The Finnish packaging board giant is convinced that the growing consumption and demand for packaging is boosting the need for new and more sustainable innovations. To develop solutions for packaging today and into the future, Metsä Board has started up operations in its new Excellence Centre at their manufacturing site in Äänekoski, Finland.
“As the amount of packaging continues to grow, new, sustainable solutions are needed to replace fossil-based materials and ensure circularity. The Excellence Centre concept enables paperboard and packaging solutions that look at the entire value chain, and not just at its separate parts. With the material knowhow, competence and tools now available, we can optimise performance throughout the packaging lifecycle”, says Mika Joukio, CEO of Metsä Board.
Exploration, innovation and testing
The centre, with its cutting-edge technology for R&D, packaging design and paperboard and packaging performance, aims to accelerate material and packaging innovation. The Centre was also designed to provide a collaboration platform for customers and technology partners globally.
The Excellence Centre, which covers a total of 1,500 square meters, includes R&D facilities, a packaging design studio, a customer feedback centre and a state-of-the art laboratory providing more than 100 different measurement methods and analytics. The centre also features a virtual store and a computer-aided engineering (CAE) tool to allow sophisticated simulation and analysis of packaging performance.
Metsä Board’s Excellence Centre brings together Metsä Board’s own competencies and expertise in fibre-based solutions with that of various experts and partners, such as material suppliers, technology providers, start-up companies, universities and research companies. Virtual collaboration workshops have also been developed to enable joint development and co-creation when physical meetings are not possible.
“Renewable and recyclable fresh fibre paperboard can be utilised for packaging in many ways. Fibre-based packaging has a lot to offer, and together with our partners, we are able to explore the possibilities even more comprehensively,” adds Mika Joukio.
At Äänekoski, in Finland, Metsä Board now operates a world-unique industrial and R&D ecosystem including a next-generation bioproduct mill, a paperboard mill, a plywood mill, the Pro Nemus visitor centre, and a textile fibre demo plant.
“With our partners and the new Excellence Centre, we can together explore the many possibilities of fibre-based packaging,” concludes Mika Joukio.