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Blog: Valves in board machines – removing plastics from your disposable cup

Have you ever noticed the coating on the inner surface of your coffee cup? Did you know that this detail can make the cup either fully recyclable or basically harmful for the environment? Now, thanks to Finnish innovation with a touch of passion for details, you can drink your coffee from a fully disposable cup that doesn’t have any plastic coating on its inner surface. Because details matter!

The unique barrier board machine commissioned in 2016 for Kotkamills in Kotka, Finland is not a standard machine. It was developed to produce a recyclable end product, using a technique that applies a non-plastic biodegradable coating to the board surface. A true innovation in the market.

Even though the end product made at Kotkamills is unique, valve needs in board machines are the same – in all cases they require reliability, for the same reasons.

Why do valves matter in board machines?

A board machine’s operation is extremely dependent on valves. Their functions are numerous. The main functions, however, are for controlling the pulp consistency, the surface levels, temperatures and the stock feed during the different process phases. To do all this faultlessly, the valves and their sizing must meet process requirements and always exhibit the highest level of reliability. If not, the quality of the end product, the availability of the mill and the overall product competitiveness cannot be achieved.

Having tested, high-quality valves doesn’t just ensure they are always operational; it also means they are easy to service. Here, new technologies can make a difference. Performance monitoring and preventive maintenance planning can be improved if the valves are equipped with the latest digital controllers.

Since technologies move forward rapidly in the valves business, it is essential to make sure your supplier is continuously investing in R&D, including the development of digital tools and services.

700 valves, one impossible schedule

At Kotkamills, before the new machine could start making environmental miracles, an extensive rebuild project on the mill was required. Its technology needed modernization, and the production side processes needed improvement to meet the requirements of the new machine’s operation.

We at Metso have been a part of many machine rebuilds, while we were solving customers’ valve problems. But this rebuild was especially challenging. First, we supplied 90% of all their valves – about 700 different valves with different features for the mill’s various process phases. And second, the schedule for the project was so tight that even optimists called it impossible.

Tight schedules need top experts

However, the impossible happened. The new machine was up and running in just six months.

When the schedule is this tight, one part of success is choosing to work with people with a deep understanding of the process industry and the expertise to work fast and do it right. Then, the most appropriate solutions can be delivered on time – with quality.

We know this sector well – with over 60 years of experience working with the pulp and paper industry around the world. We have earned a reputation for supplying product quality, reliability and service excellence, even with tough schedules. Plus, for a seamless collaboration between all parties, professional project management and a strong unified commitment to the schedule are definitely in play.

Today, Kotkamills’ board machine is operating without any problems, producing a product of uniform quality and game-changing features that mean as much to the environment as valves do to reliable production.

 

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Showroom: Unique fully recyclable barrier board from Kotka


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Toni Kotiranta

Director, P&P Agreements, Application Dev, Engineering

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