Please note this information is only available in English.

Fiber Thermoforming: Looks like plastic – made of paper!

13 jul 2020

They look as if they were made of plastic: food containers and packaging, medical articles, inlays for mobile phones and other high-quality electronic devices, plant pots, even drinking cups and their lids. But looks can be deceptive. Fiber Thermoforming allows these products to be manufactured from pulp as well as plastic.

The renaissance of cellulose

When developing the new Kiefel Fiber Thermoforming machine NATUREFORMER KFT 90, KIEFEL GmbH (Freilassing) made full use of their plastics processing know-how. The result is a machine with a high degree of automation that forms high-quality products from pulp.

 

Gentle processing

Erwin Wabnig, Head of Fiber Thermoforming at Kiefel describes the capabilities of the process: "The product surfaces of the components made of fresh cellulose on our machines are so brilliant and smooth that only a trained professional can see any difference from plastic products. Depending on the additives, the products can handle hot drinks, hot foods and constant moisture." The performance of the products depends on the additives, the fiber length of the pulp and the process control. The NATUREFORMER KFT 90 forms without damaging the fibers. A suction tool dips into the raw pulp, which is processed in batches. The vacuum applied sucks up liquid and leaves the fibers in the tool, similarly to a filter cake. The suction tool, which is mounted on a robot handling system, then moves into the flexible counter tool of the pre-pressing station. This ensures even fiber distribution across the tool geometry combined with excellent dimensional accuracy. The suction tool then transfers the component to the hot press, where any remaining moisture is eliminated by temperatures up to 200°C in the upper and lower tool and a clamping force of up to 600 kN.

The automation up to the box originates from the plastics thermoforming machines. The machine building company adapts its modules to fulfill the customer's requirements. Testing and inspection systems for quality monitoring can also be integrated if requested by the customer. The NATUREFORMER KFT 90 has an automatic quick-tool change system. The robot system also changes the hot tool within 15 minutes.

 

Complementary procedure

A broad range of additives mean a lot can be done with cellulose. The attraction of the material is its recyclability. Wabnig describes the current debate: "There is always the question of how much and with which additives I have to modify the pulp so that it fulfills its purpose for the desired application. "Wax, brighteners, pigments, binders - they all affect the recyclability of the products. Therefore, Wabnig is certain: "Pulp will not replace plastic, but complement it. With Fiber Thermoforming, we offer our customers a complementary process to processing plastics, which builds on a lot of experience and process knowledge from our core business." A full scale pilot system of the NATUREFORMER KFT 90 is already operational and producing a reference product at a cycle time of 15 seconds. The first of several machines will be delivered to a customer in the middle of this year.

Produktdiversität von Naturfaser-Verpackungsprodukten
Produktdiversität von Naturfaser-Verpackungsprodukten
Vorgeformte Produkte in der Heißpresse
Vorgeformte Produkte in der Heißpresse
Umgedrehter Saugprozess sorgt für gleichmäßigere Faserverteilung
Umgedrehter Saugprozess sorgt für gleichmäßigere Faserverteilung

Downloads

Our PDF documents for more detailed information.

More News

News & information from Kiefel

14 okt 2020

Packaging Dialogue Web Days on October 14 and 15 - register now!

The packaging industry is facing a variety of challenges in the market. We show you how you can prepare for the future. At our free Web Days you can find out, how to make your production even more efficient and sustainable in the future!
Meer informatie
Im Rahmen der zukunftsorientierten Zusammenarbeit wurde die Auszeichnung zum AVP (Authorized Value Provider) von Michael Kremer (Head of Sales ABB) an Peter Eisl (CFO Kiefel GmbH) überreicht.
25 aug 2020

Kiefel joins ABB Authorized Value Provider Program

Kiefel's tremendous innovation and strong partnership in recent years is being rewarded with membership in the ABB Authorized Value Provider Program.
Meer informatie
17 aug 2020

Kiefel Fiber Webinar 2020

Interested in fiber made packaging? Want to know what makes fiber an attractive material? Why choose Kiefel machines for Fiber Thermoforming?
Meer informatie
29 jul 2020

Kiefel wins renowned Red Dot Award for HMI

Kiefel receives the Red Dot Award for “Modular and smart visualized HMI for Kiefel Packaging machines” in the category Brands & Communication Design 2020. On top, the HMI (Human Machine Interface HMI) was even rewarded with the “Red Dot:...
Meer informatie
06 jul 2020

Well prepared for the future

Kiefel is reinforcing its management. Stefan Moll has been responsible for technical matters as CTO since May 1, 2020, with a particular focus on global medical engineering business. Moll complements the existing management team of Thomas J....
Meer informatie
07 mei 2020

New CTO - Kiefel strengthens its management

Stefan Moll is the new CTO – Focus on medical engineering
Meer informatie
Quality inspection of fiber products.
16 apr 2020

Thermoforming meets fiber

Plastics Know-How for Fiber Processing
Meer informatie
Kiefel KMI 2.0 - Die Kühlung aktiviert sich selbstständig und benötigt nur einen wichtigen Eingabewert - die gewünschte Werkzeugtemperatur.
28 jan 2020

Innovative cooling concept reduces maintenance costs

New situation-specific cooling of thermoforming tools reduces wear
Meer informatie
28 okt 2019

Mono-material hot fill cups out of foamed PET

Meer informatie