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Metsä Group starts pre-engineering for “Muoto” wood fibre packaging

Metsä Group starts pre-engineering for “Muoto” wood fibre packaging
Muoto packages are renewable and recyclable bioproducts that can be utilized in food industry applications such as takeaways, berry trays, and combo packaging instead of plastic (photo courtesy Metsä Spring).

After promising results from the ongoing demonstration phase, Finland-headed forest industry major Metsä Group has decided to conduct a pre-engineering project related to a possible first commercial-scale factory for its "Muoto" wood fibre packaging products.

Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring has decided to start a pre-engineering project for the first commercial factory.

Pre-engineering is a key planning phase, after which Metsä Group will have the conditions of factory planning in place to consider deciding on the factory investment, and it is expected to be completed in early 2025.

Based on the outcome of pre-engineering and the continued work in the demo phase, mainly using a unique demo plant in Äänekoski, Finland, Metsä Group will assess the possibility of starting this new business and investing in a factory to support that business.

Metsä Group has already decided a possible production plant would be located at its Rauma site in Finland.

Taking an idea to an industrial scale is a long road with multiple different phases. Deciding to start the pre-engineering project is a big milestone for us. Although many areas still need further development, we have now gathered enough proof to initiate this very important factory planning stage. The Muoto project has reached this point very quickly, considering that the project started almost from scratch for us in 2020. A big thank you goes to our project team and our main partner Valmet, said Niklas von Weymarn, CEO at Metsä Spring.

Wet wood pulp conversion process

Niklas von Weymarn, CEO of Metsä Spring, the venture investment arm of Metsä Group (photo courtesy Metsä Spring).

The technology applied in Muoto products converts wet wood pulp into three-dimensional (3D) packages without any intermediate steps, meaning that the new low-carbon footprint products would be ready to be shipped to end customers as such.

In addition to being easy to mould into different shapes, Muoto is lightweight, strong, and recyclable.

The first usage cases ready for mass production will likely be light takeaway and lunch packages, berry containers, trays, and combo packaging.

The final Muoto product portfolio will be decided once the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation has been finalized.

Earlier in the year, Metsä Spring appointed Veli-Pekka Kyllönen as Project Director, who will lead the pre-engineering project.

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