New technology start-ups, Chinese overcapacity, softness and bulk innovations … TWM interviews the world’s leading tissue machinery manufacturers to bring you the latest knowledge

TW/1 How are the start-ups of new technologies such as NTT and ATMOS changing the marketplace?

JanFeb15_Technical1Günter Offenbacher, Andritz Pulp Drying & Paper’s director of sales for tissue and drying:

“A small portion of the premium products will move to these new technologies. Nevertheless, the benchmark for premium tissue is and will continue to be the classic TAD product in the main market areas. We do not expect a major impact on the market for conventional tissue machines. So far some machines with this new technology have started up during the last few years with mixed results. It should take about 10 – 15 years for such technologies to become mature technology and to find a fixed segment in the market – probably with a share similar to that of TAD in the long run. Andritz is watching these developments carefully.”

Shinji Goda, Kawanoe Zoki’s general manager, engineering department:

“Customers are always seeking for those high-value-added and differentiated from others products. NTT has already started up in a different market area and it has the potential power to be well accepted in this market of Japan once it is regarded as high-value-added and worthy of a higher price.”

Paolo Raffaelli, Toscotec’s technical director:

“Bulk and softness are most likely nowadays some of the most challenging quality targets which tissue customers are understandably seeking for. Combining paper quality with reduced production energy demand is also a main goal in any new project and business plan, but even placing aside the initial investment, it must be inevitably associated with the evaluation of overall machinery efficiency and runnability, and the need for reduced operation and maintenance costs.

“Conventional tissue technology, with recent implementations to achieve high quality final products, efficiency and reduced production energy consumption, is still offering a proven and up to date solution, with high potential for targeting bulky and soft grades.
“We expect NTT technology to have a market impact primarily on non-conventional technologies, such as TAD systems, even if we are aware of the capability of these systems to operate in a conventional mode.”

Maja Mejsner, PMP Group’s director business development and marketing:

“The tissue industry’s shape corresponds directly with the consumers’ preferences and market’s maturity. Emerging markets rather look for repeatable tissue quality and attractive production costs. Mature markets are forced to apply solutions that might surprise consumers (as the competition is taught). In the global scale, a golden mean is still Crescent Former technology, which offers flexibility and balance between tissue quality and production costs. We believe the technologies mentioned above are still marginal (counting the number of installed TMs).”

Ingmar Andersson, Valmet Tissue Mills Business Unit’s sales manager:

“New alternate tissue making technologies are raising great interest, and feasibility studies are going on in many markets. It is interesting to note that the reduction in fibre weight for specific products are so significant and different from ordinary tissue. Therefore many tissue makers have to access the market acceptance carefully before decisions for such new technologies are taken. Except for the US market, most markets are not familiar with products with exceptional bulk properties. However, over time many products will be substituted with products using new technologies and environmental assessments will show increased appreciation of lower fibre consumption and associated energy reductions as well.”

Rogerio Berardi, Voith’s global vice president, tissue product management:

“New technologies are very important for every industry and the tissue industry is no different. New recently launched technologies are changing the market by allowing our customers to produce products of higher quality at lower production costs than in the past.

“As a result, markets like South America and China are rapidly moving upwards in terms of product quality.

“Besides that, markets with a high degree of high quality products like the USA and Canada become more and more competitive in the segment of premium and ultra-premium tissue papers as the new technologies are opening this market niche to a wider range of tissue producers.”

William Rodrigues dos Santos, Hergen general manager:

“We haven’t worked with this technology so far; in South America and Brazil, the number of installations with this sort of technology isn’t enough to say they have caused any changes on the marketplace. We believe this is due to the fact most of the tissue produced with this kind of machine is exported and you won’t find it on the supermarket shelves. However, we are seeing a change in customer behaviour that aims more and more to high quality product, which in the future may lead towards these technologies.”

TW/2 What new technical trends in terms of quality, softness, etc, are you seeing in the tissue market?

Andritz’s Offenbacher:

“Every tissue producer wants to get the product softer and more bulky. The challenge is with the machine supplier to offer flexible concepts to fulfil these targets, but also the converting equipment has a lot to contribute to the final product quality – with the differentiation in each market area.
“Our perception today is still that “Energy beats Quality”. One important tool to serve both of these targets is the shoe press with its great flexibility.

“New technologies (as per question one) will also contribute to the trend of softness, however they seem to be over-engineered and not as feasible in terms of investment and production cost to be applicable for the conventional product segment, especially when operated in the “conventional mode”. Optimisations of conventional machines to save energy and to increase the quality with conventional solutions are still the more feasible way for this segment.
“Beside the machine concept and the converting equipment, also the selection of the fibre, e.g. max. short fibre content, enzymes, CF (cellulose filaments) and other additions could become more and more important.”

