If everything goes as planned, the extrusion coating pilot line that customers have been waiting for will be running at KCL’s Otaniemi premises again in September.
Three 26-meter-long trucks, two sea containers and numerous vans were required to move the extrusion coating pilot machine from Hervanta, Tampere to the KCL pilot plant in Otaniemi, Espoo. The equipment was built in 1988 at the Tampere University of Technology to serve education and research and development of paper and paper board converting technology. The universities of Tampere have since then gone under the same roof. At the turn of last year, the reformed University of Tampere decided to give up the equipment, intended for paper coating test runs, an equipment which had been improved many times.
Along with the sale, Marikki Laamanen, who had been in charge of the extrusion pilot line for more than a decade, joined the service of KCL. She herself studied for a master’s degree in paper and paper board converting industry in Tampere. “For me, this is a return home at the same time. I was born and grew up in Espoo, but have spent half of my life in Tampere,” said Laamanen.
The extrusion coating pilot completes KCL’s supply of pilot lines suitable for industrial testing of paper and paperboard coatings.
The extrusion coating and lamination pilot line is KCL’s latest pilot services extension. A 5-layer coextrusion technology with encapsulation function and versatile pre- and post-surface treatment options provides excellent opportunities for the creation of new packaging material innovations. It can also be used as a small-scale demo material production line.
”In addition to the extrusion line, we have a possibility to make dispersion coating trials with very small amounts of coating material, ” Laamanen explained. ”There are few similar devices in the world. We have customers from around the world who are eagerly waiting for the re-opening of the pilot line”
Not only forest industry companies are interested as customers, but also material suppliers of various coating materials and research institutes.
First planning, then disassembly and reassembly
The spring to summer of the current year was spent planning and preparing the move. “The electricians already started visiting the line throughout the spring, because it is full of electricity. They marked every single connection and the wires, so that both disassembly and reassembly would be successful,” said Laamanen, who is responsible for the line system. “The demolition took place after Midsummer. In July, all the splendor moved 200 kilometers south on rubber tires to Otaniemi. The assembly started in mid-July and we expect to do test runs in September,” Marikki Laamanen estimated. “Everything has to be perfect, starting with the ventilation.”
Marikki Laamanen is now faced with the training of an almost entirely new staff, which however is routine for her – as she previously has worked as an assistant, senior assistant and operating engineer at the university.
“Also, the educational cooperation with will probably continue, at least with the University of Tampere”, Laamanen reflects. “And hopefully also the neighboring Aalto University.”
Text and photo: Jan Erola