Norwalk, CT – September 8, 2020 — Growing consumption and demand for more sustainable packaging solutions requires innovation. To develop solutions for packaging today and into the future, Metsä Board has started up operations in its new Excellence Center at the unique bioeconomy site in Äänekoski, Finland. The resources and capabilities will be shared across all of Metsä Board’s locations, including the U.S.
The center, with its cutting-edge technology for R&D, packaging design and paperboard and packaging performance, aims to accelerate material and packaging innovation and provide a collaboration platform for customers and technology partners globally. Virtual collaboration workshops will enable joint development and co-creation when physical meetings are not possible.
“As the amount of packaging continues to grow, new, sustainable solutions are needed to replace fossil-based materials and ensure circularity. The Excellence Center concept enables paperboard and packaging solutions that examine the entire value chain. With the material knowhow, competence and tools now available, we can optimize performance throughout the packaging lifecycle”, says Mika Joukio, CEO of Metsä Board.
The Excellence Center, which covers a total of 1,500 square meters, includes R&D facilities, a packaging design studio, a customer feedback center and a state-of-the art laboratory providing more than 100 different measurement methods and analytics. The center 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 Center brings together Metsä Board’s own competencies and deep expertise in fiber-based solutions with that of various experts and partners, such as material suppliers, technology providers, start-up companies, universities and research companies.
“Renewable and recyclable fresh fiber paperboard can be utilized for packaging in many ways. Fiber-based packaging has a lot to offer and, together with our partners and the new Excellence Center, we are able to explore the possibilities more comprehensively. I am excited about the opportunities this will bring for today and the future,” says Metsä Board’s CEO Mika Joukio.
Äänekoski’s world-unique bioeconomy ecosystem includes a next-generation bioproduct mill, a paperboard mill, plywood mill, the Pro Nemus visitor center and a textile fiber demo plant.