a partner Kimmo Suomalainen, Raute's "Mr. Plywood" Issue 9 Brazilians invest in improved quality Foam gluing offers savings CSP aims to improve operating efficiency Raute Customer Magazine ­ April 2007 When a customer buys a mill, he wants who can offer leading technology and profound expertise. Contents From the CEO Decades of mill-scale deliveries Raute strengthens its position in China Quality counts in Brazil Growing demands on stackers Foam gluing offers major savings Tulsa chooses Smart Scan CSP improves operating efficiency 3 4 9 10 14 16 19 21 Expanded business Dear Reader, WE HOPE YOU ENJOY reading this latest issue of PlyVisions. The articles in this issue deal with three main themes: expanded business opportunities for Raute, including the opening of Brazil as a new market area and foam layup as a new product; Raute's mill project knowhow and expertise; and Raute's efforts in providing technology services. All these are essential elements of our vision to be the leading technology and service supplier to our customers' industries. Recent start-ups of Raute peeling lines at the Guararapes and Sudati mills in Brazil have created a firm basis and reference for strengthening our position in Brazil's fast developing plywood industry. It also confirms, once again, that the efforts we have taken in developing our peeling technology do, indeed, serve our customers' needs. In respect of this we feel justified in saying that Raute is the leading company serving our customers' industries. Last year Raute received four mill-scale orders, a record for a single year. In this issue of PlyVisions you can read an indepth article concerning the history of our involvement in mill projects; how it has developed and the complexity involved in such operations. Raute is the only company with the capacity to manage such multifaceted projects and the capability to deliver all the necessary technology. In the area of mill-scale deliveries to the plywood and LVL industries, Raute is undoubtedly the leading supplier. Brazilians invest in quality and efficiency Two of Brazil's largest plywood producers have started up new Raute Smart Peel peeling lines for processing plantation pine in the southern Brazilian state of Parana. Read more on pages 10­13. Tulsa ­ a satisfied Smart Scan customer! Read more on pages 19­20. PlyVisions is Raute Corporation's Customer Magazine. Editor-In-Chief: Molli Nyman, molli.nyman@raute.com Editorial Group: Matti Aho, Veli-Matti Lepistö, Rick Massey, Tapani Kiiski Layout: Onnion Oy Printing house: Libris Oy Address changes: tuija.leppanen@raute.com Publisher: Raute Corporation, P.O.Box 69, FI-15551 Nastola, Finland, tel. +358 3 829 11, fax +358 3 829 3511, www.raute.com Copyright Raute Corporation. All rights reserved. Reproduction permitted only with permission from Raute Corporation. Cover photo: Veli-Matti Lepistö Photos by Raute if not mentioned otherwise. ISSN 1459-3165 from the CEO opportunities for Raute Raute's vision: To be the leading technology and service provider in the industry. Competition among our customers is growing fiercer every day. In specific market areas and among certain products there is no growth. In some cases markets are actually shrinking. Under such circumstances, investments in expanding capacity may not be justified. However, investments must be made in order to improve productivity. Modernizing existing equipment is Raute's response to this situation. Modernizations are based on the latest technology, which is applied in an existing production environment. This was the approach taken by Chile's Tulsa company when they decided to invest in modernizing their XY block optimization system, and Plum Creek in Montana, USA, who invested in upgrading their Raute veneer composers. Achieving better performance from current equipment through modernization offers great potential. Raute, and many of our customers, are only just getting their first glimpses of those opportunities in our industry. In many areas, Raute can lay claim to being the leading company in our industry. In these areas we will continue to work hard in order to maintain that position. We will also continue to do so with humility as we strive, with the co-operation and assistance of our various partners and customers, towards our vision of being the leading technology and service provider to our customers' industries. Our humility lies in the fact that, in a number of areas, both geographically and technologically, we still have room to improve. This issue of PlyVisions reaches you shortly before the Ligna+ 2007 trade show in Hannover, Germany. You are most welcome to visit our booth and hear more about Raute's offerings. Enjoy the show as well as this issue of PlyVisions. Tapani Kiiski President and CEO PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 3 Strong track record Raute celebrates its 100th anniversary next year. Since the 1930's, plywood has been a major part of our business, an area in which we have gained considerable expertise. In order to be able to deal with changes in global plywood markets and the needs of customers, the continuous development of our internal operations has been essential. RAUTE WORKS TOGETHER WITH OUR CUSTOMERS, using our experience and knowledge to successfully develop their production processes ­ to be our customers' partner in performance. Global plywood and LVL production capacity stands at about 70 million m3, 60% of which is applicable to Raute's product range. 500 mills of significant size produce this amount. In total, Raute has delivered over 60 complete mills with a total output of about 12% of global capacity. In the past decade Raute has won over 90% of mill-scale projects worldwide, enabling us to state that we are the leading supplier of mill-scale plywood and LVL projects worldwide. In support of this, Raute received four mill-scale orders in 2006. The plywood and LVL industries are expanding. Several LVL mills have been built in recent years, with all capacity being absorbed. Plywood growth has been slower, however, it is developing steadily, mainly through the utilization of plantation wood in the Southern Hemisphere and the vast resources of Russia. text: Molli Nyman in mill-scale projects Mill-scale expertise Raute is the only supplier capable of delivering mill-scale projects incorporating operations management and comprehensive management information systems. The only other option is for customers to choose sub-process deliveries from different suppliers. This requires specific expertise on the part of the customer's staff and often involves paying consultants. In