In January 2015, a rebuilding of Innventia's FEX pilot plant with new units for producing highly deformable paper starts. The pilot units will be modular and can be used separately or together with the FEX pilot paper machine. This will be the start of a new project called PhD-paper which aims to establish a full-scale test bed for processes that create highly deformable paper. These processes will, on one hand, broaden the design window for forest based raw materials and, on the other hand, create opportunities for verification of new application areas and markets.
With the help of an industry consortium and Innventia's gathered knowledge base and machine park, new technologies that are industrially viable will be made available for verification of new product concepts. During the project, value chains for new products as well as for commercial products with extended properties will be identified. One possible application is 3D packaging. Traditionally, paper has only been used to manufacture packages with flat surfaces. What restricts the use of paper for 3D packages, i.e. with curved surfaces, is the lack of industrial processes to produce paper material with a high level of stretchability in the cross direction.
"The idea with this investment is to enable testing of new energy efficient production concepts for paper qualities that will, for example, make it possible to replace some of today's 3D packages in plastic and thereby reducing the amount of non-biodegradable plastic waste," says project manager Mikael Magnusson.
The PhD-paper project runs for two years with a total budget of SEK 8.1 million of which VINNOVA, the Swedish Innovation Agency is financing 2.75 million. The project partners are Innventia, Gruppo X di X Gruppo, BillerudKorsnäs, Stora Enso and Tetra Pak.