Research, Development and Innovation – Klabin

Research, Development and Innovation

KLABIN HAS BEEN EXPANDING ITS ACTIONS IN RESEARCH, DEVELOPMENT AND INNOVATION, SEEKING TO ADVANCE MORE SUSTAINABLE APPLICATIONS FOR ITS PRODUCTS AND FACING INDUSTRY 4.0 CHALLENGES.

Sustainable
Development
Goals

<i>9 - </i>Innovation and infrastructure 9 - Innovation and infrastructure

—  Innovation with a purpose

(GRI 103-1, 103-2, 103-3)

In an environment marked by the intense use of technologies, the emergence of new markets and the demand for increasingly sustainable products, the concept of innovation has gained strength at Klabin, especially from 2016, with the creation of the “Inova Klabin” program and the inauguration of the Technology Center in Paraná. In 2018, Klabin purchased a share of the Israeli startup Melodea, a pioneer in the development of nanocrystalline cellulose, which opens new application perspectives for the company’s raw materials.

The introduction of technology to improve processes and increase productivity, as well as knowledge exchange with universities, startups and research institutions, also gained prominence in the period.

 

—  Heading toward Industry 4.0

Klabin has been making efforts to maintain its competitiveness and advance towards Industry 4.0, with the development of technological solutions that will improve its processes. The so-called “fourth industrial revolution” (concept created by the German economist Klaus Schwab, founder of the World Economic Forum) incorporates, among other factors, a tendency towards total automation of industries. The Puma Unit in Paraná was already conceived within this concept. A survey of the stages of Klabin’s other business units is currently underway in order to evaluate the technological and innovation needs to be implemented in each of them.

In this sense, the Innovation and Automation/Industrial Intelligence departments were created in 2018 and work together with the R&D+I team in an integrated development ecosystem. The establishment of the Permanent Innovation Committee, with the role of discussing, planning and validating business support strategies, reinforces this proposal (see Governance).

 

IT serving efficiency

Attentive to trends and best practices, Klabin has invested heavily in platforms, systems and technologies to increase business efficiency and foster teamwork. The company-wide movement is aligned with the precepts of Industry 4.0 and aims to bring people together, simplify their day-to-day operations and boost results. The challenge is to provide a robust infrastructure and the best technological solutions to make production processes more efficient, autonomous, secure and synchronized.

The implementation of advanced algorithms and resources that include IoT (Internet of Things), the installation of sensors in the operational facilities and a review of platforms for the mobility of people are essential, given Klabin’s capillarity.

—  Collaborative process

The relationship with startups, universities and research institutes reinforces the search to anticipate trends and the culture of innovation, since it allows contact with new types of business, even more flexible and dynamic – as in the case of startups – involving the solution of important challenges for the company.

Some examples of projects in this sense, created in 2018, are:

• Desafios Klabin [Klabin’s Challenges]: an open innovation program focused on startups, whose purpose is to encourage entrepreneurship and promote sustainable solutions that improve the company’s processes and products. The selected startups develop pilot models for the challenges presented by Klabin. The best projects are put into practice. The program is also an opportunity for startups to test and validate their solutions, with the possibility of generating additional revenue as a Klabin supplier or partner.

• Pitch Days: aimed at the startups selected through the Klabin’s Challenges program and also engaging other stakeholders, such as those of companies in the legal area.

• Klabin+U: consists of introducing students to Klabin’s operational routine so they can evaluate, try out and develop innovative and sustainable solutions for the packaging market. The first edition, held in 2018, included 28 students from Delft University of Technology, in the Netherlands.

• Klabin Labs: gathers employees in work marathons designed to solve company-specific problems. There were two editions in 2018.

 

—  Innovation and sustainability

With the motto “Innovation with Purpose”, the second edition of Inova Klabin, in September 2018, gathered paper and pulp market leaders and the company’s employees, customers, suppliers and partners, for two days of debates on topics related to innovation, bioeconomics and sustainability.

The program included lectures by experts on innovation, immersive activities and experiences, such as simulators and augmented reality, a robotics workshop, and a discussion on Klabin’s Sustainable Development Goals Agenda for 2030 (see Long-term Commitment to the SDGs).

 

—  Research and development

Between 2019 and 2021, the company will invest about BRL 180 million in research on Industrial and Forestry Operations, including a new pilot facility park for developing new products, as well as agreements with research institutes, national and international universities.

