Progression of Vacuum Level in Successive Vacuum Suction Boxes in a Paper Machine – Impact on Dewatering Efficiency and Energy Demand – A Laboratory Study
Keywords:Vacuum Dewatering, Papermaking, Tissue, Energy Efficiency, Dryness, Cellulose, Triple Box Vacuum Dewatering
Producing tissue paper is an energy-demanding process; a significant amount of energy is expended when removing water by vacuum, mechanical pressing, and thermal drying. Because the water is most energy-demanding to remove in drying, making the preceding step of vacuum dewatering more efficient would benefit the whole process. This article focuses on developing a laboratory-scale method for verifying the nature of diminishing returns of water removal and investigating efficiency strategies of the vacuum dewatering. The theoretical concept of successive vacuum suction boxes with progressing vacuum levels was tested at the laboratory scale in order to show quantifiable results of the previously solely theoretical concept. The results confirmed that vacuum dewatering can be improved by adding progressively higher vacuum levels and that such a practice can benefit both outgoing dryness levels and expended vacuum pump energy. To truly examine the power of progression of vacuum levels, rewetting can be included in the calculations, by using an approximate value collected from pilot or full-scale measurements. For any new fiber mix, pulp type, vacuum level setup, basis weight, etc. the vacuum levels, rewetting, and dwell times need to be tuned to that specific case.