Valmet’s 4th annual Recovery Boiler User Group (RBUG) conference took place this year on January 24 and 25, 2017, in Charlotte, NC. The meeting was held at the NASCAR Hall of Fame located in downtown Charlotte for employees of pulp mills with Valmet Recovery Boilers or other Valmet equipment. Twenty participants representing six major pulp & paper companies were in attendance, coming from the United-States, Canada and Chile. Valmet participants and other guest speakers also included people from the United-States, Canada, Chile and Finland, giving the meeting a true international flavor. The theme of the meeting was performance and reliability and the agenda reflected this theme around the areas of safety, reliability and increased efficiency.
The meeting started with a review of the status of the industry in North-America and the rest of the world, including expansion projects in Europe where a real boom is being seen with the construction of new modernized mills designed to have a larger capacity. Benchmarking information was presented comparing the mill capacity, average age of the major equipment, wood yield and energy and water usage for those modern European mills as opposed to the average North-American mills. This was followed by an update on the bio-refinery development that are taking place that have the potential to help existing and new pulp mills diversify themselves with additional products offering.
- Auxiliary products to improve safety around the recovery boiler.
- Dissolving tank operation including a review of a recent dissolving tank explosion, discussions on current recommendations for recovery boiler and dissolving tank operation by BLRBAC and AF&PA to reduce the potential for dissolving tank explosions.
- Outage experience mostly targeted at what to expect when the interval between major maintenance outages is extended from 12 months to potentially 18 or 24 months.
- Outage services for the recovery boiler offered by Valmet under the concept Liquor to Liquor. This family of services includes outage planning, smelt bed extraction (Smelt-X), washing and removal from the floor of the water wash salt cake accumulations (Wash-X), inspections services including NDE testing (ATS) and boiler tube internal deposit thickness deposit measurements.
- Presentation of the technology used to measure the thickness of the deposit and how it was validated against actual DWD from tube samples, as well as the experience using this technique.
The meeting also featured a Team Building / Networking dinner that took place at Victory Lane Karting. This was a great opportunity for drivers and non-drivers to have a chance to share good food, drinks and entertainment, as well as some competitive spirit amongst the racers. The meeting ended with a final Q & A session and wrap up discussion. Overall this was a great event which received much positive feedback from the meeting attendees.
We look forward to next year’s Recovery Boiler User Group meeting on January 22-24, 2018 in Charlotte, NC. To register please fill out this online form, and for more information on the event please contact Nancy Ries