Tag Archives: Smelt-X

Valmet’s 4th Annual Recovery Boiler User Group Meeting

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.

Recovery Boiler User Group Meeting Attendees

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.

Some of the topics discussed throughout the two day meeting included:Spout plug

  • 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.

Recovery Boiler User Group Meeting Session

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

Improving Safety Around Recovery Boiler Operations

The recovery boiler is a vital part of the pulp mill but also a source of potential safety hazards for its operators. One of the purposes of the recovery boiler is to recover the pulping chemicals from the black liquor which is done in the form of smelt from the bottom of the furnace. A potential hazard of this process is that if the smelt interacts or has contact with water, an explosion can potentially occur which could injure operators and cause damage to the boiler. Besides the risk of explosion, combustion in the recovery boiler creates very hot gases and highly corrosive molten ash which could be hazardous to operators who are performing physical tasks around the recovery boiler.

In an effort to make operations in the recovery boiler safer, and minimize exposure to unsafe working conditions, Valmet has developed and perfected several auxiliary devices that serve to both automate as well as either remove the need for direct operator involvement or to minimize exposure to unsafe working conditions. Below are four inventions and innovations that have improved the working conditions around recovery boilers and made operation of the boiler more stable.

Smelt Spout Micro Hood Arrangement: One area considered the most dangerous for operators, and one of the leading causes of recordable injuries is the spout deck on a recovery boiler. To make smelts more accessible for cleaning and to improve safety, Valmet has developed mini or micro-hoods have to replace the old large hood systems. The benefits of these systems are:

• Easier access to spouts for manual cleaningSmelt Spout Micro Hood Arrangement
• Easier replacement of spouts
• Minimal hood shower water
• Minimal internal ledges
• Cooling water lines not exposed to smelt
• Minimizes tramp air intake
• Dual shatter jets (ShatterMax™)
• Externally mounted shower bar headers
• More reliable mounting interfaces for the smelt spouts.

Spout Cleaning Robot: The DeckHand™ is another new system designed to improve the safety of operators is the development of an independent robotic arm that performs repetitive tasks. The safety benefits of this robot are:

Spout Cleaning Robot

• Greatly reduces the risk of operators getting injured from splashes of green liquor or smelt
• Cleans spouts, hoods & shatter jets
• Robot camera that allows operators to visually inspect spouts from safe control room
• Safety gates designed to stop robot if any personnel enters the spout deck
• Less personnel at the smelt spouts

Liquor Station with Automated Port Rodder: Working around the liquor guns is another area where operators are at risk with large numbers of lifting and burn injuries being reported annually. To make this area safer, the GunnersMate™ liquor stations were developed. The safety benefits are:

Liquor Station with Automated Port Rodder

• Limited operator exposure to furnace
• Station retractable outside furnace
• Safety door protection from opening
• Ready signal for spraying to start
• Improved operator working conditions
• Auto-cleaning cutter reduces amount of manual cleaning required

Automated Port Rodders: The Roddingmaster™ was developed to limit operators from potential exposure to hot air (300 – 400 °F) and limit exposure to the furnace. The safety benefits of automated port rodders are:

Automated Port Rodders

• Improved operator working conditions
• Large observation port
• Control box easy access for remote isolation
• Ability to change the cutter on the run with minimum exposure time in front of opening


At Valmet we can help you with all your recovery boiler safety needs. Contact us for more information.

New Liquor to Liquor Lean Concept for Boiler Outages

Planning for a boiler outage can be a stressful and time-consuming process. At Valmet we understand the challenges you face, and have developed a new lean concept for liquor to liquor recovery boiler outages.  This streamlined process will make the boiler outage period easier for you by utilizing efficient techniques and steps that have proven successful.

In the past, the boiler shutdown process has been an incoherent operation with many of the necessary steps being performed without any sense of order or purpose.  With our new streamlined process we have created a Liquor to Liquor Lean Concept that organizes the boiler shutdown period in an ordered and economical fashion.  This is one bundle of services that will make the process simple and easy for you.

