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Progressive starch products for industry from Finland


New raw materials are proving a technological leap in packaging.

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed new products from potatoes and grain for the packaging, paper, construction and medical technology industries. The new glues and paper coatings developed from starch are economical, durable and can be completely recycled. They also enable lighter packaging products. The starch products and their manufacturing methods signify an enormous step forward for the packaging and paper industries. The new starch products can also be utilised in pharmaceutical products as they make it possible to regulate the release of substances into the body.

The new raw materials developed by VTT are an immense technological leap forward for the packaging field. They are appropriate for use as raw materials in glues for the construction industry. The new starch products can be used especially to replace current synthetic raw materials for glues, which are difficult to recycle.

Earlier products made from natural starch were extremely hard and brittle. Moreover, the dry material content was generally only 50 per cent, which in products containing fibres such as board gives rise to warping and swelling of the fibres.

With the new VTT method the potato and grain starch is broken down into minute parts, which are then refined into the new starch products. The properties of these products can be modified in many ways to suit the end use. The starch products can be further refined into 100 per cent hot melt adhesives and water dispersion glues with a dry material content of as much as 80 per cent. The new glues based on natural materials can be used for lightweight packages which retain their strength and withstand grease well. Furthermore, the material and energy costs of industrial manufacture can be reduced , likewise the burden on the environment.

The new starch products and their manufacturing methods have been developed at the VTT Rajamaeki pilot facility to be suitable for industrial production. The results have led to three applications for patents and the experimental production of new packaging material in an industrial plant. VTT, Tekes, Helsinki University of Technology, the University of Oulu and several industrial concerns have participated in the development work.

Soili Peltonen | alfa
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