In 2002, FPInnovations opened the doors to its Roll Testing Facility (RTF) in Pointe-Claire, Quebec to troubleshoot paper producers’ roll performance issues; issues that often the producers themselves were unable to identify the root causes. Almost 16 years and 3,000 rolls later, RTF is now able to test any flexible web materials. From linerboard to tissue and even aluminum foil and plastic films, RTF’s goal is to help producers improve product performance and efficiency in converting and end-uses.
Analyzing Web Uniformity and Roll Structure
Web breaks, bagginess, wrinkles and other roll structure defects can seriously hamper a producer’s efficiency, customer satisfaction and bottom line. “RTF provides a unique set of services and tools to troubleshoot complex and long-standing issues and determine the root cause of the problem,” explains Frederic Parent, Research Leader, Web Performance Group. Through a complete inspection and analysis of web uniformity and roll structure, RTF can identify the causes of web-related issues on the printing press and converting line to avoid repeating the issue and help address complaints and costly claims from end users. Customers can also have good rolls compared against problematic ones through a benchmarking service that aims to pinpoint the differences between the two in order to solve the problems at hand. The outcome and deliverable of any RTF analysis includes a full report with supporting data, an interpretation of the results, and recommendations for corrective actions.
The only facility of its kind in North America, RTF services mills from Canada, the US, Asia and Europe. “Regardless of who the customer is, it comes down to three essential ingredients for producers: a high quality product, minimum rejects, and a uniform web, all of which RTF can help achieve,” explains Frederic Parent. “The savings realized resulting from improved efficiency can be in the order of millions of dollars per year for a typical paper machine, depending on the issue.” Roll upon roll, RTF has been an integral part in making their customers’ success stories a reality. Three recent successes improved mills’ bottom lines through better efficiency, increased sales, and a reduction of paper breaks.
Improving Paper Machine Efficiency
Ridges and non-uniform profiles resulted in a mill having to reject the first 20 inches of paper at the front edge of the paper machine. With RTF analysis, the mill was able to link the issues to specific paper machine unit operations. Implementing RTF’s recommendations improved paper machine efficiency by seven per cent, translating into millions of dollars saved annually.
Increasing Sales and Competitiveness
One mill producing a specialty grade had a long-standing issue with baggy edges, causing wrinkles, rejects and end user claims. RTF’s recommendations enabled the mill to solve this issue, facilitating the production of high-quality, lighter-grade products. This opened the mill up to additional markets that were previously inaccessible. The result: a significant increase of millions of dollars in annual sales.
Cutting Paper Breaks
Crepe wrinkles and a burst issue caused several web breaks per day on printing presses at another mill. RTF analysis revealed the issue was related to the use of a non-appropriate winding curve. This correction reduced the number of paper breaks by four and saved the mill more than $1 million per year.
RTF’s world-class facility, expertise, and instrumentation and testing equipment are all a part of the equation that make it possible for paper producers, and producers of other flexible materials, to remain viable in a highly competitive, global industry.
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