Guided by the 10th generation, driven by the 11th
In the arid, mountainous region of La Riba, Tarragona, Spain, tissue making is going strong at Gomà-Camps Group, whose origins date back 11 generations. Often against the odds, this independent producer continues to find competitive advantages over multi-national brands. Flexibility to continuously innovate and improve sustainability is their philosophy.
Beginning in 1758 as a manufacturer of deckle-edged paper for official documents, they evolved to become a cigarette paper producer about a century later. Then Gomà-Camps became a brown paper producer until 1950. That’s when its single-ply smooth and crinkle toilet paper business started.
In the late 1990s another major step forward included stock preparation from Kadant, followed by a crescent former for recycling grades, and another for virgin fiber installed in 2006. Many incremental updates to stock preparation and the two tissue machines have continued over the past 10 years, as they have driven each machine to produce value added grades. One change has been to divide production by basis weight, not by recycled or virgin furnish. Just a few years ago, it invested heavily in a new 20,000-m2 converting facility nearby.
Its greenfield 34,000-metric tpy tissue machine close to Zaragoza, starting up in early 2018, will increase total tissue production capacity to above 90,000 metric tpy. Referred to as TM 7, with a trim width of 2,800 mm and a design speed of 2,000 m/min, this machine will be consumer focused as opposed to away-from-home.
“With a foundation built upon heritage, our workforce and our customers, we are always innovating, especially when it comes to quality, efficiency, the environment, and new products,” says Jordi Gomà-Camps Travé, site manager at La Riba.
“Gomà-Camps soft tissue brands, designer napkins, tablecloths, and other specialty products characterize our strong market positions in Iberia, Southern Europe, and Africa. Essential to our gains are the way we run our processes, continuously raising the bar for quality, efficiency, and sustainability.
“Strategic suppliers are critical to our advances,” adds Gomà-Camps Travé. “We like being first, and are willing to take chances. We are a magnet for innovation for this reason.”
He then adds, “Kadant had a novel idea: to enhance fiber yield and quality while lowering energy costs. After a short trial period, results looked promising. Some small changes were made, but first results were impressive. Then Kadant added a complementary device to boost performance even higher. In addition to fiber loss savings, now energy costs dropped and fiber quality increased. We now have two Boostek™ units, which paid for themselves in less than six months. They run non-stop without any need for attention.”
According to Stephan Pottier, product R&D manager, Kadant Lamort, “Gomà-Camps is ideal as a pioneering partner for optimizing industrial performance. Some years ago they switched from five screens to just one. That was a leap of faith for management and production. The same is true for their recent advances in deinking and cleaning. Mutual trust and frequent exchange of ideas are the basis for success of the Boostek invention.”
ACHIEVING FIBER AND ENERGY GAINS
Kadant’s latest screen performance enhancer, known as the Boostek performance pack, goes beyond the traditional boundaries for pressure screens. Typically, a boost in fiber yield occurs, while reducing stickies and energy consumption.
The Boostek technology utilizes system pressure to amplify the breakdown of stock mats that form on, and ultimately block, the screen cylinder. At Gomà-Camps, the unit is connected to the third accept of the ScreenOne three-stage fine screening system, where cleaning occurs. There is never a need to clean with the rotor. A lower rotor speed results in less energy consumption, while the quality of the accepts is also improved.
A secondary, smaller Boostek performance pack is connected to the reject line, which creates another macro-pulsation. Working with a small flow on the reject line means less fiber loss.
Says Gomà-Camps Travé, “Boostek is so simple that it just works without any need for attention. There are no negative effects on the process. Payback has happened much sooner than we had anticipated.”
Pau Valencia, deinking line leader, says that the stock preparation Boostek units work well, in part because they reduce the speed of the reject lines. “There are only three positions that matter. The first one blocks the inlet flow. The second one runs all the time, blocking nothing. The third position blocks the outlet.”
Gomà-Camps Travé notes that much of the confidence in Boostek technology came from its successful conversion of five screens to one screen back in 2009. “Quality increased and capacity doubled. Stickies were no longer an issue. Power consumption was reduced by 250 kW. Adding to this, the Boostek system recently gave us another savings of 100 kW with more quality gains, too.”
Comments Marga Biera, sales & technical support for Kadant in Iberia, “Gomà-Camps plays an important role in tissuemaking because of their flexibility to try new solutions. They are willing to take calculated risks. Now, the Boostek technology is fully commercialized and has been proven at a dozen other mills. It’s even available on a skid for rent.”
POTENTIAL BENEFITS OF THE
BOOSTEK PERFORMANCE PACK
• Capacity increase up to 25 percent
• Energy savings up to 50 percent
• Reduction of fiber losses up to 65 percent
• Reduction of rejects up to 50 percent in weight
• Low installation cost and rapid payback
Valencia notes that a major challenge is dealing with a wide range in raw material quality. “We have achieved flexibility to make fast production changes because of many small upgrades over the years, and many of those from Kadant.”
Water is more frequently reused throughout the mill. A fundamental change was the installation of a membrane
bioreactor in the biological water treatment plant back in 2011. Gomà-Camps Travé notes that using only five to seven liters of water per tonne of tissue paper puts the mill in the forefront. “Our goal is to protect water in this scenic, arid part of Spain. Sustainability is part of our nature.”
Energy savings, higher fiber yield, an increase in production, and a decrease in rejects are the new normal. Pioneering commitment and willingness to adapt has resulted in rapid payback.