We have highly qualified experts working worldwide in research and development to make sure our products remain at the cutting edge. The entire team focuses its efforts on developing new ideas and products that perform even better and deliver even higher customer value. Since quality is part of the philosophy underpinning “Best-Performing Papers - Worldwide” - our promise to our customers - we now invest 2.5 % of our annual turnover in our R&D activities.
Our projects go through a structured stage-gate process to ensure that the R&D team develops solutions that are an exact fit for each customer and their individual specifications. They are managed by one of the R&D team, who is supported through the different phases by an interdisciplinary team comprising lab technicians, papermakers, product managers, applications engineers, analysts and colleagues from the production department.
- We start the whole process by analysing the market. The sales and product management teams collect business case information (if necessary with the help of the business development department). We always aim to establish the value for the customer and their specific application, along with the challenges that presents, and to identify any other specific market needs. At this point, we also hammer out a budget.
- Once that is done, we know what the specifications for a development project are and the product design and recipe development phase can begin. This is when we develop a technical solution that meets the specifications; we devise the product’s structure and come up with suggestions about what raw materials to use. This laboratory phase is about understanding and using the relevant physical parameters, designing and conducting an appropriate experiment and then working with the customer to evaluate it.
- Once this step has been successfully concluded, we move onto the pilot phase, in which we optimise the recipe and start the lab-to-production development process, which defines the best way to manufacture the product. During this phase, we work intensively on the pilot paper machine, extruder and coater.
- The pilot phase is followed by the production phase, which involves a three-stage scale-up und intensive process optimisation work.
- Only when this phase has been successfully concluded does the “hand over” take place and the responsibility for the product passes from the R&D team to the production team.
The added value created by our project know-how takes the form of products which have been specifically developed to meet our customers’ specifications and which deliver high customer value.