Fusion℠ Strength and Performance Technology

Achieving sheet strength efficiently and profitably has been a quest of paper-based packaging producers for decades. For many years, mills were able to meet their strength requirements using tried-and-true tools such as fiber selection, refining, sheet formation and wet pressing. If they needed additional strength, they turned to wet-end starch to provide incremental strength improvements.

Recently, however, as the pulp and paper industry has dedicated itself to improving sustainability, certain trends have emerged that make it challenging to hit strength targets. These trends include increasing recycle content, decreasing old corrugated container (OCC) quality, increasing water system closure and reducing the weight and/or volume of packaging, which saves energy and raw materials. Single-component strength additive technologies have been challenged to deliver the necessary performance to respond to these trends, even with improved capabilities of newer, more advanced machines.

Building on deep experience in the packaging industry, Solenis recently introduced Fusion strength and performance technology. This program, which combines best-in-class chemistry with state-of the-art process control analytics, is designed to give you complete flexibility to meet your operational configuration and needs, from basic strength performance to more radical high-strength improvements. Packaging producers that have adopted the Fusion strength and performance technology program have realized a number of benefits, including:

  • Increased strength
  • Increased production and yield with lower costs
  • Reduced process variation
  • Reduced wet-end starch usage
  • Reduced freshwater usage
  • Decreased reliance on virgin fiber
  • Increased use of lower-cost recycled fibers

As a result of these gains, many mills have actually been able to increase their competitive advantage because they can now make grades that weren’t possible before the introduction of Fusion strength and performance technology.

How It Works

For decades, the gold standard in dry strength has been single-component cationic solutions, such as starch and basic polymeric solutions. Unfortunately, both of these technologies deliver a finite amount of strength before their effectiveness begins to fall off. This strength limit is dictated by the capacity of the anionic fiber furnish to absorb a cationic dry strength additive.

Solenis researchers have studied this problem and have discovered that a dual-component approach to dry strength can overcome the deficits of single-component systems. The most common dual-component program combines cationic and anionic dry strength resins so that they work synergistically to generate stronger electrostatic bonds and a stronger wet and dry web. This cationic-anionic approach extends the performance curve of traditional strength additives and enables papermakers to achieve their high strength needs. Conversely, for wet ends, which run with high cationic demand, combinations of cationic resins have been found that can extend strength gains beyond the limits of single component programs.

Papermakers have also expressed the need to operate with tighter, more stable process control to reduce costs and improve consistency of quality. Fusion strength and performance technology brings together the chemistry with a portfolio of leading-edge process control technologies:

  • OnGuard™ OnLine, a cloud-based server and reporting tool
  • Envoy*, an advanced tool for data-driven decisions and troubleshooting
  • A new predictive tool is currently being developed that comprises a collection of advanced algorithms to predict strength results for real-time optimization and training

Real-world Results

A two-ply, linerboard maker using a combination of virgin and recycled fiber was struggling to meet strength specifications. After implementing a Fusion strength and performance technology program, the mill experienced a number of benefits, including:

  • Immediate and direct STFI improvement
  • Basis weight reduced by 7%
  • Machine speed increased by 11%
  • Significant plybond improvement, eliminating the need for spray starch

More Information

For free technical advice and insights on how the Fusion strength and performance technology can help you build your competitive edge, ask a Solenis expert today.