The paper industry is facing major challenges as reduced demand for newsprint is causing a large drop in profits for many big corporations. This forces the paper industry to shift to find new ways to add value and profitability of the products. This prestudy is a collaboration between two research projects in two different areas of technology with the aim to investigate whether the combination of these technology areas may find a way to produce paper with new advanced features on a large scale.
This prestudy is based on an interaction between two regional fund projects "COAT - Research on functional paper" and "Development of innovations in fiber optics for industrial applications". The aim of the collaboration is that it will eventually lead to new ways to produce advanced paper products on a large scale.
It is a known fact that the paper industry is facing major challenges where especially a big drop in demand for newsprint makes a drop in profits for many big corporations.
This forces the paper industry to shift and continually work to find new ways to add value and profitability of their products. One way to increase the value added would be to give the paper material new advanced features. For this to be achievable it requires a multidisciplinary approach where combining different technology areas. In this prestudy, we want to investigate the possibility of combining two different areas of technology; coating technology of metals and semiconductors as well as innovative laser technology for patterning of the electrical components on the paper-based surfaces. An important condition is that the patterning method should be scalable to adapt to the paper industry already efficient large-scale production. The main purpose of this study is to answer the question of whether the combination of these technology areas may represent a way to produce paper products with new advanced features large scale.
The overall objective of this study is to contribute to increased knowledge and experience and to identify any obstacles around the use of laser technology for the creation of new paper products on a large scale. This prestudy study should also result in the following measurable objectives:
- Initiate contact and cooperation with at least two other stakeholders active in the paper industry.
- Prepare at least one suitable processing method for patterning the metal thin layer by laser technology.
- Prepare at least one suitable processing method for patterning semiconductor thin layers by laser technology.
The direct beneficiaries are regional stakeholders in the pulp and paper industry, where the methods developed in this study could eventually get these stakeholders to benefit. The indirect target group is small and medium-sized enterprises active in areas such as material processing with laser technology (such as laser Nova, Lasercut and others). The exchange of knowledge that will be done by this prestudy study will the companies get the benefit in, and for those, in a relevant context.
This prestudy will provide the basis for an action plan for the continued development of functional paper products in collaboration with regional industry. Continued research and development in functional paper products are likely to be made with a view to greater international cooperation in areas such as Horizon 2020. The prestudy will also result in a wider network of researchers and companies (even internationally) which can also result in new collaborative arrangements.
In the longer term goal of this preliminary study shows examples of how advanced paper-based products can be created through an interdisciplinary approach. This may also lead to a positive development for the entire Mid Sweden region, with higher growth, more jobs and new businesses.
Lasercut and LaserNova