Market Leading Productivity and New Design Possibilities
Molded fiber, also known as molded pulp, is currently used in handling and packaging thousands of renewable products from food containers to packaging of household items and electronics to single-use medical service items.
Unveiled in September 2020, HP’s Molded Fiber Advanced Tooling technology enables fast and enhanced design and fabrication of high-performance molded fiber tooling in as quickly as two weeks[i] compared to four to six weeks experienced by customers using traditional methods[ii]. Combined with HP’s new tooling production service, the end-to-end solution yields increased production up time, reduced maintenance, and mass customization capabilities.
Key findings published by Innofibre confirm that the HP solution delivers a greater number of stronger parts more quickly than traditional tooling.
- Improved fiber retention resulting in stronger parts: due to its excellent first pass pulp retention, especially of the longest fibers, HP tooling uses less fiber to make parts with greater strength than equal grammage parts from 50-mesh tooling.
- Significant process efficiencies and cost reduction: due to its superior fiber retention, and faster forming, HP’s solution saves customers time and money - savings equivalent to avoiding having to discard every eleventh egg tray being produced into whitewater.
- High quality personalized parts: HP digitally designed screens resist wrinkles so customers get parts with crisp edges and borders, and highly personalized, legible markings.
New Customers Embracing HP’s Solution Across Industries
Several new customers throughout Europe, the United States and Canada across industries including healthcare and electronics have begun using HP’s tooling solution. This builds on collaboration with existing customers including Fiber Innovation, Pacific Pulp, Pulp Moulded Products, and Western Pulp Products Company as well as partners such as PMD and Veritiv who are working on a variety of new designs.
- Vernacare is a global leader of paper moulding products specializing in high quality single-use medical products committed to innovation. The company is looking to improve efficiency gains, accelerate turnaround times, and increase productivity with HP’s unique rapid screen replacement.
“Compared to traditional manufacturing, HP’s solution increases the speed from concept to execution, and has the potential to improve our productivity efficiencies and machine volumes,” said Garry Partington, Research and Development Manager, Vernacare.
- Polyco Healthline Group specializes in protection and hygiene products and services including disposable gloves, workwear and bags. Polyco has used molded pulp for more than two decades and its Thermofiber division develops non-medical molded pulp accessories. The company is working with HP to develop applications that reduce the amount of plastics used in the industry.
- Eco Pulp is a Finland-based packaging producer that specializes in technical molded pulp inserts. They are currently using HP’s tooling solution to produce packaging for electronic devices.
“Thanks to HP we are increasing our production efficiencies. The middle screen is saving us a lot of time in the production process, it is light, easy to carry, making the process faster and more sustainable,” said Ari Henttonen, Managing Director, Eco Pulp.
New customers include EnviroPAK, Eart Recycle International Mexico, YFY Jupiter and many others exploring new use cases using HP tools. HP’s own business, one of the largest manufacturers of consumer tech products in the world, is leveraging the solution to help achieve its sustainability goals, including a commitment to eliminate 75% of single use plastic packaging by 2025.
Technology Advancements Unlock New Value for Manufacturers
HP’s Molded Fiber Advanced Tooling Solution leverages proprietary HP innovations in digital manufacturing software and data intelligence along with HP’s industry-leading, industrial 3D printing technology to offer a more efficient, optimized digital design experience, replacing the need for handcrafted screens, CNC machining, and manually drilled form tools.
As a result of Innofibre’s research and work with partners including PMD, HP has quickly advanced its tooling capabilities, developing enhancements to optimize production processes and create more personalized solutions. These innovative advancements demonstrate HP’s commitment to open up entirely new design opportunities enabling projects that would be impossible using traditional methods due to complex geometries and shallow draft angles.
- HP AdvancedPro Transfer Tool: a lightweight transfer tool providing an extra digitally designed screen on the transfer side for improved productivity and process efficiency by reducing forming cycle time and moisture content. The tool improves transfer-side smoothness and enables parts with low draft angles as well as custom markings on the transfer side.
- HP FlowTec SmartScreen: custom screens algorithmically designed to fine tune slurry flow and improve molding performance for challenging geometries.
“We started to work with HP because my desire was to have a fluid dynamic approach to the tooling used for molded fiber products. I didn’t have sufficient knowledge of this approach and very few people in the Industry do,” said Jalal Kahn, Head of Design Pulp & Paper Products at Polyco Healthline. "HP’s FlowTec SmartScreen is a breakthrough tooling innovation thanks to which we can actually have a more predictable slurry behavior resulting in efficiency gains for molders.”