mill-scale projects, Raute provides technology and services, including process knowledge. We are able to get involved at the pre-investment phase during which time we undertake feasibility studies, profitability calculations, market research and raw material analyses. This helps investors decide on the most appropriate and profitable operation. During the project phase Raute provides project management, installation supervision, start-up and training services. Once the mill is operating, we provide spare parts, scheduled maintenance, service visits and modernizations. Why choose a single-source supplier? Every producer wants an efficient process. Having a single technology partner facilitates smooth operation between subprocesses, enabling customers to develop an efficient operation using modern management tools, such as MIS. Similar sub-process control systems provide flexibility in the form of job rotation and reduce the need for training. Documentation and reporting is systematic and uniform. Dealing with a single project organization, like Raute, requires less management and resources from the customer. 4 How have we become the global leader in mill-scale deliveries? The answer lies in our history and the experience and knowledge we have gained in the course of having delivered over 60 mill-scale projects. The 60's and 70's ­ A time of Soviet, South American and Asian trade The reparations Finland paid to the Soviet Union following World War II formed the basis of strong business relations between the two nations. Raute's first mill-scale delivery was to Perm (Bratsk) in the USSR in 1962, a 120,000 m3/a plywood mill. Prior to that Raute had supplied only stand-alone machines and product-specific production lines. In the early 70's Raute became a turnkey supplier when presses were add- ed to the product line. Until then, mills bought from different suppliers. Now a single supplier could provide complete mills, an option previously unavailable. A major step in the development of the Finnish plywood industry at that time was the construction of the Pellos mills, which began in the late 60's. During the 60's and 70's Raute delivered mills to Finland, USSR, and South America. Soviet business was mostly at government level through a bi-lateral trade agreement. At its peak, sales of Raute machinery to the USSR were more than half of annual sales. Deliveries to South America were aided by export credits from the Finnish government, which helped buyers finance their deals. Mill-scale projects to Asia went through Japanese trading houses, which operated as many consultants do today. They purchased machinery from different suppliers and created mill-scale deliveries. What was remarkable was how these trading houses first aided producers in building mills and then sold the plywood they produced. This was seen as a safe investment and a practice that continued until the mid 90's. 1980's ­ Technological advancement Raute's concept of mill-scale deliveries includes services ranging from raw material and market studies to training and technical assistance. Certainly, innovation is key to securing the future for a technology-driven company like Raute, however, we draw much of our innova- >> Raute provides technology and services, including process knowledge ranging from the project's pre-investment phase to maintenance and modernizations. PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 5 >> tion from co-operation with customers. With the advent of microprocessors in the 80's, we added automation to our product offering. We successfully developed our own process computer, RIC. Machine vision systems followed, with MIS (Management Information Systems) coming in the late 80's. Other innovations of the 80's included the rotary clipper, laser XY centering and dry veneer sorting lines. 1990's ­ Changing markets The fall of the USSR impacted Raute's business, forcing us to seek alternative markets. Fortunately, the growing Asian economy brought growth in plywood production. To meet the challenges of this new market, Raute's technology experts fast tracked their knowledge of processing tropical hardwoods, adapting our machinery to the specific needs of this new market. A decade later, Asia went into recession, stalling our efforts in the region. Now, orders are once again coming from Asia and demand for Raute technology is strengthening in the region. Prior to the mid-90's, Raute's millscale deliveries were made to hardwood producers who processed mainly birch, beech and mixed tropical species. The first large mill-scale project to the softwood industry was to Martco in the USA, followed by similar-sized projects to UPM-Kymmene and Finnforest in Finland and, later, to Arauco in Chile. In Chile, co-operation between Arauco and Raute has been very successful, with Raute having sold four mill-scale projects to Arauco with a combined annual capacity of 800,000 m3. Plywood has enabled Arauco to fully utilize their large plantation forest resources. Their success has prompted others to enter the Radiata pine plywood industry in Chile. One such company, CMPC, took delivery of a complete Raute mill beginning in the latter part of 2006. > All the main production lines are installed and test run at the Nastola plant before being shipped to the customer. > Raute has sold four mill-scale projects to Arauco, Chile. Recent years Since 2000, the majority of our mill projects have been in the softwood sector, Half of the world's LVL is produced on Raute machinery. with many existing producers opting to expand capacity. Recent mill-scale projects include the Thebault mill in France, Arauco in Chile and Russia's Vjatsky Fanernyi Kombinat, Raute's largest single project to date. The LVL business has also seen considerable growth. Despite a slowdown in construction in the USA, Raute received an order for a LVL mill from Murphy Company in the second half of 2006. >> 6 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine LVL offers new possibilities Raute's first mill-scale LVL delivery was to Finnforest in 1980. To date, we have delivered 25 LVL mills worldwide. Growth in LVL continues with new production capacity being built outside the traditionally strong North American market in the Oceania region, Japan, Russia and Europe. Annual growth of LVL is estimated at around 10%. Aesthetic trends are a force behind LVL's popularity, as it is valued as an architectural element, not simply a structural alternative to construction lumber. One of our recent LVL deliveries was to Finnforest's Punkaharju mill in Finland. Our position in the LVL machinery business is very strong, as evidenced by the fact that approximately half the world's LVL is produced on Raute machinery. Technology services Machinery life cycles are growing shorter due to production and product quality demands. This is placing greater demands on technology and machinery, forcing older machinery into obsolescence. Raute provides services that cover the life cycle of the investment. Properly planned and executed, maintenance, spare part services and training help mills maintain their maContinues on next page >> Kimmo Suomalainen KIMMO SUOMALAINEN IS RAUTE'S "MR. PLYWOOD". He Raute's "Mr. Plywood": Today, when a customer buys a mill, he doesn't just purchase machinery. He wants a partner who can offer leading technology, profound expertise and versatile services. ­ Kimmo Suomalainen ­ joined Raute in 1984 and has managed mill-scale deliveries to the plywood industry since 1995. Kimmo has held several technology management positions within Raute, giving him great insight into the varied processes of plywood production and providing him with a foundation for creating the best mill-scale solutions for customers. Kimmo believes that the goals of supplier and customer should be to their mutual benefit. He also believes that, while selling a single machine is a demanding task, combining the sale of all machines into a single, profitable mill is far more demanding. It is a skill that requires an understanding of the entire process to achieve the best results. The development of the mill-scale concept at Raute has been achieved one processing line at a time. By optimizing the operation of individual lines, it has been possible for Raute to create a profitable and functional mill concept where it can truly be stated that the result is far greater than the sum of the parts. Kimmo Suomalainen believes that purchasing a complete mill from a single supplier, like Raute, offers advantages, one of which is the ability to implement intensive training. Nowadays, with new players entering the plywood field with mill-scale operations, training, start-up assistance and maintenance services are extremely important. Take the Chilean producer, Arauco. In 1997 Raute delivered their first mill. Now, 10 years later, Arauco has one of world's most profitable plywood businesses. In total, Raute has delivered four mills to Arauco and the co-operation between our two companies has developed into a true partnership with both companies benefiting. PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 7 >> Raute's main production plant in Nastola, Finland. An integrated production process provides the tools needed to maximize profitability. chinery in top operating condition. Machinery life can also be extended with Raute's modernization services using the latest technology and automation. This enables existing production levels to be surpassed through increased production and improved quality. Labor costs are also reduced. Profitability challenge ­ The Raute Formula Producers share a common goal ­ profitable production. To help achieve this, The Raute Formula considers critical factors effecting profitable production, namely, recovery, quality and productivity. When these key factors are multiplied by the mill's capacity capability, the result is profitable production. Raute's record 60 mill-scale deliveries · to the veneer, plywood and LVL industries · covering a wide range of wood species, capacities, automation levels and end products · to all continents A mill-scale delivery includes most of the main production lines supported by automation: · Implementation of a demanding greenfield project with all necessary infrastructure. · Adding a new, entire production process into existing infrastructure. + + } x = An integrated production process provides the tools needed to maximize profitability. Efficient utilization of raw materials, optimized labor, proper occupational safety, the economic use of adhesives and overlays, efficient energy consumption, and the development of quality all contribute to the mill's profitability. Providing the correct technical solutions and services to optimize these cost factors is Raute's main goal. Properly controlled, efficient lines operating with minimum downtime under the umbrella of responsible environmental practices, is what Raute provides. 8 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine Go ahead Raute (Shanghai) Machinery Co., Ltd received its business license on 1 September, 2006. The goals of the new subsidiary are to strengthen Raute Group's procurement activities, as well as to undertake subcontract manufacturing and materials purchasing. The move is also intended to strengthen Raute's presence in the Chinese market. for Raute Shanghai! THE COMPANY'S PREMISES are located in the Nanhui district, 40 kilometers south of Shanghai. Travel connections to the plant are excellent and being so close to one of Asia's largest business centers has clear advantages. Total floor space of the brand new workshop is 1,600 m2. The plant and office are managed by Mr. Jarmo Enqvist, who has long experience with Raute technology and the development of Raute's materials procurement activities. This new plant will enable Raute to provide more flexible and competitive solutions for the manufacture of machinery globally and, especially, for the Asian market. Initially, the Shanghai plant will build machinery and supply high volume components and parts to Raute's factory in Finland and to the company's other subsidiaries. At present there are a total of 14 people employed by Raute Shanghai. "I have been working for Raute for 8 years and moved to Shanghai from our Beijing Representative office last year. I was thrilled when we began to set up our Shanghai company last summer. Our presence here will not only enhance Raute's production capabilities, it will also improve our ability to penetrate deeper into the Chinese market", says Wendy Lee, Chief Administrator of Raute Shanghai. With respect to the new operation, Mr. Jarmo Enqvist stated that, "During the past 20 years Raute has successfully delivered several production lines to China. In 2003 Raute began searching for reliable local suppliers. At first we concentrated in the Beijing area, however, our interest shifted to the fast growing area around Shanghai. Soon after, Raute sent me to Shanghai to oversee the establishment of a supplier network, as well as to set up our manufacturing company. Now we have an excellent network of partners and our new plant is in operation. We are convinced that Raute's success in China will strengthen in the future." < Chief Administrator of Raute Shanghai, Ms. Wendy Lee and Supervisor Mr. Lin Hua in the new manufacturing premises. << Personnel in the Shanghai plant's office. PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 9 text: Timo Reinikainen 10 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine > Pine plantations in Parana state owned by the Sudati and Guararapes companies. >> Mr. Luiz Alberto Sudati and Mr. João Carlos Pedroso learn about customer needs at a construction site. Two of Brazil's largest plywood producers, Guararapes and Sudati, have started up new Raute Smart Peel peeling lines for processing plantation pine in the southern Brazilian state of Parana. Services to ensure smooth operation Together with the sale of this new equipment, Raute entered into service contracts designed to provide proper training for local production and maintenance personnel. These service contracts include the supply of mechanical and automation specialists at the mills for a period of six months initially, followed by two-week inspection and training visits three times a year. ACCORDING TO the Presidents of both companies; Mr. João Carlos Pedroso of Guararapes, and Mr. Luiz Alberto Sudati of Sudati, these new Raute Smart Peel lines are essential to the development of both mills. Both have stated their goals as being improved veneer quality and lower manufacturing costs. Mr. Ricardo Pedroso, Industrial Director of Guararapes companies, stated that this investment in new technology represents something of a fundamental change in Brazilian plywood industry practices. According to Mr. Pedroso, until recently, mills have tended to implement labor-intensive processes. These days, however, greater production efficiency is a must, due to the ever-increasing rise in raw material and labor costs. The currency exchange rate, too, is no longer as favorable for Brazil's plywood producers, who exports nearly 100% of their product. New technology, such as Raute's Smart Peel lathe, has helped them to be competitive on international markets. Both companies have also installed dry veneer moisture analyzers (DMA) and visual defect analyzers (VDA) to improve veneer quality and grading accuracy. These were supplied by Raute's Mecano Group. Raw material from plantations Pine plantations for industrial consumption have been planted in southern Brazil since the 1970s. In the early days of plantations, the government encouraged companies to maintain the practice over the long-term by offering tax concessions. However, when this tax support from the government ended about 20 years ago, planting temporarily decreased. In recent years this has led >> PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 11 >> > Smart Peel peeling line at Guararapes company mill. This investment in new technology represents something of a fundamental change in Brazilian plywood industry practices. ­ Mr. Ricardo Pedroso, the Industrial Director of Guararapes company ­ to a shortage of mature pine trees. Despite this situation, the supply of pine is expected to balance out quite quickly, due to the fact that trees grow fast in the climate of southern Brazil. Guararapes and Sudati have their own plantations comprised of maturing and young stems, however, both companies still obtain a percentage of their resources from other private plantation owners. The main species are Pinus Elliottii (slash pine) and Pinus Taeda (loblolly pine), which are also known by the more common name Southern yellow pine. Eucalyptus Grandis plantations have also been planted in southern Brazil, and as they mature, eucalyptus will become another important species for plywood production in the region. Higher quality products reach competitive markets Currently, Europe is the biggest market for Brazilian softwood plywood, whereas a year ago it was the United States. Guararapes and Sudati have been able to quickly adapt to the variations in demand of these two important markets. Barely five years ago Brazilian softwood plywood competed mainly on price with OSB in less demanding end uses, such as site hoarding, where low cost was a decisive factor. Guararapes and Sudati then began to systematically improve the quality of their products. Mr. Bartolomeu da Silva Neto, who has been a technical consultant to both companies, stated that 12 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine > Markku Lindgren from Raute leading a training session of Guararapes personnel. both have made significant improvements in gluing, moisture management and veneer grading, including strength grading. These improvements have resulted in Guararapes and Sudati plywood being certified to meet American and European standards for construction plywood. Facts about Smart Peel at the Guararapes and Sudati mills: · Smart Scan laser curtain scanning and Smart Peel improves quality With the installation of Raute's Smart Peel peeling lines, veneer quality at both mills has improved, as has the volume of full sheets, thanks to greatly improved block optimization. The benefit to both companies has been a growing share of higher plywood grades. Within a six-month period, Raute will have started up five similar Smart Peel peeling lines in Brazil and Chile. All will process pine and eucalyptus from fast growing plantations. These are clear signs of South America's growing role as a plywood supplier to global markets. Raute's new peeling lines in Brazil incorporate numerous features that enable the efficient peeling of small diameter wood to high quality veneer with maximum recovery. block optimization · Powered roller nose bar · High-speed triple spindles (1,000 RPM) · Optimized Peeling Geometry (OPG) · Veneer temperature measurement · Hydraulic clipping trash gate · 3-deck catch-up conveyor system · Rotary veneer clipper with camera scanning · Veneer moisture clip and moisture grading · 2-deck tray system with stacker and three vacuum gaps for smooth and accurate veneer tracking · Easy-to-use graphical touch screen user interface · Management information system (MIS) Plywood is certified to meet American and European standards for construction plywood. PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 13 Growing demands on stackers text: Rick Massey Ugrading proves a good investment for North American stackers In keeping with our commitment of continuous product improvement, Raute is pleased to offer several modernization packages designed to raise the performance levels of veneer stackers. The documented benefits of having Raute modernize your stacker include consistent performance at higher stacking speeds, squarer loads, a reduction in damage due to more precise knock-off control, longer belt life, lower energy consumption and reduced operating noise. At the same time, downtime due to mechanical failure is reduced, as are maintenance costs. Table 1. fatigue, an increased incidence of belt failure, and poor stack quality due to greater loadings on components, such as cylinders and valves. Growing demands on stackers The operational life-cycle of a Raute stacker is measured in decades, however, the growing demands placed on stackers, in terms of higher speeds and greater productivity, may eventually lead to the failure of components when they are forced to operate beyond their design capacity. Such failures may include cracks in metal surfaces and welds due to metal Focus on improved performance In developing a stacker modernization program, Raute's engineers have focused on improving all the critical elements of stacking. These critical elements and the expected performance improvements are listed in Table 1. Mills employing good stacker maintenance programs will benefit from good stacker performance. However, today's stringent production demands may force the stacker to operate beyond its original Stacking element Vacuum system Performance improvement The correct ratio of fans to bins reduces vacuum variations and belt loading. Redesigned vacuum chambers improve airflow and reduce vacuum pressure variances. Possible to run one side only when stacking 4 ft. sheets. Vacuum levels are self-regulating. New style fans provide higher air speed and greater air volume. Quieter than older models, they provide more efficient airflow and extend vacuum box life. Improved cylinder reliability and performance. Enhanced cushioning. Rubber cushioned/side and top mounted brackets reduce shock and noise. Improved air header design and (optional) oil smoke lubrication system. Side-mounted air valves provide easy access. Improved sheet guides, squaring assemblies and backstops. New style cog belts improve stacker performance and provide extended belt life. Faster scan times improve knock-off accuracy and simplify tuning. Simple-to-use GUI for improved operation and troubleshooting. Fans Knock-off control Air and lubrication Veneer handling Transport belts Controls 14 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine Multi-phase installation PHASE 1 ­ controls New processor; Ethernet module; I/O rack and cards; touch screen; power supplies for sensors and knock-off valves; prewiring for tracking and stacking. 1 PHASE 2 ­ air headers Dual air header system; knock-off and squaring valves; photocells; autolubrication; air hoses; pre-wiring to J-box. 2 PHASE 3 ­ evaluation/ recommendations Knock-off cylinders; cylinder mounting brackets; knock-off arms and upgraded hoist rollcase c/w striker plate. 3 PHASE 4 ­ bin components Vacuum system; fan condition/ performance/type; sheet conveying and knock-off assist; sheet placement support; belt conveying system; sheet tracking devices; stacker backstop arrangement (green stacker only). 4 performance parameters. If this situation exists in your mill, it would be advisable to have a qualified Raute service technician undertake a thorough evaluation of your stacker so that he can make recommendations as to the requirements for modernization. Often, new components, such as air valves and knock-off cylinders, will immediately improve the stacker's performance. However, even greater improvements will be achieved when a comprehensive stacker modernization program is initiated. One area of stacker operation that has benefited greatly from modernization is the replacement of traditional flat and Vee-style belts with cog belts. The following are documented improvements reported by mills that operate Raute stackers fitted with our proprietary cog belts: · The elimination of left/right speed variations and belt slippage resulting in squarer loads. · The elimination of belt drag as the sheet load increases on the vacuum box. · No dead zones in the vacuum chamber due to elimination of center belt tensioning. · Reduction in stacker maintenance costs. · Sheets remain against the vacuum boxes even when suction is retarded. · Less power is required to operate the fans because drag is eliminated. the existing vacuum boxes; conversion from flat belts to cog belts requires significant rework of the vacuum system. Mills choosing this latter upgrade should consider replacing their existing vacuum box with a vacuum system consisting of new plenums, fans, air headers and valves, air accumulator, squaring and knock-off cylinders. The unit is preassembled and tested and installed over the mill's existing infeed and outfeed systems and scissor hoists. New controls are included. Multi-phase installation Raute will work together with mill personnel to ensure that stacker modernization projects are accomplished with minimal disruption to production. Generally speaking, projects are carried out in four phases, depending on the scope of the work and the condition of existing equipment. The various phases of the modernization are shown at the top of the page. It is recommended that Phases 1 & 2 be carried out at the same time to expedite the process. > Cog belts have greatly improved the performance of stackers by eliminating belt slippage and extending belt life. Belts are supported by machined metal channels along the entire length of the stacker. Whereas the conversion from flat belts to cog belts can be accomplished with minimal downtime and rework to PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 15 text: Jori Sopanen Foam gluing Foam glue spread rates vary between 115 and 130 g/m2, depending on the species and quality of the panel. Raute's automated foam glue layup line is a cost-effective way to reduce glue consumption and labor costs. offers substantial savings Rising glue costs and competitive market conditions require that plywood producers find savings in their production processes. Generally speaking, glue spread levels have been the same for many years, however, Raute foam gluing technology provides the means to reduce the amount of glue used in modern layup lines. Glue application alternatives There are four methods for applying glue ­ spreader, curtain coater, spray or foam applicator. Roller spreaders are mechanically simple, robust machines that provide a viable solution in many cases. Their disadvantages are an inability to be integrated into an automated layup process and their high glue consumption. Spray lines and curtain coaters have wide variations in glue spread rates due to glue properties and ambient mill conditions. Curtain coaters are also prone to breaks in the curtain, leading to dry spots and delamination. Both applicators also require continuous filtering. > Testing and adjusting the glue head. Failure to do so may lead to contaminants clogging the dosing equipment. Both these application methods do, however, enable the implementation of automation in the layup process. sumes. The extruder heads recycle the formed glue to the glue tank through a de-foamer, where air and resin is removed. Training an important issue Raute's foam glue layup line is designed for ease of operation and simple adjustments. It is highly automated and easy to learn. The application equipment has an automatic washing program, which enables the line to operate with a high level of efficiency. Foam gluing equipment differs from liquid gluing systems. Glue is pumped to the foamer and adjusted by a flow meter, which controls the volume and displays the data on the operator's interface. The foamer mixes glue and air to create foam, which is passed through pipes to the extruder heads. Raute's foamer minimizes heat generation by operating at a rotation speed as low as 800 rpm. The extruder heads spread foam glue on top of the veneer. If veneer feeding stops, the extruder head closes and continues only when veneer feeding re- How foam gluing got started Raute developed foam gluing in cooperation with our customers and glue suppliers in response to the need for a cost-effective glue application system. The first line was installed on UPMKymmene's Pellos 3 8 x 8 softwood layup line in 2002. The second delivery was to a specialty plywood producer, Vammalan Vaneri, in 2003. A year later, Maderas de Llodio, Spain, purchased a low-capacity line for laying up maritime pine plywood. Our most recent delivery was a high-capacity line to UPMKymmene's birch and combi-plywood mill in Säynätsalo in 2005. UPM pioneers foam gluing in hardwood plywood production Raute's latest foam gluing layup line was installed at UPM-Kymmene's Säynätsalo plywood mill in Finland. Veneer is fed by an automatic feeder. Proper sheet 16 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine >> > Sheet feeding > Squeeze pressing > Layup stack after squeeze pressing Raute's foam gluing solutions · One of the main challenges of this new technology has been to find the optimal type of glue. Even though the technology has been successful, there are still issues to be addressed concerning process knowledge, technology and glue properties. · Raute manufactures semi- and fully-automatic foam glue layup lines with capacities starting from 600 sheets/hour (50 m3 veneer/8 hours) up to 3,000 sheets/hour (260 m3 veneer/8 hours) on dual lines. · Veneer sizes include 8 x 4 (4 x 8), 8 x 8, 5 x 10 (10 x 5). Custom sizes can be tailored upon customer request. · Solutions are available for different raw materials and end products. > Spreading of foam glue PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 17 alignment has been instrumental in enabling the line to achieve high placement accuracy. The line has one operator who monitors the veneer flow and redirects faulty sheets to a bin prior to glue being applied. Pairing face and back sheets helps the line achieve high capacity. Automatic tablets accurately place the veneers. There is no restriction as to the number of plies. The layup proceeds to the squeeze pressing stage, which, in the case of the Säynätsalo installation, is a platen press. A roller squeezer may also be used. The laid up stacks are then transferred to the pre-press. According to Henrik Sjögren, Technical Director, UPM Foam gluing offers many advantages What were the most important reasons for choosing foam gluing over traditional gluing methods? The most important reasons were the need to automate the gluing process in order to reduce working hours, to reduce glue costs through the use of lower spread rates and the possibility to use higher moisture veneers in order to lower dryer energy consumption. UPM's involvement in foam gluing started in 2001 at Pellos 3. What are your experiences with foam gluing over the past six years? The line is efficient when running optimally. The veneers should be high quality and the stacks should not contain trash that might disrupt automatic feeding. Stack quality should also be high. The line requires regular service and maintenance to ensure the exact positioning of the veneers. Automatic positioning enables smaller working margins on the sheets. With thin veneers, special attention should be paid to preventing the glue from penetration through the veneer. The amount of overall uptime available from the machinery needs to improve because the capacity loss when downtime occurs is significant on high-efficiency lines. Foam gluing was initially developed for softwood plywood. UPM is the first to start the development of foam gluing for hardwood plywood. What is your experience with birch at Säynätsalo? Foam gluing is perhaps even more applicable to birch than softwood. The issues concerning foam gluing, as it applies to birch, are typical of both softwood veneers and thinner birch veneers. Thicker softwood veneers remain under good control during mechanical transfer and high layup accuracy is easier to attain. Birch veneers, in general, are flatter and travel better on the conveying system. The properties of the glue have a greater effect on quality when laying up thinner birch veneers. More often than not problems with the technology have been as a result of short experience with the machinery. UPM began the development of foam gluing with Raute in 2001. How would you describe co-operation since then? The foam gluing project has indeed been an R&D project. Together we have tried to find solutions for the problems that have occurred and for the issues requiring further development. There have been issues with both machinery and product quality. Our faith in the process has been tested and weak at times and we have had to take so-called inspirational breaks in order to give perspective to the solutions. The overall schedule did not hold but we still believe in the technology and are maintaining our efforts in that direction. 18 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine text: Timo Reinikainen A successful modernization project The Tulsa S.A. company in Chile began producing Radiata pine veneer twelve years ago on a used peeling line purchased from Canada. in Chile >> PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 19 BLOCK FEEDING WAS DONE using a mechanical charger manufactured by Durand Company in 1980, four years before Durand became part of Raute. In 2006, Raute modernized the charging system by installing a Smart Scan XY laser curtain scanning and optimization system. In order to reduce the cost of the investment, components of the existing charger were reused as much as possible. These include the mechanical block centering device and block transfer arms. 20 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine >> Laser curtain scanning provides over 100 measuring points along an 8 ft block. Customer chooses Smart Scan Prior to making this investment, all major elements of the production process had been reconditioned and used machinery acquired mainly from North American sources. However, once the mill's newly-appointed General Manager, Ms. Gina Pagliotti, decided on upgrading to XY optimization, she came to the conclusion that Raute's Smart Scan XY technology offered the best return on investment. She made this determination after considering several alternatives. A satisfied customer When asked if the modernization project has fulfilled Tulsa's expectations, Ms. Pagliotti stated that it has been a good investment. According to Ms. Pagliotti, raw material consumption has decreased by three percent, half in the form of higher green veneer volume, and the rest as reduced losses at the composer. She was quick to add, however, that the most important improvement has been a ten percent increase in full veneer sheets. Production capacity of the peeling line has also increased with the help of the Smart Scan XY optimization and charging system. A joint effort Engineering of the modernization project was carried out jointly by Raute engineers in Canada and Finland. Production shutdown for the installation lasted only five days, due to excellent preparation on the part of both Tulsa and Raute. Existing mechanical components were also reconditioned in order that the mill could take full advantage of the higher centering accuracy, which Smart Scan would provide. Laser curtain scanning provides over 100 measuring points along an 8 ft block, resulting in substantially higher block centering accuracy compared with the old mechanical 6-point centering method. The new controls supplied with the Smart Scan system include an Internet connection, enabling remote access by Raute service personnel, should maintenance assistance be required. Tulsa S.A. Tulsa S.A. is owned by American and Chilean interests and was established to produce veneer for sale to plywood and LVL producers. Later the mill began producing plywood and over the course of time has built up their annual production of Radiata pine plywood to 90,000 m3 per year. The mill still produces veneer for outside customers, while a significant portion of production is devoted to sanded Radiata pine plywood. An important portion of plywood production is overlaid with phenolic impregnated paper overlays, like phenolic surface film and medium density overlay (MDO). > Ms. Gina Pagliotti, General Manager of Tulsa S.A. in Chile, provided production data showing that the Smart Scan XY modernization project has been a success. >> XY spindles provide precise positioning accuracy ahead of the charger arms. text: Rick Massey Raute's versatile range of Technology Services assists customers in managing the start-up of their investments, enabling them to benefit from a short payback time, while maintaining the value of their investments. We call this managing the entire life cycle of the machinery we supply. Raute's CSP aims to improve operating efficiency RAUTE'S CUSTOMER SUPPORT PROGRAM (CSP) assists mills in avoiding the dip in performance that often occurs once on-site vendor assistance leaves the site following startup. The dip may be less of an issue when dealing with stand-alone machines, however, it can be significant in mill-scale installations, like a greenfield plywood or LVL mill. The learning curve typical of mill-scale projects presents numerous challenges, each of which should be dealt with individually. CSP provides indepth knowledge in the following areas. Understanding new technologies New technology is complex, especially as it relates to automation. Some mill personnel possess the skills required to respond immediately, whereas others require additional assistance. This is often best provided by the vendor's technical representative onsite. Acquiring set-up knowledge Household appliances plug in, switch one and go. This is seldom the case with plywood and LVL machinery, the performance of which must be adapted to the many variables affecting production, such as veneer quality, glue properties, moisture content and species mix. PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine >> 21 Mill personnel must be taught to marry these variables together to ensure the best possible results in product quality and production efficiency. A proficient on-site instructor will guide mill personnel and be available to solve problems as they arise. Targets of the CSP There are quantifiable targets that a successfully implemented Customer Service Program can achieve, namely: · Shortening the employee learning curve: creating operator confidence, greater employee productivity, pride in ownership. · Meeting production volume targets as soon as possible: faster return on investment. · Minimizing the time required to meet industrial quality standards: selling at market price, full value per unit of production, building a positive reputation. · Producing saleable product as fast as possible: production generates revenue, builds customer demand. · Maximizing equipment uptime: achieving and exceeding design capacity. · Reducing production costs: minimizing raw material loss, minimizing consumables waste. Each target is attainable within a certain timeline. The optimum result is for all targets to be met in as short a time as possible and, by so doing, for the investor to begin paying for his investment in the quickest possible time. Acquiring process knowledge "You have to like your job to be proficient at it and you have to have confidence in what you are doing in order to like it", says Andre Klemarewski, Raute's LVL Technology Manager for North America. Andre has been involved in LVL technology for 20 years and has participated in all phases of an LVL project, from preparing capacity calculations, to raw materials testing and process layout. He has been involved in numerous start-ups as an on-site advisor, assisting mill personnel to acquire the knowledge required to reach quality and production targets as soon as possible after startup. "Mill personnel learn how to really make a quality LVL product, not simply lay up veneer and press it", says Andre, adding, "Operators must be trained to know when their part of the process isn't right. Attending to issues before they become problems builds a profitable and successful business." Developing troubleshooting skills Operators must be able to recognize issues that negatively affect production. Every operator is a gatekeeper responsible for producing quality at their point in the process. Failure to recognize a problem and take appropriate measures will result in a faulty product being passed along the line until it cannot be fixed. At this stage the problem has al- ready cost the company time, resources and, possibly, reputation. A professionally run CSP program will pay for itself by limiting this liability. Developing an effective maintenance plan A properly implemented Preventive Maintenance Program will ensure that all the production processes operate at peak efficiency. For this to occur, the performance of every machine must be checked at regular intervals. Faults, if any, must be corrected immediately. By keeping machinery operating at peak efficiency, the mill can expect optimum results that often exceed design capacity. One poor performer in the chain, however, can negatively affect the performance of the entire line. Table 1. Basic training Costs Included in the equipment contract Advanced training Purchased as part of Raute's Customer Support Program Modular, customized training packages Machine and process specialists On-site, hands-on, classroom On-site ­ broken down into several stages to maximize impact In-depth, process and raw material theory, customized to meet customer's needs Additional training needs are reviewed in a process & Equipment Audit. Recommendations are provided to the customer. Cost efficiency of operations, raw material recovery, end-product quality, preventive maintenance planning, benchmarking Training material Project manuals Trainers Location Schedule Level of detail Follow-up Installation supervisors On-site, hands-on, classroom Start-up and installation only Basics only None Basic vs. advanced training Raute's CSP provides advanced training that enables operators and supervisors to optimize their production lines in terms of recovery, quality and productivity. Production levels will be achieved and maintained, without declining once the vendor's startup crew has left site. The CSP consists of a series of training packages, tailored to suit the customer's operation with respect to species, Focus Safe operation of the equipment, basic maintenance tasks, spare parts ordering 22 PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine production management style, operator skill level and numerous other factors. Raute employs their most experienced personnel to supervise the program. The preventive maintenance training module is based on a template, which has been specially designed for the task. Together, Raute and our customer work within the framework of the template to tailor a maintenance schedule specific to the new line. The differences between basic and advanced training is shown in Table 1. "You have to like your job to be proficient at it and you have to have confidence in what you are doing in order to like it." ­ Andre Klemarewski ­ CSP is a worthwhile investment Diagram 1. shows how the cost of a Customer Support Program is an investment. Following start-up, a capacity test is done during which the vendor's on-site representatives operate their equipment at a capacity level specified in the performance contract. Once the successful performance test has been acknowledged by the customer, the vendor's personnel leave the site and hand operation over the new line over to mill personnel. This is the point at which the dip begins. Operators struggle to recall instructions passed on by the vendor's onsite personnel. Certainly, many are proficient, however, others are reluctant to ask for assistance, feeling it may count against them in the eyes of their super- visors and production team members. They may even choose to blame the vendor and the new machinery. They struggle through and fail to ask the right questions, thus contributing to the dip. How long the dip lasts will depend on how well mill personnel have followed instruction from the vendor's representatives during start-up and also their ability to adapt to the new technology. For some mills, the dip in performance may be short lived. For others it may last for an unacceptable period and even develop into part of the mill's operating culture. In any case, it will have a negative effect on the mill's bottom line. In Diagram 2. we see the results of a successful project where the dip has been avoided and the mill has achieved and maintained 100% capacity. The time this takes will also depend on the complexity of the equipment and the ability of the mill's personnel to adapt to the new technology. The cost of having Raute personnel on-site as part of a properly implemented Customer Support Program is covered by the additional production sold at market price. The mill may even exceed design capacity since they have a highly trained and motivated workforce that has confidence in how they approach their tasks and a deep understanding of the product they produce. Diagram 1. Average shift production Diagram 2. Average shift production 100% 100% 80% 80% Capacity test Time duration ­ will vary according to capability of mill personnel to adapt to the new technology. Capacity test Time duration ­ will vary according to capability of mill personnel to adapt to the new technology. Capacity, or acceptance tests, are conducted over a period of hours, and are done in order to verify the performance specifications of equipment as they are written in the contract. Under these circumstances, equipment operates at a sustained capacity that is higher than normal production, which must take into consideration such factors as maintenance, planned stoppages and equipment failure. The figure of 80% is, in this case, an arbitrary production average, which takes into consideration all interruptions to normal production. This number will vary from one project to another. PLYVISIONS ­ Raute Customer Magazine 23 Global expertise in wood products technology Raute is the leading technology company in its sector serving the wood products industry worldwide by adding value to its customers' businesses. The core of operations comprises the manufacturing processes for veneerbased products. Jyväskylä Nastola Kajaani St. Petersburg Moscow Vancouver, BC Beijing Shanghai Memphis, TN Singapore Jakarta Santiago Raute Agent www.raute.com