Kawanoe Zoki’s Goda:

“To have more creping variations is, we believe, necessary to achieve higher quality of tissue paper, toilet paper and towel. We have already put “CBC doctors” into the tissue market. We would propose to the customers to improve equipment and operation technology by making use of the CBC doctors.”
Toscotec’s Marco Dalle Piagge, sales manager Asia & Pacific:

“We operate with different affiliates and have operations in China (Toscotec Paper Machine (Shanghai)) and North America (Toscotec NA) so we can see different perspectives. In China and Asia, conventional products dominate. Natural gas as an energy source is a question mark so steam is the big potential as a means of drying. We have developed very smart solutions in drying technology (larger diameter, wider SYD and hybrid hoods) with our associate Milltech. Europe continues to be driven by technological solutions: more sophisticated products are coming and technological rebuilds of old machines are a trend. Eastern Europe is also attractive. Drying optimisation and advanced pressing technology are interesting as they have energy savings. This factor is less intensive in the North America market where the cost of energy is not so problematic (shale gases are giving new support) and this is the reason why TAD technology is still very active. Africa is also a market that will slowly come and where the waste paper usage as raw material could be interesting. Raw material usage and diversification is another issue worldwide and, combined with energy, is the major production cost. Our R&D has to be focused also on this.”

PMP Group’s Mejsner:

“Definitely softness and quality are the key driving factors for tissue makers. There are two ways to reach the goal. On the one hand, the development of alternative fibres like bagasse or Kudzu vines to get closer to cellulose. On the other hand, to increase the softness through application of advanced technologies such as Crescent Former TMs with multi-layer hydraulic headboxes (up to 4-layers) and single nip press with large dia SPR (over 1500 mm) for premium tissue. For mature markets and ultrapremium tissue quality, applying shoe press or TAD technologies might be interesting.”

Valmet’s Andersson:
“Product innovations are driving mature markets where emerging markets still are content with more classic products. This will change over time as customers are paying more attention to higher quality and other attributes.”

Voith’s Berardi:

“All suppliers of the tissue industry like capital equipment, fabric and chemical suppliers, focus on developing new technologies which enhance the product characteristics like softness as those characteristics are the key parameters of the consumers buying decision.

“Especially in developed markets those parameters are very important. An example is the US market with a share of over 25% in premium and ultra-premium tissue products. This is much more than in all other markets worldwide. Regarding toilet and towel paper grades, softness, bulk, and absorbency are by far the most important quality parameters in the decision making process of the consumer.”

Hergen’s Rodrigues dos Santos:

“The new technical trends we can see in the market are: the use of chemicals to reduce refining specific energy; Steel Yankee Dryer, Shoe Press and Yankee hoods which are more efficient in terms of energy, looking to reduce gas consumption and electrical energy; process optimisation in order to reduce water consumption.”

TW/3 Are you seeing any slowdown in terms of tissue in China? Do you expect that to continue and is that region still a key growth/target area for you?

Andritz’s Offenbacher:

“The slowdown is obviously due to the huge overcapacity caused during the last few years. Nevertheless the market will continue to grow, even if it is at a lower growth rate – tissue producer will invest again after the current dip.
“During the last years Andritz has established a strong manufacturing and assembly facility in China with the capability to serve not only the local market but the worldwide market on a high quality level. Recently Steel Yankee manufacturing has also been built up in China as part of the Andritz Steel Yankee business centre in Foshan, Guangzhou province, offering a complete field service with metalising and grinding capabilities. Manufacturing of Steel Yankees will begin by the end of 2014.”

Kawanoe Zoki’s Goda:

“We also feel slowdown in China now, which must be in a downward stage of the economic cycle. But, for us, China remains one of our most important markets, big in size and surely developing.”

Toscotec’s Dalle Piagge:

“China has just begun for us. We are the last ones to arrived but in a very short time we have achieved incredible results: more than 40 tissue machines! No-one has this achievement in their portfolio. Therefore for us, it’s impossible to speak of “slowing down”. In any case it is quite clear that the actual growth in the country will not continue as we have seen in the last few years. However, there is some data that has to be considered when we speak about this market. In China, there are around 1,470 tissue producers in the region (including the converters). Among them 461 are just producing jumbo rolls. So considering these factors and the environmental situation due to the big impact of many ancient plants in terms of emissions and pollution, as well as the state laws that will force some small mills to close, there will be a change in the market.
“We will see some aggregation from small producers that will be integrated in more organised groups and we will also see more rebuilds in order to upgrade some old machines. We have to be ready for this change, which has already been occurring already in some countries such as Europe and North America where we have been operating like this for a long time.

“Another factor that will occur (as it has already started) is the entrance into the tissue market of big paper producers (Lee & Man, Sun Paper, etc) that are looking to opportunities in this segment of our industry. In a market that show a production of 61% toipa, 3,3% kito, 23% facial, 7,7% hankies, some changes will also occur in the type of the products being produced and we expect that more capacity will also come in the AfH segment and could also come in the private label segment, that is practically not existing. So the slowdown into production will be compensated by all these changes and it has to provide a new balance in a relatively young market, if compared with the mature ones.”

