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Automated testing system provides accurate paper quality data to achieve the perfect corrugation

Demand for high-quality papers is stronger than ever. For corrugated converters, use of the best paper quality is just as important as efficient production. Accurate paper quality data is needed quickly at the paper mill in order to continuously optimize the process. At Smurfit Kappa Hoya in Germany, this need is met by the L&W Autoline automated testing system.

The Irish Smurfit Kappa Group produces corrugated and solid board packaging at 350 locations worldwide. The company is ranked number one in the industry in Europe and number two globally. The paper and carton plant in Hoya, located in the Lower Saxon area of Germany, specializes in coated folding carton sheet board and containerboard. With constant focus on cost effectiveness, the papermaker regularly adjusts production parameters. Accurate quality data from the paper produced is an absolute must for this to be successful.

Consistent and high quality is a prerequisite for creating the perfect corrugated board. Thanks to the L&W Autoline automated testing system, Smurfit Kappa can now react much quicker compared with conventional non-automated methods. The L&W Autoline paper testing system has proven itself in several generations over the past 20 years, with over 400 units in operation worldwide.

Multiple properties in seven minutes

"The automated testing system unburdens our staff from the laborious manual checks, which is highly monotonous work. This gives them more time to optimize our processes and improve the quality of our products,” says Olaf Truppner, Head of Business Development. While the workers previously had to perform each measurement individually, they now only need to prepare one cross section sample per tambour. Using the L&W Sample Trimmer, the operator trims one CD sample per tambour. The paper sample is rolled up automatically and the system detects the sample via the barcode and initiates the corresponding measurements. The L&W Autoline measures the sample and collects values for more than multiple quality parameters, including moisture, grammage, elasticity and strength properties amongst others. The L&W Autoline finalizes all tests in about ten minutes, which reduces feedback time to production significantly, compared with the manual method.

Special measuring module developed

The production of containerboard accounts for the majority of the production in the Hoya plant. In order to also measure the quality of corrugating medium as easily and accurately as possible, ABB and Smurfit Kappa have developed a special measuring module (L&W Autoline S-Test Module) to replace the time-consuming and resource-demanding corrugating medium test (CMT measurement).

“Corrugating medium is usually measured manually,” explains Olaf Truppner. It must first be fluted and glued. After a waiting period, the sample is put into the L&W Crush Tester, where it is compressed until failure.

“With our new measuring module, the sample no longer needs to undergo elaborate preparation. In the L&W Autoline, a test strip is punched directly from the sample profile and is then measured in the L&W Autoline S-Test Module, giving us the relevant value immediately,” says Olaf Truppner.

Thanks to the solutions from ABB Smurfit Kappa can enjoy savings in terms of both time and efficiency.

Since the installation of L&W Autoline, Smurfit Kappa have decreased the consuming manual individual measurements and are now presented with paper quality measurement data 15 minutes faster than before.

“The automated testing system gives us more time to optimize our processes.”