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 Metsä Group starts pre-engineering project for Muoto™ wood fibre packaging products
[April 11, 2024]

After promising results from the ongoing demonstration phase, Metsä Group has decided to conduct, in parallel with the demo phase, a pre-engineering project related to a possible first commercial-scale factory. Muoto™ packages are renewable and recyclable bioproducts that can be utilised in, e.g., takeaway, berry, tray, and combo packaging.

Metsä Group¡¯s innovation company Metsä Spring has decided to start a pre-engineering project for the first commercial factory producing the new packaging solution, Muoto™. Muoto products are wood-based alternatives to plastic packaging.

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 that the possible factory would be located at its Rauma site in Finland.

¡°Taking an idea to 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,¡± says Niklas von Weymarn, CEO at Metsä Spring.

The technology applied in Muoto products converts wet wood pulp into 3-dimensional packages without any intermediate steps, meaning that the new 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 catalogue will be decided when the EU Packaging and Packaging Waste Regulation has been finalised.

Earlier in the year, Metsä Spring appointed Veli-Pekka Kyllönen as Project Director, who will lead the pre-engineering project. His team will eventually comprise 5-10 experts, with recruitment currently ongoing.