Perfect chip flow and pre-steaming efficiency

Best service solutions for Sonae Arauco Portugal

The Sonae Arauco Portugal mill is located in Mangualde in Portugal and consists of two complete MDF lines. A new continuous line is being installed for a yearly capacity of 250,000 m3 and designed to produce thin MDF from 2 mm thickness.

ANDRITZ Vibrating Discharger

ANDRITZ Vibrating Discharger

The challenge

Pre-steaming bin with old-design

The GTECH Group Technology Corporate team at Sonae Arauco is responsible for evaluating the most suitable technical solutions for upgrades, modernizations, and for strategic projects with a global approach.

One of these projects was for modernization of the Mangualde refining system in line #1. The original pre-steaming bin installed in this production line did not allow a regular material flow to the ADI 13.5” plug screw feeder. This frequently caused so called “bridging” (chip blockages) and unscheduled plant stops in the entire production line with L46 refiner. Time-consuming maintenance activities with the related loss of production were also necessary to return to normal operations.

ANDRITZ Panelboard Service presented its technical solution during meetings at the plant and the company’s headquarters and received the approval of GTECH.

ANDRITZ offered the best solution for Sonae Arauco!

The ANDRITZ solution


Installation of the new vibrating discharger in center-steaming design and replacement of the existing pre-steaming bin and chute by new ones with the ANDRITZ design was the solution chosen to bring this old equipment up to state-of-the-art ANDRITZ standard.

An ANDRITZ automation solution was also implemented to monitor and regulate the level of the pre-steaming bin independently of the bulk density of the raw material. This included three weighing cells, one maximum level switch, one radar sensor, and the related components and technical Support.


The entire pre-steaming bin was modernized by the customer under the supervision of ANDRITZ mechanical engineering and automation specialists.

Dismounting, new installation, and start-up were completed within the time scheduled during the summer shutdown, and the plant has been in production successfully with improved characteristics since August 2017.


  • Regular chip flow and constant feed to plug screw
  • No “bridging” (no chip blockages)
  • Softening of chips and even temperature distribution within chips and bin due to “First in – First out” principle
  • Optimized steaming efficiency (prevents steam channeling)
  • Level of pre-steaming bin can be measured and is independent of bulk density
  • Proper and fully controlled process