Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Tree Trip Day 4: KTH

On our fourth day in Sweden and second day in Stockholm, we visited KTH Royal Institute of Technology.  Dean Mikeal Lindström welcomed us to their campus.  He introduced us to two of his masters studies students, four PhD students and Dr. Martin Lawoko who did his PhD with Dr. Van Heiningen at the Universtiy of Maine. It was great to meet a fellow Black Bear so far away from home!
The students each gave us a short presentation on the research that they were working on and about themselves.  Most of their research was based on studies arouns different properties and uses of lignin. The masters students told us that they were part of a group called Fiberteknologerna, and after learning about this group from them we thought it was very similar to our student chapter of TAPPI/PIMA.  They then brought us on tours of their research laboritories.  We also got to see Greenhouse Labs, which is a place where start-up companies can rent out laboratories and office space to allow them to grow their company with the ability to lower some of the overhead cost, but they have to provide their own laboratory equipment.
After our tours we shared lunch with the students and Dr. Martin Lawoko. Over lunch we were able to chat with the students and learn more about Swedish culture and some interesting sights we should see while we were in Stockholm.  A few big topics of discussion were the differences in our education systems, travel, Sweden and Maine. Thank you Dean Mikael Lindström, Dr. Martin Lawoko and the students at KTH!

-Jake Gendreau

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Tree Trip Day 3: RI.SE

Day 3 of our journey began with a train ride from Karlstad to Stockholm. The train took us through rural areas that could have been mistaken as our hometowns in Maine. This was also our first introduction to the incredible public transportation system in Sweden. We arrived in Stockholm mid morning, got settled in, and headed to our next destination.

RISE Research Institutes of Sweden was the next stop on our expedition. The Bioeconomy branch of RISE is located in Stockholm. At their facility extensive research is being done surrounding alternative uses for paper making byproducts. This includes, but is not limited to, repurposing lignin for multiple end uses. An example of this utilizes Valmet's LignoBoost process to extract the lignin from black liquor. Once extracted the solid lignin is crushed, heated, and spun into fibers. These fibers are then sewn together and coated with polyurethane resulting in a carbon fiber building material. We also got a brief introduction to the pilot paper machine that RISE uses for paper making trials for their own research among the research of other companies in the industry. This machine is more narrow than a typical paper machine but almost as long and has the ability to run in multiple configurations due to having two different types of head boxes! We also toured the laboratories in this facility that are used for simulating the cooking stages in pulp. 

Many thanks to Elizabet Brännvall for hosting us!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Tree Trip Day 2: Gruvön & Säffle

On the morning of our second day in Sweden our group traveled by car to visit the BillerudKorsnäs mill in Gruvön. In 2016 this mill rebuilt their existing pulp mill including the addition of an ImpBin and pressure diffuser designed by Valmet. Work has also already begun on the installation of a new board machine that will be 400 m long and will increase mill production from 710,000 to 850,000 tonnes per year. Pulp mill production manager, Jonas Lindqvist, provided us with a presentation about the mill and a tour of the pulp mill that included a trip up to the top of the new ImpBin.

By mid-morning our group was on the road again to Nordic Paper in Säffle. This mill produces 30,000 tonnes per year of greaseproof paper. This mill uses a mechanical treatment instead of fluorochemicals to achieve a dense, natural barrier. Nordic Paper utilizes a sulfite and sulphate pulping process as well as a chip steaming process that occurs within a silo to remove fatty acids in an average of two days compared to the two week process that occurs with outside storage. These chips are produced on site using a single log de-barker system. Angelica Uttersäv and Henrik Kjellgren provided our group with a presentation about the mill and the applications of greaseproof paper in food packaging and baking such as the packaging for a stick of butter and cupcake liners. Pulp mill manager, Linda Östberg, gave our group a tour of the mill including the paper machine that was producing green paper to be used as cupcake liners.

In the afternoon our group travelled up the road to BTG Instruments in Säffle. Sven-Arne Damlin organized presentations for our group about the products and services offered by BTG as well as how research is conducted to remain competitive in the market and meet customer specific objectives for process improvement. Our group was given a tour of the on-site facility where many of the instruments are manufactured and shipped directly to the customer. One operator constructs an entire instrument from start to finish in an average of eight hours with a range from four hours to a few days depending on the complexity. Each instrument is then tested at the facility before shipment.

Nordic Paper

BTG Instruments

Friday, May 19, 2017

Tree Trip Day 1: Valmet Karlstad

After 30+ hours of travel we made it to Sweden on Monday! Our nine students came from all over the state of Maine, from Madawaska to South Berwick, to make the trip. We are very excited to be here  exploring the pulp and paper industry!

On our first day we visited both of the Valmet locations in Karlstad. The first location focused on research and development and is the main office of our wonderful tour guide, Anders Hjort. We learned about the history of Valmet and the continuous digester and recieved a "crash course" in the pulping process.  In addition we were also introduced to some of the pulping innovations that Valmet offers and some of the mills around the world that currently use their technology.

In the afternoon we traveled to the second Karlstad location to learn about the tissue division of Valmet, which is also the home of the only foundry in the world that has the capabilites to produce cast iron Yankee cylinders. We learned about the global tissue market and the current growth and what technologies were available to support this growing segment of this industry. On our tour of the facility we learned about the casting process and saw a Yankee cylinder in each stage of manufacturing. Tissue machine headboxes, among other equipment, are also machined in Karlstad, and we truly had an inside look into a piece of the papermaking process that many of us will handle daily in our careers. This Valmet location also assembles tissue machines on site , and we had the opportunity to see two machines at different stages in the assembly process.