1. In the face of rapidly growing consumer demand, with each business posing a unique requirement, how does PTS keep its products and services dynamic?
This is indeed one of the most challenging tasks. I believethat one key factor is open mindedness. We have to look beyond our own industry sector and work more and more within networks. One good example is “Fibres& Paper 2030”. A core team made up of 18 representatives from interbranchorganizations and several companies have been working on this groundbreaking project to take a look into the future of materials and the sector of the entire paper value chain. More than 100 participants from various fields and sectors developed almost 1500 concrete ideas for future business opportunities, which were consolidated and evaluated to leave a total of 640. 375 ideas were considered to be directly related to paper because they could be realized with the know-how currently available in the paper chain. 265 ideas were indirectly related to paper, which means they are recognizable as attractive future demands but require further research to clarify how future paper materials can contribute to meeting them. This vast amount of ideas for future products and services was only possible by bringing together partner of the entire paper value chain and related sectors – producers, converters, suppliers and customers.
2. Does the current global stance on use of paper as opposed to other synthetic materials for packaging create a conductive environment for the paper production industry?
We see excellent prospects for packaging made of natural fibers. In the future customers will even more than today prefer sustainable products with an ecological image. And the first contact they have at the point-of-sales is: the packaging. Modern packaging solutions therefore must convey the advantages and added value of the packed good. An attractive package design must also ensure brand recognition, optimum handling and the successful positioning of products in the envisaged market segment. Paper and board produces with natural raw materials have all properties to comply with these challenging requirements.
3. PTS's Photographic Activity Test (PAT) is a unique service aimed at libraries, archives and museums. Has it always been offered by PTS or is it a relatively new testing method?
The PAT which is described in ISO 18916:2007 is not a new test method, at all. But until recently, there was only one major laboratory in the world that could do the PAT for you. This situation was not satisfactory for many of our customers. In 2015 we have developed the PAT into a standard test method for PTS in close collaboration with key players in the field of conservation materials. It has gone through thorough testing and intense discussion with our developing partners before we decided to offer it as a standard service. As of today we have tested quite a number of materials and we are well prepared to include the PAT into the scope of our laboratory accreditation according to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17025.
4. What goals has PTS set for itself when it comes to cultural preservation through PAT?
We are convinced, that the PAT method described in ISO 18916:2007 is no longer state of the art when you consider modern analytical equipment and today’s knowledge about materials, in particular paper and board. But PAT has been used for many years and it has become the accepted standard worldwide that all manufacturers of conservation equipment must comply with. The repeatability and predictability, however, is low. There is no thorough understanding of what exactly makes a certain material pass the PAT or not. PTS plans to work on changing this. We are right now exploring ways on how to leverage established methods of trace analysis to raise the understanding of materials’ interactions with cultural assets in libraries, archives and museums. This should eventually lead us to a more appropriate testing.
5. What is the principle ideology behind offering BALEMAT and quality-monitoring services for paper recycling?
The fluctuating quality of paper for recycling is the main disruptive element in the production of recycled fibre pulps for papermaking. The varying composition of papers for recycling results in fluctuating shares of ash and sticky contaminants and inconsistent deinking behaviour of graphic papers. PTS` solution for continuous quality monitoring of papers for recycling directly on the feeding belt enables plant operators to quickly respond to quality fluctuations.But our approach goes far beyond: we support industry 4.0 applications – the so called Internet of Things – e.g. by producing input for process and quality control systems or by combining our online quality monitoring of incoming bales with suitable warehouse logistics as basis for the handling of complaints.
6. How closely does the analytics/research department work with the executive divisions like manufacturing in order to produce a satisfactory test or service?
Our research work and our services are interacting inherently very close. In our analytics department for example we do not only offer materials testing and analytic services but also are working on research projects. Researchers in other departments on the other side often are driver for developing completely new analytic methods they need. When these methods are evaluated within the research project we can provide our customers with new services. In this way we have developed some 40 test methods over the years and some of them even had been the base of national and international standards.
7. The academy under your wing allows individuals to train in paper technology. Is this a preparatory platform for future employees of PTS as well?
Our training program targets primarily managers, engineers, technicians and other employees of the value chain of paper to offer them the latest technological knowledge about paper production, converting and new applications of paper. We had about 1,000 participants last year and of course seminars are also a kind of job exchange and we have the opportunity to present PTS as an attractive employer.