Fines Management Audit is a unique analytical service

Retaining fines, keeping material and energy expenses in check, and making production processes cleaner and more efficient – these are the key benefits from Fines Management Audit, which Metsä Fibre’s Technical Customer Service experts offer to pulp customers.
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  • 2023, Products and services, Pulp

Customers in the paper and paperboard industry are constantly seeking to improve the material and energy efficiency of their production processes and the quality of their end products. Metsä Fibre’s Technical Customer Service experts dig deeper into this challenge with the help of Fines Management Audit, an analytical service.

The service is primarily offered to customers that have been cooperating closely with Metsä Fibre’s Technical Customer Service. In the new service concept, Metsä Fibre’s experts not only analyse pulp refining, but focus on the wet-end production process at large to identify potential areas of improvement.

Juho Rossi, Technical Customer Service Manager, says that the ‘Less is more’ approach is quickly gaining traction throughout the customer base. Special attention is now being paid to the mills’ fibre and water balances.

“Our customers want to use raw materials as efficiently as possible and reduce water consumption. Obviously, global conditions also come into play. If a specific raw material is in short supply, paper furnishes must be adapted accordingly.”

Hundreds of thousands of euros saved annually

Analyses of the fines balance at mills can help determine the sources of runnability problems or process fluctuation.

Rossi compares the new audit service to a traditional vehicle inspection, where the vehicle is carefully examined, and the owner provided with a list of any defects or necessary repairs.

Appropriate measures can help improve the management of fines, as well as the management of extractives and the cost-effectiveness of refining.

Smoother and more efficient production processes also offer substantial savings, Rossi says. By improving the retention of fines, hundreds of thousands of euros can be saved annually.

Savings are also obtained from the decline in production disturbances and interruptions, as well as longer maintenance intervals.

Furthermore, improving the retention of fines helps reduce the wastewater load and improve safety at work at tissue paper mills.

Production simulations assist analyses

The audit service begins with a survey of the present state of the customer’s production, including extensive sampling of all the fibre raw materials, wire waters and so on. If required, work is also done with chemical suppliers.

Then, the samples are analysed, and a report on the state of fibres and fines is submitted to the customer. In addition, Metsä Fibre’s technical experts propose measures to improve process efficiency. The biggest savings are often achieved in pulp refining. Any mistakes that occur there will inevitably be felt in the later stages of the production process.

Technical Customer Service has developed an application that makes it easy to assess refining. This is an equally important tool in pulp refining audits.

“For example, the replacement of refiner fillings is always a major and expensive investment, and its impact must be certain before making any decision. The application we developed can model the refining process with various fillings and helps determine in advance which of them works best.”

Metsä Fibre’s Technical Customer Service’s toolbox includes a program that has been used for quite a while to simulate raw material recipes for paper and paperboard production and examine various alternatives. This avoids unnecessary test runs.

“Fines Management Audit is an addition to our traditional services. Other pulp producers do not offer this service. We are the top experts in our raw materials, and we want to help our customers achieve the best possible efficiency and quality in their own production processes.”

This article was originally published in Fibre Magazine issue 2022–2023.

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Juho Rossi
Technical Customer Service Manager with 15 years of experience in the paper industry. Responsible for the markets in North America and Türkiye at Metsä Fibre.