The next-generation production line in Walki’s Valkeakoski plant was officially inaugurated today with a festive ceremony that brought together customers and other stakeholders from various parts of the world.
The 13 MEUR investment – one of the most significant in Walki’s history – is an important step forward in the company’s strategy to transform materials towards a circular future.
“With this milestone investment, we are expanding our technology base to secure the recyclability of our fiber-based products to meet the strictest requirements of expected future regulations”, says Leif Frilund, President and CEO.
“This new production line will cater to the fast-growing demand for fiber-based and recyclable materials, both in our consumer packaging and construction materials segments”, adds Frilund.
The novel coating technology – a combination of dispersion and impregnation technology – is enhancing Walki’s capabilities to produce high barrier fibre-based materials with a low carbon footprint.
“The unique production line has been completely designed inhouse and is the most modern in the world. Dispersion technology is a sustainable way to achieve barrier properties for fibre-based packaging without compromising recyclability in fibre streams”, says Kari Salminen, Deputy CEO and Executive Vice President, of Engineered Materials.
In addition to packaging materials, the production line will be serving customers in the construction industry, who are under pressure to comply with tightened regulations regarding both fire safety and recyclability of construction materials.
“Regulation creates the need for materials that can replace aluminum in construction facings without compromising flame-retardance. We will produce new facings coated with a flame-retardant substance for polyurethane insulation”, says Kari Salminen.
The new production line was a true team effort involving not only Walki employees but also a wide range of suppliers, as well as support from customers.
“Everything has gone according to plan, which we can see in our excellent safety statistics relating to the project”, says Kari Salminen.
Walki received financing from Business Finland’s circular economy funding for this investment.