ECO Bale RFID tags by Stora Enso are helping to drive innovation in the pulp and paper industry, and they are at the heart of the new Intelligent Pulp Solution by Stora Enso. The patented, sustainably produced RFID tag, ECO Bale, meets the special needs of pulp producers to track and trace pulp bales throughout the supply chain, from mill to market.
Every year, Stora Enso produces over 9 million tons of pulp in different grades and sells over 2 million tons of market pulp to the global paper industry. We developed ECO Bale from the need to accurately monitor pulp movements, manage inventory levels and improve cost efficiency.
At the same time, as an industry leader in renewable materials and environmental stewardship we are passionate about offering our pulp customers a sustainable solution. The ECO Bale RFID tag is made from completely repulpable, water-soluble materials on a 100% fibre-based substrate. ECO Bale is not only more reliable than barcodes, but is more sustainable than other options like silver-ink plastic labels.
ECO Bale tags offer an innovative, feasible alternative to traditional inlay manufacturing processes. They are made using an additive process where the antenna pattern is printed on a thin, flexible paper substrate, which also acts as the face of the tag. The wet inlay has a water-soluble adhesive backing that easily sticks to the tagged surface.
The tag is automatically applied in a slight indentation on each bale or bale unit. This provides a discreet, protected, non-smudge environment – one that does not require line-of-sight for reading or writing the data.
After the tag is applied, your bale is all packed and ready to go on its journey across the supply chain.
Pulp bales can often look exactly the same even if they contain different pulp grades. But thanks to digital integration and automation using ECO Bale, you can make sure the correct bale ends up in the correct shipment. You gain complete control over the process while saving huge amounts of time and labour.
At each contact point throughout this journey – from point of manufacture to shipping and receiving and through to point of consumption – real-time data sharing ensures that the right bales reach the right receiver. ECO Bale offers the ideal way to automate recipe management in the pulp and paper industry and beyond, enabling end-to-end asset tracking in many other process industries.
When your pulp is ready for use, the tag dissolves reliably – no need to manually remove it, no negative effects on the quality of the downstream papermaking process. ECO Bale’s compatibility with the pulping processes has been verified through third-party testing.
Aluminium or PET tags are simply not feasible for pulp bale use, as the tags need to be removed prior to pulping.And our paper-based technology eliminates the need for expensive anisotropic conductive paste (ACP) normally used to attach the chips. This enables a more rapid, lower-cost chip-placement process.
ECO Bale also outperforms RFID tags made with silver ink. Such tags use silver in small amounts to keep costs down but end up sacrificing performance. ECO Bale strikes the perfect balance between performance and cost.
Paper products made from pulp in a tagged bale might end up in food packaging, so trace amounts of the RFID tag might end up there too.
If you’re concerned about food safety, fibre-based ECO Bale will not only help to provide a critical audit trail. It can also give pulp producers and packaging manufacturers peace of mind knowing that the tag materials in ECO Bale comply with regulations for indirect food additives like EU 1935/2004, FDA CFR 21 § 176.170 (US) and GB 9685-2016 (China).
In addition to the benefits of end-to-end traceability that ECO Bale can bring to baled pulp, the tags also outperform barcodes in these ways:
Like all the RFID tags in Stora Enso’s ECO series, ECO Bale has strong sustainability credentials. Here’s why:
The Intelligent Pulp Solution by Stora Enso offers a one-stop-shop solution for pulp bale tracking that meets the special requirements of a mill environment. In addition to the ECO Bale tag, we offer the Bridge™ cloud platform and all the equipment you need, including applicators, forklift readers, dock-door readers, tunnel readers and handheld readers.
Why not get started? To learn more about how you can ensure the highest levels of efficiency, security and automation across your pulp value chain, click here.