The new pilot plant tissue machine at Graz
can have eight configurations
Andritz has recently opened what it describes as “The world’s most modern pilot plant for tissue.” Tissue360° was given the opportunity to speak to Klaus Gissing, vice president tissue, Andritz, and the man in charge of the new research center for the global tissue industry.
Tissue360°: Can you tell us why you have built such a modern facility and what is its main purpose?
Gissing: The PrimeLineTIAC – Tissue Innovation and Application Center – is the “come true” of our big “tissue dream” and vision.
Very often, our customers, but also we ourselves, ask the question: Where do we stand tomorrow? Are our technologies, our equipment and our knowledge and experiences fit for future challenges? What is needed for a tissue machine supplier to drive innovation? What do our customers expect from us?
The answer was: We have to build a worldwide unique tissue center, a sophisticated place for all stakeholders of the tissue industry to develop and implement the tissue solutions of tomorrow. When I say stakeholders I do not only mean tissue producers – our Tissue Innovation and Application Center here in Graz is the only center worldwide that opens its doors not only to tissue producers, but to suppliers, R&D institutes and universities as well. This is a great way to combine practical and theoretical know-how and expertise and to network, improve, and develop solutions for the production
We willfully selected Graz in Austria as the location because our tissue headquarters is located here with our process engineers, our R&D experts, and our workshops. In addition, we have a broad range of laboratories here in Graz, like for example for stock preparation and hydraulic pumps (ASTROE). They perfectly complement the activities of the new tissue laboratory. So, visitors of the pilot plant can profit of all these synergies and can easily benefit from our ideas
Can you tell us about the scope of activities
at the plant?
All stakeholders of the tissue industry can conduct trials with completely new technologies (follow up machine developments) that have not yet been launched on the market or with their own technologies. This gives them the chance to test these new concepts in advance and thus potentially gain a competitive advantage.
In addition, trials can be conducted to, for example, improve end product quality, or to optimize fibers and furnish, increase dryness, and reduce energy consumption.
The testing possibilities include trials for pulp, chemicals, refining and clothing, different press concepts (suction press and shoe press), hot air, steam, and vacuum concepts. Simulated start-ups and training scenarios complete the trial portfolio. The jumbo rolls that are produced under different conditions will be converted to enable a blind test with end customers in their specific markets as the customer requests.
For all these activities, beside the production line, the laboratories are of utmost importance.
The Andritz stock preparation laboratory is able to investigate a broad range of physical and chemical processes. The R&D work is focused on analyzing samples of various pulp types and sampling locations. These might come from the pilot plant or from the customer, so it is a tool to
perform trials and optimization work under the best conditions.
The tissue machine laboratory enables evaluation regarding basis weight, caliper, tensile, formation, and softness (panel method). The laboratory is equipped with precision scales, basis weight die, oven, caliper tester, tensile tester, light box, and PPF (pinch pull force) tester. In addition, tests can be conducted in the laboratories of the Technical University of Graz.
With our hydraulic laboratory ASTROE, we have an internationally recognized institute for hydraulic development and investigation work at our disposal. Optimization on a computer using CFD and numerous model tests forms the basis of the high efficiencies achieved by the Andritz pumps for the PrimeLineTIAC as well as for all kinds of pulp and paper applications.
Ultimately, what are the benefits the pilot plant is offering and who are the target users?
Trials on commercial machines are not accurate enough and not viable due to high fiber/energy consumptions as well as possible production losses which leads to high costs. The trials on the Andritz PrimeLineTIAC pilot plant enable the production process on a complete new machine, new technology, and for a completely new end product. Target users are all tissue producers, pulp suppliers, chemical suppliers, fabric and roll covers suppliers, converters, vacuum component suppliers, and R&D institutes.
Can you give us an example of what a “day in the life” of the tissue pilot plant would look like?
As preparation prior to the trials we will define machine setups, sheet properties, clothing, chemicals, targets, and clear expectations for the trials. Customers can bring their own pulp or make use of our pulp in our storage. We will need to define pilot plant configuration, clothing, water, chemicals, stock prep settings, and wet and dry lab work. During the trial day it is possible to prepare stock in the morning and run 4-hour batches in the afternoon, or run up to eight hours continuously. It is possible to produce different BWs and different furnishes, run toilet one day and towel another day. Every day there is a pre-trial meeting and a wrap-up meeting at the end to discuss results and targets for the next day. We will measure paper properties and have a DCS printout on top of every jumbo roll. We will do detailed measurements and analysis, including energy. At the end we will ship jumbo rolls and samples and send the final report to the customer containing: spreadsheet with all trial
data, from stock prep, machine operation, coating and final sheet physical
properties and report with trial results, graphs, assessment of the results, conclusions with path forward and recommendations.
