Valmet reduces fabric change time with no creasing, a case study

Feb 11, 2015

Installing a new fabric change system on a paper machine will not only improve work and product safety but also significantly shortens the fabric change time, as demonstrated on a paper machine in Europe.

Today, paper mills put a lot of emphasis on work safety. A safety audit revealed that the fabric change on this particular machine involved many difficult stages, and thereby lowered work safety. To fix this, the mill and Valmet came up with an idea for a new type of fabric change system.

The new system consists of fabric change equipment and covers, and a new way of packing the fabrics, all developed by Valmet. The package includes all the fixed and telescopic poles needed during the fabric change. The mill's hands-on experience of fabric change problems was invaluable in finalizing the system design.

Smoother and faster

The installation of the new system took two days under Valmet's guidance. During the first change of the bottom and top fabrics, both paper machine and fabric experts from Valmet were present. Everything went smoothly, and the fabric change was over an hour faster compared with the old way.

"The project went very well. It was punctually planned and implemented by us together with Valmet. The combination of our hands-on experience in changing the fabric and Valmet's machine and fabric know-how led to a successful end result," says one of the mill's managers.

Savings and a short payback period

The system has now been in operation for over a year and has shown its capabilities. With the bottom fabric, the change time has shortened by about 2-2.5 hours, and with the top fabric, by 1-1.5 hours. The new system makes it possible to install the long bottom fabric into the machine so that there is no creasing, which could cause paper quality problems or, in the worst case, lead to a premature fabric change.

Savings gained by installing forming fabric in a new way

Thanks to less creasing during the fabric change, fewer fabrics are needed, bringing savings of over EUR 100,000 annually. And what's more, faster and fewer fabric changes enable the machine to run for nearly 50 additional production hours per year. The investment has been profitable, and the payback period has been short.

"Of course, financial savings are important. However, the most important thing for us was to improve work safety," points out the machine's production manager.

The new equipment and packaging adds to work safety in itself. Also, thanks to good instructions and guidance on the various work phases during the fabric change, every member of the staff now knows his or her task, which speeds up the work and further improves safety.

Lower environmental impact

In the new system, the packing boxes and poles of the fabrics are recycled and reused after inspection. Earlier they were left at the mill. "The new and the old way cost about the same, but through recycling, we are able to lower our environmental impact," adds Pekka Kortelainen, Product Technology Manager, Forming fabrics, Valmet.

"In cooperation projects, the supplier's expertise is important. However, equally important is the ability to listen to the customer and, above all, understand the customer's needs, as took place in this project. We are very satisfied with the implementation of the project and the operation of the system," the production manager concludes.

For more information about forming fabrics, contact your Valmet representative.