Big energy savings, right on time

The progress to the adjustable plug screw feeder

Sonae Arauco is one of the world’s leading wood-based panel producers, with almost
€1 billion in sales. Headquartered in Portugal, the firm makes around 4 million m3 of board products, with 20 operations in 9 countries. One of those plants is in Meppen, Germany, where Sonae Arauco “makes an astonishing range of products,” according to Dietmar Ulm, Product Manager, ANDRITZ. These include “thin wall boards, flooring, special niche products in colours, insulation boards and more.”

Tight for time

Although ANDRITZ had already successfully upgraded several Plug screw feeder systems, it still had no track record of the ANDRITZ Adjustable Plug Screw Feeder at the time when Meppen placed its order– there were no units operating commercially anywhere in the world yet. That doesn’t mean it was a do-or-die risk, though: Just in case the new design had issues, the project included a fail-safe fallback plan to switch back to the old system and be producing again within just 24 hours. Time really was a major factor in this case. Despite the use of world-first technology, delivery was due in December 2021 for an order that was placed in April. As Florian Grünberger, ANDRITZ Key Account Manager, points out: “Implementing a prototype installation as complex as this in just seven months, with all the engineering, raw material sourcing, finishing, testing and delivery that involved, was remarkable.”

© Chris Rausch
© Chris Rausch

Exceeding expectations

In the year since Meppen installed the ANDRITZ Adjustable PSF, “it has really been running stably,” says Hermann Kassens. “There have been no sustained blockages; the only two incidents were quickly resolved by moving the screw” – which is the whole point of the design. “That option didn’t exist before. Previously, it would have meant an 8 10-hour stoppage. It’s a big step up in machine availability.” Besides operational stability and energy savings, the Adjustable PSF provides other new options, too. 

“Together with ANDRITZ, we’ve achieved a lot. I’ve spent a lot of time on this plant, a lot of nights. It’s my baby.
I’m very proud of it.”

Head of Maintenance at Meppen

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