R&D in the Spotlight

We have been manufacturing thermal paper and coated one-side paper for decades. And as long as there has been paper production at our premises, R&D has been a key element of our success. At our factory in Kauttua, we have all the critical functions under one roof; production, R&D, quality control, and sales. The daily cooperation and interaction between these departments form an excellent basis for our product development. We can take into consideration the demands of both customers and production in a comprehensive manner. Our R&D department has a vast experience, and we would now like to present to you more than 40 years of that experience.

Elina Mattila, Product Line Manager (thermal eco and top-coated labels)

  • specialist in thermal papers
  • started her career at Jujo more than 21 years ago
  • education: Bachelor of Engineering
Elina Mattila

Elina works at the R&D department as product line manager of thermal eco and top-coated labels. ”I started more than 20 years ago in the department as laboratory technician. I have worked in the same department all these years, but my job description has changed quite a lot during these two decades,” she says. Elina tells us that the product development starts from an impulse which, in turn, leads either to further development of an existing product or to creation of a new product. The source of the impulse may be customers, end users, production, or new raw materials. Furthermore, the trends and legislation of the industry are closely monitored by R&D.

Once the impulse for product development has been registered, the first work phase is to determine whether it is possible to implement the development or the change. ”If we, after completing the initial research, come to the conclusion that there, indeed, is a demand for the product, the raw materials are available, and the product can be produced in a profitable manner, we start testing new coatings,” Elina says. Next, the coating recipes are formulated and, as a part of this work phase, the necessary testings are made. ”Sometimes the end use of the product is so unique that no existing testing methods available. In such situations, we need an extra amount of creativeness to innovate new testing methods,” Elina explains.

Throughout the whole product development process there is a constant dialogue between all the parties involved in the process. Products are developed together with customers, sales and production. Elina gives an example of a product development project: ”For many years we have taken steps, and still do, to reach the point where we can give up the use of phenols. At this moment, we have under development a new range of thick thermal papers produced without bisphenols.” Elina mentions planning and succesful execution of the trial production as the last phase in the product development process. Then the actual production can begin.

Taru Ruohomaa, Product Line Manager (coated-one-side papers, thick thermal paper grades, thermal films)

  • specialist in coated-one-side label papers
  • has worked at Jujo for 15 years
  • education: M.Sc. in physical chemistry
Taru Ruohomaa

Taru started her career at Jujo as quality engineer. She worked as a supervisor in the laboratory. Today she is the product line manager of coated-one-sided papers, thermal films and thick thermal label papers weighing more than 100 gsm. She also supervises the customer service laboratory.

”The most challenging part of the work is tight schedules. The fact that R&D is in the same building as production is a huge advantage for us. We can exchange information and opinions effectively and are thus able to make changes rapidly when needed,” Taru says. The cooperation between managers in R&D and production is active. Taru´s working day begins with quality control routines. In practice, this means reviewing the quality tables from the paper machines and checking the samples of the products she is responsible for.

After the quality control, Taru moves on to the product development projects. According to her, the most interesting projects are the ones where products are made suitable for new end uses. ”The same paper grade needs to perform in various end uses, that is, in many different environments, all requiring different features. To ensure the performance of the product in all defined end uses, we interact and innovate together with our sales and production,” Taru explains. Other typical tasks of her are the development of new coatings suitable for production, and meetings with raw-material suppliers.

Pekka Peippo, Product Line Manager (POS papers)

  • specialist in quality control & thermal point-of-sale (POS) papers
  • has worked for Jujo more than 10 years
  • education: M.Sc. in biochemistry
Pekka Peippo

“My job description today is of such magnitude that I can comprehensively benefit from my education and work experience, I have even found my electrician training useful,” Pekka laughs. Pekka´s responsibility as product line manager covers thermal POS papers. He also supervises the quality control laboratory of the production unit. In practice, this means product development of POS papers and supervision of the operations and the machinery of the quality control laboratory. ”We test each and every roll we produce,” Pekka says. He explains that some of the quality measurements are made in the laboratory; the trend is however to make more and more measurements online, in real time.  Each grade has a set of given limit values it has to fulfill.

Base paper and coated paper are tested in the quality control laboratory of the factory. In addition, the used raw materials are also tested. Dozens of testing methods are available. ”The end use of the product determines which features are tested and which testing methods are used, ” Pekka informs. One of the most important testing devices is a paper measurement robot. It is used for testing paper features such as gloss, porosity, smoothness, roughness, thickness, tensile strength, tear resistance, and grammage. An important part of testing the quality of thermal print images are the thermal printers. The  production quality laboratory works 24/7. The information it produces is important for quality control but also for product development.