Paper innovation brings new opportunities

Paper production is a complicated process where high-tech production lines set high demands on pumps, electric motors, ventilation and various other applications. We provide an insight into an industry, where frequent innovation in production methods and products brings profitable opportunities for machine equipment suppliers.

Even if the first sheet of paper was made before the Pyramids and the Great Wall of China, the paper industry is far from old-fashioned. Modern paper production is a high-tech and complex affair, where raw materials are processed and shaped in a long series of processes, before it becomes printer paper, packaging or special products. That’s why the industry has a constant need for new applications, right from pumps, hydraulics and vacuum systems to electric motors, and today Hoyer supplies to several of the European paper manufacturers.

Comprehensive production

The main ingredients in paper are raw wood from evergreens and conifers, which is chopped into wood chips and transported to the pulp factory. Here the wood is boiled and processed with chemicals to produce a paper mass, also known as pulp. The treatment means that the cellulose fibres in the wood can be separated and mixed with water and different additives. In the paper machine, the pulp is then dried on a wire net, and the remaining water is steamed away with heat. The result is raw paper, which can now be finished depending on its purpose, and run on rollers or cut into sheets.

“A paper machine contains over a thousand different electric motors, with output from a few kilowatt to several megawatt. They are part of an integrated production, which among many applications also uses a lot of pumps. Making paper is a time consuming process, and the machine must be able to operate round the clock without interruptions,” explains Ewald Harrer, Country Manager for Hoyer in Germany. He has more than 25 years’ experience with machinery to the pulp and paper industry and has extensive knowledge of the industry.

A greener direction

In recent years the paper industry has moved in new directions, both as a response to a change in demand and as part of a greater focus on climate and environment.

“A great deal of the innovation we see in the paper industry is spurred by a desire to move in a greener direction. Paper production is energy thirsty, and manufacturers are extremely interested in reducing their energy consumption and environmental impact by using more effective applications. For example, the process uses vast quantities of water, right up to 100 litres per kilo of paper. A large part of this could be recycled, to reduce the amount of wastewater produced,” says Harrer.

Paper suit protects against fire

Product development is also a significant driving force for innovation in the paper industry. And manufacturers are good at finding completely new uses for paper products.

“Today, pulp and paper are used for multiple purposes. Such as car upholstery. It’s also possible to make fireproof suits to protect firemen. This product innovation creates a constant need for new production methods and machines,” says Harrer.