 

 

—  Generation of value in the production chain

The R&D+I department focuses it operations on all stages of production within the company, with emphasis on the following aspects:

  • Improve planting and management of pine and eucalyptus to increase productivity;
  • Develop new products and improve processes to better meet the customers’ needs or improve economic and environmental performance;
  • Optimize supplier processes to increase flexibility on the purchase of inputs and services;
  • Solve issues related to the physical properties of packaging, such as barriers (water, steam, fat and oxygen) and other characteristics;
  • Evaluate product performance in matters such as environmental aspects, quality, productivity, health and safety.

The Technology Center develops research on five operating fronts:

  • Development of the forestry base
  • Development of pulp production processes;
  • Development of papers and new applications;
  • New technological routes based on the forest;
  • Environment and waste

—  Targeted efforts for the future

Klabin’s Research & Development projects and initiatives are geared primarily to two major areas – forestry operations and industrial operations – and seek to help maintain the company’s competitiveness and support its expansion projects.

Forestry research
Pine and Eucalyptus improvement: production of new pine and eucalyptus clones and development of a proper protocol for pine cloning, with the support of an Indian consulting firm. Currently, only two companies worldwide have protocols for this purpose.
Ecophysiology Laboratory: conducts research activities in ecophysiology, soil and forest nutrition to create synergy within the company’s studies on forest management. The laboratory also promotes climate zoning studies to assess the impact of climate change on forestry activity.
Biotechnology: internal advances in Forest Biotechnology, with approved funds to work with differentiated biotechnology in research focused on increasing eucalyptus and pine productivity.
Industrial research
Development of biobarriers: with the acquisition of a share of the startup Melodea, Klabin registered important advances in tests and formulations internally made for the use of nanocrystalline cellulose (CNC) as a barrier (for oxygen, for example) and for new applications. In 2019, late-stage tests are being jointly conducted with customers for the use of CNC to develop new products.
Pilot Facility Park: the establishment of two pilot facilities at the Technology Center, in Telemaco Borba, was approved. The project will allow the simulation of a manufacturing unit, where studies and tests will be carried out on research fronts such as microfibrillated cellulose (MFC) and lignin. See more in Business expansion.
Processes: several projects to improve industrial processes, aiming at reducing water, energy and steam consumption. See Environment.

 

Protecting intellectual property

In support of innovation-related efforts, the company consolidated the Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Policy in 2018. The document defines the rules on the protection and confidentiality of elements created and innovations developed within the company to be followed by all employees.

Throughout the year, workshops on the Policy mainly involving the operational and Process Engineering areas were held across all units. Communication on the document’s guidelines and directions should become a continuous process in the company.

—  Partnerships

Partners in Brazil

  • Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)
  • Universidade Estadual de Ponta Grossa (UEPG)
  • Universidade Federal de Lavras (UFLA)
  • Universidade Estadual de São Paulo (UNESP)
  • Universidade Estadual de Santa Catarina (Udesc)
  • Universidade Estadual do Centro-Oeste (Unicentro), em Irati (PR)
  • Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina (UFSC)
  • Universidade Federal de Viçosa (UFV)
  • Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR)
  • Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ)
  • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS)
  • Universidade Federal de Campina Grande (UFCG)
  • Universidade Federal de Viçosa
  • BIOAGRI
  • DOW
  • BASF
  • SunChemical
  • BioWare
  • Valmet
  • Novozymes
  • RISE
  • Solway
  • GL&V
  • ITATIJUCA Biotech
  • Voith
  • Andritz
  • Buckman Laboratories
  • Imerys
  • CETEP – Centro de Tecnologia de Embalagem
  • Solenis
  • FPInnovations
  • SENAI
  • Topchim
  • ARIA do Brasil
  • EMBRAPA
  • ACTGene
  • DMC Consultoria
  • IPEF – Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Florestais
  • Sif – Sociedade de Investigações Florestais
  • Heréditas
  • Assistech Consultoria

Overseas partners

  • TU Delft
  • The University of Maine
  • KU Leuven
  • University of Toronto
  • Universidad de Concepción
  • Abo Akademi
  • Melodea Bio Based Solutions
  • Forest Productivity Cooperative
  • Camcore
  • IAPAR
  • New York State University
  • Virginia Tech