About: Prof. Dr. Frank Miletzky - President
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.
1. Pulp and Paper is one of the oldest sectors whose needs are different in many ways compared to other industries. What is your perception in this regard?
Pulp and Paper faced many challenges in his long history. Today it needs new products to compete with digital applications and new processes to be part of the future low-carbon bio-economy. The Pulp and Paper sector has good chances for his sustainable products fit exactly what the customer prefers.
2. Can you please outline the basic structure of Papiertechnische Stiftung (PTS)?
PTS is a foundation of the German Paper Industry. That includes paper manufacturers, paper converters and the supplying industries. PTS provides support to companies from all sectors in the development and application of modern fibre-based solutions based on research & development, consultancy, testing services, measurement engineering and training. A staff of 150 at two locations in Munich and Heidenau/Dresden generates an annual turnover of around EUR 14mn.
3. Founded in 1951, PTS has been a leading provider of research and services. Would you like to share some insights on the company’s products & services range?
Research know-how is the backbone of PTS. It is achieved by national and transnational funded research projects as well as by contract research, working in close collaboration with the companies involve. The projects aim to develop new, future-oriented products. By virtue of their outstanding knowledge of national and European funding programs, development projects can be conducted in a particularly economical and cost-effective manner. This knowledge is then transferred to industry via consultancy and testing services, innovative measurement systems and training. Laboratories and pilot plants with state-of-the-art facilities in Munich and Heidenau/Dresden make product testing possible on an industry-oriented scale.
With its consultancy services, PTS enhances the efficiency of mill processes, minimises operating costs, optimises energy and water management, maximises the efficient use of resources and prepares expert opinions.
The chemical and physical laboratories at PTS are equipped with innovative and conventional testing laboratories for paper materials including semi-finished and finished products. The samples are subjected to comprehensive testing and subsequent evaluation by skilled staff with long years of experience in this sector. PTS supplies not only reliable measured data, customers also receive upon request solutions for operational troubleshooting.
In PTS seminars, workshops and symposia, experienced speakers from science and industry deliver top-quality lectures and papers. Thematic focal points include stock preparation, deinking, papermaking, chemical management, energy and water management, surface/coating technology, paper converting as well as measuring and sensor technology.
4. Which major challenges do you see in the pulp and paper industry?
Major challenges we faced and still face today are the development of innovative, ecologically-friendly products and processes. PTS is required to pre-think the future and join forces with partners to create the prerequisites for the development of innovative fibre-based products and processes in our sectors. With our close links between scientific research and solution-oriented consulting, powerful analytics, broad variety of training offers and active cooperation in national and international networks we have excellent conditions to support our customers to encounter this challenges successfully.
5. PTS put focus on four future topics. Which applications and customers are you targeted on?
With “New Materials” we introduce our know-how on fibre properties into future markets. Innovative paper products e.g. highly filled papers, fibre composites or modified pulp make completely new applications possible − sustainable and eco-efficient but without wasting resources.
In the area of “Packaging” we see a strong growth going with high dynamic developments. Paper is one of the most environmentally-friendly packaging media. Its good printability and flexible uses make it a fascinating material. Paper and board are the most important materials for packaging. Customers have an increasing demand for natural, environmentally compatible, sustainable packaging products and PTS helps to develop such products that will convince customers.
“Print Products” are still one of the most important applications for paper and board. PTS develops high-quality products and solve problems associated with all common printing methods. We have unique possibilities available to develop new products in a scale-up process from laboratory to pilot plants including the production of demonstrators. In addition, we offer our customers high quality surface analytics, e.g. to evaluate surface properties, to characterise optical properties or to evaluate printability.
When we talk of “Resource Efficiency” we want to tap potentials for energy, water, raw materials and residuals. Growing scarcity and competing uses of raw materials are among the greatest challenges the world is facing today. Highly qualified PTS experts are helping companies to efficiently use and sustainably protect their resources.
6. Transferring research results into marketable products is a challenging task. How does PTS manage this process?
Testing and pilot plant facilities are key instruments to develop ideas after first laboratory trials into solutions that are ready for full-scale production. They are at the heart of any research institute aiming to successfully transfer its R&D results and implement them in products and processes together with partners from the industry.
A good example is our pilot plant in Heidenau. The pilot paper machine was provided with a new inclined wire module to enable the development of novel fibre-based composite materials. For the latter, we can rely on our competence in the field of wet-laid nonwovens. Besides cellulosic and plastic fibres, we have succeeded in using synthetic fibres based on carbon, glass and basalt on the pilot paper machine to produce nonwovens and papers offering attractive properties for a multitude of potential applications. The installation of a twin screw extruder has broadened our spectrum of pilot plant services for the treatment and compounding of fibres. It will mainly be used for modifying pulps in the high consistency range to obtain intermediate products that can be processed directly or used in papermaking and other sectors.
7. Products and processes are going to be more complex and therefore requiring various skills. How does PTS match this challenge?
In order to pool resources and benefit from synergistic expertise, PTS is an active partner and promoter of national and European research networks. A fine example of the successful joint implementation of research results is the Balemat system, a measurement station for the automated quality control of incoming bales of paper for recycling that can readily be used in production. Together with our partners from the Finnish company Haarla Oy, the first installation of Balemat was successfully put into service in the Gernsbach board mill of Mayr-Melnhof. We are planning to develop our vast and multifaceted expertise in the field of paper for recycling and its value-adding use into a comprehensive service offer for the industrial quality management of paper for recycling – based on creative ideas, together with competent partners and geared towards the present needs of the market.
8. Regarding present digital products one may think that paper is an old-fashioned material. What do you think about the future of paper?
Paper as a product for the future is one of our greatest challenges today. We see a lot of future prospects in building new, innovate materials based on natural fibres. Paper has more possibilities than just printing or packaging. It may be uses a lightweight-material in construction, in air purification and thermal management, as fire protection material and providing electromagnetic protection.