When it comes to address both the needs of the consumer market and the demand for industrial applications, tissue makers were so far required to choose whether to install two dedicated production lines or to give up on a part of their business. But times are changing.
The one size fits all expression appears rather difficult to apply to the tissue making industry, especially when players are required to address the needs of the consumer market, on the one hand; and on the other to serve the industrial applications segment. In fact, as manufacturers experienced, the aforementioned businesses need to be approached with tailored solutions, in order to respond to the different technological and production requirements that they display. These evidences were among the topics covered by Enrico Ruglioni, sales director of the tissue division at Spanish-headquartered MTorres, during its presentation at the most recent Tissue World event in Milan. The commitment of MTorres to the tissue sector was recently consolidated with the acquisition of a young and dynamic Italian specialist, Universal Tissue Technology (UTT) that became part of the multi-national group earlier this year. The operation allowed MTorres to establish a new firm, operating today under the MTorres Tissue original brand. And, much more significantly, gave the company the opportunity to expand its capabilities to the arena of fully automated tissue converting lines, in order to ensure its customers worldwide with a much wider range of products, solutions, technologies and services. MTorres Tissue is today based in Lucca, in the Italian region of Tuscany, and research and development activities represent a prominent part of its prerogatives. All of these characteristics turn UTT into a most competitive player in the field of tissue, and give it the skills needed to solve the enigma that Enrico Ruglioni proposed in opening its overview.
Measure for measure
To introduce the very subject of his analysis, Ruglioni, a specialist in automation engineering, pointed out the different characteristics that, in terms of size, the various categories of industrial and consumer tissues usually show. Ruglioni ideally suggested the audience to pick up a traditional kitchen absorbing paper roll, or a kitchen towel, and compare it to a typical industrial roll. The main difference lies in the diameter. The diameter of the first two product lines ranges between 124 and 145 millimetres; whereas an industrial roll has an average diameter of 240 millimetres. The usual approach, as the sales director observed, would build upon the usage of two separate lines. One must be able to work on a 90-160 millimetres range, despite the second figure has been recently increased to 200 millimetres, in some cases. The latter, instead, destined to the away from home (AFH) segment, has to provide sizes between 120 and 350 millimetres, thanks to machines operating at a 10-15 logs per minute maximum speed, with a lower speed log saw.
The log diameter should set between 90 and 350 millimetres; while the core diameter should be as large as 30-90 millimetres, with automatic change features included, stated Ruglioni. All of the main rolls should then rely on independent motors and the line speed, calculated in logs per minute, should be up to 35-40. Embossing rolls have to be changed easily, thanks to fully automated systems; whereas log saws need to undergo a process of innovation too, so to show capable to cut both soft and harder rolls at high speeds. Finally, the tail sealer has to be capable to accept small as well as big rolls, and accumulators must be conceived for various loading structures.
Technology has the answer
A number of the aforementioned functions are already integrated in some of the machines MTorres developed over the years and that therefore attracted the attention of the current mother company. One important example comes from its Flexible rewinders family. In Ruglioni’s opinion, these solutions can provide a most interesting outcome in terms of energy savings, in first place, because there are equipped with motors whose size is designed in order to serve a wide range of very specific needs. No belts are used, resulting in a meaningful reduction of overall noise; and the machines can ensure, as the sales director stated, a remarkable setting precision, given the fact that operators are only requested to change their recipes at products change. Last, but not least, MTorres Tissue underlines that the Flexible rewinders portfolio requires a very low maintenance, since no mechanical parts are at risk of wearing out. Thanks to these technical specifications and properties the Flexible rewinders line is considered capable to both manufacture consumer and professional rolls. Equipped with up to ten servo motors, these solutions display a most precise paper tension system, and their transfer principle, that the company dubbed as «revolutionary», makes «the passage of cores between winding rolls very fluid». Furthermore, MTorres Tissue provided its machines with «a dual rotating perforation roll», which aims to «facilitate perforation length changes between toilet paper and kitchen towel»; and with a control panel thanks to which the parameter adjustment operations can become much friendlier to end users, avoiding the need of changing parts manually. The Flexible rewinders come in three different versions: Flexible 450, Flexible 600 and Flexible 700. Their respective speed, in terms of logs per minute, is up to 35, 45, and 60.
Embossing made easy
In the relevant field MTorres Tissue can now play an important role by introducing the three 450, 600 and 700 Multifunctional lines, able to manage a variety of roll diameters, ranging from a 350 to a 445-500 millimetres width. These particular technological solutions were designed to address the demand of P/P and Nested products, as the Lucca-headquartered firm reported, recording a 20 minutes tool-free changeover time. Similarly to the Flexible rewinders, the embossers are «equipped with independent motors for each of the main rolls enabling speed variation of the steel rolls and of the gluing unit, according to the amount of glue to be applied to the paper». A special and dedicated Human-machine interface (HMI) is devoted to controlling both pressure and nip adjustments, whereas «the laminating system incorporates a carbon fibre doctor blade, characterized by an extremely lightweight and compact design, so to facilitate maintenance». Universal Tissue Technology, and later MTorres Tissue, completed the embossers by integrating an automatic cleaning system, consisting in a rotating brush and lubrication tools, for the marrying roll and the upper, steel-made roll. «Composed by two rubber to steel nips, a gluing unit, a marrying roll, plus an additional nip for P/P rolls», the Multifunctional embossers can furthermore be «equipped with the automatic change of the steel rolls option». In this configuration, changeover operations can reportedly be completed in a ten minutes time, «where a roll storage is positioned behind the embosser, being accessible to operators».