The board offering that takes the chill off

​Metsä Board has perfected the concept for its range of food-service boards.
​“Not only is the environmentally friendly fresh forest fibrebased fast-food business growing organically, it’s also winning ground from alternative materials. This is why I’m sure that the paperboards manufactured at Husum mill will have a great future,” enthuses Pasi Piiparinen, VP of new business and food fervices at Metsä Board.

The product family of food service board Carta Dedica is manufactured at the new folding boxboard production line that began operations at the beginning of this year at Husum mill in Sweden. According to Piiparinen, the new machine has started well, and Metsä Board was quickly able to produce prime quality board on it. “I must admit, the new quality surprised me very positively indeed,” says Piiparinen.

It has been a long time since a brand new folding boxboard machine was built in Europe, so naturally Metsä Board’s current customers – and a good number of potential new ones – have followed the process with great interest. “Customers are not just looking forward to receiving new, high-quality products such as the Carta Dedica product family. Now that the manufacturing of food service boards has been transferred to Husum, Metsä Board has been able to optimise the manufacturing of folding boxboards at its Finnish mills. This is why customers can expect improved availability for our other products as well.”

In addition to Carta Dedica, the new Husum board machine, BM1, manufactures Carta Solida, targeted mainly to the Americas. “This is based on the brilliant logistics systems at our disposal. At Husum, we have our own deep-sea harbour, from which we make direct shipments.”

Husum’s BM2 manufactures the fully bleached linerboard Modo Northern Light, which is also part of Metsä Board’s food service board offering. “Together these boards create a unique portfolio. The whole concept has been received extremely well,” says Piiparinen.

To perfect the range to a tee, Metsä Board is building a PE extrusion line next to the new board machine. The start-up of this line will take place during the first half of 2017. “After that, the Husum setup will be perfect. But customers don’t have to wait until 2017 to receive PE-coated Carta Dedica, as we can already supply boards coated by external partners.”

Cold makes the cup sweat

Jarkko Tuominen, VP of business development at Metsä Board, explains why functional barriers such as PE coating are needed: “Different barriers have different functions. The Husum coater will start using low-density polyethylene (LDPE) which provides resistance against, for example, water and moisture. The end use also dictates how the board should be coated.”

Tuominen gives an easy example: for cold drinks, the barrier is needed on both sides, because if you take the cup into the hot summer air, the outside of the cup starts sweating with condensation. Without the outside coating, this condensation can affect the cup. “But for hot drinks,” he continues, “the coating is needed only on the inside.”

The decision to invest EUR 38 million in the extrusion coater makes the supply chain more efficient. And having its own extrusion coater, Metsä Board can better guarantee consistent quality. “There is also a plan to increase our knowledge of new barrier technologies. For example, we aim to have biobased barriers in our portfolio,” says Tuominen.

Because there is no need to transport the board to external partners for coating, the investment makes the board more sustainable. Taking these steps out of the supply chain not only reduces the amount of transported kilometres, but also the need for transport packaging, reel handling and storage space. “To support the aim to increase sustainability overall, we look forward to replacing other materials such as plastics with fi brebased options. And with the light weight of Metsä Board’s boards, it’s possible to manufacture lighter packaging for food-on- the-go compared to packaging made out of solid bleached boards. Lightweighting saves on transportation, materials, waste and energy. All steps toward the right direction for the universe,” says Jarkko Tuominen.

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