Dr. Arne Asplund is the inventor of the thermomechanical pulping technique, known as the Defibrator™ process. He developed the process in 1931, and Defibrator AB was founded in 1933 to commercialize his invention. A patent was granted in 1934.
The process, the Defibrator™ system, the pressurized preheater and the pressurized refiner developed for continuous production, was first used in the fiberboard industry, then in the production of roofing and flooring felt. The technology introduced by Arne Asplund was later developed for the production of pulp for many grades of paper and board, including newsprint.
Pilot plant trials to produce thermomechanical pulp for paper production began in the late 1950s. The first commercial paper pulp application with a Defibrator™ refining system was at the Rockhammar Mill in Sweden in 1968. This work led to the development of the TMP process, which virtually revolutionized the pulp and paper industry in the 1970s.
Arne Asplund’s professional achievements could be rated in terms of the millions of tons of panelboard, papers and paperboard that the industry can produce in its efficient and costeffective pulp plants based on his original idea. Following retirement as chairman of Sunds Defibrator in 1979 at age 76, Arne Asplund continued his inventive ways. A holder of more than 50 patents, his latest projects involved modifications of the mechanical pulping process to reduce energy consumption. Dr. Asplund died in 1993 at the age of 90.
In 1984, Dr. Asplund was awarded one of the ten prizes for technical achievement presented annually by the National Swedish Board for Technical Development, STU. Other honors include the TAPPI Gold Medal (1978), the Gold Medal of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences, IVA (1947), a University of Wisconsin Honor Award (1954), the Ekman Gold Medal of the Swedish Association of Pulp and Paper Engineers (1956), Grand Gold Medal from IVA (1969), and Doctor h.c. at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (1967). He was elected a Fellow of IVA in 1957 and TAPPI in 1974.
In 1985, Dr. Asplund was the first to receive the Arne Asplund Mechanical Pulping Award, presented in conjunction with the announcement of its establishment at the 1985 International Mechanical Pulping Conference (IMPC).
The Award was made possible through a donation from the Sunds Defibrator company to the Arne Asplund Mechanical Pulping Award Foundation in 1985. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Foundation is Professor Göran Bengtsson.
You may find more information on the Arne Asplund Award here.