Klabin to develop more efficient paper packaging for e-commerce; studies new wood products

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Klabin to develop more efficient paper packaging for e-commerce; studies new wood products

October 17, 2017 - 16:27

SAO PAULO, Oct. 17, 2017 (PPI Latin America) -Brazilian pulp, paper and packaging producer Klabin has been working on the development of more efficient paper packaging for e-commerce, the company's technology and pulp director Francisco Razzolini toldPPI Latin America. "We have been working with many of our clients that play in the e-commerce area, which has been using more intensively paper and corrugated board packaging, which is eco-friendly and has high technology," the executive commented.

According to Razzolini, Klabin is studying how to produce packaging that is easier to handle, transport and use. "We need to create standards for different sizes, for example. Also, we need to have lighter boxes. Another thing that we are working on is the so called 'smart packaging', which will have electronic labels that will allow sellers to easily handle, identify and track their products."

The executive added that the e-retailers also demand premium packaging, which can communicate better their brand and products. "In this sense, we see the white papers getting more participation in those boxes," Razzolini explained. "Paper and corrugated board packaging are strong marketing media, also because of their sustainable characteristics – they are recyclable and have low environmental impact," the executive added.

He also commented that Klabin's packaging can cost much less than other competitors' packaging, as it can be made of up to 100% of eucalyptus fiber. "This is new in the world. Kraftliner has been always produced with softwood and now we can make it by using 80 to 100% eucalyptus. This requires a much smaller forest area and costs much less than the boxes made of pine fiber."

There is no official data showing e-commerce participation in Brazilian packaging producers' growth, but Razzolini said that this is still a small market in Brazil. "Even though we have been working with many clients from this sector, almost 70% of our corrugated packaging customers are food producers," he pointed out.

Razzolini mentioned that the e-commerce can also impact the recycling industry, as waste paper sources move from the large supermarkets and other stores to individuals. "The e-commerce fails when it comes to ease paper collection and recycling, so municipal governments will have to develop a better structure to separate those boxes. In Brazil the structure is good, but other countries are already being impacted and recovered paper prices are already going up [due to lower supply]."

Technology center.Late in June, Klabin opened a new technology center in Telêmaco Borba, Paraná state, southern Brazil. According to the company, the center will be able to anticipate trends and develop new technologies capable of producing a wide range of forestry products and conduct simulations of the production lines at industrial units.

"We are already using the laboratories at the new technology center, but there is still equipment being installed and people [researchers and technicians] joining the team. But everybody sees the center as very positive move – including our own people, as well as our suppliers and clients. We've been promoting many meetings to integrate them and discuss innovation," Razzolini said.

In August, Klabin held its first innovation event ("Inova Klabin"), which gathered customers, suppliers and internal workers to discuss the application of the technological innovations in their businesses. The three-day event was held at Klabin's Telêmaco Borba center and offered forums and discussion panels including companies such as Nestlé, Tetra Pak, IBM, Cubo, Dow, 3M, Unilever, BASF, Saint Gobain and SAP.

"The technology center has brought more power to Klabin, our people are more motivated to work and we are very happy to see Klabin developing and delivering solutions to its clients," Razzolini commented.

Klabin has one technology center dedicated to corrugated boxes in Jundiaí, São Paulo state, one for industrial bag studies, located in Lages, Paraná state, and two other focused on forest research in southern Brazil.

"We're very well structured, and now the idea is to make things work. We'll probably have to expand those centers in the future, as well as to install pilot plants to study areas such as lignin and fibrillated pulp, for example," Razzolini explained.

At its technology centers, Klabin is working in five fronts, according to Razzolini: forestry, pulp, packaging paper, wood and environment/sustainability.

New wood products.Razzolini commented that Klabin is developing new uses for wood and its derivates. "We are working on micro and nano fibers, also we're studying news uses for lignin, which is our main source of energy in the pulp production process but can be also be used as a substitute for fossil fuel sources. We are also analysing hemicellulose, as well as resins that are present in the wood," he explained.

In the forestry front, Klabin continues to study ways to increase its pine and eucalyptus forests' productivity, while on the pulp front the company is trying to be more efficient in terms of productivity, quality and consumption of inputs.

As for paper, Razzolini said Klabin has several and big projects that focus on the improvement of its papers' quality, including printing quality and barriers to water, moisture, steam and oil. "In the packages that use other materials together with paper – long life cartons, which are made of paper, plastic and aluminium – we are looking for paper properties that could eliminate the use of these other materials."

By Renata Mercante, Editor, PPI Latin America, rmercante@risi.com