The process produces thicker folding box and liner boards without increasing weight. This is done by introducing microscopic pockets of air into the water fibre as the boards are formed. It mimics several processes that are now gaining use in plastic packaging – principally polyethylene terephthalate (PET) – answering the enduring call for lightweighted packaging.
The stream of bubbles used to aerate the board as it is manufactured also ensures that the fibres are more evenly spaced. Metsa notes this give the additional advantage of more consistent material properties and uniform appearance for the finished product.
The scale up work is now being carried out at the firm’s Kyro mill in south west Finland, where Metsa already makes its Avanta and Carta board ranges. The foaming technology used has been developed with the assistance of local research hub VTT.
Metsa CEO Mika Joukio says: ‘We have already seen that the technology works in a laboratory environment as well as on pilot machines.
‘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.’
This article comes from Food Contact World, which provides exclusive news and analysis on developments in digital print trends, markets, and technologies.