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ABB’s automated paper testing system a necessary part of the Jönköping mill’s operations

Three generations of L&W Autoline enables Ahlstrom-Munksjö to consistently create high-quality electrotechnical paper

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The Situation
  • Two generations of L&W Autoline enabled Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s to consistently create high-quality electrotechnical paper

The Solution
  • Mill ready to move it it's third and be one of the first with ABB's latest generation L&W Autoline S (compact model)
Benefits
  • Quality information in 10 minutes
  • Quicker corrective actions
  • Improved quality

Located in Jönköping, Sweden, Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s specialty paper mill needs to ensure specifications are being met for the high-quality products the mill produces. As a long-time customer, the mill upgraded to the newest-generation of ABB’s L&W Autoline in 2019 and has been reaping the benefits.

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A satisfied customer with the latest L&W Autoline

The Jönköping mill was first established in 1862 and has a long history of producing specialty paper for the insulation of high-voltage cables, transformers, bushings and other electrotechnical applications. As one of the market leaders in these high-end, engineered electrotechnical grades, the mill requires state-of-the-art equipment to deliver results.

As far back as the 1980s when Lorentzen & Wettre first pioneered automated paper testing, the mill recognized the value it could bring to their operations; the Jönköping mill has been the satisfied owner of both the L&W Autoline 200 and 300 and were ready to move to the newest model as one of the first mills worldwide.

“ABB’s new compact model, the L&W Autoline S,  was installed in early 2019 and is today the central test system in our quality control,” says Linda  Vernersson, Quality Manager, Ahlstrom-Munksjö.  “The newest L&W Autoline is the best automated paper testing system ever tried by the mill.”


Linda Vernersson, Quality Manager, Ahlstrom-Munksjö

“The newest L&W Autoline is the best automated paper testing system ever tried by the mill.”

Enhanced usability

The newest L&W Autoline has given the mill new advantages. From a safety perspective, the lid must be down for operation yet provides full visibility of all testing and paper feeding.

Plus, the system is more intuitive and user-friendly. “Earlier generations came with long instruction manuals that was necessary for operation and could only be operated by trained personnel,” says Vernersson. “The new L&W Autoline can be operated by anyone.”

Laboratory technicians Pelle Karlsson and Per Nilsson add that the latest version of L&W Autoline is much easier to operate, with high reliably, thanks to the new feeding design. Also, the diagnostic and check functions are more intuitive than previous systems.

Kari Kauramäki, paper machine operator, Ahlstrom-Munksjö

“The speed and the accuracy of the testing is crucial in my everyday job. I completely rely on the quality information from L&W Autoline.”

Immediate corrective actions

10 minutes after a reel turn up, process engineers have access to the comprehensive quality information from L&W Autoline, enabling them to immediately make necessary process corrections.

Producing the same high resolution, cross direction reports from stand-alone instruments typically takes ten times longer. For example, tensile strain is important for the highly engineered specialty grades produced in the mill, so frequent and fast testing is essential to keep production continually within specifications.

“The speed and the accuracy of the testing is crucial in my everyday job,” says Kari Kauramäki, paper machine operator. “I completely rely on the quality information from L&W Autoline.”

A necessary part of operations

The L&W Autoline has been a critical part of quality and production since the end of the 1980’s for the mill, and they require it to work 24/7. Therefore, the mill also turns to ABB for their service needs—to ensure the L&W Autoline is always up and running.

“The quick and professional service from ABB is  one of the reasons why L&W laboratory equipment,  including the L&W Autoline, is our first choice,”  says Vernersson. 

The impact the L&W Autoline has on testing enables the mill to sell the specialty products that few others produce. Even with a full set of stand-alone instruments, the mill wouldn’t be able to produce the necessary testing volumes at the speed needed for the high-quality Ahlstrom-Munksjö products.

“It would be impossible to keep the same number of test positions without the L&W Autoline, but at the same time, the high number of testing positions is needed to monitor production and end quality,” says Vernersson. “Reduced testing volumes results in less reliable quality information, which can lead to wrong process adjustments, and, in the end, increased quality claims.”

Since the mill changed from manual testing to L&W Autoline many years ago, it’s difficult to calculate how much testing capacity have increased. An estimation is that testing capacity would go down by more than 70 percent without the L&W Autoline.

“The consequences of reduced testing volumes means we’d have less reliable data, which, in a worst case scenario, won’t be accurate enough for efficient process optimization,” says Vernersson. “The increased waiting time also means longer periods between tuning, which could result in more costly production outside specifications and non-sellable products.”

The mill has come to rely on the many benefits of automated paper testing and was eager to be one of the first with the newest generation of L&W Autoline.

 

Linda Vernersson, Quality Manager, Ahlstrom-Munksjö

“The quick and professional service from ABB is one of the reasons why L&W laboratory equipment, including the L&W Autoline, is our first choice.”

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