Big savings of starch with Voith’s Papermaking 4.0 solutions

Voith's comprehensive digitalization solutions were commissioned with Saica

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Voith
With the help of Papermaking 4.0 solutions, significant starch savings are possible. Photo Voith

The results are clear – Just a few months after Voith’s comprehensive digitalization solutions were commissioned at PM 9 in El Burgo, Saica’s investment in the Papermaking 4.0 package has already paid off. The Spanish paper manufacturer produces around 430,000 tons of paper per year at the facility, located around 25 kilometers from Zaragoza. At the end of 2020, the company decided to digitalize production. After a thoroughly positive experience with the digitalization of PM 4 in Venizel, France, Voith was awarded the contract to implement the project for PM 9, which includes OnCumulus applications and the two solution packages OnView.MassBalance and OnEfficiency.Strength.

Fernando Carroquino, Industrial director at Saica, said, “Voith has been a great partner along the digitalization journey in our mills. Our perception of Voith Paper as one of the main digital solutions providers is reaffirmed every day, and we are very glad about the cooperation with Voith over the last years. We have the full commitment of both companies, which makes us look forward to the next successful cases.”

The main goal of OnEfficiency.Strength on a paper machine for containerboard is to reduce the consumption of starch without negatively affecting the strength properties of the paper. The solution uses virtual sensors as a basis on which innovative advanced process control is built. OnEfficiency.Strength has already proven a high benefit in several references and significantly reduced the product cost. At PM 9, too, the high potential of digitalization became apparent shortly after commissioning.

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Fernando Vicente, Production manager at PM 9 El Burgo, said, “Although the plant has been continuously optimized in recent years, we have now been able to significantly reduce our starch usage in the first few weeks with the help of OnEfficiency.Strength. The tool is very easy to use, and the operators are very motivated to integrate it into their daily work. We are confident that, in the future, savings can be increased even further. Now it is much easier to sustainably achieve the targeted quality at the lowest possible cost.”

OnView.MassBalance starts at an earlier point in paper production. The app’s data maps the current stock flows in a diagram and depicts deviations from the standard. As soon as a defined threshold is exceeded, the application automatically highlights the relevant area in the diagram and recommends suitable courses of action to avoid fiber losses. In this way, OnView.MassBalance leads to targeted process optimization in stock preparation and provides the operating team with all relevant information if a different process setting is required. Both applications are integrated on Voith’s OnCumulus platform. The platform provides users with an overview of all important process parameters, includes several industry-specific applications and also acts as a reliable and secure data repository. Building on the initial positive results, regular meetings are held between the Saica and Voith teams to jointly discuss progress, results and schedules. The goal is to further push the optimization of the system.

Juan Luis Mendoza, Digital Process officer at Saica, “The integration of OnEfficiency.Strength into the existing automation technology of PM 9 was seamless. This is now reflected in our very positive results. The digital tools support us in achieving our ambitious targets in an intelligent way.”

Renan Fusco, head of Digital Solutions Sales at Voith Paper, “The solution we offered has proven itself and leads to resource important savings with qualitatively consistent results. Voith has clearly positioned itself as a reliable partner on the path to digitalization. This confirms our commitment to continuously advance our products in order to continue to be an innovation driver in paper production.”

The Covid-19 pandemic led to the country-wide lockdown on 25 March 2020. It will be two years tomorrow as I write this. What have we learned in this time? Maybe the meaning of resilience since small companies like us have had to rely on our resources and the forbearance of our employees as we have struggled to produce our trade platforms.

The print and packaging industries have been fortunate, although the commercial printing industry is still to recover. We have learned more about the digital transformation that affects commercial printing and packaging. Ultimately digital will help print grow in a country where we are still far behind in our paper and print consumption and where digital is a leapfrog technology that will only increase the demand for print in the foreseeable future.

Web analytics show that we now have readership in North America and Europe amongst the 90 countries where our five platforms reach. Our traffic which more than doubled in 2020, has at times gone up by another 50% in 2021. And advertising which had fallen to pieces in 2020 and 2021, has started its return since January 2022.

As the economy approaches real growth with unevenness and shortages a given, we are looking forward to the PrintPack India exhibition in Greater Noida. We are again appointed to produce the Show Daily on all five days of the show from 26 to 30 May 2022.

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