China’s Yuen Foong Yu Yangzhou paper mill relies on automated laboratory testing with Valmet Paper Lab to ensure its container board meets the most critical requirements. Key benefits reported by the mill include higher frequency of tests, better repeatability, less manual labor and faster feedback time to the operators.
The increased demand for high-quality packaging and the fast growth of E-commerce have had a positive impact on containerboard and packaging production in China. As one of the biggest containerboard producers in China, the Yangzhou paper mill is well placed to satisfy the market with its high quality fluting and containerboard. With plans to build a fourth production line, Yangzhou will be the biggest mill of the YFY Group in mainland China. To achieve success in this highly competitive market, cost effectiveness and high quality are the key initiatives. Quality parameters measured in the laboratory can ensure that customer needs are met, but to meet the cost effectiveness target the information has to be available as fast as possible for possible corrective actions to be taken. Automated paper testing provides fast testing speeds and repeatable results and, as individual laboratory test devices could not meet mill requirements, a Valmet Paper Lab *) (Automated Paper Testing Laboratory) was purchased to improve paper testing effectiveness.
According to Mr. Sun Yu, engineer at YFY, “Being fully automatic, the fast test speed and stable results (repeatability) are the biggest benefits with Paper Lab. Test results are transferred to the mill’s quality control system quickly so that information is shared to enable rapid feedback for production improvement.” The Valmet Paper Lab was installed in May 2014 for measurements of PM3 containerboard with basic weights from 110 to 300g/m2. Five test modules measure Basis Weight, Burst (Top and Bottom), Caliper and Moisture, of which burst is perhaps the most important to meet the functional properties for packaging grades. For the operators, simple sample preparation and easy to load feeding functions are supported by the Windows based interface. Samples are automatically moved through the device with a twin belt system on both sides of the sample. After just minutes, test results are communicated to the mill’s quality control system and seen where needed in the mill for timely response of process adjustments to ensure the highest level of productivity.
According to mill personnel, the fully automatic and fast testing speed coupled with repeatable results is most impressive. Maintenance is minimal. According to Sun Yu, “Each shift cleans the sample path on a daily basis and the Paper Lab diagnostic tests are used to verify correct operation. Modules are checked for calibration once per month.” The modular design of Paper Lab tests ensure no interruption in testing availability with replacement modules immediately accessible from Valmet’s Shanghai sales and service center. “There has not been any serious problem to impact Paper Lab’s normal operation, which has been continuous since starting up in May 2014,” concludes Sun Yu.
*) Note!: Product and company names are changed while Valmet acquired Metso’s Process Automation System business and products on April 1st 2015.