Machine producing unique fully recyclable barrier board is up and running in Kotka

Feb 25, 2020

Unique fully recyclable barrier board from Kotka

CHAPTER ONE New machine up and running just in six months

The unique barrier board machine was started up in July 2016 in Kotka, Finland. “The Kotkamills board machine is a bit different than other packaging board manufacturers’ machines. We are producing a unique recyclable end product using a technique that gives a smooth, non-plastic, liquid-barrier coating on the surface of the board. Just over a year since being commissioned, the machine is operating without problems and putting out a product of uniform quality,” smiles Technical Director Timo Tallinen.

The commissioning was preceded by a machine rebuild project implemented on a very tight timetable and for which Neles supplied about 90 percent of the needed valve solutions. The investment decision was made in spring 2015, and the rebuild project and related equipment purchases were specified in more detail in January 2016. The new machine was started on July 22, 2016, just six months after the shut-down and dismantling of the old machine.

The Kotkamills board machine is a bit different than other packaging board manufacturers’ machines.
Timo Tallinen, Technical Director, Kotkamills

CHAPTER TWO From impossible to possible

Kotkamills’ experts described the set timetable as impossible in practice, but it was made possible through the seamless collaboration between all the participants involved in the project. The mill’s technology was modernized, the production side processes were improved to meet the requirements of the new machine and the growing production output. “We renewed the electrical lines and automation, we updated the mill’s air conditioning, and we renewed the water and steam pipelines. A more robust overhead crane was installed in the production hall, we expanded the wastewater treatment plant, and we renewed the pulp production and packaging facility,” Manager, Technical Services Jan Lousa explains the extensive scope of the modification.

“We chose Valmet’s valves because we have long experience with them. We have a long history of collaboration and we were already familiar with their experts. The mill had a comprehensive installed base of Neles valves, and we wanted to continue the collaboration with a familiar supplier,” Lousa says. The valve purchase agreement signed with Neles was made with the preliminary need specifications in late 2015, after which the valve needs were further defined in early 2016. Ultimately, the number of valves delivered to the plant was about 30 percent higher than originally estimated.

We chose Valmet’s valves because we have long experience with them.
Jan Lousa, Manager, Technical Services, Kotkamills

See the video about Kotkamills

“In hindsight, the most important factor for success on such a tight timetable was that all the parties in the project were very committed to the timetable. Our personnel and the contract and goods supplier partners worked together seamlessly.” A saturating base kraft paper machine was constantly running next to the machine being rebuilt, at times with only a thin plastic wall separating the machine rebuild work site and the running paper machine. The saturating base kraft paper machine produced record output during the project.

700 valves

over 90% of all the valves

CHAPTER THREE Reliability of valves and Neles’ industry expertise were critical

“Valmet has an understanding of the process industry and the expertise; it can meet customers’ needs and offers solutions that are best for our needs. It makes it easier to be a customer. The expectation when you buy from Valmet is that you’ll get the best technology the market offers as well as a reliable partner. It certainly isn’t the cheapest alternative, but it’s definitely the most reliable in terms of technology,” notes Technical Director Timo Tallinen. The valve requirements of the rebuilt machine focused particularly on reliability. The valves control the pulp thickness, surface level and the pulp feed in the different process phases.

“The significance the valves have in the reliability of board machine’s operation is extremely important. The valves and their sizing must meet the process requirements and must be operationally reliable; otherwise, we can’t achieve the desired quality,” Jan Lousa says about the customer’s requirements.

Valmet has an understanding of the process industry and the expertise; it can meet customers’ needs.
Timo Tallinen, Kotkamills

In all, Neles supplied about 700 valves for the mill’s different process phases, accounting for over 90% of all the valves needed. The valve delivery included Neles ball valves, segment valves and Neldisc disc valves for shut-off and control applications. The control valves are equipped with Neles’ ND9000 series controllers, which can monitor valve performance and enable the planning of preventive maintenance. Even though the end product produced at Kotkamills is unique, the valve needs that customers have in board machine projects are quite similar. A strong project management expertise is required to ensure the best possible valve solutions for the customer.

“Having the right valves that meet production needs ensures that they are operationally reliable and that they will be easy to service, which in turn contributes to the mill’s competitiveness. We have been part of many machine rebuilds, solving customers’ valve needs. We are continuously investing in the development of digital tools and services in an effort to improve the customer experience,” summarizes Toni Kotiranta, Neles’s Director of P&P Application Development and Agreements. Neles has supplied detailed equipment data to Kotkamills, and it has been entered into the customer’s maintenance system that is used to monitor the process. The maintenance system makes it possible to anticipate the wear parts need for the cleaning stoppages that occur every three or four weeks. The goal is to also sign a critical valves inventory agreement with Neles.

Our customer Kotkamills in brief

  • Main owner: the Finnish MB Funds
  • Annual board production capacity approximately 400,000 tons
  • Fully recyclable folding boxboard and barrier board applications include coffee cups, confectionary packaging, salad containers, and packaging for cosmetics and frozen foods
  • Kotkamills received the ISO 22000 food safety management system certificate in October 2016

Visit Kotkamills website

Text originally published in 2020, and slightly updated in April 2022, due to the company name change to Valmet.

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