Customer case:

Achieving a Milestone with Installation of Smelt Spout Robot

Dec 19, 2023

We are delighted to share the news of Valmet's successful implementation of the inaugural Smelt Spout Robot in North America, specifically at the Pixelle mill in Spring Grove, Pennsylvania. Through collaborative efforts and technical proficiency, this innovative robotic solution empowers Pixelle to efficiently clean multiple ports without the need for modifications to their existing boiler system.

First Smelt Spout Robot in North America

Challenging retrofit completed with collaboration and industry expertise

Cleaning smelt spouts poses significant challenges due to the necessity for extensive personal protective equipment (PPE), making the process inherently hazardous. Beyond the safety concerns, the time-intensive nature of smelt spout rodding diverts valuable resources from crucial recovery boiler operations. Moreover, challenges arise from overhead piping obstructions and inadequate support beams, further complicating the cleaning process. Addressing these challenges requires innovative solutions that prioritize safety, efficiency, and the seamless integration of maintenance tasks into overall boiler operations.


Location Spring Grove Pennsylvania, USA
  • Cleaning smelt spouts requires a lot of PPE and can be dangerous
  • Smelt spout rodding takes time away from other important recovery boiler operations
  • Overhead piping obstructions and insufficient support beams
  • Scan of the recovery boiler and surrounding area
  • Removal of existing competitor smelt spouts
  • Customized free-standing support legs
  • Installation of a Valmet Smelt Spout Cleaning Robot
  • First Smelt Spout Robot installation in NA
  • Increased operator productivity allowing more time to:
    • Check air ports, take samples, change nozzles, etc.
  • Successful retrofit of automated cleaning technology
  • Decreased risk of HSE incidents 
Keywords Smelt spout, robot, recovery boiler, health and safety, safety, innovation

Technical Summary

Start-up date 2023
Cleaning cycle increase 2x
Titratable Alkali deviation improvement 22.3%
Green-to-black liquor standard deviation 2.74%
Smelt standard deviation improvement 18.6%

Watch now!

Retrofit projects are not always ideal. However, the outcome of this project looks like it was installed from day one. I am personally grateful to the Valmet Team and ecstatic with the project outcome.”
- Jeff Forry, Director, Pulp & Utilities, Pixelle Specialty Solutions