ABB upgrades paper machine at French DS Smith mill using award-winning SynRM motors technology

ABB upgrades paper machine at French DS Smith mill using award-winning SynRM motors technology

  • ABB delivers 24 IE5 SynRM motors, plus drives, controllers and panels to improve energy efficiency and performance
  • DS Smith anticipates long-term energy savings, and increased machine speeds and production
  • First-of-its-kind project in France completed in short timeframe using latest motors technology and communication standards

ABB has upgraded a paper machine at a mill in France with its award-winning IE5 SynRM motors, the first project in the country to be fully equipped with the technology. The site belongs to DS Smith Packaging Contoire-Hamel, a leading provider of sustainable packaging solutions, paper products and recycling services.

In addition to 24 IE5 SynRM motors, ABB supplied ACS 880 multidrives, AC500-S Safety and AC 800M controllers and panels. Both AC500 and AC 800M are connected under a common profinet protocol, a new communication standard, offering data transmission speed of 100 Mbps, multi controller access, and application and Ethernet network redundancy.

The project was completed during a planned mill shut down, meaning deadlines were tight. The successful delivery was coupled with a two-year service contract, including spare parts.

The motors and drives will boost energy efficiency at the paper mill, while lowering noise and requiring less maintenance than conventional induction motors. The customer also plans to use the technology to increase machine speed and production at the site in Trois-Rivieres. Other key benefits of the ABB solution include an integrated control system.

  • ABB SynRM IE5 motors are part of a package to boost energy efficiency at the paper mill. Image ABB
  • ABB also brought in drives, controllers and panels to improve energy efficiency and performance. Image DS Smith
  • The DS Smith Packaging Contoire-Hamel site produces sustainable packaging and paper. Image DS Smith

“ABB’s global portfolio of energy efficiency solutions, coupled with its reputation and expertise in pulp and paper, made it a relevant choice for this project,” said Matthieu Chateau, Plant Manager, DS Smith Packaging Contoire-Hamel. “ABB was able to supply a dedicated and proven system to monitor the paper machine while meeting our strict deadlines. This investment, in line with our “Now & Next” sustainable strategy, contributes to our objectives of reducing carbon emissions by 46 percent by 2030 and achieving net zero emissions in 2050.”

“The ABB motors technology and communication standards make this project a first-of-its-kind in the region,” said Alain Pitte, Local Business Line Manager for Pulp and Paper, ABB. “The combination of ABB’s new range of IE5 SynRM motors and the ACS 880 multidrives delivers a 20-40 percent reduction in losses than previous motors, and nearly 100 percent reduction in rotor losses, while having the same size and power output as a conventional induction motor. Replacing existing models therefore makes sound economic sense.”

DS Smith’s packaging solutions include packaging boxes for FMCG goods, fruit and vegetable punnets and trays – designed to replace plastics, e-commerce boxes, displays, cardboard pallets and bespoke creations. The company offers a closed-loop process in 14 days: from recycling to packaging.

ABB’s IE5 SynRM technology won the Bronze Innovation Award 2022 from the French Technical Association of the Paper Industry (ATIP) in December 2022.

ABB recently launched its new global sustainability initiative, Real Progress, showcasing the power of technology and expertise to accelerate sustainability while enhancing productivity. It calls on customers, partners and suppliers to harness technology leadership and the solutions that exist today to amplify their own impact across process industries. In pulp and paper, ABB is supporting customers in the transformation of the industry, helping to reduce waste and accelerate towards circularity. Solutions include the ABB Quality Control System (QCS), deployed to provide paper makers with visibility into the sheet as it is formed to reduce waste and improve runnability. Automation combined with advanced process control (APC) can support consistent operations, improved production, energy savings and reduced costs. Meanwhile, modern drives and motors ensure reliable operations, energy efficiency and process performance.

ABB’s Process Automation business automates, electrifies and digitalizes industrial operations that address a wide range of essential needs – from supplying energy, water and materials, to producing goods and transporting them to market. With its ~20,000 employees, leading technology and service expertise, ABB Process Automation helps customers in process, hybrid and maritime industries improve performance and safety of operations, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future.

ABB is a technology leader in electrification and automation, enabling a more sustainable and resource-efficient future. The company’s solutions connect engineering know-how and software to optimize how things are manufactured, moved, powered and operated. Building on more than 130 years of excellence, ABB’s more than 105,000 employees are committed to driving innovations that accelerate industrial transformation.

DS Smith is a leading global provider of sustainable fibre-based packaging, which is supported by recycling and papermaking operations. The company plays a central role in the value chain across sectors including e-commerce, fast moving consumer goods, food and beverage, and industrials. Through its purpose of Redefining Packaging for a Changing World and its Now and Next sustainability strategy, DS Smith is committed to leading the transition to a circular economy, while delivering more circular solutions for its customers and wider society inclusive of replacing problem plastics, taking carbon out of supply chains, and providing recycling solutions alongside innovative R&D. A unique approach to service and optimisation of sustainable supply chains, bespoke box-to-box in 14 days model, design capabilities and innovation strategy, sit at the heart of this purpose. Headquartered in London, DS Smith is listed as member of the FTSE100. The business operates in thirty-four countries, and is responsible for circa 30,000 employees, with headquarters in London, United Kingdom. It is a strategic partner of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation which works with business, academia, policymakers, and institutions, to mobilise global systems solutions at scale and accelerate the transition to a circular economy. DS Smith was started by the London based Smith family as a box-making business in London in the 1940s. Links: Redefining Packaging for a Changing World - Website:


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