Camatec improved Kvarnsveden’s reeling system

A paper mill that supplies around 3,000 tonnes of paper a day knows a thing or two about logistics. When Stora Enso’s Kvarnsveden paper mill in Borlänge, Sweden, needed to upgrade its sorting and transport system, they turned to Camatec.

Newspapers might be struggling, but Europe still needs enormous amounts of newspaper and magazine paper. Kvarnsveden, a specialist in both types of paper, distributes around 3,000 tonnes of it every day to publishers all over Europe. “Our customers’ demands for different widths and thicknesses of paper reels varies over time, which means that we too have differing requirement for reel handling,” says Bernt Löfkvist, senior project manager at Kvarnsveden. “And since production and reel handling must maintain a very fast pace, and each reel of paper is worth a large amount of money, we must avoid stoppages and damaged reels.”

Three improvements

Camatec has recently completed three important improvement projects at Kvarnsveden: a rebuild of a carousel conveyor curve in the reel handling area, an improved stop function at a sorting ramp and a smart solution for a Loadmate, the final section before the reels reach the railway container. Bernt Löfkvist guides us methodically through the mill and takes us to the first improvement on the transport line, the transport curve which has been given a better layout.

Greater variety of reels

“When the curve was first built the reels were very different,” explains Bernt. “They were smaller and they could each follow their own track which followed each other in parallel around the curve.” Nowadays the reels can vary in width from 60 cm to 450 cm. The diameters can vary from 90 to 125 cm. “This meant that the reels could bump into each other at the curve,” says Bernt. “We had to do a lot of manual work and install photocells in order to steer the reels correctly, but this meant a lot of stoppages and sometimes the reels got damaged.”

Larger radius

Camatec’s solution to this problem was to make the radius of the curve larger, which meant that the curve started earlier. Now there is no risk that the reels can bump into each other.

“The curve is no longer a problem and we don’t need the photocells. There are no more stoppages here,” confirms Bernt Löfkvist. “This was a really good improvement.” The next station where Cametec has made improvements is a sorting ramp in the large sorting hall where the reels are transported in on conveyors and then nudged over onto a crossways ramp where they are collected gently by a stopper and stored for transport later into the packing hall.

New joints for a gentler stop

“Most of these sorting ramps work fine, but for the really heavy reels we have one of three special ramps that is a bit different and it has not been perfect,” says Bernt. “The reels were not being captured correctly so they were not being stopped smoothly. The movement was jerky and the reel could jump over the stop beam.” Henrik Svedberg from Camatec explains how they improved the ramp: “We installed new joints with circuit-lubricated bearings in order to improve stability and reliability. The result was a smoother and safer reel movement with no risk for damage. The logistics flow is not interrupted either because a reel stopper had malfunctioned, which used to happen before.”

Loadmate – a special solution

The final sorting of the paper reels before they are shipped to the port in Zeebrügge in Belgium for onward transport throughout Europe, takes place in a hall where forklift trucks place the reels in a six-lane area called a Loadmate. “Loadmate was a prototype developed specially for us 12 years ago,” explains Bernt Löfkvist. “There is a similar solution at the Hylte paper mill, one in the goods reception area at Zeebrügge and now Tilbury has one too.” Like many prototypes, Loadmate was not 100% perfect right from the start and it has been rebuilt over the years with new features added. Camatec was called in to help with the most recent improvements. “The problem was that each spear on the Loadmate had its own driving chain which operated at each end of the spear,” explains Henrik Svedberg. “When the chain started to loosen, there was a breakdown and the whole sorting activity came to a halt.”

Demand for just-in-time

A stoppage in the supply of paper reels is a nightmare when a train is waiting to depart at a fixed time.

“We managed to fix all six spears together with a single beam and gathered the drives into an S-operation in the middle of the spear,” explains Henrik. “Now we only need two drive chains and they are kept at the right tension with a hydraulic chain tensioner.” Bernt Löfkvist nods in agreement. “There were some teething problems at the beginning, but since then everything has worked as intended,” he says. “And that makes us much more relaxed about meeting demands for just-in-time delivery.”