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Strong commitment to R&D delivers results

Metso Paper’s research and technology development (RTD) effort focuses on developing processes and aftermarket solutions for all major pulp, paper, board, and tissue grades – to enhance productivity, efficiency, environmental performance, and life cycle costs. This work has helped secure the company a leading position in the industry.

Metso Paper is a global leader in technology and service for the pulp, paper, and power generating industries. The company has supplied thousands of new machines and equipment to the world’s pulp and paper industry over the years, and modernised existing capacity for virtually all of the world’s major producers.

Some 40% of the paper and board consumed in the world today is produced on machines supplied by Metso and its predecessors – something that no other supplier can come close to.

The company’s long-term commitment to RTD and improving its customers’ competitiveness has played an important part in this achievement, and Metso Paper has an extensive patent portfolio protecting some 2,500 inventions.

Pilot Paper Machine 2 at Metso Paper’s Technology Centre in Jyväskylä in Central Finland was extensively rebuilt in 2006. It now has a design speed of 3,000 m/min, some 1,000 m/min above that of the fastest production machines.

A strong network

Maintaining this technological lead calls for constant work, and involves more than 500 full-time research and technology personnel at the company’s 13 research centres – in Finland, Sweden, Italy, and the US. These centres cover all the key pulp- and papermaking processes and feature extensive full-scale pilot facilities, which are used not only in internal development work, but also in demonstration trials and partnership projects with customers.

Metso Paper has invested at least 3% of its net sales in research and technology development, well above the industry average, for many years. In addition to its own research programmes, Metso Paper works closely with research institutes, universities, laboratories, and customers; and this cooperation has proved very productive. On average, the company introduces between 60 and 80 new products every year – a very high number for the industry.

The ValZone metal belt calender has revolutionised traditional calendering and offers a major quality and efficiency boost. The product is also a good example of Metso Paper’s commitment to high standards of industrial design, to provide not only a functional and appealing appearance but also a safer and more pleasant working environment.

Adding power

Good examples of the continuous flow of competitive, high-efficiency products and technologies that this work has generated include ChipWay, Compact Cooking, and DryWay for pulping processes, and the Opti and Val families of products for paper- and board-making.

Following the recent acquisition of Aker Kvaerner Pulping and Power, Metso Paper can now supply boilers for chemical recovery and power generation, as well as technology to reduce airborne emissions.

CYMIC and HYBEX circulating and bubbling fluidised bed boilers offer a range of environmentally friendly combustion solutions for converting mill waste and biomaterial into energy at high efficiency.

More efficient means better for the environment

Paper and board machines supplied by Metso Paper have an extensive track record of delivering more speed, production, and efficiency records than those of any other supplier. Technology supplied by Metso Automation has played a significant role in this success.

Maintaining and developing production line performance is vital in today’s pulp and paper industry – and Metso Paper offers a full range of both standard and tailored service solutions for pulping and paper-, board-, and tissue-making.

A revolution in calendering

ValZone metal belt calendering – a new process designed for the dry end of a paper or board machine – represents the latest in long nip calendering, and underlines Metso’s technological leadership in this area.

The unit features a one-meter calendering zone between a heated metal belt and a heated thermoroll, providing an extended dwell time that is around a hundred times longer than in a conventional roll nip.

High thermal energy and web moisture result in very effective web plasticisation, which provides significant benefits in terms of surface properties and enhanced visual appearance on both sides of the board. As calendering is carried out at relatively low pressure, output has high bulk and stiffness, giving excellent printability, even ink setting, and reduced print mottling, as well as good potential for downsizing packaging weight.

> Jouko Yli-Kauppila
(Published in HighTech Finland 2008)