Maplex Pressboard – The Inside Story
Weidmann is a global supplier of cellulose-based fiber materials. This recently created new Business Unit exclusively focuses on the production of highly sustainable, innovative paper and pressboard products for a variety of applications.
Leading the product management, business development and innovation is Global Product Manager for the pressboard product line Irene Morse. Sustainable material markets were always of an interest to Weidmann so we learn about recent developments, projects underway and the company’s commitment to minimize environmental impact by developing sustainable material solutions.
Hi Irene, what reignited Weidmann’s interest in the area of biobased materials?
Let me start with the saying “Great things have small beginnings” which resonates so well with our story.
In the past, we tested sustainable materials acceptance on a small market scale and, at that time, the interest towards new, greener materials was just emerging so we cautiously proceeded with our efforts within very limited applications. In the meantime, we have always been monitoring biobased materials trends, upgrading our manufacturing capabilities and adding capacity. We also have been engaging with selected partners to prototype and further test our material performance in certain applications.
Although being cautious, we have also been very optimistic about emergence of a strong commitment to use more biobased materials, growing awareness of material transparency and product circularity. So, in 2019 Weidmann launched its new initiative and we are proud and privileged to expand and share our 150+ years of pressboard making expertise across multiple industries and applications.
How can Weidmann products make a difference to the Circular Economy?
While our products already go beyond a 50-year life span in some applications, our expertise in paper and board making, our manufacturing processes and environmental practices across our global sites, and the new projects we are currently working on, all offer viable biobased solutions for the rapidly evolving Circular Economy concept.
Our Maplex pressboard composition (pulp and water only) and sheet forming technology, make it not only a durable and long lasting substrate for many applications but it is easy to upcycle thus extending the material life cycle for many years to come before you finally recycle it. It all, of course, depends on application and end use, but our trials demonstrate very encouraging and exciting results.
What is Maplex Pressboard?
Maplex is a VOC free 100% biobased pressboard made of 95% unbleached cellulose pulp and 5% water. Its superior mechanical properties makes it a versatile substrate for the variety of applications. Our board making and fiber technology competencies allow us to finetune the product and customize it through close collaboration between our engineers and customers. The sheet construction makes Maplex strong, durable and re-usable. After its first life cycle, it can be re-pulped and used to create a new Maplex sheet,….and then repeat the cycle.
Explain the value of partnerships in the context of manufacturing expertise and capability and what exciting initiatives are you currently working on?
Our collaboration with Niaga, NL which started with the short introduction at Greenbuild in the US in 2019 has grown into a great partnership qualifying Maplex as a circular substrate for furniture and door paneling systems. We are very proud that Maplex panel is a part of the first truly circular Berkvens Zero Door by Berkvens Deursystemen NL. Zero Door is produced by utilizing patented click/unclick adhesive by Niaga and Maplex pressboard. We are excited to continue our journey and create more circular products together with Niaga and their Frontrunners.
Another initiative we participate in is Eco Maison, France, which focuses on stopping global warming, restoring biodiversity and protecting the oceans. This partnership led to ongoing R&D projects in furniture and retail fashion arenas, where the versatility of Maplex is tested in furniture construction and retail store accessories. Material transparency, longevity and biodegradability makes Maplex stand out in these applications. I’d like to emphasize that we do not simply provide the material, our engineers work side by side with our customers and partners developing customized materials and solutions.
With so many projects in development, we are very excited and look forward to sharing our success stories as new products are launched. And, as we continue our journey in the world of biobased materials and immerse ourselves into “think circular” mindset, we extend our gratitude to our partners, customers, designers and our colleagues around the globe for supporting and inspiring us so together we can create more products which are good for the people and the environment.