Innovation, sustainability and megatrends… these were key themes at the China International Paper Technology Exhibition and Conference (CIPTE). The three-day trade show and seminar program was held in Shenzhen, China, in September 2017, and attracted machinery and automation vendors, chemicals and consumables suppliers, papermakers, and industry experts from across China and overseas.
Sustainability was the focus of the talk given by Chen Kefu, South China University of Technology, speaking at the technical seminar. Chen looked at various technologies for controlling water pollution from mills. He outlined the case of a straw pulp line at Baiyuan Paper in Henan. He described how “N +1” multistage countercurrent washing improved the extraction rate of black liquor in chemical pulping. The technology improves pulp cleanliness, reduces bleaching agent dosage and “cuts the pollution load,” Chen concluded.
Innovation in strapping pulp bales was the topic of a paper presented by Professor Ni Yonghao from the University of New Brunswick. In his presentation, “Cellulose-Based Materials for Market Pulp Baling,” Professor Ni described conventional wire straps as labor intensive and hazardous, as operators can be injured during dewiring. And disposal of the wires poses a “challenging” environmental issue, Ni added.
Fortunately, there’s a sustainable alternative: high tensile-strength paper straps, made from Canadian NBSK. Baling of pulp with these straps removes the need for dewiring, as they are sent to the repulper along with the bale where they disintegrate into the pulp fibers. There is no waste disposal required. The process is safer, simpler, and more efficient than wire baling, Ni concluded.
While the straps were developed to meet a need in the paper industry, there are wider applications for replacing plastic, including in airport luggage strapping.
“General strapping is the largest market,” Ni added.
Sustainability was a theme in the presentation given by Dr. Eric Zhang from Biofiber Tech, Sweden. Zhang said that his company is seeking opportunities to replace fossil fuel-based products with sustainable, wood-based alternatives. Zhang said forest-based industries need to be flexible in the face of megatrends, including the switch to digital media driving the decline in demand for various grades.
Some may be pessimistic in the face of megatrends that threaten paper demand, but Zhang is optimistic. He sees “lots of scope” for biobased products and applications. For instance, Biofiber Tech is exploring the use of biocomposites made from wood fiber-based granulates, with end uses in packaging, electronics, and automobiles.
Pirita Mikkanen, from the industrial air systems supplier TM System Finland, also focused on sustainability in her talk on controlling air emissions. Mikkanen noted that China’s cities have been plagued by poor air quality due to the neglect of pollution control that is common in rapidly developing nations.
Fortunately, Beijing is taking steps to tackle air emissions. For China’s paper industry, Mikkanen said that power generation efficiency “is the key to reducing emissions.” She pointed out that if a paper mill could reduce its energy use by only 1 percent, it would significantly reduce air emissions.
Mikkanen also pointed out that 50 percent of the energy used by China’s paper mills is generated from coal—a high percentage, by world standards. While she did not elaborate on the emission implications of relying on coal, it is recognized that even modern coal-fired power generation using scrubbers emit much higher levels of carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide than those using fuels such as natural gas.
Sustainability was a key theme in the presentation given by Minna Zhang, a senior researcher from the UPM Asia Research Center in Shenzhen. UPM is working on creating alternatives to non-renewable materials, said Zhang. UPM’s wood-based renewable diesel BioVerno—produced from tall oil, a residue from pulp production—is an example of the company’s focus on innovation.
In his presentation at the innovation and development conference held at CIPTE, Antti Linqvist from Finland’s Forest Products Engineers association outlined megatrends affecting the forest products industry—including population growth and aging, climate change and the spread of ecological values, the rise of individualism, and digitalization. Linqvist described Finnish innovations in forest products, including biocomposites made from recycled materials; medicines made from spruce extracts; light, strong paperboard based on microfibrillated cellulose from Stora Enso; wood-based plastic bags; biofuels made from sawdust and lignin; and yarn and textiles made from cellulose.
It was a busy visit to China for Linqvist, who also spoke at a seminar at the Shaanxi University of Science & Technology in Xi’an before heading to Shenzhen—the International Conference on Forest & Paper Technology and Research, held September 11-12. The university’s college of bioresources, chemical and materials engineering hosted the conference, which was co-organized by Henry Hu from F&P Group, Finland. Several hundred industry visitors as well as university researchers and students took part in the event.
While speakers in the CIPTE seminars outlined the latest advances, there was also plenty of technology on display on the floor of the exhibition. Domestic exhibitors included Zhejiang Huazhang Technology, a leading domestic papermaking technology supplier based in Hangzhou and listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.
Huazhang supplies headboxes and formers, and it has about an 80 percent share of the market in China, says its founder, Lin Mei Chan. Rather than rely on foreign designs, the company designs its own headbox technology. Huazhang offers customized designs, and it has a price advantage: imported technology typically costs three times as much as that supplied by Huazhang.
Jiang Peng, a visitor from APP on the floor of the exhibition, confirmed that the domestic provider’s headboxes are cost-competitive. Jiang gave the example of Jin Feng Yuan, a liquid packaging board producer in Shanghai that is affiliated with APP. The mill produces cup base paper, liquid packaging board, high-bulk SBS board, and food container board on a single machine originally installed by Tampella.
Jin Feng Yuan has installed a headbox from Huazheng, replacing the original one from Tampella. It was installed on the mill’s 3.3 meter wide machine, which runs at 500 m/min, with capacity of 120,000 metric tpy. The line produces three-layer board, in the 180 gsm to 350 gsm basis weight range. Huazhang Technology’s headboxes are reliable for such low- to medium-speed machines, Jiang said.
Sichuan Gaoda was another domestic exhibitor at CIPTE. Gaoda showcased its distributed control systems (DCS) and quality control systems (QCS) at its stand. The company supplies automation to domestic and overseas customers. “We have a long-term partnership with Siemens,” says overseas sales manager Zhang Bo.
Robert Ryan is a Sydney-based freelance editor who covers the paper industry in Asia. Reach him at [email protected]
CIPTE 2017 was held September 13-15, 2017, at the Shenzhen Convention & Exhibition Center. The annual event is organized by China Technical Association of the Paper Industry, the China Paper Assocation, and the China Pulp and Paper Research Institute. Next year, the show is heading north: CIPTE 2018 will be held August 29 – 31, 2018, at the Shanghai World Exhibition & Convention Center in Pudong, Shanghai.
Automation supplier Sichuan Gaoda showcased DCS and QCS at its stand at the China International Paper Technology Exhibition and Conference trade show.