PMP Group’s Mejsner:

“Yes, we are observing a slowdown in China in the tissue sector, however it is more likened to a decreasing of the dynamism we have seen in such a short period. In general, we expect a stable step-by–step increase, so possibly more single width TM projects’ in the pipeline. The trend will be fuelled by the government regulations to replace out-dated machinery with state-of-the-art technologies. Just this year we have completed two projects of that type in China – launching our Intelli-Tissue® 1200 EcoEc lines (60tpd), which in each case have replaced up to 10 low-capacity machines bringing soft tissue, production flexibility as well as ultra-low media consumption. Just recently, we have signed two additional projects for Intelli-Tissue® 1200 EcoEc in China.”

Valmet’s Andersson:

“China has seen a slowdown and hesitations to invest in new capacity in the last year due to increased completion as well as public announcements of new capacity planned. Reality shows a delay in many projects as well as termination of projects indefinitely and shut down of old capacity. Market prospects for China now show signs of decisions for increased capacity again, however, not as extreme as before. China will continue to be a major market for new investments and some of the production will find its ways into other countries.”\

Voith’s Berardi:

“A slowdown in China is today already a reality. After several years of tremendous growth, the amount of new projects and start-ups decreased in the last two years. However, there are still interesting projects in China. China is and will continue to be an important tissue market. If we have a look at other countries in the region Asia we can see an increase of projects for example in Japan, South Korea and Indonesia.”

Hergen’s Rodrigues dos Santos:

“The Chinese market is going through a change which reflects in process optimisation and replacement of the existing tissue machines which feature poor design and quite high pollution figures by new machine more efficient and more ecofriendly.

“Additionally, during some discussion with a top player in the Asian (mainly Chinese) market, we were informed that the targets for that region are quite impressive because the plain is to double the specific consumption of tissue grades within a 10 years period, which means a very aggressive growth in the years to come.

“Regarding China as a target area, of course it is, however we are still trying to understand the market in order to increase our changes as a machinery supplier.”

TW/4 What developments have you made in terms of energy?

Andritz’s Offenbacher:

“Lowest energy consumption as well as lowest possible energy cost has been a crucial request for several years. It is driven on the one hand by the environmental requirements and on the other hand by operational costs, where the importance of low energy cost is a lot different in the market areas. Andritz has contributed to the energy theme with system solutions as well as with specific equipment design, such as the ShortFlow™ concept for stock preparation and approach flow, double-dilution system within the approach system, Steel Yankee, Yankee head insulation, shoe press. Solutions to minimise the resource costs in dedicated market places resulted in the revival of the steam hood and specific mill wide energy solutions, such as the co-generation systems.

“Regulations in terms of energy consumption are getting more and more strict, e.g. the Energy Efficiency Directive of the European Commission shall be applicable by the end of 2015. The Andritz answer to fulfill that requirement is RMS – Resource Management Systems, a mill wide system to monitor and optimize the energy flow and cost.”

Kawanoe Zoki’s Goda:

“Our customers are trying to select equipment that is good for saving energy so they can overcome higher material and fuel costs. We are working hard to develop such equipment which should contribute to minimise the running costs of the customers.”

Toscotec’s Raffaelli:

“Process optimisation, energy recovery, efficiency and installation of state of the art equipment, such as TT SAF system in approach flow circuit, new generation Steel Yankee Dryers and Yankee Hoods and air systems, have been our main focus during the last two years.

“Our R&D department has mainly focused in these areas, where, by the combination of Toscotec and Milltech technology, we achieved the expected overall energy consumption figures below 2000 kWh/t.

“Drying by the application of large diameter Steel Yankees and presses, in combination with steam or gas heated hood systems plus multiple stage heat recovery, can represent an attractive engineering solution for brand new installations or machine revamping.
“After process review in existing paper mills we also improved plant efficiency, achieving reduced kWh/t with similar overall absorbed kW.”

PMP Group’s Mejsner:

“This year we have successfully implemented the Intelli-Tissue® 1200 EcoEc line – CF, double-nip press configuration with own designed & made steel Intelli-YD™ & Steam-Heated Intelli-Hood™ reaching both tissue quality and ultra-low media consumption goals (below 2 T steam/T paper).

“Encouraged by the results and understanding how important the optimisation of production costs are, we are opening a new PMP Group entity: PMP Energy – responsible for energy solutions within Hood Drying, Ventilation, Air, S&C and Dust Systems (both for tissue and paper). Widening the product portfolio, based on Intelli-Tissue® platform, is a natural consequence of our development and is beneficial both for our customers (more solutions available) and for PMP(increased competitiveness).”

