What role can 3D printing play in papermaking?
Swedish company Celwise intends to change the way paper is made. Using additive manufacturing, specifically custom tooling produced on an ExOne machine, the company has developed patented technology to make, mold and form paper using almost all forms of cellulose. By controlling the arrangement of pulp fibers, Celwise offers more environmentally friendly products while reducing manufacturing costs by 50%. Although 3D printing is not at the heart of the project, it contributes to the papermaking process by enabling the production of complex tooling.
Many manufacturers rely on 3D technologies to create custom tools; for example, for assembly lines, they can quickly create clamping tools, housings, etc. No more waiting for weeks to receive your order – which can sometimes slow down production. In fact, tooling is one of the main applications of additive manufacturing, along with rapid prototyping and final parts. For this reason, Celwise now relies on ExOne’s binder projection technology to design metal tools.
Celwise 3D printing tools to accelerate its manufacturing process
For two centuries, papermaking has been a long process. One of the necessary steps is to remove all the water from the cellulose fibers present in the wooden walls, and this is done very slowly. Celwise realized that he could dramatically speed up this step while achieving an even better result. Using a high temperature machine, it removes water, allowing the cellulose fibers to reconnect with each other. The company claims that thanks to this paper, production is four times faster.
Additive manufacturing has its own role to play: whether for forming, transfer or pressing machines, Celwise integrates 3D printed tools with 316L stainless steel. The company is quite low-key about the type of components or printing time, but says it’s a method that allows it to be more efficient and agile. They used the ExOne M-Flex for all their AM needs.
Products more respectful of the environment
From wood pulp blends, Celwise can make products that are water resistant, providing better tensile and mildew resistance. They are also similar to plastic, with a smaller environmental footprint.
For example, a tree 20 cm by 14 meters (7.87 ″ x 45.9 ′) can produce 30,000 large coffee mugs in ground paste, 16,000 coffee lids in ground paste, 20,000 hamburger boxes in paste. ground and 15,000 meat trays. A great alternative to plastic! Celwise’s technology could become very interesting for many players, especially as more and more countries begin to recognize the need for action to mitigate the global climate crisis. Please feel free to visit the Swedish company website HERE to learn more about its papermaking and molding process.
* Cover photo credits: Celotech
What do you think of Celwise’s use of 3D printing tools for its papermaking? Let us know in a comment below or on our Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages! Sign up for our free weekly newsletter here, the latest 3D printing news straight to your inbox!