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Good as Gold Hong Ye


October 1, 2004
By Pulp & Paper Canada

Gold Hong Ye boasts two seven year-old tissue machines that have been tweaked and carefully nurtured so that in their present form they consistently run at over 2000 m/min, making either facial or toilet tissue.

Gold Hong Ye boasts two seven year-old tissue machines that have been tweaked and carefully nurtured so that in their present form they consistently run at over 2000 m/min, making either facial or toilet tissue.

It was in May this year that the mill set its latest record running TM2 for 15 days at 2100 m/min without a single unscheduled break. It should be pointed out that short scheduled breaks every 4-5 hours or so were necessary in order to change the crepeing blades.

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The two Suzhou machines are both Andritz CrescentFormer concepts with two pressure rolls. The Yankee cylinders on both machines are ribbed and have a diameter of 5.486 metres. Trim width of both machines at the winder is 5.6 metres. The basis weight range at the wire is 10.5 to 35.0 g/m2 and 14.0 to 46.0 g/m2 at the pope reel.

Following the start-up of TM2, initial performance tests were run at 1600 m/min in April 1999 with further performance tests on toilet tissue of 1780 m/min in February 2000 followed by facial tissue at 1960 m/min in October of the same year.

Following the Andritz optimization Phase 1 in September 2002, which included the optimization of the headbox position and the installation of PrimePickup, the first speed record of 2020 m/min was achieved.

Gold Hong Ye engineers carried out optimization Phase 2 in December 2003 making minor changes to the wet- and dry ends and releasing the maximum speed limit on the multi-motor drives. This gave rise to the initial five day speed record of 2100 m/min being reached in January this year.

Also in January this year, TM1 reached 2060 m/min, producing 17.5 g/m2 toilet tissue.

Today, there is a misconception amongst some Western paper makers, doubting China’s ability to make high calibre products for the paper industry. One quick visit to Shanghai will offer an insight into one of the most modern cities in the world. A visit to the Gold Hong Ye, Suzhou tissue mill confirms China’s position amongst the world’s leading paper makers.

According to the mill’s production manager Hsu Yao Ting — who takes delight in introducing himself as Y.T.Hsu (pronounced Why Tissue?) — Gold Hong Ye Tissue has been making high grade premium facial and toilet tissue of an export quality that satisfies markets in Australia and New Zealand and, if necessary, even Japan. The production team at the mill has set standards that should be a target for tissue makers around the globe.

Hsu said the record speeds were achieved producing 13.5 g/m2 facial tissue. He said, “We now regularly run the two machines at over 2000 m/min when making premium grade facial tissue and at 1800 m/min on 18 g/m2 premium toilet tissue”.

There is no doubt that Gold Hong Ye is producing the very highest grade of tissue on a regular basis at the highest average speeds in the world. “And we are not satisfied to rest on these achievements,” he added. “We expect to be able to improve on the performance of these two machines. We intend to undertake some de-bottlenecking on these existing machines partly to reduce dusting.

“At the Suzhou mill,” he continued, “we are using a conventional crepeing system and this has the tendency to cause a significant amount of dusting. With the new developments in design and production technology we expect to be able not only to cut down on the amount of dust created, but to improve our efficiency and increase machine speeds. Producing regular grades at high speed is not really a problem for us. “The softer tissue required by the premium grades causes a greater proportion of dusting, with the lower tear strength and shorter fibres. At present we generally use TM2 for the production of facial tissues and TM1 for toilet grades”.

The mill’s team of engineers views its production capabilities with some pride. When asked about the continuity and efficiency of the machines Hsu replied, “If we assume 100% efficiency is achieved at 2200 m/min, we already achieve an average of 92% efficiency in the production of regular grades and 85% on premium grades. Our target is to reach 90% efficiency in the production of premium grades. We think we should even be able to reach 92%, with these grades.

“In our processes, we use only virgin fibre, as APP is a major producer of chemical pulp, primarily from eucalyptus and acacia hardwoods. We also add a proportion of northern softwood pulps. When producing high absorbency kitchen towelling we also use some CTMP grades”.

Gold Hong Ye now produces the leading brands of tissue in China and, following intensive market research, the company is able to export a large proportion of its premium grades to countries with high quality demands such as Australia. The company works in close co-operation with its suppliers and its potential customers to refine the products to meet market demands in the most cost effective way possible. The paper maker can make a significant difference in the type and quantity of chemicals he uses based on the type of fibre available. It is considered to be very important in the tissue making process to get the mix right.

Gold Hua Sheng has been certified to the environmental standard ISO 14001. The area around the mill and Suzhou City is a network of rivers, waterways and lakes. The company knows it is important that the very high pollution levels in China are reduced as quickly as possible. The mill site has its own treatment plant and production is constantly being moved towards the lowest emissions to water and air possible and the most efficient use of energy.

Andritz has been instrumental in helping to reduce water consumption per tonne of tissue produced. On average it is down to 9m3/tonne, with a target to achieve 8m3/tonne. “It is not that easy as with the machines running faster we need more cooling water, which, having heated up, is then used as process water,” said Hsu.

The site has its own coal fired power plant with full-scale electrostatic precipitators, to reduce flue emissions, supplied by Austrian Energy.

Hsu was very complimentary about today’s suppliers. He said, “compared to 10 years ago, the machine builders now know a lot more about the whole process than they did, particularly in tissue making. They have really focused on the processes we use and in some cases, know more about it than the papermaker himself. They now understand the different fibres, chemicals, machine clothing and also how to accord their assistance and impart this knowledge to the customer. And they are learning how to ‘Keep The Costs Down'”.

The progress made at the Suzhou mill should not be of any real surprise to papermakers in Europe or North America, however, what is surprising is the speed with which developments are taking place. The awarding of the Olympic Games to China in 2008 has already been a great spur to the acceleration in progress in several industries.

There is no question this will continue for some time to come. China is already importing close to six million tpy and has become the second largest producer of paper behind the USA. The one caveat to its rapid expansion is the lack of domestically available fibre. However, a number of paper companies have set out on a number of reafforestation projects largely with the future fibre requirements in mind. Those who criticize plantation forestry will be pleased to learn the industry is developing forests containing at least four different species, avoiding the dangers of a monoculture.

There is no question that China is now an awakened giant and is making significant strides into the future.


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