Green retrofit: the secret of cutting-edge and eco-friendly systems in paper industry

There is no doubt that in today’s world all manufacturing companies must make an effort to go green. In fact, the manufacturing industry is at the center of this initiative, with particular effects to the production line. The need to become environmentally friendly includes the paper production and converting processes, as prime candidate for such a retrofit.

author: A.Celli Paper SpA

Industry Insight by:

A.Celli Paper S.p.A.

Why go green? Climate change is undoubtedly an increasingly pressing issue, that is upending world’s weather patterns: it is ethically necessary to try to remedy, contributing each one, as far as possible. In addition, consumers prefer eco-sustainable products and are therefore willing to pay slightly more for them. The time to act is now, which means a “green” retrofit is the necessary step for bringing companies in the 21st century.


Three elements of the “green” retrofit that will encourage energy savings

Reducing energy consumption is one of the best interventions that any plant can do in this regard. These plants use a lot of energy to perform operations such as the transformation of raw materials into fibers, then used for the production of paper and, subsequently, to create high quality consumer products.

The motors that operate the sectional controls of tissue machine, pumps and process fans are particularly energy intensive. With this in mind, let’s talk about the ways in which the A.Celli Group supports partner/customers companies with the aim of saving energy.

We design and supply high-end machinery and technological solutions for the global market of paper and nonwovens

A.Celli machine monitoring.

1. High efficiency motors to reduce energy waste in manufacturing processes

60% of the energy consumption in paper industry is due to the operation of electric motors. Many tissue and paper plants still operate with obsolete equipment and machinery equipped with inefficient motors in terms of consumption: therefore, a “green” retrofit must start with the replacement of older motors with modern, high efficiency ones.

The use of these motors provides the following benefits: reduced magnetic stress; bigger core assembly; reduced winding resistance; improved bearing and fans. The cost of an electric motor over its lifespan is greater than the initial purchase cost of the motor itself. In fact, over its lifespan, the costs break down as follows:
0.3% for maintenance; 4.8% for the initial purchase; 94.9% for energy consumption.

While it is true that an energy-efficient motor costs 40% more than the standard electric motor, its energy savings are so high, the result is the investment is paid off in 1.5 years. It is also important to remember that maintenance of older motors can be challenging, since it is often difficult to find the required parts for it, and keeping machines offline for an extended period of time will greatly affect production and, consequently, profits.


2. Industry 4.0 monitoring systems to be aware of consumptions in real time

Another important aspect to consider during a “green” retrofit of a plant is having valid energy monitoring tools available. The main goals of this monitoring include: measuring the consumption of electricity; measuring pneumatic consumption; evaluating energy allocation; conducting Big Data analysis.

The best retrofit for energy monitoring involves the technology made available by Industry 4.0, capable of allowing automatic real-time monitoring of energy settings and all other machine settings. Thanks to this technology it is easy to highlight the parts of the production line that consume the most energy, analyse the production and look for a way to reduce energy consumption where it is the highest. A.Celli offers a robust energy monitoring solution that allows you to analyse and track the plant performance: you will be able to automate the adjustments of all machinery to run at optimal speeds, to obtain defect-free products, while consuming a little energy as possible.


A. Celli control desk

3. Modern electric drives to improve production line performance

A.Celli uses latest generation inverters, powered by regenerative systems, to control variable speed motors. These units allow to recover the energy created during the slowing down or deceleration of the machine, reinserting it into the power supply line, or returning it to the process, as in the paper winding machines that use axial brake on the unwinder: this summarizes the “green” retrofit technology by A.Celli.

Recently, many inverter manufacturers have developed a new generation of converters that brought a profound improvement in performance, diagnostics and overall results on the production line. The benefits of the new inverters include: the choice between a stand-alone cabinet, dedicated to the single motor (example: process pump) or an integrated unit in “multi-drive” systems (example: sectional machine/reel control); modular structure; easy maintenance; increased versatility and performance. Thanks to the technological progress made in recent years, any company that carries out such a retrofit, starting to use the new available technologies, will unquestionably outperform the competition.


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