Papermaking machinery is undeniably a long-term investment, since machines are expected to last for many decades – with a few rebuilds along the way to upgrade to modern, more efficient technology. Therefore, it is not surprising and quite natural that many paper producers are taking a longer term view when planning the roll maintenance services that are essential for maintaining high product quality, machine efficiency and productivity. Many are turning to Valmet (until Dec. 31, 2013 Metso Paper) to provide services over extended periods with multi-year contracts. The contracts cover the planning, logistics and execution of high quality roll grinding, recovering, balancing and reconditioning at Valmet workshops. These service centers, located near customers, are equipped with state-of-the-art roll refurbishing and diagnostic equipment, and staffed by experienced experts.
But the scope and intent of these agreements go far beyond the physical requirements of refurbishing a roll to a preset quality specification at an agreed time, although that is still a definite requirement. Today’s contracts reflect a mutual commitment between the customer and Valmet to make roll maintenance more effective in a cost-efficient way. Indeed, the mutual goals often involve extending the running time of rolls on the machine and actually improving their operation, reducing wear of their covers or components, or reducing energy consumption or other operating costs. In some cases rolls can be retrofitted with new technology “add-ons” which can actually make the roll perform better than new, extending its lifetime and making better paper more efficiently.
With roll maintenance the emphasis is nowadays on actually adding value to the basic and traditional “roll workshop” services. A Valmet roll maintenance customer once reported, “We are not just buying hours of maintenance time. Valmet brings depth of paper machinery knowledge, skills, diagnostic procedures and service methods to add value. The end result is the good performance of our papermaking equipment.” That idea is being carried out in an increasing number of paper mills.
There are some significant advantages in the cost of maintenance as well, since the work and cost is meticulously documented and controlled, and focused on well-defined objectives. With a longer term relationship between the customer and Valmet, the unique history of a mill’s roll inventory is known precisely and many opportunities to make improvements and lower costs are discovered. Improved operating efficiency and lower costs add up to higher valued maintenance over the lifecycle of the machinery.
Of course, each market area is different with various customer needs and agreements that must be customized to the local needs. A few examples from around the world are presented below.
Valmet has 23 roll workshops around the world. This is the Cernay service technology center in France.
|Ed Vandeveire, Head of Agreements for North America, says, “New roll modernization designs help to save not only downtime but also energy costs."|
The service organization in North America has been focusing on managing the total customer costs associated with every activity in the lifecycle of a product – including purchasing, inventory management, transportation logistics, roll installation time, as well as on-site labor and parts cost. These can include non-obvious and hidden costs. This requires an intimate knowledge of customer maintenance requirements and history over several years.
The quality of repaired or refurbished rolls has an associated value in their performance on the machine. Put another way, the adverse cost of poor quality must be avoided. This value of quality is well controlled by Valmet since it contributes to higher uptime on the machines, better paper quality, less costly reworking on site and therefore lower lifecycle costs.
Mill operating costs can be trimmed by upgrades, e.g. LocSeal vacuum roll sealing systems and properly selected doctor blade materials. Sheet breaks and threading times can be reduced by EdgeBlow upgrades. Regular site visits, audits and recommendations help customers to uncover areas where operating costs and production efficiency can be improved.
All of these cost savings and performance improvements add up to a significant return for Valmet’s customers. When asked about the value that customers receive for Valmet roll services, Ed Vandeveire, Head of Agreements for North America, made the following comments: “As new roll modernization designs are developed older rolls can be upgraded to extend roll run time, enhance runnability and performance, and in some cases reduce horsepower requirements saving the customer not only valuable downtime but also energy costs – both of which increase our customer profit levels.
“Valmet roll shops have direct access to all Valmet and Beloit OEM drawings, bills of materials and design specifications, assuring the rolls are restored to at least original design specifications with minimal re-engineering required and allowing the fastest possible return time. Furthermore, extending roll cover life to match the roll scheduled maintenance reduces the number of times rolls need to be removed from the machine, reducing the yearly roll related shutdown time.”