Moulded pulp products manufacturing with thermoforming

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article – Annual report year: 2019Researchpeer-review

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Over the past years, eco‐friendly packaging solutions such as moulded pulp have resonated with a growing number of consumers. Among all of them, the thermoformed products make use of the most recent manufacturing approach that produces high‐quality, thin‐walled items. However, it remains an underresearched area, and the development of an efficient and precise manufacturing process is fundamental in order to increase the implementation of sustainable packaging.

With the purpose of setting a step towards in the standardization of design and testing practices of eco‐friendly packaging, this work focused on the characterization of the thermoforming process of moulded pulp products and their characteristics. Three different analyses were carried out for this purpose, covering the dewatering efficiency of the process, a quantification of the moulding geometrical accuracy, and an analysis of the internal microstructure of the parts. Experimental results and statistical analysis show that the dewatering efficiency is mainly governed by the mould's temperature while the duration of the contact time is not influential. In the second investigation, the geometrical accuracy of the mouldability of microfeatures was assessed. The process appeared to be dependently related to the pulp type employed. Finally, the internal microstructure was documented using X‐ray computed tomography. The analysis shows an increase in the internal void fraction linked with an increase in the mould's temperature.

The role of the water change of phase in the thermoforming process is also discussed by reference to the work conducted on impulse drying.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPackaging Technology and Science
Volume32
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)7-22
Number of pages16
ISSN0894-3214
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019
CitationsWeb of Science® Times Cited: No match on DOI

    Research areas

  • 3D structure of paper, Impulse drying, Moulded fibre, Moulded pulp, Thermoforming
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