DS Smith paper machine is setting new records in power-efficiency

The papermaking industry has a reputation for being energy hungry. But another investment in innovation at our Kemsley mill has cut the power consumption of our paper machines.

These two papermaking machines at Kemsley mill account for over half of the mill’s average annual production capacity of over 840,000-tonnes.

At the ‘wet end’ of the papermaking machine, water is removed by a series of foils and suction boxes. We’ve partnered with Runtech Systems to make this production stage more power-efficient and have now replaced the old liquid ring pumps with a new RunEco paper machine vacuum system.

At the heart of the system are three EP600 Turbo Blower units with titanium blades that run at 10,000 rpm – the equivalent speed of a jet engine. They have the potential to cut PM3’s power consumption by two-thirds, providing annual power savings of 1,500 kw. Combined with previously installed turbos on PM6 this investment has the power saving potential of 2,626kw a year.

Based on benchmarking against RunEco’s own data, this makes our PMs record-breaking machines for power-efficiency.

Our investment in the EP600 Turbo Blowers also reduces CO2 emissions by around 5,000 tonnes annually, helping us meet the commitment in our Now & Next Sustainability Strategy to achieve a 40% reduction of CO2 emissions per tonne of product by 2030, and reach Net Zero emissions by 2050.

“Installing EP600 Turbo Blowers to PM3 gives Kemsley’s machine operators complete control as vacuum levels can be matched to real need. The reduced power consumption of below 20 kWh/t is really good value for a machine this size and there are possibilities for further improvement. With only small fine tuning, PM3 can run 15 kWh/t, which is better than the modern new machines.” — Jussi Lahtinen, Runtech Systems

Running faster and increasing output
Unlike our old pumps, our new Turbo Blowers have a variety of speeds and capacities and can be adjusted to accommodate different grades of paper being made on the machines.

What’s more, the Turbo Blowers allow PM3 to run faster, so we can increase output. This means our customers can be certain their paper orders will arrive on time and in full, allowing them to plan their own production schedules more efficiently.

Less power and less water too
Liquid ring pumps need water-cooling but the EP600 Turbo Blowers operate completely water-free. This is helping us meet our key water stewardship priorities to consume, recycle and treat the water we use responsibly and efficiently.

Investing in the future
Our Turbo Blowers are the latest in our programme of investment at Kemsley, all designed to ensure a long, sustainable, and commercially successful future for the mill and a reliable supply of quality papers for our customers. These include paper machine rebuilds, the installation of a Combined Heat and Power plant, and introduction of Automatic Guided Vehicles.

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