UMaine Process Development Center unveils new capacity for renewable packaging research

Partnership with Kiefel brings state-of-the-art fiber thermoforming machine to Orono

 The University of Maine Process Development Center (PDC), long recognized for its expertise in processing fiber for pulp and paper applications, is now home to new equipment that will advance renewable packaging research significantly for Maine’s forest products industry.

Kiefel — an international leader in thermoforming and joining technology that is part of the Siegsdorf, Germany-based Brueckner Group — has selected UMaine as a key research partner to expand and accelerate its expertise in fiber thermoforming. Thermoforming is a manufacturing process, traditionally employed with plastics, that uses heat and pressure to form sheets of material into three-dimensional objects using a mold. With Kiefel’s fiber thermoforming machines, packaging can be manufactured from natural fibers such as cellulose, straw or plants instead of plastic.