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ANDRITZ hydraulic commanders make a big difference at Sonae Arauco

Three of a kind

Sonae Arauco is one of the leading producers of wood-based panelling, chemical and impregnated paper, including medium density fibreboard (MDF), particleboard (PB) and orientated strand board (OSB). With many production sites in Europe, South Africa, North and South America, the company supplies high-quality wood-based products to over 75 countries around the world.

ANDRITZ Vibrating Discharger

ANDRITZ hydraulic unit

GTECH Corporate Team

Through its highly specialised and dedicated GTECH (Group Technology) Team, Sonae Arauco keeps at the forefront of industrial and production expertise when it comes to producing wood-based products of the highest quality at the very best efficiency. One of the areas at its MDF plants, where the GTECH experts identified potential improvement (aligned with its Technological Planning), was the refiner control systems, most notably at four MDF plants, Mangualde in Portugal, Valladolid in Spain and Beeskow and Meppen in Germany.


Sonae Arauco started talking to ANDRITZ in late 2015 with a full presentation on its proven hydraulic commander technology being given in early 2016. After consultations, on-site surveys and technical considerations, this upgrade was considered the best choice for the group.

Three ANDRITZ hydraulic commanders were installed at Sonae Arauco sites, one in the summer of 2016 on an M60 refiner Beeskow, followed by the two others – one on a L46 refiner at Valladolid and another one on a 54/58-1CP refiner at Meppen in the summer of 2018.

The results

All three plants now have fully automatic hydraulic units for optimising refiner plate adjustments bringing the benefits of uniform fiber quality at the same time as reducing energy. Added benefits include constant force control which can hold the refiner power at the maximum level of stability which evens out the hydraulic pressure and therefore increasing the life time of efiner bearings. Automatic refiner plate sensors on the ANDRITZ hydraulic commanders also detect interruptions in pulp feed, which ensure the plates are moved apart before they can clash meaning safe and normal operation is ensured – before the refiner loads again automatically.

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