The installation of a new NipcoFlex shoe press was part of a comprehensive modernization of the Macedonian Paper Mills in Thessaloniki, Greece. With its help, the company was able to improve the quality and quantity of paper production. At the same time, the use of Voith technology reduced the plant's use of resources and therefore improved the company's competitiveness.
The installation of a NipcoFlex shoe press was the first step in a comprehensive rebuild of the BM 1 at Macedonian Paper Mills (MEL) in Thessaloniki. This measure allowed the internationally operating manufacturer of board and packaging papers to increase machine production by 15 percent. But this increase is only one of the goals of the upgrade, as Georgios Georgiadis, the manager of the board factory, explains: “With the new press section we were able to improve board quality characteristics, reduce breaks and therefore significantly increase machine availability.” MEL mainly produces paper for packing foodstuffs on its BM 1. In this segment, good printability is a major criterion. The investment in the new press section is therefore an important first step towards meeting customer requirements in the long term.
The NipcoFlex technology used on the BM 1 reliably corrects deviations in the CD profile and ensures a uniform thickness across the entire 4.110 millimeter wide paper web. A large Yankee cylinder and a coating system with drying function improve the smoothness of the surface.
One challenge associated with modernizing the plant was the tight time frame. The Voith service team had just three weeks to complete the project. Thanks to good preliminary planning and the smooth collaboration between all participants the BM 1 could be restarted on 23 July 2017. As the team from MEL was not familiar with the shoe press technology, comprehensive training including visits to similar systems was conducted in the run-up to the rebuild.
As well as improved paper quality and increased production, the new press section offers another advantage: The BM 1 now needs much less steam, which reduces the energy consumption of the machine. Despite this saving in resources, the NipcoFlex technology also enables a higher dry content in the paper web.
Several factors prompted MEL to work with Voith on this project. One of the key aspects was that Voith has more than 150 years of experience in building paper machines, is a technology leader in many areas and is renowned for the high reliability of its products. In addition, MEL has already worked with Voith on numerous projects, the results of which have been consistently positive for the board mill team. Ultimately, Voith also convinced the customer with an overall concept that was integrated technically and financially. That this was the right decision was not just confirmed by the smooth start to production.
“The atmosphere between the individual teams was excellent. The close collaboration with the colleagues from Voith Tolosa even resulted in some friendships,” says Georgiadis, adding: “I will certainly recommend collaboration with Voith to colleagues in the paper and board industry.”
The project is part of a comprehensive upgrade by the board mill. For example, MEL is investing in its own biomass power plant, which not only supplies power to the paper machine but is also used for steam generation.