Metsä Group Collaborates with ANDRITZ on Textile Fiber Mill Pre-study

Metsä Group has entered into an extensive cooperation with international technology group ANDRITZ to conduct a pre-study for the first possible commercial mill producing the Kuura textile fiber. This new type of textile fiber, developed by Metsä Group’s innovation company Metsä Spring, is made from Finnish wood.

The primary objectives of this collaboration are to develop a pulp pre-treatment method, smart ways to integrate textile fiber production into the various departments of a bioproduct mill, and automation for Kuura production.

The pre-study is the first planning stage for a potential commercial mill project to process softwood pulp into a new type of man-made cellulosic fiber (MMCF). The Kuura concept produces a sustainable, high value-added product without the use of fossil fuels.

The Kuura fiber and its production process are currently being developed in a demo plant at Metsä Group’s Äänekoski site in Finland. ANDRITZ supplied key process areas, including the fiberline, for the Äänekoski bioproduct mill, as well as some of the equipment for the demo plant.

“We’ve systematically developed the Kuura fiber to meet the growing demand for more sustainable textile fibers. The first Kuura mill would be constructed next to one of our modern bioproduct mills, which would allow us to use renewable energy generated at the neighboring mill and take advantage of several closed cycles. In addition, all pulp, the main raw material for Kuura fibers, would come from nearby certified Finnish forests,” says Metsä Spring CEO Niklas von Weymarn.

Kari Tuominen, President and CEO of ANDRITZ Oy, adds, Sustainability is an essential part of our business strategy and corporate culture. ANDRITZ’s equipment and process portfolio are at the core of the cooperation with Metsä Group, which marks a significant step towards producing a new type of MMCF.”

The pre-study is expected to take one year to complete, after which the mill planning can proceed to a more detailed pre-engineering stage. Once operational, the mill is anticipated to produce approximately 100,000 tons of Kuura fiber per year and employ about 250 people.