Integrated Solutions

Integrated solutions ensure growth

Industries worldwide are occupied with the question of how growth can be ensured while at the same time saving resources. Voith Paper, for decades at the cutting edge in the development of modern technologies, offers real answers for paper manufacturing that can be summarized by the term “integrated solutions.”

Integrated solutions can lead to increases in machine productivity and paper quality. In addition, today Voith is turning it's attention to integrated solutions that are oriented to the green technology concept. Customers can thus save virgin fibers and energy and at the same time get by with minimal consumption of fresh water. Consumption of natural raw materials and energy ultimately accounts for on average 70% of production costs in paper manufacturing. For that reason, there is very good saving potential in this area. Efficient paper production and the protection of the environment go hand in hand.

Three levels of activity for integrated solutions

There are three levels which are relevant in considering integrated solutions. The first and superordinate level considers the entire value creation chain, starting with the removal of raw materials from the environment, creation, distribution and use of the products, all the way to returning them back to our ecosystem. As a renewable raw material that decomposes naturally but can also be technically recycled, paper – invented more than 2,000 years ago – is an ideal material for mass products. And because it is a mass product, even more consistent paths have to be taken so papermaking can be resource-saving and at the same time cost-effective.

The second level refers to the paper mill and the third refers to the actual production line, from stock preparation to the reel. Voith Paper comes into play on both of these levels and already today offers various solutions. The green technology focus of Voith Paper also pursues three specific aims for integrated solutions: 1st, cutting the use of primary energy in half; 2nd, reduction of fresh water consumption to at most 1 l/kg of paper; and 3rd, maximization of the recycling rate.

Over the last few years, Voith Paper has demonstrated with numerous developments that energy savings are possible in all areas of the production line through the use of new and integrated solutions. Up to 25% savings with modern pulpers, up to 30% with new heated roll coatings and likewise up to 30% by using a Single NipcoFlex press or 10% through using the EcoProcess concept in stock preparation – the list could go on. Despite all these contributions, the long-term goal remains the cutting of paper manufacturing energy consumption in half – a big challenge for Voith Paper.

Reduction of fresh water consumption will be implemented more quickly. Given the internationally distinguished fundamental developments so far from Voith Paper Environmental Solutions regarding water preparation, Voith seems confident. It was completely appropriate that the coordinated combination of bioreactor and lime trap received the Green Apple Award for sustainable developments and it is incidentally a very good example of an integrated solution at the paper mill level.

Bigger difficulties ariese in the case of recycling. In the paper manufacturing cycle, there are material components that are not yet sufficiently capable of being recycled: e.g. additives, printing inks and adhesives. Thus there is still a need for action within the value creation chain level.

Level I – the entire value creation chain

Due to rising energy costs, and growing competition for wood as a resource, increasingthe use of recovered paper is all the more important in the paper industry.

An ideal recycling process, of course, doesn’t just begin with flotation. If the problematic materials can be identified, they should not be brought into the process at all. Today, adhesives and colors can be used that don’t pose any problems during the recycling process. Voith offers effective separation technologies.

It is clear that recovered paper is becoming more and more important for the paper industry as a resource: Currently around 400 million tons of paper are needed annually worldwide. By 2025 this number is predicted to increase to 500 million. It is caused above all by the growth markets of China and India. But even if they don’t grow as much as is legitimately forecast, the raw material market for wood is limited. One main reason for this is the rising interest in renewable energy sources, the use of which is still heavily subsidized, especially in the western world. Alongside that, wood as a renewable raw material is also ideally suitable for alternative production of fuels and basis chemicals. In the foreseeable future, afforestation programs will not be sufficient to cover this growth. A shortage of virgin fibers is thus to be reckoned with. Just one reason why the paper industry has to increase its portion of recycling from around 50% so far in the direction of 70% if it wants to meet the rising demand for paper.

In addition, the use of energy for extracting virgin fibers is still clearly higher than for extracting fibers from recovered paper. Rising energy costs and simultaneously growing competition for wood as a resource thus make recovered paper all the more important as a raw material. In view of these findings, processes have to be developed which ensure that the highest-quality recovered paper possible is available to us as a raw material.

This presupposes an awareness of the problem on a global scale, since the entire value creation chain is involved. To ensure good quality recovered paper is available, collection has to be intensified in some countries, the separation technologies further improved and some impurities have to be kept out of the paper cycle altogether

Level II – the paper mill

Just as for the value creation chain, an integrated perspective also makes sense at the level of the paper mill. There is considerable potential here for saving investment costs, energy costs, chemical and water costs if all processes are coordinated as needed with one another and with the local conditions at the location. The future belongs to mills that in all aspects are a unified whole. Combined heat and power generation with heat recovery via energy cascades or perhaps water purification with energy generation from the organic load and targeted recirculation of purified water in the paper process are just two examples of highly efficient and cost-effective solution that at the same time go easy on the environment.

With technologies from Voith, modern paper mills are now in a position to manufacture not just the classic packaging paper from recovered paper. Even graphic and tissue paper can be produced at a quality that was previously achievable only with virgin fibers. For the paper mill, this means not just an environmental advantage but  also an enormous cost advantage Recovered paper as a raw material is a good choice, especially for paper mills that are near cities.

Level III – the production line

It is not just completely new systems that have to be discussed for implementing integrated solutions. Above all, for existing production lines there are also many improvement possibilities.

As a system provider, Voith Paper is in a position to analyze not just a detail but also its effect on the entire manufacturing process. With these integrated perspectives, products and processes can be perfectly coordinated with one another and thus energy and raw material consumption can be lowered. A current example of this is the new MasterJet Pro headbox, for instance.

Through the close linkage of mechanics, process engineering and automation during development a mechatronic unit was developed, consisting of a dosing element, valve, linear drive and control.Development of the headbox can ,thus be revolutionized. The highest paper quality and maximum energy efficiency are united in this system.

Or the SolarMax product combination, a unique combination of roll cover and press felt. Not only is dewatering in the press section thereby improved, but energy is also reduced due to the higher dry content.

 Voith Paper is also explicitly concerned with the effect of chemicals in the paper process and is searching for mechanical alternatives. One of them is CycloMech, a new deaeration unit with which the process can be stabilized and efficient use of chemicals can be ensured.

Encouraged by such successes Voith is optimistic: By consistently taking cycles and overall interrelationships into account, in the future Voith Paper will create more integrated solutions that offer our customers significant added value. Cost-efficiency and environmental protection go hand in hand here.