Many papermakers look at the life of the closing or the cost of the clothing per ton. Long clothing life and low clothing costs are good, but, on their own, neither of these are good metrics for clothing performance.
A press felt, for example, may run for 60 days, but the moisture content of the sheet leaving the press section may have increased by 2 to 3% near the end of that life, causing a significant increase in the cost of steam for drying. A forming fabric, as another example, may have the same life as a more expensive forming fabric, but have a much lower first-pass fiber retention, causing the loss of tons of valuable fiber.
Machine clothing is expensive, but its cost per ton of paper is much less than the fiber and energy costs that it impacts. A better metric is the total production cost per ton with a specific combination of machine fabrics.
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