Liquor to Liquor Lean Concept for Boiler Outages

  • Step 1: Boiler Outage Planning: During the planning process we can handle technical coordination and spare-parts support. We can identify the maintenance needs, and work on the distribution of tasks with the mill team.
  • Step 2: Smelt-X: The Smelt-X boiler cleaning process uses custom designed ejectors made for each furnace arrangement to extend from spouts to the lowest point in floor for max extraction. With it smelt bed cooling time can be reduced to 4-6 hours from 15-35 hours, while allowing for the recovery of chemicals in the smelt bed, and minimization of wash water volume and alkalinity.
  • Step 3: Wash-X: With our Wash-X process the floor is washed simultaneously with the rest of the boiler using low pressure water sprays and mixing devices installed on the furnace floor. This allows for time spent in recovery to be reduced by 10-30 hours.
  • Step 4: Inspection, Maintenance, Examination: With a full range of inspection and maintenance capabilities, Valmet can manage the maintenance throughout the outage. This includes coordinating and managing a complete portfolio of NDE services including all standard inspections such as ultrasonic thickness surveys, liquid penetrant & magnetic particle inspections, and weld examinations. We also offer a host of advanced inspection capabilities like phased array ultrasonics, near drum inspections, and IRIS tube inspections. To enhance safety and production we can also provide low-energy radiography solutions including conventional, digital, and computed radiography services.
  • Step 5: Chemical Cleaning, Boiler Tube Deposit Inspection: Chemical cleaning services including steam blows, high pressure chemical blasting, hydrolasing and vapor phase cleaning. Also we do boiler tube scale deposit inspection and evaluation.
  • Step 6: Post Maintenance Tests: After the cleaning process is complete we can perform full maintenance tests to evaluate the process, and offer support and information on how to plan and budget future outage work.
  • Step 7: Startup Tuning: With our recovery boiler tuning camera we can inspect the boiler for plugging, tune liquor sprays, emissions troubleshooting, and burner optimization.

Liquor to Liquor Lean concept

The Valmet Liquor to Liquor Lean concept works with a service agreement where a bank of hours can be used in any matter from field service, maintenance management, engineering, emergency call outs and troubleshooting among other areas on an as needed basis.  With multi-year agreement discounts and full transparency on service rates this process is the best value on the market.  We also offer free internet training packages and spare parts discounts along with our lean concept package. For more information about our services and to arrange an in person meeting to discuss how our Liquor to Liquor Lean Concept can work for you, please contact Mike Ward, or speak with us at the BLRBAC Fall 2016 Meeting.

3 Reasons to Choose Wash-X When Cleaning Your Boiler

Each year when it comes time to prepare for a boiler outage, concerns about downtime and potential damage are common.  At Valmet we understand these concerns, and have developed our Wash-X service to make your boiler cleaning process easier and efficient.  Below are three reasons why using Wash-X will change the way you view the boiler cleaning process.

1) Limited Downtime: The timespan of the boiler cleaning process all depends on how long it takes for the smelt bed to cool down.   Wash-X processTypical smelt bed cooling times can be anywhere from 15-35 hours. By using the Wash-X process the smelt bed cooling time can be reduced greatly to 4-6 hours.  This reduced time is accomplished by simultaneously washing the floor with the rest of the boiler using low pressure water sprays and mixing devices installed on the furnace floor.

2) Reduced Risk of Damage: During the boiler cleaning process there is always the risk of damage due to large falling deposits and from mechanical cleaning.  The Wash-X process works with water being sprayed to the flood as soon as safe bed temperatures have been reached.  Then eductors are inserted to start floor washing in parallel with superheater washing.   By using hot water, faster washing occurs and it also is used to dissolve large ash deposits which fall to the floor.   The wash pool that forms also creates a barrier that protects the floor from large deposits which may fall off the wall during the cleaning process.  When the water is drained at the end the remaining deposits can easily be cleaned out, avoiding the need for mechanical cleaning that can cause damage to boiler floor.

3) Unique and Effective: Our Wash-X recovery boiler floor washing service is unique in its ability to wash the floor simultaneously with the rest of the boiler while using low pressure water sprays and mixing devices.   The ability to limit downtime and reduce potential damage is unmatched in the industry.  With successful jobs completed in North America, the Wash-X service will save a huge amount of time and money for companies who need their recovery boiler systems cleaned.