Who will work at the plant, and how many experts will you have available?
TIAC organization consists of the TIAC director, pilot plant operations manager, mechanical rebuilds, maintenance, instrumentation, operation, wet and dry laboratories, R&D engineers, and customer trial organization. We have all experts in house and TIAC will be at our headquarters in Graz. Besides, we have agreements with our technical partners to cover the entire spectrum of tissue making.
What are your final thoughts on the project?
Realizing a project of this magnitude sometimes leads you to the question: “Is this really the right path forward?” But then you talk to customers, to suppliers and to R&D experts and push it forward. And in the end, when you stand in front of it, seeing the tissue machine running smoothly with technologies that are not yet available on the market, then you know your vision has really come true!
Mark Rushton is senior editor, Europe and Asia, Paper360°. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The tissue machine has eight different possible configurations that are supported by automation using Industrial Internet of Things (IIot) technology.
Klaus Gissing, vice president tissue systems, Andritz.
The Andritz PrimeLine Tissue Innovation and Application Center in Graz, Austria.
All types of pulp—virgin fibers, recycled fibers, bagasse, bamboo, straw, synthetic fibers, BCTMP, and nanocellulose—can be treated in a continuous production line without intermediate long storage that might negatively influence fiber properties. The system is split into separate short and long fiber lines to allow best development of fibers depending on any possible furnish. The different fibers will be pulped in the FibreSolve FSV pulper, which allows high slushing consistencies up to 7.5 percent; then fibers can be deflaked and refined in the cylindrical Papillon refiner CS, where they are treated in the cylindrical refining zone much more gently.
The separate stock components for short fiber as well as for long fiber are then mixed in two Andritz ShortFlow blending systems. The approach-flow system follows, with two ModuScreens HBE with best protection and lowest pulsation. Excess water from the tissue machine is clarified in a microflotation system and used partly as shower water. There is also a MicraScreen with fine-slotted bow screens and automatic self-cleaning device. The sludge, with a consistency of approximately 2 percent, is dewatered in the Reject Compactor ReCo-L, which is able to thicken from low consistencies up to a dryness suitable for disposal.
The Tissue Machine
The new TIAC can be operated in eight different tissue machine configurations, from conventional tissue on a crescent former with suction press or the new PrimePress XT Evo shoe press, to conventional enhanced VRT (vertical crescent former), textured (TEX) and premium structured produced on TAD and VTAD configurations. An overview of the tissue machine:
Design speed: 2500 m/min
Headbox: 1-, 2-, 3-layer configuration
Former: CrescentFormer, TwinWire former
Pre-Dryer: Two TAD drums, 14 ft.
Hood: TAD hood
Press: Suction press, shoe press
Dryer: Steel Yankee, 16 ft.
Hood: High-temperature hood
Sheet run: Passive/active foil
Reel: Centerwind reel
The eight configurations on the tissue machine are supported fully by a PrimeControl E automation system that allows flexibility by supporting several functional areas: enhanced operability and maintenance, embedded drive and quality control system, and eco monitoring (resource management system). These three focused “E” areas are enabled by a set of integrated functionalities that lead to proper results tailored to the specific needs applied. The configuration can be controlled by mobile device (such as a smartphone or tablet), in the main control room, or by remote control. The ensemble of the functional bundles is an extremely modern control system for tissue plants; it also supports in reconfiguration and pre-production phases, as well as during the whole operation phase.
The TIAC has been equipped with high-quality, multi-functional Andritz process pumps. They fulfill three different purposes within the production process: transportation of all liquids, operation in the stock preparation process, and drainage. The core pump, however, is an Andritz headbox pump with the lowest pulsation, which is achieved by offset rotor blades developed especially for tissue production. With efficiencies beyond 90 percent, it helps to save valuable energy, and conveys stock suspensions with consistencies of up to 2 percent.
Each of these pumps is equipped with a sensor concept that is unique in pilot plants worldwide. It allows the facility not only to control the operating mode of the pumps, but also to obtain important information on the process and on operation under different conditions.