To help tissue makers to secure their future success, Valmet Tissue Technology Center offers them an opportunity to optimize and develop their processes and products in a pilot facility with the broadest selection of machine configurations in the world.
A pilot trial at Valmet Tissue Technology Center is a cost-efficient and flexible way for tissue producers to carry out tests and evaluate new ideas, compared to testing in a commercial machine, and it doesn’t interrupt daily production. Likewise, testing what the possible operating window is for a certain process and product can be done more easily in a pilot facility environment.
The biggest global concerns of our time, such as climate change and scarcity of natural resources, have driven the need for more stringent climate and sustainability related requirements also for tissue production.
Increased resource efficiency and use of new raw materials are two of the areas that tissue producers are keen on developing today in order to meet the tightening climate and sustainability requirements and at the same time remain competitive. Further development of attractive and competitive consumer products is also in their to-do list. The weight these hold on different producers’ agendas depends on the markets they serve and the end-use area their products represent.
“We see, for example, clearly that new raw materials are coming strongly to tissue making on Asian markets. At our facility, customers have had pilot trials with straw, bamboo and bagasse, to name a few. The development of production processes suitable for these raw materials is an interesting focus area. On the other hand, on the very competitive North American markets it is important to be able to introduce new attractive consumer products regularly,” says Hans Ivarsson, Project Manager, R&D, at Valmet’s Tissue Technology Center in Karlstad, Sweden.
Valmet has put a lot of effort into making the pilot trials as easy as possible for customers – from planning to the actual trial run with laboratory services readily available.
“No matter if a customer wants to optimize consumer products, improve machine properties or the blend of water, fiber and chemicals, or cut consumption figures – we can do it all,” Ivarsson says.
Planning starts already three to six months before the trial, and is based on the customer’s needs and targets, to ensure the best possible test run. Time has to be reserved also for the shipment of the customer’s pulp to Karlstad if needed.
Valmet’s pilot facility provides the broadest selection of machine configurations in the world. The machine provides many different concepts and configurations covering conventional, plain tissue, the advanced TAD process for premium-quality products, and the so-called hybrid processes for plain and structured tissue paper. Hybrid processes enable high quality textured and structured tissue with less energy consumption compared to the TAD process. In addition, different customer-specific, confidential configurations are also possible.
Having a laboratory next to the pilot machine is a big advantage and means that samples can be analyzed very quickly. It takes only 10 to 15 minutes from the sample entering the laboratory before trial parameters can be changed based on the test result and the test run can continue. It is possible to make up to 20 changes per day to reach the customer’s targets, if needed.
Pulp and paper samples are analyzed for basis weight, absorbency, layer purity and tensile stretch, for example. The possibility to compare the results with Valmet’s extensive test data bank ensures stable and reliable test results.
After the test run is over, the tissue rolls produced are delivered to the customer for converting and market testing.
“At our pilot facility, we can engage with and support the customer at every step of the tissue production process. In addition to our own extensive expertise we can bring in specialists from different disciplines as well as clothing and chemical vendors.”
After the trial, customers are provided with a comprehensive, high-quality test report that has real and reliable production data they can use as a basis for their investment and other decisions.
In times when traveling is restricted, or a customer is prevented to visit in person it is still possible to follow the trial. By web camera and digital connection, a customer can be part of the test and get production data instantly.
The Tissue Technology Center operates under strict confidentiality and all information is handled with great respect to customers confidentiality needs.
“One thing is clear. There is a visible correlation between business success and market position and the R&D work being done by the tissue produces who chose to utilize the Tissue Technology Center for trials on regular basis,” concludes Ivarsson.