Taking control

ANDRITZ and Resolute FP Clermont Mill in Canada created a world first recently by completely revolutionizing refiner load control and stability on two of its eight refiners. ANDRITZ’s Hydraulic Commander was the secret ingredient, with added bespoke automation.

“We run a tight ship here at Clermont,” says Mill Manager, Jean-Paul Bouchard. “It is our absolute aim to achieve maximum efficiency right across the mill. The productivity of our machines and equipment here is a big deal, and due to our focus on maximizing our production capacity, along with preventative maintenance programs, we are proud to have an uptime of over 90%.”

Resolute FP Clermont’s TMP mill located in Quebec, Canada


Resolute FP Clermont’s TMP mill located in Quebec, Canada is one of the leading newsprint mills in the world when it comes to cost-per-ton of production. It also prides itself on the quality of its products which are used by well-known titles such as the New York Times and other major newspaper publishers in the USA, Europe and beyond. The mill produces newsprint of a low weight basis, 40-48 g/m2, on its 8.7 m wide paper machine at a speed of 1275 m/min.

The management at Clermont recently decided that it needed an upgrade one of the three refiners feeding its single paper machine to better control efficiency and stability. Bouchard explains, “When thinking about the refiner we were operating, I like to compare it to cruise control of a car. When you use cruise control, you want to go at one constant speed, whether driving uphill, downhill or on a straight road. With our existing refiner we had no control at all.”

ANDRITZ, already a long-term supplier to the Clermont mill, was contacted to see if it might have a solution that would bring more control to the existing CD Refiner in question – an older model from another supplier. After consultation, it was decided that this would be possible and improving refiner stability could be achieved by replacing the electromechanical guide-valve with a hydraulic servo valve and removing the in-gap sensor. 


“The productivity of our machines and equipment here is a big deal, and due to our focus on maximizing our production capacity, along with preventative maintenance programs, we are proud to have an uptime of over 90%.”


Mill Manager

Resolute Clermont

The project meant embarking on a task that had never been carried out before, in fact it was a world first. The scope included installing a Hydraulic Commander to provide more stable refiner load control as well as improved quality control. The installation also included the ANDRITZ refiner protection system, ADVACON. Also, a new plate positioning control system was installed on the refiner that permits control via a hydraulic servo valve without TDC sensors, which considerably improved response time, accuracy and efficient operation.

Sylvain Renaud, ANDRITZ Automation Product Manager, HC Refiners, says, “We first presented the Hydraulic Commander solution, along with ADVACON in 2018, and Clermont showed a keen interest in the automation it would bring to the refiner.

“At first the mill was going to use the existing TDC for controlling the plate gap, but it was subsequently decided to go with the ANDRITZ contactless position sensor.”

The complete plate positioning control system was installed on the CD70 refiner starting-up in March 2019 as planned, with the hydraulic conversion being completed in just four hours, and included removing the guide valve, connecting the new hydraulic block disconnecting the TDC sensors and verifying motor start-up sequences and logistics.

The new control system now manages simultaneous plate positioning of the CD and flat zone on the CD refiner. It maintains plate positioning on both zones using standard contactless sensors. The control system also manages plate protection, protection logistics static and dynamic zero, as well as providing an up-to-date control platform that is user friendly for operators.

Mill manager Bouchard is delighted with the results of the updated refiner, he says, “We have gone from monitoring the running of the refiner literally by the sound it makes, to now being able to actually analyze the data and fine tune the efficiency and quality of the output.

ANDRITZ hydraulic block


“The delivery and start-up went well, and when there were hurdles or challenges, both the mill and ANDRITZ experts soon overcame them. We feel now that with just a few tweaks, we will be pretty much close to the optimum operational efficiency and we are very close to the sweet spot.”    

Philippe Martel, TMP Superintendent, Clermont mill says, “There was an adaptation period where operators had to understand the new system, where the plate zero was and how to run the line with the new system; but it went well and after a few weeks, everybody was trained.

“The most interesting aspect of the project to me was replacing the guide-valve with the new ANDRITZ hydraulic block, having a servo valve has really improved response time.”

Steve Perron, Production Superintendent, Clermont mill, adds, “The most impressive aspect of the project from my point of view was the removal of the TDC which makes our lives so much easier; no more head-phone calibration that changes depending on who is doing it, no more sensors to buy, no sensors to change and check. Now, we press a button and everything is automatic, and works 10/10 every time.”

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