“The complete system has been built for outstanding production rates with the highest energy efficiency on the new MDF line.“
Vice President Panelboard at ANDRITZ
The Lelin Group has been operating in the wood panel industry for more than 22 years and has four wood-based panel manufacturing sites with a total fiberboard output of 1,300,000 m3 a year. The company focuses on producing top-quality fiberboards as well as formaldehyde-free board and furniture board. The company also owns and operates three biomass power plants. The group is seen as a role model for the circular economy in forestry covering two major renewable business sectors, Lelin Plate (wood-based panels) and Deli Energy (biomass power plants). The output and production processes of the two businesses are interlinked and recycled, ensuring a circular approach to both industries.
Guangxi Chongzuo Lelin Forestry Development Company has started up the world’s largest chip washing and pressurized refining system, supplied by ANDRITZ. The system was installed as a key part of its greenfield MDF line in the city of Chongzuo in southern China.
The new MDF line was built by Guangxi Chongzuo Lelin Forestry Development Company on a new industrial site in Chongzuo City in a mountainous region of southern China’s autonomous Guangxi Zhuang region. Chen Zhuo, ANDRITZ’s Sales Manager, Panelboard, China says, “The Lelin Group, has developed a reputation for producing high-quality wood products used for the production of furniture for the booming domestic market in southern China, as well as for export.”
Vice President Panelboard at ANDRITZ
Project Manager at ANDRITZ
As consumer awareness grows regarding sustainability and health concerns, the company specializes in crafting high-quality fiberboards, placing a strong emphasis on their environmentally friendly nature.
The company has significantly set itself apart from the hundreds of other MDF producers in the region. The location of the new line has been carefully selected bearing in mind both the availability of raw materials and the location of furniture producers, which are mainly situated in the neighboring Guangdong Province.
In 2020, in view of the booming market, the Lelin Group decided to enhance its growing reputation in the production of quality fiberboard by building a high-capacity, energy-efficient MDF line to meet the demand for its products. “MDF is a costdriven commodities industry,” says Michael Rupp, Vice President Panelboard at ANDRITZ. “And it is essential that the fiberboards are of a high quality. To be successful and profitable, an MDF plant has to meet a number of prerequisites; enough raw material nearby, a well-organized and energy- efficient production line, and good logistics infrastructure for delivery to customers. The same number of people are needed to run an MDF plant whatever its size. So after some consultation, the company made the decision to go large.”
The Lelin Group wanted only the very best in energy efficient equipment for its new MDF line, so that it could not only produce more high-quality fiberboards, but also operate with minimum energy consumption. ANDRITZ was chosen to supply chip washing and pressurized refining equipment for a number of reasons, says Rupp, “We already have some of the world’s largest and most energy-efficient references in the MDF industry, including what was the largest line located in South America. But its not just about size. We are the market leader in this area across the board, with a majority share of the global market." Zhuo adds, “In the case of the Lelin Group’s new line, we have supplied over 180 MDF lines to Chinese producers, so we are already well known in the country. In addition to this, we have a full team of ANDRITZ technology experts based at our service center not far from Chongzuo City in Foshan, Guangdong Province.”
This was a mammoth project, presenting a real challenge in terms of not only the size and weight of the equipment, but also the enormous hurdles that came with COVID-19 during the entire project phase from sales to start-up.
Delivery and installation took place over the space of 13 months, with equipment coming from both in Austria and China. “This was a big project, and unique in its design and size,” says Rupp. “The main challenge was to supply a pressurized refining system that could handle a high capacity with just one line. Processing 80 tons of fiber per hour is not really an issue with two lines, but to do it with one line requires a major rethink in terms of the technology needed.”
Yang Kun, Project Manager at ANDRITZ in Foshan, commented on the installation of the equipment, “The plug screw feeder was probably the most challenging part of the installation as its weight and dimensions meant that we had to assemble it on the platform itself because we didn’t have a large enough crane on site to lift it.”
Another challenge thrown at ANDRITZ and the Lelin Group was the onset of COVID-19, which coincided with the exact time the decision was made to go ahead with the new line. “The onset of the pandemic made it impossible to have face-to-face meetings with the customer, so we became very experienced in online meetings across time zones and countries as the project developed,” says Rupp. “This is where we were really rewarded by having such a good team of people on the ground in China and Austria, and it has to be said that the cooperation across the whole project from customer to supplier was brilliant.
The real challenge came in the installation phase when we sent two engineers from Austria to manage and supervise things and they had to go into quarantine for weeks before engaging in the project. But again, the team in China was exemplary, and some of the skilled workers stayed with the project for months. The whole new line started up pretty much on time, despite these challenges," says Rupp.
The brand new MDF line started up in 2022 and is running well and at full capacity. “We are really pleased with this project,” says Rupp. “The goal was to enable the customer to save both thermal and electrical energy and we have achieved what we planned to. The line has excellent cleaning efficiency and stable feeding over the complete production rate with our C-Feeder. Moreover, because the line has just one plug feeder and one refiner, only one set of refiner plates needs to be exchanged, thus essentially halving ongoing operating costs. With our design, we succeeded in supplying a system that handles 80 tons of chips per hour, on one line, and which now has huge benefits for the customer when it comes to energy efficiency and operating costs," concludes Rupp.
Sales Manager Panelboard at ANDRITZ
SCOPE OF SUPPLY:
Capacity: 1,920 t/d
Raw material: Hardwood
Final product: MDF board