Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring and Valmet have received the Quality Innovation Award by Excellence Finland for their demo plant, which has been producing new Muoto® fibre products since May 2022. The joint project won the category for potential innovations. Novelty, usability, learning, customer orientation and performance were the competition criteria
The Muoto fibre product is a good alternative to plastic, for example in food packaging. According to the jury, the innovation has considerable novelty value thanks to its technology, which combines the packaging material and packaging production processes in a brand new way. The product’s properties can be flexibly tailored to the purpose. The jury’s feedback highlighted the multi-layer structure which makes the product’s strength and smooth surface stand out in terms of quality. In addition, the production process is resource- and energy-efficient.
“The growing packaging industry requires new sustainable alternatives; Muoto is our answer to these needs. We’ve moved quickly from an idea that emerged in our internal training programme to a demo plant thanks to our strong competence and – of course – our excellent partner network. There is every reason to be proud of the Finnish forest industry’s capacity for renewal,” says Jarkko Tuominen, Metsä Group’s Project Director.
“3D fibre product technology is a very interesting future area for Valmet – molded fibre packaging is predicted to be the fastest growing segment in the packaging industry in terms of volume. Its growth is supported by restrictions on the use of plastic, the decreasing average size of a package and the growth in the takeaway food market. The 3D fibre product technology is completely new to Valmet, but we have been able to utilize our long experience and know-how in board machine technology and processes. The goal is to bring to the market a technology that is competitive not only in terms of production capacity, but also in terms of the production costs and the quality of the final product,” says Petri Rasinmäki, Vice President, Board and Paper Mills Business Unit, Paper business line, Valmet.
The awards were granted on 10 November 2022 by Finnish Excellence Association. The award is based on the international EFQM model, which Metsä Group employs widely in developing its operations. The valuable development ideas gained from the assessments will be taken into account in development in the coming years.
Muoto’s features and production method are being developed at the demo plant, and its market potential is being tested. If the market interest and product viability can be proved, Metsä Group will consider building a larger production unit.