Developments in use of MFC for End Market Applications

Specialty Papers US – 2nd October 2018

Tom Larson
Technology Implementation Manager

FiberLean - a Joint Venture between Imerys and Omya

  • A Technology Joint Venture between Imerys and Omya
    • Partners commercialize FiberLean® MFC Products
    • FiberLean provides technical support to partners in commercialization of FiberLean® MFC products
    • FiberLean develops FiberLean® MFC products and applications
    • Global reach across all relevant industries

What is MFC?

MFC PropertiesMFC Properties

  • Very high aspect ratio
  • Very high surface are
  • Increased hydrogen bonding potential
  • Highly viscous when suspended in water
  • Wide variety of applications

Constraints

  • High energy costs
  • Equipment capability
  • Transportation

FiberLean® MFC is the solution to these constraints

FiberLean MFC is the Solution

FiberLean MFC is the Solution

FiberLean is the leading global producer of MFC

  • FiberLean is the leading global producer of MFCIndustrial process
  • Robust, reliable and scalable plants
  • Multiple customer implementations on-going
    • Satellite plants for paper and packaging customers
    • Total installed capacity 50k dmt/y of FiberLean® MFC (10k dmt/y fibrils)
  • Growing portfolio of Intellectual Property and Applications

Range of composite types are possible

Range of composite types are possible

  • FiberLean process has the flexibility to be used with a range of fiber/mineral types – including recycled.
  • Intrinsic properties of both minerals and fibers are tailored to each application. MFC content can be varied.

Product forms

  • Product formsSlurry – Available supply via satellite plant built on-site
    • Low solids (~2% fiber solids) due to high viscosity
    • For trials: delivered in IBC tanks or road tanker
  • Press cake – Available for trials, delivered in IBC bags
    • ~15% fiber solids ‘crumble’, requires re-dispersion
  • High Solids – Future supply via merchant plant
    • ≥25% fiber solids ‘pellets’, requires re-dispersion

Product forms

Product forms

Slurry

Press Cake

Bottles (lab trials)
10 liter (2.65 US Gallon) = 200 g (~8 oz) dry MFC
Barrels (pilot trials)
220 liter (60 US Gallon) = 4.4 kg (~10 lb) dry MFC
IBC Tanks (pilot & full scale trials)
1000 liter (265 US Gallon) = 20 kg (~44 lb) dry MFC
Trucks/ ISO tanks (full scale trials)
25 meter3 (6600 US Gallon) = 500 kg (~1100 lb) dry MFC
IBC Bags (full scale trials)
Bag weight ~ 1000 kg (~2200 lb) = 150 kg (~330 lb) dry MFC
Largest shipments to date supplied for trials:
80 Transitanks = 1600 kg (~3500 lb) dry MFC
7 Trucks = 3500 kg (~7700 lb) dry MFC
Largest shipments to date supplied for trials:
292 bags = ~44 tonnes (~48 short tons) of dry MFC

Regulatory Clearance

  • Regulatory ClearanceCleared through Environment Canada, Health Canada, US EPA and US FDA (FCN 1582, 1887, for 5 wt.% fibrils in packaging board)​
  • BfR application filed for consideration under recommendations XXXVI, XXXVI/1, XXXVI/2, and XXXVI/3

FiberLean® MFC in Paper

FiberLean MFC in Paper

  • When added to paper-based products, the intrinsic properties of MFC/filler composites are utilized
  • High surface area fibril network provides:
    • More hydrogen bonding sites = improved strength
    • Closed sheet structure = improved coating hold-out and surface properties
  • Which in turn provides opportunities for:
    • Use of additional filler for improved optical properties and reduced costs
    • Improved paper properties

Higher filler loading in uncoated woodfree papers through use of MFC-mineral composites

Higher filler using MFC-mineral composites

  • Full scale UWF results with 1 and 2% MFC addition

Despite some loss in Tensile, higher filler levels are possible due to the enhanced wet web strength

higher filler levels are possible due to the enhanced wet web strengthNote: These are pilot trial results using 450 ml CSF, 30% Pine / 70% Euca furnish and GCC filler

The most important effect of MFC for filler increase is the impact on initial wet web strength

Improved base paper to make better coated papers through use of MFC-mineral composites

Improved base paper to make better coated papers through use of MFC-mineral composites

