Sappi Opens New Paper Lab


Sappi has opened a new Paper Lab at its Alfeld mill in Germany. The establishment of the Paper Lab is a further step in the expansion of the speciality papers division at Sappi and follows the approximately R800 million (61 million Euro) rebuild of the PM 2 paper machine officially launched during an opening ceremony last year.

Kristof Mertens, Manager for Quality Control at Sappi said, ‘This Paper Lab will enable us to take our consistently high quality paper product to an entirely new level. We will also use the Paper Lab to conduct field quality testing with the latest in technological capabilities.’

The new Paper Lab, that has a six-figure investment, replaces the previously used test line in the climate lab. Its state-of-the-art technology and the broader weight measuring range (from 18 to 400 g/sqm) is world-class in the quality testing of speciality papers and carton boards.

In operation around the clock, it is set to test over 30000 jumbo rolls or drums per year. This corresponds to about 281000 individual measurements per year. After every successful check on a jumbo roll or drum, the corresponding production batch is assigned a certificate signifying the highest quality in speciality paper and carton board.

‘In the new Paper Lab, we are testing the key quality parameters of paper production from all five paper machines in Alfeld. Even with a wide variety of papers and boards and different weights, absolutely every production batch is subjected to precise measurement to ensure the quality of the batch. This means we guarantee our customers a unique level of continuity in our papers and boards that is unmatched anywhere else in the world,’ Mertens added.

Another advantage of the new Paper Lab lies in the comprehensive set of measurements being used and their immediate evaluation across the entire drum width.

Roughness on the top and screen side are measured in accordance with a number of criteria, including:
• Fibre orientation.
• Formation.
• Air permeability according to Bendtsen.
• Burst pressure.
• Shine according to Tappi 75° (top/screen side).
• Lengthwise/crosswise tearing.
• Lengthwise/crosswise breaking load.
• Thickness.
• Weight.
• Smoothness according to Bekk.

‘There is no other mill in the world that has implemented this level of quality control in the manufacturing of speciality paper and boards,’ Mertens concluded. ‘We are extremely proud of this effort and look forward to continuing to raise the bar on the exceptional quality of paper and boards that the market has come to expect from Sappi.’

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