With the evolving market demands for paper – decreased use of printing and writing paper and increased demand for paperboard, containerboard and cartonboard, many paper makers are upgrading their older paper machines in order to produce more profitable paper grades. From start to finish of an upgrade project, precision alignment is critical to the success of the conversion.

In part one of this three-part series, you will learn the importance of alignment – from the planning process through the final alignment verification prior to – and after – start up. Part two of the series will provide you with an overview of how alignment can affect each section of the paper machine. Common process and production issues as well as an overview of the alignment techniques and technologies that help to eliminate these costly problems, will be covered in part three. 

Why is precision alignment critical during a paper machine upgrade?

Regardless of machine section (wet end to reel), winders, drive lines, etc., equipment alignment is an integral piece during the conversion from old to new, especially when integrating new equipment into an older machine. Over time machine sole plates have settled, upgrades have been performed, and components have been replaced. Establishing existing alignment conditions prior to the upgrade provides engineering with the necessary information for optimal results. After all, upgrades are necessary to improve production. Equally important, is the proper alignment of machine components for the integration of new and existing equipment.

What needs to be included as part of the project plan?

Engineering specifications will dictate location and alignment of new equipment. Prior to the installation of new equipment, alignment should be addressed and included as part of the overall planning process. Documentation of existing equipment, location and alignment, should be obtained and provided to the company that is designing/engineering the project. Additionally, alignment should be scheduled in the overall project plan or timeline.

Why is alignment verification important prior to – and after – start up?

Prior to machine start-up, verification and documentation that the components were aligned within manufacturer’s specifications should be required by all parties including the owner of the equipment, the OEM, and the engineering and installation contractors.  Manufacturers of new components/sections of machinery will provide installation alignment tolerances. And most times, warranties could be null and void if proper alignment is not achieved during installation. After start-up, alignment inspections should be performed within six months to one year to ensure alignment has been maintained.

Be sure to check back for part two in our series on the importance of precision machine alignment during paper machine upgrades and conversions. If you are planning an upgrade and would like to get the conversation started now, please contact us to schedule a meeting with an OASIS representative.  

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