  • Full scale UWF results with 1.5% MFC addition

MFC in the Base Improves Coating Hold-out

  • MFC in the Base Improves Coating Hold-out80 g/m² woodfree paper was prepared on a pilot paper machine
    • 70% Eucalyptus / 30% Pine (450 CSF)
    • 20% GCC filler
    • 0% and 2% MFC
    • No sizing added
  • Paper was coated with:
    • GCC / Kaolin formulation (10 pph Latex)
    • Coat-weights between 6 to 14 g/m²
    • Supercalendared
  • Less coating penetration when using MFC due to smoother and more closed surface structure of the base

Improved properties at equal coat-weight or equivalent properties at lower coat-weights when using MFC

Improved properties at equal coat-weight or equivalent properties at lower coat-weights when using MFC

FiberLean® MFC in Packaging

  • Similarly to MFC/mineral composites in paper, we see similar attributes when applied to packaging:
    • Enhanced bonding strength
    • Enhanced opacity/coverage of outer plies
    • Improved surface properties/porosity of outer plies
  • Dematerialization and improved printability opportunities are presented

MFC/Mineral composites in folding boxboard

  • FBB is a multi-layer product:
    • Coating layer provides suitable surface for printing
    • Chemical pulp outer-layers provide coverage of mid-layer, but also require high specific modulus to resist over-stretching (stiffness)
      TMP mid-layer(s) provide Bulk, but are weak
    • Bulk of the middle layer separates the outer layers to enhance the ‘I-beam’ effect, providing stiffness
    • Z-directional strength and delamination resistance are critical
  • MFC/mineral composites can be used in:
    • Mid-layers = improved strength, which allows for use of a less-refined/bulkier TMP (for net improved stiffness)
    • Outer-layers = for increased filler content and better coverage, which allows for grammage reductions of outer-plies and grammage increase of the mid-ply (for net improved stiffness)

MFC/Mineral composites in folding boxboard

Strength from MFC can be successfully traded for better bulk/stiffness and higher productivity

  • The “adjustment” made here is making the mid-ply pulp coarser, i.e. reducing the refining energy.

Folding Boxboard application, full scale results

Folding Boxboard application, full scale results

 

  • Filler increase and basis weight reduction in top/back layers:
    • 2.25% MFC in each
    • +10% filler in each, 4 g/m² of top layer and 3 g/m² of bottom replaced by middle layer
    • Conditions chosen to maintain stiffness
    • Machine speed, filler retention and runnability maintained
  • Specification maintained at a reduced cost:
    • Bending stiffness and brightness unchanged
    • Significantly improved smoothness

White Top Liner application, full scale results

White Top Liner application, full scale results

 

  • Filler increase and basis weight reduction:
    • 2.5% MFC in white layer
    • +9% filler in the white layer
    • 10 g/m² of top layer replaced by brown layer
    • Conditions chosen to maintain brightness
    • Machine speed, filler retention and runnability maintained
  • Specification maintained at a reduced cost:
    • Minor changes in strength properties
    • Large reduction in air permeability
    • 40% increase in Scott Bond
    • Potential for higher filler increase and brightness

Two approaches to using MFC-mineral composite to make white top liner

Two approaches to using MFC-mineral composite to make white top liner

NPD – Wet-end coating on top of the wire section

  • MFC-mineral composite applied as a low solids slurry on top of the still consolidating base layer.
  • The composite has the ability to stay on the surface without penetrating into the base.
  • The top layer is drained using existing foils and vacuum boxes.
  • Pressing and drying as normal for the combined coating and base board.
  • The top layer is strong and has good adhesion while offering coverage, low porosity, smoothness and excellent printability.

NPD – Pilot trial application of 30 g/m² dry MFC-mineral composite at 500 m/min on top of 70 g/m² base

NPD - Pilot trial application

  • High mineral content / MFC composite layers applied at the wet-end provide:
    • Excellent surface properties and printability = an alternative way to produce WTL
  • Low mineral content / MFC composite layers applied at the wet-end provide:
    • Mechanical property re-enforcement
    • Excellent surface properties (closed, smooth structure) – ideal for coatings / specialty coatings (barrier etc.)
    • Barrier properties of MFC

Consumers are demanding alternatives to plastic…

Is this an opportunity for Specialty Papers/MFC?

Summary

  • FiberLean® MFC is available and being used industrially today
  • A broad variety of fiber / mineral types are possible:
    • Each product is tailored to the application, MFC content can be varied.
  • Addition of MFC/mineral composites offers several possibilities:
    • Cost reduction through filler increase
    • Improve coating hold-out
    • Light-weighting
    • New product development

Summary