Valmet and Metsä Group‘s innovation company Metsä Spring have received national Quality Innovation Award 2022 in Finland with their demo plant that manufactures new kind of fiber products called Muoto®. The joint development project won the category of potential innovations. The criteria of the competition were novelty value, usability, learning, customer orientation and profitability. Excellence Finland announced the winners in Helsinki, Finland on November 10th, 2022.
The demo plant was inaugurated in August 2022. The goal of the plant is to develop a competitive and recyclable fiber-based package to replace plastics. The products are manufactured ready-to-use for different end uses. Thanks to the multi-layer structure, the product’s properties, such as strength and surface smoothness, stand out from products made with other, competing methods.
The 3D technology combines the production process of both the packaging material and the packaging into the same production line and guarantees a resource-efficient production process for example in terms of water use. The production line has a high degree of automation and a large production capacity. No waste is generated in the production process since the side streams can be reused in the process. After the currently ongoing demo phase is completed, market testing of the products with pilot customers will follow.
“3D fiber product technology is a very interesting future area for Valmet – molded fiber packaging is predicted to be the fastest growing segment in the packaging industry in terms of volume. Its growth is supported by restrictions on the use of plastic, the decreasing average size of a package and the growth in the takeaway food market. The 3D fiber product technology is completely new to Valmet, but we have been able to utilize our long experience and know-how in board machine technology and processes. The goal is to bring to the market a technology that is competitive not only in terms of production capacity, but also in terms of production costs and the quality of the final product,” says Petri Rasinmäki, Vice President, Board and Paper Mills Business Unit, Paper business line, Valmet.
“The growing packaging industry requires a variety of new sustainable alternatives; Muoto is our answer to these needs. We’ve moved quickly from an idea that emerged in our internal training programme to a demo plant thanks to our competence and – of course – our excellent partner network. There is every reason to be proud of the Finnish forest industry’s capacity for renewal,” says Jarkko Tuominen, Metsä Group’s Project Director.