Pilot trials - a reliable basis for successful business decisions

Nov 24, 2014

 “Carrying out pilot trials means you get a real piece of paper in your hand, giving you much more confidence that you’re making the right decisions”, says Manfred Tiefengruber, Paper Production Manager at Sappi’s Gratkorn mill.


Many of our customers have taken advantage of Valmet’s pilot trials and found tools to eliminate risks related to their investments through Technology Center services. Valmet pilot plants have the entire process covered, from stock preparation to coatings and everything in between, providing customers with excellent service and reliable results to support them in their investment decisions. Here’s one of the stories. Manfred Tiefengruber, Paper Production Manager of Sappi’s Gratkorn mill, participated in pilot runs at Valmet’s facilities during spring 2014 for their upcoming PM 11 rebuild.

Are pilot trials in paper machine rebuild investments important? 

“Carrying out pilot trials means you get a real piece of paper in your hand, giving you much more confidence that you’re making the right decisions regarding technical concept and what kind of quality you can expect from the rebuild. Rebuilds are always unique, especially in our case with our very wide basis weight range,” says Tiefengruber.

“One target of the PM 11 rebuild is to achieve a lower tensile strength ratio. We also want to maintain good runnability by eliminating free draws. We started talking with Valmet about different technical solutions for the press section to eliminate those free draws. We had two choices, and the pilot process gave us the advantage of being able to test two alternative concepts on two pilot machines. When we eventually compared both concepts, the outcome was very clear,” Tiefengruber comments. “It’s about customer and supplier sharing the risks.”

Insurance for investment through flexible concept variations

“The biggest advantage of the pilot trials was that we were able to compare two solutions with totally different technical concepts. This meant we could evaluate them and make the right decision. This is something you can’t just discuss in a meeting room. It was relatively easy to modify the concepts on the pilot machine – the modifications only took a couple of hours,” states Tiefengruber.

Interested how the rebuild went? Read more about the results here. 

Excellence based on experience

Understanding our customers’ processes and business means we can offer solutions that work and bring added value. Valmet’s pilot plants are run by people with years of experience, which translates into expertise and know-how. We have over 40 years’ experience of pilot operations at our facilities so far. The plants are dedicated to providing results that act as a reliable basis for successful business decisions.

According to Triefengruber, “Valmet has educated and well-engaged people working at its pilot machine, a lot of experience of the processes, and state-of-the-art equipment – everything I need for pilot trials.”