|Aalto and VTT work on FOLD paperboard project|
Finland’s Aalto University and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd. have been working on the FOLD project, involving other Finnish businesses in developing folded paperboard alternatives to non-paper packaging, with a new software program now aiding progression from the theory of origami and Miura folding to practical prototypes.
Funded by Business Finland, the project aims to create novel folding technologies and concepts for lightweight structures, including protective packaging. Unusually, says Aalto, it involves the overlapping fields of the arts, engineering and mathematics.
Markus Joutsela, a senior lecturer at Aalto University’s School of Arts, Design and Architecture, says his team is looking at corrugations which allow both functionality and protection such as cushioning, but which also provide an aesthetic experience for users.
“We see potential in corrugations, especially in secondary packaging applications and e-commerce use,” he says. “We are currently working with brand-owners to identify their specific packaging needs, meanwhile also prototyping with different materials at different scales.”
At VTT, which is co-ordinating FOLD, project manager Jarmo Kouko adds: “As one of the outcomes of the project, we want to bring a sustainable alternative to plastic packaging and other applications.”
Meanwhile, back at Aalto, Kirsi Peltonen of the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis says that work to date has focused largely on mapping areas of common interest with the industry partners, testing some possible folded configurations and processing options.
“During the summer, a helpful software program to bridge the practical design process to theoretical knowledge was developed, and will be released later for open use,” she says. “Our consortium partners have broad product development interests that provide seeds for further long-term research, as well.”
The project, which began in January this year, has among its commercial partners paper and board producers Stora Enso and Metsä Board. Others include machinery builders and cosmetics brands.