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Board and tissue makers count on technology to meet market demands.

Tissue and board manufacturers have been aggressively using new technology to boost machine performance and optimize raw material quality and fiber economy. However, future challenges for the packaging industry are developing down the supply chain, including balancing performance, presentation, and price in retail packaging. Another challenge is combining biotechnological and electronic solutions with established packaging functions.

The need to reduce packaging material volumes will drive further "lightweighting" of paperboard grades while maintaining critical properties. This trend will also drive increased machine speeds to compensate for the loss of production volume. Increased use of recycled fiber as a raw material creates another challenge--the need to produce lightweight board grades faster from lower grade furnishes. Lightweighting will also spur development of miniflute and microflute boardmaking technology.

Development of existing technologies will continue. Modern gap formers and shoe press technology provide significant potential for speed increases in all board grades. Single-tier drying applications are growing, while the use of Yankee cylinders and Condebelt and impingement dryers is declining. In board finishing, the trend is to replace Yankee cylinders with shoe calenders. Suppliers are also developing contactless paperboard coating techniques.


The future of fiber-based packaging depends on diverse factors. Material economies, consumer preferences, functionality, logistics, environmental pressures, and legislation all influence packers' investment decisions, which in turn dictate the choice of packaging materials (see graphic). Innovation and new applications will be crucial to the competitiveness of fiber-based packaging.


Of all the technological innovations in tissue, through-air-drying (TAD) has had the biggest impact on the high quality tissue segment. Tissue quality development has focused on softness, bulk, absorbency, and wet strength. Softness and bulk are especially important for toilet and facial tissue and handkerchiefs, while absorbency and wet strength are vital for kitchen rolls, towels and serviettes. Many new tissue machines are using TAD technology to achieve higher softness, bulk and absorbency. Continuous TAD development is producing higher operating speeds and efficiencies.

Suppliers have actively developed tissue pressing and drying technologies. The Crescent former has become the dominant technology in tissue forming. Suppliers are also focusing on shoe press development. Shoe presses increase bulk and consequently softness and absorbency, supplying some of the same benefits as TAD technology.

Tissue products are clearly becoming more sophisticated. This "value adding" trend is also apparent in the converting process. Value-adding processes such as decoration embossing/laminating, improved printing with more effective printing units, and add-on applications are helping to meet customer demands.

Note: This article is part of a series by Jaakko Poyry Consulting, Tarrytown, New York, USA, a provider of consulting services.


Contact Ms. Soile Kilpi by email at, or by phone at +1 914 332-4000.

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Author:Kilpi, Soile
Publication:Solutions - for People, Processes and Paper
Date:May 1, 2006
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