French paper industry technology association’s ATIP innovation prize to Metso Paper’s OptiSpray technology

Published Oct 19, 2001 13.45.00 +2 GMT

France’s Paper Industry Technology Association (ATIP) unanimously awarded its innovation prize for 2001 (the ATIP Prix de l’Innovation) to Metso Paper’s OptiSpray coating method, which was developed at the corporation’s Coaters and Reels unit in Järvenpää, Finland. The prize, awarded on October 11th at Grenoble, is highly ranked by paper machine manufacturers and the pulp and paper industry. This year all major fiber and paper machine manufacturers entered the contest, with a total of 30 innovations.

Innovation is valued and encouraged at Metso Paper (priorly Valmet), which has been at or near the top of new patents lists in Finland for years. Metso Paper registers an average of 450-550 patents a year. The spray coating method – this year’s prize winner – involves about 20 patents and patent pendings. In all, Metso Paper holds thousands of patents involving the machinery, methods and processes used in paper, board and pulp production.

Established in 1995, the ATIP innovation prize was awarded for the seventh time this year. The prize is chosen by a committee consisting of paper mill managers, product development managers, technical managers and production managers from the French paper industry. The prize was handed over by ATIP Chairman M. Francois Vessiere and ATIP Director Daniel Gomez. Mr. Vessiere heads a Condat paper mill and is also chairman of the European pulp and paper association, EUCEPA.

Metso Automation won the 1998 ATIP innovation prize with its IQ Tension method developed for measuring web tension. In this connection, Metso Paper also earned honorary mention special price for its Valmet HC process developed for pulp ozone bleaching (Zetrack ).

The OptiSpray method in brief

The OptiSpray coating process rests on an entirely new foundation. It is based on a controlled, high-pressure spray application of coating or surface size directly onto the surface of the paper or board, without any direct machine contact. The coating is simultaneously sprayed (atomized) at high speed on both sides of the paper web.

OptiSpray achieves excellent coverage of the base paper. This is because the spray application spreads the coating evenly over the paper surface, uniformly covering uneven areas of the base paper with an evenly coated layer of the desired thickness.

The process facilitates the development of new paper and board grades, or the improvement of existing coated paper grades produced by conventional methods.

The spray coating station can be situated on the same level as the paper machine, in the normal way, or below the paper machine in the basement, which brings significant space and cost savings in machine rebuilds.

The process also has significantly lower running costs, as it is automated and contains only a few consumables or components needing regular maintenance. There is no need for the blades, rods or backing rolls of conventional methods that can cause runnability problems.

Raw material costs are also reduced, because the process allows for lower MD paper strength. This makes it possible to use recycled fiber, for example, as the raw material.

More information: Mr. Vilho Nissinen, Tel +358 (0)20 482 180, GSM +358 (0)40 55 77 016, e-mail: Mr. Kari Sorsa, Tel +358 (0)20 482 180, GSM +358 (0)40 580 3011, e-mail: