Runtech vacuum solutions with ABB technology enable major energy savings in paper machine applications

Runtech vacuum solutions with ABB technology enable major energy savings in paper machine applications

Runtech EP Series Turbo Blowers utilize purpose-designed motors and drives from ABB. The blowers are used in vacuum solutions that can realize energy savings up to 70% compared to conventional pump-based systems.

Runtech Systems produces turbo vacuum and optimization solutions for pulp, tissue, board and paper mills. The pioneering RunEco vacuum system is used in the dewatering process – where moisture is removed from the paper sheet – and other paper machine applications. The company is based in Finland and forms part of Ingersoll Rand Inc.

The turbo blowers are powered by high speed motors and variable speed drives which ABB has designed specifically for use in Runtech products. The drives are tailored for a specific motor and blower combination. Variable speed operation enables the vacuum level to be adjusted to match the exact needs of the process. This is much more efficient than constantly running at maximum speed and then controlling the vacuum level by mechanically throttling the airflow. Higher efficiency not only saves energy but also reduces CO2 emissions, helping mills to cut energy costs and meet their sustainability targets.

“ABB is a well-recognized brand in the pulp and paper sector, and the high speed motor is a vital component in our turbo solution. It made sense to start collaborating with ABB when we needed a reliable partner for motors,” says Ville Mattsson, Business Line Director & MD of Runtech Systems. “The team at ABB has the experience and know-how to design motors and drives that meet our exact needs, and these products - together with our own application knowledge - have enabled us to design optimized solutions for our customers. We’ve been working with ABB for a number of years, and our R&D teams have worked closely together to develop, test and prove these solutions.”

Benefits of high speed operation

The induction motors have a laminated rotor in order to boost efficiency. Their high operating speed means that the turbo blowers do not need a gearbox – a factor that further increases efficiency and reliability, and reduces maintenance requirements. The blowers are constructed with the impeller blades mounted directly on the motor shaft.

“To achieve high motor speeds, the drives operate with high output frequencies. This can result in various side effects that don’t occur at lower frequencies,” says Erno Tahvanainen, Account Manager, ABB Motion. “We have to ensure that these side effects are properly mitigated for the motor to run correctly. We did some in-depth research to understand exactly what happens at higher frequencies in this application, and we’ve applied the knowledge we gained to produce solutions that work efficiently and reliably with Runtech’s products.”

High efficiency promotes sustainability

A recent project to rebuild the vacuum system at a tissue mill in New Zealand highlights the energy savings that are possible with Runtech solutions. The new Runtech system has enabled the mill to reduce the power consumption of a vacuum process by more than 700 kW. The rebuild is part of a broader efficiency-boosting initiative at the site, which includes the world’s first fully geothermal steam drying process for a tissue machine.

Runtech turbo blowers also help mills to reduce their environmental impact in another way, by saving water. Conventional vacuum solutions are based on pumps that utilize water to form an internal seal. Runtech has calculated that its current installed base of more than 850 vacuum blowers worldwide saves in excess of 7.5 billion gallons (28.35 billion liters) of water each year.

“ABB is a longstanding supplier of energy efficient drives and motors to the pulp and paper industry,” Erno Tahvanainen adds. “We are very pleased that our technology is helping Runtech to manufacture innovative products – solutions that are efficient and environmentally friendly and enable mills to improve their profitability and sustainability.”

Energy Efficiency Movement

In a move that further underlines its commitment to promoting efficiency, Runtech has joined the Energy Efficiency Movement. This global initiative, which was started by ABB, aims to bring together stakeholders to innovate and act for a more energy efficient, regenerative and adaptive world.


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