Innovations for paper and board production

The perfect fit

As of the beginning of July, our Paper and Board team has a new Vice President – Gerald Steiner. He joined the ANDRITZ GROUP one year ago and was in charge of the development and implementation of automation and digitalization in paper mills worldwide.

Taking over the leadership of our Paper and Board team was a logical next step as Gerald not only has many years of experience in the paper industry as a former customer, but he also has the innovative drive that is necessary to operate mills successfully. Let’s welcome Gerald on board and get to know him.

Gerald Steiner, ANDRITZ


Can you give us a brief bio of your career in the paper industry?

It all started around 20 years ago when I went to the University of Technology in Graz, Austria. I soon found my passion for process engineering and the pulp and paper industry. I wrote my thesis about sheet stealing on double felted shoe presses of board machines for a global player in the paper machinery industry while gaining first practical experience during my internships in the Mondi Group. I assisted during startup at one of the mills of Lee & Man in China, and I was involved in a runability analysis at Saica in Spain.

My path in the paper industry was set: in 2005, I started work at Hamburger Containerboard and was soon put in charge of the Operations and Technology department of the mill in Pitten, Austria. About 10 years later, I changed sides, moving from producer to supplier, and joined Voith Paper as Vice President, Business Development for Products & Services, and became a member of the Board as Senior Vice President, Global Operations.

This was followed by several management functions in the field of automation and digitalization as Vice President, Digitalization and Vice President, Digital Product Management.

I am always looking for challenges. When I heard that ANDRITZ wanted to develop its leading position in digitalization with the well-established Metris brand, also in paper mills, it was clear to me that I had to become part of the team. I also have to admit to a certain emotional connection; I grew up only 1 km away from the ANDRITZ headquarters. And this is how I came to ANDRITZ in 2020, as Vice President, Metris Solutions Paper.

Being in charge of digitalization for paper mills and heading a paper and board team is a big change, isn’t it?

Yes and no. From a personal point of view of course, it is, but as already mentioned, I like challenges! From a strategic point of view, it is a logical step: Nowadays, no paper mill worldwide can live without automation and digitalization. The one needs the other.

Apart from my experience working for paper machine suppliers, I know only too well several of the challenges paper and board producers face themselves. I am somehow the “living link” between customer and supplier and am always excited to hear about new challenges I have not yet experienced.

Due to the pandemic, the past few months were extremely hard for certain markets in the paper industry, but new opportunites were also created, opening up for growing market segments. Some producers as well as suppliers were forced to downsize. What does it take to be successful nowadays?

I think that a significant number of companies in the world in this business have been forced to think about reducing the number of their employees. A special entrepreneurial gift would be the ability to correctly interpret trends and anticipate the future. Nevertheless, no one really had this particular current situation on their radar. What can be seen, however, is that certain trends have intensified during the crisis.

Those who have the right products and the right solutions with the right quality and a suitable business model in the market will come through the crisis well. ANDRITZ is one of them! At ANDRITZ, we always focus on quality and efficiency and will further strengthen our competencies.

At the same time, we kept our daily business up and running. Several successful start-ups during the COVID crisis are proof of that. In addition, the current challenges have accelerated the development of innovations, especially in the area of rebuild and upgrade technologies that need small investments but deliver large results, and of course in the area of digitalization, remote commissioning and start-up assistance as well as autonomous operation.

What sets ANDRITZ technology and equipment apart from the competition?

We have recently developed and introduced several new products to our portfolio, including: low-energy screening with simplified maintenance, thickening by means of a vertically arranged screw press, new headbox designs, shoe-blade gap forming, the largest steel Yankees, steel drying cylinders with a width of more than 10 meters, and the most powerful shoe press with up to 2,000 kN/m real operating line load.

All of these products have unique advantages, and we also have some groundbreaking innovations under development. Of course, we are always aiming for more! All projects are thoroughly analyzed by highly skilled and experienced technology experts in terms of integration of our solutions into existing or new lines. This ensures the best result for our customers.

What can we expect from you and your paper and board team?

We want to continue on our successful course to date and expand our business even further: ANDRITZ has been very successful in the paper and board industry.

References include rebuild of the world’s fastest Kraftliner machine in the US, successful grade conversions in, for example, Austria and Germany, Europe’s most modern packaging paper machines in Austria with the world's largest steel Yankees, and complete Folding Boxboard production lines in Russia. They all are perfect proof of the success stories we are generating.

But of course, continuing on the path we have chosen does not mean standing still. On the contrary, it is absolutely necessary to be close to our customers, listening to their needs and constantly seeking potential for improvement, for innovative solutions and for dynamic and flexible adaptations. And this is exactly what we will do!

Innovations for paper and board production


Big impacts:

Gerald mentions ANDRITZ innovations for paper and board production that make big impacts. Here is a selection for you to provide an impression of the various opportunities for resource and cost optimization. Do not hesitate to contact us for more detailed information!


The new soft-layering concept of the PrimeFlow AT (accelerating tube) headbox enables selective layer enhancement by feeding in various additives through the dilution control system. This simple system, where one of the rows is connected to an alternative supply system, results in low investment costs with high sheet formation quality.


The patented design enables excellent strength and formation at a high capacity of up to 250 gsm. The shoeblade GapFormer is ideal for fast and uncomplicated rebuilds as the basics of the GapFormer already installed (for example frame and rolls) remain unchanged. We merely implement the shoe-blade technology in the forming area. With this GapFormer, it is possible to add another grade (key benefit: flexibility) or to convert the former entirely to a different grade, for example packaging paper (key benefit: capacity increase).


A hybrid former can be upgraded from a straight-through to a high-capacity, low-intensity hybrid former by adding a curved element and two dewatering boxes. With these three changes alone, you can completely change the operation of your hybrid former. The key benefits of such an upgrade are the even lower inlet consistency, improved formation and better quality, and the increase in headbox flow.


The PrimePress shoe press X is the ideal shoe press for increasing production at reduced drying energy. Nip loads of up to 2,000 kN/m and shoe lengths from 120 to 400 mm are engineered for each application to maximize press dryness and sheet properties.

PrimeDry Steel CYLINDERS

Steel cylinders can be run at a higher operating pressure than comparable cast iron cylinders. This is beneficial in rebuilds and upgrades because it is possible to increase production without extending the dryer section. With steel cylinders operating at up to 14 bar with diameters of 2.2 m and large vacuum rolls, it is possible to achieve +20% production within the existing footprint.

PrimeCal CALENDERS AND PrimeCoat Curtain COATER

PrimeCal calenders provide full control in the nip to tailor a finish with the desired quality and printability. The advantages of the PrimeCoat Curtain coater are excellent coverage, energy savings through higher solids content, coating color savings, and fewer web breaks thanks to the non-contact process. In our new curtain coater, the spare nozzle was replaced by a patented nozzle design to protect the nozzle during maintenance activities and to cut spare part costs. In its calenders and coaters, ANDRITZ focuses on compact designs and “plug-and-play” systems that require up to 40% less space (reference: curtain coater) in order to shorten installation and shut-down times.

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Stattegger Straße 18
8045 Graz
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