A phoenix is rising in Xiaogan, Hebei Province, China, where 1,200,000 tons of fluting makes this mill the leading producer in China for this grade. Appropriately called Wuhan Golden Phoenix Paper, five paper machines—including the most recent, PM 8, which started up in early 2018—churn out fluting day and night, looked after by 800 workers who live beside the mill or close by.
The entrepreneurial owner of Wuhan GPP, Chen Jun, brings together the best of Western papermaking technology with Chinese-made paper machines. Most of the innovative systems come from Kadant. This begins with stock preparation equipment and screening, which maximizes the value of relatively low quality domestic recycled fiber. Also from Kadant are the steam and condensate system, rotary joints, syphons, and Turbulator bars, as well as an M-clean™ cleaning system for felt cleaning. In fact, Kadant syphons and rotors, along with Turbulator bars, are in place on every machine throughout the mill.
The mill’s recovered fiber comes largely from China’s interior provinces—enough to fuel all five paper machines. PM 8 produces about 300,000 metric tpy of fluting; together with PM 7, the two machines make a total of 700,000 metric tpy of fluting. Lab testing is continuous, to determine strength and maintain high quality.
According to General Manager Honglin Yan, a veteran papermaker with more than 30 years of experience, “Kadant innovations help us achieve high quality fluting on a consistent basis. We consider the rotary joints and syphons to be unmatched as robust components of our dryer section. The continuously running M-clean system is an important breakthrough to remove contaminants to maintain quality. Running cleaner, we use less energy, while achieving higher efficiency. Our customers have consistent, stronger board as well.”
The concept behind M-clean technology is applying high pressure water and steady evacuation, continuously traversing the fabric with an air knife system. Says Chang Hong, service engineer for cleaning systems, “Two M-clean systems are on each machine. The training has gone so well that GPP operators are making adjustments to clean slightly differently on each machine and each grade, achieving superior results.”
Chang Hong notes a reduction in sheet imperfections and fewer breaks: “When stickies are routinely taken away, short-term and long-term problems are also removed.”
As Ye Yingxu, sales director, Kadant Johnson China, puts it, “Our close relationship with the Wuhan GPP management team allows for small innovations to happen frequently. They trust us to push their teams and ourselves. The results are clear in their high level of output and increasing quality.”
Notes Honglin Yan, “Wuhan GPP has risen very quickly out of vegetable farms, creating a model for quality and sustainable papermaking in China. This is a true phoenix for our region. Flying high results from focus and strategic suppliers by our side.”