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Cost of ownership drives QCS purchase

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Cost of ownership drives QCS purchase

April 22, 2012 - 16:00

BRUSSELS, April 23, 2012 (RISI) -As quality control systems age the costs of maintaining them rises significantly as obsolescent parts wear out and become scarce. Worse still, increasing quality control system (QCS) downtime can cause serious and costly production halts and quality issues. So after 15 or 20 years of QCS service, papermakers are usually looking for system replacements to cut the high costs of maintaining uptime and forestall any more serious problems in the near future. QCS systems do not last forever. Moreover, the new generation systems offer considerably better measurement resolution, process and paper quality information accessibility and control capabilities. Quite simply, a new QCS can offer a better return on investment than an older one which is near the end of its lifecycle.
PM1 wet end

Reducing future costs

Rather than concentrating only on reducing current costs of service many papermakers are now looking at the future costs of maintaining a system and are taking that into account in their supplier evaluations, since it significantly affects the longer-term economics of system ownership. Total cost of ownership (TCO) is now a notable entry into the supplier evaluation matrix.

The staff at Salzer Paper in St. Pölten, Austria, recently went through this QCS supplier evaluation exercise when it decided to replace the 1988-installed QCS on its PM 1 book paper machine. After the usual technical evaluation, they chose a Voith Paper Automation's OnQ system, which was installed in early 2011.

The final decision was influenced strongly by the future TCO of the system offerings as there were some significant differences between them and a clear advantage for Voith Paper Automation according to Thomas Salzer, managing director. "TCO was strongly influenced by the running maintenance cost of the system over a period of four years. The difference in the maintenance cost was mostly due to the direct maintenance cost by the vendor of the system - this includes on-site support, telephone support and reaction times as well as spare part cost. The Voith system could perform well in the TCO view of the project, especially as the initial price was not the lowest, "concludes Salzer.

Thomas Salzer, Managing Director. “It is important for us to know that Voith will continue to develop system technology and they are going to be in the paper industry many years to come”

Technically, Salzer Paper staff liked the quick and easy module replacement design of Voith quality sensors. This quick disconnect and plug-and-play reconnect of spare modular sensors takes less than one minute. Electrical and instrumentation staff in the mill were confident with this approach. The OnQ is designed for easy service by mill staff so the traditional on-site supplier service with older systems is avoided. Also, with extensive diagnostics problems can be detected quickly and remotely by Voith Paper Automation staff. The Voith Paper Automation service contract includes scheduled on-site preventive maintenance visits, telephone and remote diagnostic support with a specified reaction time and emergency on call service.

Salzer also emphasized that its decision was influenced by Voith's reputation in the paper industry as a leading technology developer and reliable partner. "It is important for us to know that Voith will continue to develop system technology and they are going to be in the paper industry many years to come," he says.

The new OnQ system comprises three scanners: This one is the o-frame scanner before the reel with grammage, moisture, caliper, ash and color sensors

Fast, wellexecuted startup

The new OnQ system comprises three scanners: one o-frame scanner before the reel with grammage, moisture, caliper, ash and color sensors, one single-sided scanner with a moisture sensor before the machine calender and a single-sided scanner with a moisture sensor before the size press. The system includes all MD paper quality controls and CD control of a previously-installed slice actuator system on the headbox and a CD moisturizing profiler after the size press to control moisture profile into the calender. The system is integrated with an existing distributed control system (DCS). Operator QCS displays are positioned in the dry end control room and at the wet end in a free-standing cabinet. A desktop PC display is located in the shift foreman's office above the wet end.

The system start-up in January 2011 was fast and effective according to Michael Griessler, Salzer Paper's project manager for automation. "The planning phase perfectly prepared the installation where small problems had been solved fast. During the first weeks and months of running the new system the cooperation between Voith and Salzer was very good and leading to an optimized system now. There is still space for performance improvement but we are looking forward to getting the system to optimized operation with the support of Voith."

Salzer adds his comments about the startup: "We did not lose one tonne of paper at the startup. We were producing saleable paper right away."

Since the startup, mill staff have been digesting the improved information and insight into paper quality they have now with the new system. Quality and productivity improvements are very much a work in progress. Sensor resolution is now better, so quality information is much more insightful and useful for fine tuning.

An addendum, new moisturizers

Soon after of the new system installation, Salzer Paper has ordered two ModulePro spray moisturizers for PM 1.The control of these will be integrated in the new system and will provide CD and absolute moisture level control and curl control. The order was secured after a successful on-machine test of a portable unit. The new units, located on the top and bottom of sheet before the reel, will replace an old moisturizing system which relies on high-voltage electrical charge to attain sheet penetration. With the ModulePro units the moisture penetration of the sheet will be achieved without the electrical charge so that system and its protective safety cage can be dismantled. The startup of the moisturizers is scheduled for January 2012.

Facts about Salzer
• Grades: high bulk book “wove” papers
• Bulk: 1.2 to 2.2 cm3 /g, 30% is 2.0
• Grammage: 60 -200 g/m2 extended, 70-100 g/m2 normal
• Trim width: 2.6 m
• Production speeds: 180 to 400 m/min