Refiner Breakthrough Design from the Inside Out

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When AFT set out to design a new refiner, the goal was to deliver better quality at lower power consumption, simplified maintenance, and operator safety.

From a capital investment standpoint, the target was set high: better efficiency at lower capital cost. The MaxEdge™ disc refiner breakthrough was the result - the latest addition to AFT’s family of high-performance refining products. 

Rapid success happened because of a dedication to innovative product development and decades of refining experience that includes Finebar® MiniSegment™ refiner plates. Even better, opportunities for performance improvements are ongoing through AFTLinx™ technology, an IoT- based diagnostic service that collects equipment-specific operational data for each customer.

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Success from the inside out

“Finebar MiniSegments improve performance for old refiners so the idea of building a new refiner around this capability made sense,” says Olli-Pekka Riippa, AFT Product Manager - Refiners and Deflakers. “Refining fiber more efficiently, saving energy, and improving quality are always core elements of our focus.”

The MaxEdge refiner's compact size delivers results with less energy and low maintenance requirements. Because MaxEdge refiners have IoT (Internet of Things) capability for remote diagnostics, continuous gains in productivity can be made with ongoing AFT support, using measured values collected in real-time from the refiner.

The MaxEdge refiner and Finebar plates are a good fit with paper, board, and tissue makers looking to push their refining to a higher level.

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The streamlined MaxEdge refiner 

Now well established, the new refiner design began with a comprehensive review of AFT refiners and competitors’ models. This included a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis of chosen models.  “From the start, our goal for the MaxEdge refiner was not to simply create a logical update of what we already offered. Instead, we focused on what matters to operator success and measurable gains in quality and productivity”, says Riippa.

Intelligence built-in

Drawing on years of stock prep experience, the introduction of AFTLinx™ technology to collect equipment-specific operational data helps address customer needs for remote product support and service. The data access allows AFT specialists to assist start-ups, conduct real-time machine diagnostics, and provide advice for optimized equipment operation. 

Notes Riippa, “Using information from the field, we optimize each refiner’s performance and anticipate when plate changes need to be made. If there is an issue, we can better determine the problem and how to fix it.” 

As a result, customers enjoy less unwanted equipment downtime, and mill resources can be managed better. With proper analyses, the service span between maintenance activities can be extended and maintenance activities can be scheduled well ahead.

MaxEdge performance means having the correct refiner segments for the lowest energy consumption to achieve desired product properties.

Because refining is about developing fibers to achieve final product properties, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. Printing & writing paper, packaging, and tissue are all worlds apart. Yet, they all have refining in common.  The challenge is finding refining solutions for these diverse end-uses. This is where custom-designed Finebar plates play a vital role.

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Sustainability’s many dimensions 

AFT has high standards for environmental performance and worker safety, striving to integrate that expectation in all technological solutions. “Mill management inquiries for refiners often ask: How can we use less energy? What’s the best way to minimize water usage? What more can be done about noise? We have addressed these issues and more with the MaxEdge refiner,” concludes Riippa.

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MaxEdge DD Refiner Highlights

-       Finebar® MiniSegment technology 

-       Energy efficiency

-       IoT integration for higher performance, ease of operation, and safety

-       Fast payback for capital investment

Key Technical Advantages: 

  • Custom-designed plate patterns available for a variety of furnishes and refining goals
  • Simplicity: Single inlet and outlet for simplified piping. Open access design and Finebar MiniSegments are standard for crane-free replacement.
  • Reliability: refiner components with high-quality standards guarantees the refiner performance for an extended period.   
  • Maintenance: easy and quick access when refiner key components need service.

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AFT is a global supplier serving customers in many key markets (pulp and paper, food, mineral) with advanced components, capital equipment and system optimization services. With over 110 years of experience in manufacturing and supplying tailored solutions, AFT-GLOBAL specialize in stock preparation, screening, refining and paper machine approach flow systems.