Eucalyptus fluff: proven greater compaction and lower cost
Eucafluff®, the world’s first eucalyptus fluff, launched in 2016, is a relatively new product. Even with a short time on the market, the application of Suzano’s eucalyptus fluff has presented a consistent perspective of growth among manufacturers of various categories of hygiene products due to the competitive and environmental advantages it offers. One of these advantages, we at Optima have been able to test and prove, as it is directly related to one of our businesses, the manufacturing of technological solutions, such as packaging machines for the hygiene industry. I am referring to the significant reduction in the consumption of polyethylene (PE) packaging thanks to the greater compression power of Eucafluff®.
How does Optima fit into this story? Suzano’s application engineering team had already verified, through application tests conducted with various costumers in Brazil and abroad, that when applying Eucafluff® to disposable diapers and similar products, it was possible to produce thinner panels, which consequently generated a certain “gap” in the final packaging of the products. They also found that it was possible to apply higher compression to these panels, without causing any deformation or change in product performance. But, until then, they had not been able to quantify the gains and benefits for the hygiene market. The Suzano team then proposed a partnership with the objective of testing the power of compression of the diapers produced with Eucafluff® and measure the real gains that the producers of disposable hygiene products could obtain.
Through tests performed at Optima’s laboratory in the city of Vinhedo (state of São Paulo, Brazil), we reached two main results when comparing two packages of baby pants, with 14 units each, one package with diapers made with pine fluff and the other with diapers made with Eucafluff®. First, we found that, yes, it was entirely possible to reduce the size of the package and, consequently, to reduce the consumption of plastic material used in the packaging of the products. The package with the Eucafluff diapers showed a reduction of 18% (in m2) in the consumption of packaging material. In addition, by measuring the volume of the two packages, we found that there was also a potential gain in logistics costs. The packaging of the diapers produced with Eucafluff® had a reduction of 13% (in m3) in its volume, which has a direct impact in two major costs of the logistic operation: transportation and storage costs. We cannot fail to mention that the potential gains can go beyond cost reduction for the industry, and can bring even more benefits related to sustainability issues, reducing and harmonizing the environmental impacts in the production chain.
And how did we perform these tests? Basically, we made relatively simple adjustments at two points in the test unit that simulates the processes of an Optima automatic packaging machine. The first adjustment was to the compression system. We tested how much the diapers with Eucafluff® were being compressed and how much more they could be compressed without damaging the structure of the product. We realized that the tested products were only using 10% of the machine’s compression capacity, and that, due to their characteristics, it would be possible to compress much more without any difficulty. The second adjustment we made was in the bag opening module. By achieving a smaller width of the row of properly compressed products, we automatically also needed to make new bags with a smaller size to accommodate the products optimally.
In 2022, OPTIMA do Brasil Máquinas de Embalagem Ltda. celebrate 100 years of excellence in developing and implementing new packaging technologies, offering from single standard machines to complete complex turnkey systems for pharma, consumer, nonwoven and life science products. In many fields, Optima is the worldwide leader, such as in the packaging process of disposable hygiene products. For us at Optima, this partnership with Suzano has already been bringing many benefits directly to the customers we have in common and consequently to our planet, which needs many more solutions developed in a collective and sustainable way for a better world.