Developed by Metsä Fibre's technical customer service, the Fines Management Audit service strengthens the already existing range of optimised technical services. It can be utilised for optimising pulp refining as well as the fibre recipes of base papers and paperboards, for instance.
"In addition to pulp refining, we wanted to study how pulp and water balances impact the management of the fibre-based fines of paper machines and paperboard production lines," says Tom Nickull, VP Sales at Metsä Fibre.
He developed the new service in cooperation with Development Manager Kirsi Hirvonen.
Fines management is the critical link in production
Fines management is a critical component in paper and paperboard production. A low retention of fines impairs the paper machine's dewatering and increases the need for drying energy. An increased level of fines in white waters increases the specific consumption of chemicals. An unmanaged fines load impairs the quality and consistency of the customers' end products.
"With the Fines Management Audit service, we want to make sure that our key customers can take advantage of the full potential of Metsä Group's fibre products and fibre expertise, with an eye on sustainability perspectives," says Hirvonen.
Cost, quality, and environmental benefits for customers
Key customers in Finland, Europe and China have been happy with Metsä Fibre's service, which other fibre producers, as far as is known, do not provide.
"The service has made customers pay more attention to the management of fibre-based fines and allowed them to find ways to improve their fines retention and thereby enhance the use of the fibre raw material," says Nickull.
The optimisation of the fines has a clear impact on the productivity and maintainability of paper machines and paperboard production lines, as well as the maintenance of their efficiency throughout the machine's life-cycle.
"The management of fines loads provides the ability to minimise the volume of fines refining in wastewaters, which reduces a mill's COD load. In this way, Fines Management Audit also promotes sustainability," says Nickull.
International cooperation in sampling
The Fines Management Audit service surveys the pulp and water balances of paper machines and paperboard production lines with extensive sampling. Recommendations for the management of fibre-based fines are made based on a variety of fibre and fines analyses.
"The sampling is extensive, because the samples are taken from a number of locations in the process. And given that the volumes may come up to several dozens of litres, transporting the samples from China to Finland, for example, would be difficult," says Hirvonen.
Therefore Metsä Fibre cooperates with local chemical suppliers on the Asian market, and the samples are analysed on site. Customers are provided with a detailed report of the current situation and suggestions on how to improve it.
"Our partners in Asia have noticed that this cooperation is also productive for their operations, because they don't always have the know-how within their own organisation."