According to the Board of the Marcus Wallenberg Foundation, "The 2012 Marcus Wallenberg Prize has been awarded to Mika Severi Viljanmaa for his ground-breaking development of metal belt calendering technology resulting in better paper print surfaces with less fiber materials and higher production efficiency". Furthermore, the invention also paves the way for applications in other paper machine sections with the opportunity of becoming a wider platform technology expected to substantially enhance production efficiency, competitiveness and sustainability of paper and board making.
Metal belt technology improves quality and efficiency, with less raw materials and energy
Metal belt technology has made a major breakthrough as a revolutionary new calendering concept for papermaking. Calendering is done to improve the paper surface and thus print quality. Compared with conventional calendering, advanced long nip metal belt calendering technology enables manufacturing of paper and board with better surface properties at a desired level of stiffness and bulk, but with 3-10% less fiber raw material; in addition it decreases energy consumption and yields higher production efficiency.
It is also suitable for low-cost fibers such as recycled fibers and thus enables development of new cost-competitive paper and board products. The new concept is compact, making it ideal for rebuilds to increase capacity by removing existing production bottlenecks such as yankee dryers or wet stacks.
Mika Viljanmaa, M.Sc., born in 1966, joined Valmet Corporation (now Metso) in 1996 as a development engineer at their Järvenpää unit, where he also completed his Master's thesis for the Helsinki University of Technology. Since 2003 he was in charge of calendering research and development at Metso Paper and since 2009 he has been responsible for R&D in surface treatment technology.
Viljanmaa is a highly prolific innovator, with a total of 120 protected inventions. 57 of these are related to metal belt technology and Viljanmaa is the sole inventor in 12 of them.
Mika Viljanmaa has guided several thesis works related to metal belt calendering and has presented conference papers on the subject.
The Marcus Wallenberg Prize
The Marcus Wallenberg Prize is an international prize that was established in 1980. Each year the prize recognizes a single research breakthrough by one scientist or a small group of collaborating scientists. The selected breakthrough will have a significant effect on the forestry and forest products industries.
In addition to rewarding the winner, the prize is also intended to encourage further research around the world. The prize sum is SEK 2 million.
In 1999 the prize was awarded to former Valmet (Metso) engineers Pekka Eskelinen, Raimo Virta and Vesa Vuorinen for their pioneering development of a unique air blowing technology for stabilizing paper webs aerodynamically at high speeds.