Valmet’s Andersson:

“There is an ongoing effort to reduce the energy consumption in all stages of tissue production. The most significant at this time for conventional tissue is the widely utilized Advantage ViscoNip press which reduces the water evaporation radically at the same time as it improves the production rate. Valmet has now sold 30 units to new as well as old machines.

“The most recent and remarkable break-through technology is the market introduction of the Advantage ReTurne, energy recovery system, to be installed inside the save-all tray of the tissue former. Commercial experience now confirms the recovery of electricity exceeding 50% of the energy ejected by the headbox jet to be returned back to the process as electricity. The fan-pump energy consumption on a high speed tissue machine is often the biggest user of electricity in the tissue making process. The installation of the Advantage ReTurne system not only reduces the CO2 emissions significantly, it also has a very short pay-back time.”

Voith’s Berardi:

“Energy is an important topic for all of our customers globally. Our focus in the development of new technologies and products is to reduce the use of resources like energy – from pulper to reel of the tissue machine. A few examples are IntensaPulper, Pluralis refiner fillings, ComMix for stock mixing in the approach flow system and MasterJet Pro T headbox without recirculation.

“In the production of dry crepe tissue, the NipcoFlex T shoe press is a key component in terms of energy-saving production. Voith is the market leader for this proven shoe press technology. Furthermore the Steel Yankee dryer as well as the ATMOS technology for ultra-premium tissue production are technologies with considerable energy savings compared to similar technologies. Looking to the future, Voith is finalising the development of a new technology which will be ready to announce in 2015.”

Hergen’s Rodrigues dos Santos:

“Our company has introduced a new line of Dryer Cylinders and Ribbed Yankee Dryers with double width and diameter up to 24ft, manufactured in welded steel. Yankees with great diameters allow a substantial economy operating in the same speed as the smaller ones. Thus, Hergen’s new line of Tissue Machines, models AVANTIS 16, 18 and 24” allow large production capacity with the best energy relationship from the set Hood and Yankee.”

TW/5 What other technical areas will be key for you in 2015 and 2016?

Andritz’s Offenbacher:

“Resource minimisation will remain one of the key subjects within the next years. Resources related to energy use and energy saving as well as resources related to furnish, with all its aspects, remain important.

“The ANDRITZ shoe press has been re-launched. Our new solution, the PrimePress XT Evo, with higher performance and runability is the ideal tool for many applications and products.

“Our strong focus will not be on new machines only but particularly on rebuilds and optimisation of existing machines. For the latter I would like to point out the Yankee life cycle management – to improve machine efficiency and Yankee performance.”

Kawanoe Zoki’s Goda:

“We can offer a package of all machines and equipments from pulp and paper treatments to converting, including automation which must be essential for saving energy and higher efficiency.”

Toscotec’s Raffaelli:

“Primarily we are focusing on tissue machines, from headbox to reel, specifically on headbox, focusing on higher operating consistencies and reduced recirculation flow, on drying section, next year we will deliver the new generation TT SYD Yankee dryer, 22FT in diameter, with patented head insulation system, on hood systems and heat recovery. Sheet stabilisation combined with dust removal system and soft winding is also being developed to get an operator friendly integrated system; but we also expect that continuous improvements will be always required in quality, efficiency, and runability of machinery.”

PMP Group’s Mejsner:

“For Intelli-Tissue® EcoEc line (capacity up to 60-65 tpd) we are going to focus especially on optimisation of Steam-Heated Intelli-Hood™ to downsize steam consumption even further.

“For Intelli-Tissue® Advance line (capacity over 75tpd), we are going to continue the development of multi-layer Intelli-Jet® V Hydraulic Headboxes (basing on our vast experience, we have just hit 130 references for headboxes collected within the last decade for various grades) and energy saving solutions including Steel Yankee technology (Intelli-YD™) – having in mind gaining an added value in field of quality. We are also actively investigating Shoe Press technology for tissue applications (based on our experience in the paper field – Intelli-Nip® Shoe Press).”

Valmet’s Andersson:

“The main themes guiding our development of tissue making are energy, fibre and water reduction and in addition sheet quality and reliability. We also pay great attention to our internal processes in order to improve safety and reduce environmental impact in all our activities producing the equipment. I think some people would be surprised to see what is possible to achieve when using Best Available Technologies in every part when producing a state of the art tissue line.”

Voith’s Berardi:

“Voith has always invested a lot in R&D in order to provide value adding products and technologies for the tissue industry. For the next years, our strategy will continue to be the development of solutions focusing on resource efficient processes and excellent quality of the final product.”

Hergen’s Rodrigues dos Santos:

“We will continue to concentrate our sales efforts in areas in which we already have business and that are still growing and have great development potential as Brazil, South America and Russia, and we will also continue our work to increase our business in the CEI region.”