Paper Manufacturing

Paper manufacturing is a competitive industry in which reducing operational costs and increasing profits is a constant challenge. The papermaking process which is based on water removal through drainage, mechanical pressing and the application of heat has several different stages that can provide a thermal imprint. Using infrared equipment to monitor each of these stages as well as preventing electrical and mechanical failure by carrying out traditional predictive maintenance with such equipment can result in a higher quality product and minimize costs by averting failures.

Process monitoring

Drying Stage - Infrared imaging provides an excellent method for monitoring one of the most difficult parts of the paper manufacturing process, the drying stage. The cold streak towards the far end of the roll of paper is caused by evaporating cooling. This corresponds to variations in moisture resulting from uneven drying. Changes made in the drying process to correct this problem can be immediately monitored at all steps of production.

Moist Streaks on Paper - High-pressure showers are used to keep press section fabrics clean. Occasionally, the shower flow-pattern is transferred to the paper web and these patterns can be identified using infrared imaging. This condition can cause problems in the dryer section, such as rusting of return rolls which then leads to premature wear of the dryer fabric. In addition, paper containing wet streaks can have a detrimental effect on the quality and performance of the paper in a subsequent converting and printing process. Hence, infrared cameras can play a crucial role in identifying and eliminating the cause of such patterns before significant damage is sustained.

Preventative Maintenance

Steam Leaks - Steam leaks on steam coils for the dryer section pocket ventilation system can be identified during an infrared inspection of the paper machine. Such leaks can cause the paper machine to experience frequent paper breaks which can have an adverse effect on production. By virtue of a single infrared scan, not only is future inconvenience prevented, but the paper mill gains thousand of dollars in increased production.

Electrical – Paper mills, like other plants, can experience unexpected downtime due to electrical component failure such as electrical bus bars, line splices, switch disconnects, transformers, circuit breakers and distribution panels. These failures can easily be spotted ahead of time using infrared equipment and fixed before a breakdown stalls production.

Mechanical – Regular infrared inspection on mechanical systems such as motor windings, roll bearings and gearboxes can be carried out and maintenance work can be scheduled if aberrant ‘hot spots’ are observed.