Foam forming platform

An aerial photo of a forest with a river running through it, ending in a lake

One of the most potential technologies beyond paper and board manufacturing is foam forming technology, where water is replaced with aqueous foam. This technology expands the range of raw materials that can be used in the manufacturing process and enables production of new, value-added and high-performing structures.

Key facts

Foam technology enables improvements in material and energy efficiency. 

New sustainable value-added products can be produced with small changes in current production lines.

VTT has unique laboratory and pilot facilities for foam-based process and product development.

Increased environmental awareness has raised a strong need for more resource-efficient and sustainable products. One of the most urgent needs is to replace fossil-based raw material with renewable, bio-based materials while maintaining the biodiversity of our nature. This is the base for bioeconomy, which offers opportunities for more sustainable use of our resources but also great business opportunities for several industrial sectors. One of the key aspects is to develop new technologies and processes that are more versatile, cost-efficient and environmentally sustainable.  

Current paper and board manufacturing processes have been used and developed for more than 100 years. However, there are some major limitations with these processes: they use a lot of water and energy, they have limited capability to handle different raw materials such as long fibres and fibres having different densities. Products made with current technology are always quite dense and paper-like. 

Foam forming – an enabling technology

In foam forming technology aqueous foam instead of water is used as a carrier medium in the manufacturing process of fibre-based products. By adding air bubbles in water, the properties of the carrier fluid are changed fundamentally. This new and versatile technology will radically widen the product property window and the variety of raw materials that can be utilised in the manufacturing process.  


Foam forming technology widens the product portfolio for forest industry.  

 

Foam forming technology enables production of recyclable and sustainable materials for several applications including packaging and construction materials, lightweight boards, wipes, filters and hygienic products. Foam enables utilisation of longer fibres than in traditional water-based process, improved control of web structure and manufacturing of structures having low density compared to paper and board (densities less than 100 kg/m3 can be obtained).  

Partner with a forerunner

The foam forming platform of VTT is built on years of research, experienced personnel, and the unique laboratory and pilot facilities. The first pilot-scale research environment in the world, started in 2013, has already shown its value in the development of next generation fibre products. In 2018, our second foam forming pilot started enabling piloting of unpressed products, such as insulation materials, filters and technical textiles.  

Let’s improve the competitiveness of your current products and processes to a new level, develop new sustainable products or demonstrate the use of advanced bio-based raw materials with us. Open up new business with foam!

 

Watch our Beyond papermaking - Recyclable and lightweight biomaterials webinar recording here.

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