Paper and Board Mill Varel reduced web breaks to a minimum with the implementation of Procemex web monitoring and inspection systems.
The solutions substantially increased knowledge about problems and their root causes which led to a significant decrease of unknown web breaks. A success story between two companies that shows how investments in quality management and inspection systems through vision into the paper making process pays off in the long term.
Improving high-quality output and efficiency in paper and print applications
It’s a matter of high concern for paper manufacturers to keep web breaks at minimum level. No matter if speaking about pulp, paper or board producer, the target is always to achieve excellent paper quality at high speeds without suffering excessive process downtime.
A leading provider of camera technology to the paper industry to meet these requirements is Procemex. The company’s core excellence lies in web monitoring and inspection systems (WMS and WIS) which has been implemented with several key clients in paper industry – among others Paper and Board Mill Varel.
The company is an important manufacturer of packaging paper especially for the food sector and produces cardboard and corrugated board for the international packaging industry. In 2013, in connection of machine 4 (PM4) conversion into a multi-functional-machine, Varel replaced its old web monitoring system after having tested several different monitoring system candidates.
“Our objective was to deliver only first quality paper to the slitter winder to avoid possible breaks and therefore, to reduce downtime in the further process steps” says Holger Droege, Project Manager at Varel.
The choice was made for the web inspection and web monitoring system from Procemex. “Good light distribution, wide image range coverage and light sensitivity of Procemex cameras was crucial for our decision”, says Droege. “The integrated web monitoring and inspection system offer now the possibility to track our products through the process within one system. Additionally, Procemex solution could be integrated easily into our IT environment.”
Reducing web breaks by understanding the root causes
The cooperation between Procemex and Varel has evolved ever since. It started with the implementation of a Piccolo system (a small WMS with few cameras for web break monitoring) on PM4 in 2013 and continued with PM5 in 2014. At that time both paper machines were equipped with the web monitoring system for paper web and break monitoring. In the next expansion step in 2017 Varel commissioned Procemex web inspection systems for both PM4 and PM5. The purpose of web inspection system delivery was to reduce slitter winder downtime; they now had a camera system installed to discover defect and the root-cause of those defects.
“If we discover defects, we can now detect them at an early stage and reduce winder downtime,” says Thomas Müller, Production Manager at Varel.
Both paper machines are today equipped with twelve to sixteen web monitoring cameras. The web inspection beams have a defect detection capability of 0.50 mm2. The slitter winder 5 has three cameras and it is further planned to equip the new slitter winder 4 with web monitoring cameras as well.
For the employees at Varel it was important to carry out the project implementation of Procemex systems efficiently with short stillstands in order to keep any interruptions of the production to a minimum. “Procemex lead the preparation with experience so that the installation of the web inspection beam could be completed within one short maintenance shut”, Droege explains. Further demands of Varel were mill wide access to the system and server virtualization as well as the capture of the tambour diameter. “Procemex carried out well our wishes and the results are convincing: At the end, we have seen a notable rise in production volume due to the significant 30% decrease of unknown web breaks at slitter winder, which also enabled our team to take action against and to prevent these breaks more efficiently”, summarizes Droege.
Procemex to develop a new air saving concept
A special feature in the cooperation between Procemex and Varel was having the cooling of technical elements, as web monitoring cameras usually require a high amount of air, especially for the cooling of the components within the dryer section. The amount of previously installed cameras at Varel already showed a great air requirement, which Varel did not want to increase with the implementation of further components.
And Procemex also found an answer for this. “The opportunity for us was to develop a solution to reduce the air consumption of the system”, says Mika Valkonen, CEO at Procemex. “A lot of measuring and testing has been performed with Varel on site to finally develop and implement a new cooling concept, which allows the use of water to cool the components as well as a series connection with the cameras. We are particularly pleased that the system is also applicable for other customers and can be adapted. In this way, we can also help other paper companies to lift their production to a new level.”
About the companies
Papier- und Kartonfabrik Varel is a leading producer in the German paper industry and runs one of the largest production sites of the European paper industry. The company manufactures recycled cardboard and fluting and liners for the national and international packaging industry.
Procemex is a global leader in the vision business in pulp, paper & printing, who specialized in designing and manufacturing smart camera and lighting solutions for integrated web inspection and web monitoring systems. Web monitoring and web inspection for eliminating web breaks or minimizing downtime in processes is Procemex’s core business that lies in mastering optical imaging and image processing, starting from the very beginning of the process: camera sensors.