Valmet has over 40 years of experience providing full service in the boiler chemical cleaning industry.  Our boiler cleaning services including Smelt-X and Wash-X will save companies time and money and have your boiler operating at full strength much faster than any other process on the market.  For more information about our services and to arrange an in person meeting to discuss how our Wash-X service can work for you, please contact Mike Ward.


Smelt-X and Wash-X Services for Chemical Recovery Boilers

When it comes to cleaning and emptying chemical recovery boilers, Valmet has the services required to do it swiftly and safely.  If the recovery boiler cleaning process starts too quickly, the water being used in the washing process may cause an explosion when it comes into contact with the molten smelt.  In the past, this potential threat has been avoided by waiting 15-35 hours to make sure the smelt bed is frozen and safe to clean.  To speed up and improve this procedure, Valmet has developed the Smelt-X and Wash-X processes which change the way recovery boiler cleaning is executed.


The Smelt-X process has been specifically designed to alleviate the recovery boiler cleaning process.  The bottom section of the recovery boiler furnace is heated during load reduction so that the whole smelt bed becomes molten, and the smelt is extracted from the floor to the dissolving tank using air-operated ejectors.  Our custom designed ejectors for each furnace arrangement are made to extend from spouts to lowest point in floor for max extraction.  This custom design is unique in the industry, and can’t be matched by our competitors.  Our typical extraction time is 1-3 hours and smelt does not touch spouts during the extraction process.  The Smelt-X process also allows for chemicals in the smelt bed to be recovered and the amount of strongly alkaline waste water is minimized resulting in savings in both make-up and neutralization chemicals.  Due to these features, Smelt-X can be carried out safely in the middle of the operation cycle as well, and the operation can continue with the same spouts without any additional risk of spout failures during the rest of the cycle.

The Smelt-X process








Other benefits include:

  • faster cooling – boiler bank and superheater washing can begin sooner
  • recovery of chemicals in the smelt bed
  • minimisation of wash water volume and alkalinity
  • savings in makeup chemicals for black liquor
  • savings in neutralization chemicals in waste water plant
  • faster floor cleaning for inspection and repairs
  • safer floor cleaning – reduced need for mechanical cleaning and/or high pressure washing
  • shorter mill shutdown – increase in pulp production



Valmet has also developed a washing service for recovery boilers called Wash-X in which the floor is washed simultaneously with the rest of the boiler using low pressure water sprays and mixing devices installed on the furnace floor.  Once the super heaters are clean, the mixing devices are removed and floor is emptied of wash water using smelt ejectors.

The typical Wash-X arrangement for mixing devices and wash water sprays:

Wash-X arrangement for mixing devices and wash water sprays

  • 1 or 2 mixing devices in each spout (operated with pressurized air)
  • 8 – 18 primary air port sp rays connected to feedwater or warm water system (depending on floor size)
  • black liquor sprays (at least) in front wall (not shown here) spraying warm wash water




The Smelt-X and Wash-X services will save a huge amount of time for companies who need their recovery boiler systems cleaned.  Our process will do no damage to your boiler and have you back operating at full strength much faster than any other process on the market.  Please contact Mike Ward to arrange an in person meeting to discuss how our Smelt-X and Wash-X services can work for you.

Metso Power, BLRBAC and the Importance of Keeping Workers Safe

Working with black liquor recovery boilers can be a dangerous endeavor. The chemicals used are incredibly caustic, and can do a great deal of damage if they come into contact with human skin. Many workers have been known to suffer injury or death while working with these boilers. That’s what led to the formation of BLRBAC, the Black Liquor Recovery Boiler Advisory Committee. The Committee is made up of insurance companies, boiler manufacturers and paper company professionals who are involved in operating, insuring and manufacturing these boilers.

BLRBAC’s mission is an important one, as is any mission to keep workers safe. We’re proud to provide a Smelt Spout System, Smelt-X and other SMaRT (Safety Matters around Recovery Tasks) products that help make this goal a reality.