We offer unique lab opportunities for viscose fiber
Södra has established its own viscose lab to develop a consistent, good-quality dissolving pulp and improve production performance.
Södra has a long tradition of producing dissolving pulp from wood fibers, which is used in the textile industry to produce viscose and lyocell. Since 2019, Södra has also offered OnceMore®, the world's first large-scale system for recycling textile waste from blended materials. Its purity, quality and other properties are equivalent to 100% wood-based dissolving pulp and it is used in the production of viscose and lyocell fibers with recycled content.
"We are a pulp producer with process knowledge and lab equipment for all process steps which contribute to viscose properties. Since we do this for our customers, we would also like to share our knowledge and support our customers in optimizing their processes," says Catharina Fechter, Technical Product Manager.
Only a few commercial viscose laboratories worldwide
The new viscose lab is a multi-year development project that was launched at Södra's innovation department in connection with Catharina Fechter's industrial doctorate studies. The lab reflects all process steps in the chain except the fiber spinning itself, from alkalization to filtration of the viscose dope, where the main process parameters are monitored. There are only a few commercial viscose laboratories in the world, mainly situated at research institutes or viscose producer sites, however as a pulp producer we consider it particularly important to understand our customers’ processes.
“We are a knowledge-based company that aims to control our products and our process, which is why we have developed our own lab. With our own viscose lab, we can develop the product and optimize the process, which means constant learning for our team. This is especially important now that we have OnceMore®, which is a new type of pulp. The lab gives support and reassurance to our customers,” says Catharina.
We investigate issues throughout the viscose process - preferably in cooperation with customers
It is possible to investigate issues throughout the entire viscose process in the lab.
"For example, we can vary raw materials, times, temperatures and additives, and evaluate all control parameters. We can also do standard analyses," says Catharina.
Catharina established the lab and handed over operations just over a year ago to Anna Palme, a specialist in the field, who is assisted by her expert team.
"These are very complicated process steps, so it is a challenge for all of us in the lab," says Anna.
In addition to keeping track of its own products and the process, Anna says that Södra would like to run development projects together with customers.
"We want customers to tell us about their challenges and ideas, so we can investigate them in our lab to optimize the process together. We can compare different pulps or different pulp mixtures," says Anna.
Helena Claesson, development project manager for OnceMore®, responsible for the roadmap for the development of Södra's dissolving pulp, explains:
The strength of having our own viscose lab was clearly demonstrated when we initially developed OnceMore®. Early on, we were comfortable scaling up the volume quickly from grams to tons. This was possible since we had conducted experiments in our viscose lab that showed that OnceMore® pulp yielded quality equivalent to our regular dissolving pulp. We are very proud of our lab and hope that customers want to run projects with us and share our knowledge.”
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