Fabrics site visit: If you move at 2,000 meters per minute, you need clothing that fits

Mar 29, 2017

On March 21, 2017, Valmet’s Investor Relations organized a site visit to Valmet’s Fabrics technology center in Tampere, Finland. Fabrics is one of the five business units within the Services business line. In 2016, Fabrics constituted about 16 percent of the Services business line’s net sales, corresponding to about 6 percent of Valmet’s net sales in total.

The Fabrics business unit is divided into two parts: Paper machine clothing and Filtration. Paper machine clothing produces forming fabrics, press felts, shoe press belts and dryer fabrics, i.e. clothing for all parts of paper, board and tissue machines, as well as pulp drying machines. These products are all tailor-made to the customer’s needs. Filter fabrics in turn are used for filtration purposes in various industries: mining, chemical, pulp and paper, energy and laundry. The customers are world-leading manufacturers of paper, board and pulp, together with mining, chemical and other process industry and environmental technology companies.

Jari Stålhammar, Vice President, Fabrics, was the main host of the visit. He led the visitor group through Valmet’s Fabrics offering and shared his extensive experience in the business. Valmet has six fabrics production sites in five countries (Finland, China, Portugal, Brazil and the USA). Fabrics operations employ about 1,250 people globally, of which 570 are located in Tampere. The Fabrics unit in Tampere is one of Valmet’s largest production sites with an impressive floor area of about 60,000 square meters. The plant operates 24/7 in five shifts. The visitor group, consisting of institutional investors and analysts, got a chance to see the actual manufacturing process during a mill tour.

R&D and intellectual property play an important role in the Fabrics business. The production is labor intensive, and there is a strong focus on health and safety. Valmet’s Fabrics operations originate in the acquisition of Tamfelt back in 2010. For those interested in history, the story of Tamfelt stretches back all the way to year 1797. Thus, thanks to the Fabrics business, Valmet celebrates its 220th anniversary on May 17 this year!

By using high-quality fabrics in paper, board, tissue and pulp production customers can, for example, improve runnability and reduce the break rate, as well as enhance the quality of the end product. The next step is to study the possibility to add value for our PMC customers by adding embedded intelligence for remote monitoring of PMC products. Industrial internet is being used already today in remote-monitoring filtration products in some customers’ applications.

Mr. Stålhammar stressed that Valmet’s process industry knowhow together with the combined offering covering also services and automation provide a competitive advantage. Increasing environmental regulation and emission standards are expected to drive the demand for filtration fabrics.

Should you like to know more about the Fabrics business, please see the presentation material of the site visit.