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Renfeng strengthens presence in specialty grades

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Renfeng strengthens presence in specialty grades

April 07, 2014 - 05:57

Renfeng CEO Song Dian Feng (right) places a high value on trust and loyalty, building a team from people he knows well. In fact, Liu Ling, Deputy General Manager first met Song Dian Feng at age thirteen, when they were in school together. They both are hands on managers, including a close connection to innovations like MultiJet from Kadant, which removes contaminants during the pre-drying process. They are showing a dryer fabric, which was taken off PM 2. After MultiJet, it lasted two times longer.

BRUSSELS, April 1, 2014 (PPI Magazine) - Shandong Renfeng Special Materials Company (Renfeng), located near Zibo City, Shandong Province has two mills focused on linerboard and specialty grades, producing 300,000 tonnes/yr. CEO Song Dian Feng, who started up his first paper mill at age 35, now has seven machines in place (the newest ones for filter and wallpaper basepaper), Song Dian Feng plans for an additional three specialty machines by 2017.

China is a haven for entrepreneurs in our times. In every business sector, ranging from mobile phones to real estate development, electrical power, and yes, even pulp and paper, empires are being built in only one generation. In pulp and paper, APP, Sun Paper and Hengan are well known, but another wave of companies is rising quickly, even though not yet on the radar screen. Renfeng is a good example. Back in 2001, Song Dian Feng left his job as general manager and bought a small linerboard mill with his own money, and loans. He had the know-how and determination to raise the quality of a range of linerboard grades, and also found a steady following of customers. He made enough profit to launch another facility, which now houses four paper machines. Two linerboard machines have been in place since 2007, and in late 2013, two specialty filter and wallpaper machines (either can run filter or wallpaper) have just come on stream.

Song Dian Feng has the stated ambition to have more than 10 machines running within a few years. A key factor in his success is attracting local talent to join him in management and even at entry level. Liu Ling, deputy general manager at Renfeng, plays a strategic role in decision making, and also heads purchasing. Chief engineer Hu Xin, worked side by side with Song Dian Feng at the previous company.

As Song Dian Feng sees his business, "We are an inventive scientific and innovative enterprise, creating new materials-tailored to customer needs. Research and development, producing, selling and technical service is our basis for success."

Song Dian Feng places a high value on partnership with strategic suppliers. One good example is their relationship with the local Kadant team, which supports their vision to constantly improve quality, maximize fiber yield, increase efficiency, and save energy, and have a responsible approach to the environment.

Because Renfeng produces a wide range of high strength corrugated medium and fluting with 100% recycled furnish, the usual difficulties associated with variability and contaminants are ever present. Old magazines, catalogs and OCC are the primary content, largely from China, but also imports. The dirt count is always very high, and the glues and plastics that become stickies are challenging.

"To be profitable we need to be run smoothly, no matter what recycled furnish we are using," says Liu Ling. "Recently, we installed two MultiJetTM cleaning units on PM 2, enabling us to run variable furnish, and be effective. Cheaper recovered paper does not mean that the fiber is bad. MultiJet helps us see how good the "bad" furnish can actually be. The cleanliness gains at the pre-dryers allow operators to optimize free of the burden of stickies and deposits."

The way the MultiJet high-efficiency cleaning system works is by removing contaminants from fabrics with a traversing head system. High-pressure A Kadant gravity strainer GS 4045 filters whitewater water breaks contaminants loose, followed by effective contaminant and water evacuation, employing vacuum and an air knife.

"Our management team selected the Kadant MultiJet system at Renfeng because cleanliness is the key to high efficiency using 100% recycled fiber," adds Liu Ling.

Rapid improvement

According to Song Dian Feng, it was Sun ZhuoJie, regional sales manager, from Kadant Johnson (Wuxi) who first encouraged them to install the MultiJet system. Renfeng had a cleaning system in place, but it did not meet the challenge presented by extremely difficult recycled furnish.

Looking back to the MultiJet trials Song Dian Feng comments, "We saw great potential right from the start. Success came both from the robustness and efficiency of the system itself, but also from our mutual efforts to maximize results. Once installed, our belief in MultiJet reached a high level, because dryer fabrics continue to look like new, running without build up for many months."

Liu Ling notes, "We don't have to change fabrics as often. Running so clean helps our customers have better products, but also boosts our production efficiency. Operators have more time for optimizing, since maintenance is reduced. Fewer breaks and fewer problems pay off in many ways."

According to Shan Xiangnian, vice president of sales and marketing at Kadant's operation in Wuxi, "The MultiJet fabric cleaning system is an ideal complement to the siphons and joints we have in place at Renfeng. In addition, our steam and condensate systems allow for consistently better board and faster grade changes.

"To maximize performance, first we have to understand what Rengfeng is seeking for their customers. Then we focus on the specifics, such as water pressure, air flow, vacuum levels compressed air pressure, traversing speed, and cleaning frequency to deal with the range of obstacles presented by difficult furnish."