The phrase “less is more” characterises many innovations related to energy efficiency, sustainability, and the economical use of natural resources. It is the principle that the professionals at Metsä Fibre’s technical customer service (TCS) live by when seeking solutions to the challenges of pulp customers.
“Energy and material efficiency are increasingly critical competitive factors for our customers,” says Tom Nickull, Vice President, Sales Services.
“We help them choose the best and most suitable pulp grade, but also optimise production processes to make them more energy efficient and reduce their environmental load. All this leads to clear cost savings – up to hundreds of thousands of euros per year.”
Although their work is largely about technical support and expert services, TCS professionals often dig deep into the business and production processes of the customer. For example, a joint project that aims to develop an entirely new product calls for deep knowledge and understanding of the properties of fibre and processing.
“We also try to support the development of our customers’ business.”
Wide range of service expertise
Metsä Fibre has three TCS teams, which cover the company’s main market areas from Asia to the Americas and from the Middle East to Europe.
The teams have solid competence in the pulp and paper industry, as well as in paper technology, machinery manufacturing and the chemical industry. The team is in regular contact with local customers, collecting feedback and listening out for new development projects. Mill test runs are also part of their job description.
“Customers are continuously trying to improve and enhance their processes. We want to be closely involved in all this,” says Nickull.
Paperboard manufacturers may have requirements concerning surface strength, which must be taken into account in the consistency and processing of pulp. The TCS professionals use Metsä Fibre’s ‘pulp library’ to find the formula and pulp treatment best suited to each need and test it through simulations.
“If the pulp quality is consistent and pulp treatment is optimised , the formula’s safety margin can be narrower, which reduces costs.”
Free of charge to key customers
By choosing refiner fillings that are better suited to the process and the fibre used, the consumption of softwood pulp can often be reduced by as much as five percentage points.
“We have achieved annual savings of some 150,000 euros by optimising the refining process in tissue, and much more than that in printing papers,” Nickull says.
Technical customer service is free of charge to Metsä Fibre’s key customers, and the cooperation network includes chemical suppliers in addition to device manufacturers. Nickull emphasises that open and close cooperation leads to the best results.
“We provide a neutral expert perspective, which is something that customers appreciate.”
VP, Sales Services, at Metsä Fibre. He has more than 25 years of experience in the use of fibre for various paper and paperboard products.