The process of paper production and related paper converting represents manufacturing areas of immense opportunity for focused efforts of improvement. The primary steps have been relatively unchanged since the introduction of the industrial paper making process in the early 19th century. That process is highly energy intensive with traditional solutions restricted to limits of well-established thermal dynamics. Enter Heat Technologies Inc (HTI) and the application of their patented acoustic energy-based heat and mass transfer solutions.
HTI is recognized as the global leader in the process and methodology of activating air with ultrasonic energy to deliver operational results unequaled with traditional solutions. The reliance on acoustic as opposed to thermal processing eliminates the risk from excessive heat or fire in paper making operations. As a re-application of its core technology, HTI has leveraged the key attributes for incorporation into the paper making industry with the commercialization of a portfolio of products to address any number of “pain points” for the producers. Often highlighted as areas of concern are edge drying, high moisture peaks and valleys, and need for faster drying with improved finishing properties. Issues that have plagued the process since the foundation of the industry as a whole.
Welcome to the latest members of the Spectra Ultra platform: Edge, ATW, and VZ.
As early as 1996, HTI was being presented with the challenge of harmonizing the moisture content throughout the paper web in the drying zones of the paper mill. Utilizing its patented pulse technology, demonstration of the tremendous power of acoustic energy was achieved. However, there were operational constraints of pulse technology that limited its field of use for the paper industry.
Fast forward to 2009 and the establishment of the Spectra HE Ultra technology platform.The name stands for “High-Efficiency, Ultrasonic”. Initial installations focused on the packaging converting industry. But HTI never forgot the paper industry. The demand-solution was clear to HTI but the application area itself was different for each producer. HTI realized a variety of solutions would be necessary to address each producer and even paper machine specific need.
By 2011, the Spectra Ultra “Edge” was developed to assist processors with maximizing the width of the sale-able area of the paper web. Often to maintain stable sheet dryness in the middle of the web, an excessive amount of the edge is left as process scrap with moisture levels above tolerances. Spectra “Edge” allows the processor to dial in exactly the amount of moisture along the edge to increase the value of the total web area.
“Edge” was just the beginning of the alignment of capability of HTI with high-value needs of the mills. For true game-changing impact, HTI launched the Spectra “ATW” (Across the Web) solution.
The “ATW” allows the mill to either boost the existing drying capacity or to replace sections of steam dryers used today. The system allows balanced through-drying across the entire width of the web. Not your standard air-knife, the “ATW” represents one of the most dynamic improvements to the paper making process while still maintaining a level of comfort and risk-avoidance due to the familiar “feel” of the solution approach itself.
The same infrastructure to deliver such drying efficiency in paper production is also deployed to balance the downstream line capability through the coating units.
HTI acknowledges, there is inherent concern over reliance on radical changes within the paper mill environment. The risk/reward ratio is hard to overcome. To further assist paper producers with gaining the value they need with a lower capital solution, HTI has developed the Spectra “VZ” (Variable Zone) solution. Here, feedback from the inline moisture analyzer is fed to the “VZ” and the acoustic energy modules are automatically positioned on the web to maximize drying and eliminate the peaks and valleys which degrade paper throughput and finished properties.
Generic to all HTI solutions are the benefits of:
- Faster throughput
- Shorter footprint
- Reduced energy intensity
- Less thermal exposure/degradation
- Quicker ROI