. Maximizing the energy and raw material capabilities and minimizing the distribution link(s) logistics are approved by the document’s light structure and new production technology. Valmet conveys unique technology and product development capabilities to this mutual development project. That collaboration project with Metsä Spring is an excellent opportunity to develop new solutions that support sustainability, says Petri Rasinmäki, who the head of the Board and Paper Machines Technology Unit at Valmet.
The project’s short-term goal is to develop a new permanent, environmentally-friendly, and easy-to-use food packaging. Based on a recent customer survey, products are in high demand, and the order will grow faraway in the future. The aim is set for high dimensions market parts.
The pilot plant’s construction starts in the autumn of 2020. the pilot plant is supposed to be available for operation by the end of 2021. The pilot plant will be used to develop both the manufacturing technology and the 3D fiber product. The next step will be creating a commercial factory in the coming years. Such a factory would be established in Finland. The pilot plant phase is part of the ExpandFibre program.