Various factors support more sustainable paper production. Fabrics and roll covers, for example, can contribute to improved resource efficiency by directly optimizing production efficiency and because they are themselves sustainably manufactured. Based on many years of experience, Voith offers specific solutions for sustainable paper production, the advantages of which are proven by many positive customer references. A German graphic papers manufacturer, for example, reported that Voith's SolarPress roll covers have enabled energy savings due to a 1.5 percentage point higher dry content after the press section.
Efficiency add-ons for press fabrics are another example. In particular, +Peak technology, a specially developed elastomer material, optimizes nip dewatering and increases the service life of a press fabric. For one paper producer, +Peak resulted in higher dry content in the tandem press and reduced the average amount of steam by 11 percent, from 1.6 t/ton to 1.43 t/ton. In addition to energy savings, significant water savings are also enabled. For example, customers worldwide benefit from HydroSeal, the modern version of sealing strips for suction rolls. At a board mill in the USA, HydroSeal reduced water usage by 80 percent and saved the papermaker more than $30,000 per year in sealing strip lubrication.
“In addition to production that conserves resources as much as possible, it is important that the products themselves are also manufactured sustainably,” emphasizes Lidia Loskan, R&D Project Manager Sustainability at Voith Paper. Here, it is important to be able to offer the same product properties as with petroleum-based roll covers and fabrics.
To further optimize the product portfolio in terms of sustainability, Voith's R&D team is working on new possibilities with the help of life cycle analyses (LCAs). As an example, Dr. Robert Hilbing, Senior Vice President R&D FRS at Voith Paper, mentions the newly launched roll cover AiroGuide Tune Green. The innovative roll cover is certified according to the international DIN CERTCO standard for bio-based products. The fiber composite roll cover is manufactured with bio-based raw materials and was specially developed for the wet-end section. It also has improved corrosion properties and a long service life. This makes AiroGuide Tune Green the first DIN CERTCO-certified sustainable roll cover on the market with the same performance data as the petroleum-based alternatives.
Furthermore, Voith is increasingly focused on the entire manufacturing process of wear parts. The company has already been systematically measuring its own energy, water and waste volumes since 2012 and reducing them in a targeted manner. Measures include the use of renewable energies and the establishment of material recycling processes at Voith locations. For example, the unavoidable waste produced during the surface treatment of QualiFlex press sleeves is recycled. For this purpose, the Voith team, together with partners, implements a special thermal treatment process for polyurethanes. Subsequently, the production waste is used again in the manufacture of other products and reduces the company’s carbon footprint.
“As part of Voith Paper's sustainability program Papermaking for Life, Voith is working intensively on sustainable solutions to strengthen the circular economy and reduce its carbon footprint," summarizes Dr. Hilbing. "Our goal is to offer our customers an optimal portfolio of fabrics and roll covers that increases performance and sustainability while reducing operating costs.”