Interview: Increased Efficiency in Paper Converting at DREWSEN Thanks to Questec Sheeter
DREWSEN SPEZIALPAPIERE GmbH & Co. KG has been successfully using the pilot version of a Questec sheeter from BW Papersystems to efficiently cut lightweight, complex papers. Now their customized Questec sheeter will be installed shortly. DREWSEN’s CEO Dr. Matthias Rauhut is looking forward to his new sheeter and takes stock in this interview.
In March 2021, the paper converting equipment of DREWSEN Spezialpapiere GmbH & Co. KG, based in Lachendorf near Celle, was expanded to include a high-performance Questec sheeter from BW Papersystems. They rented an 850 mm wide pilot machine to bridge the delivery time of the actual customized sheeter for small batches. Now, in January 2022, the 1,350 mm wide sheeter will be installed. Dr. Matthias Rauhut, CEO of DREWSEN, talks about experiences and improvements made in recent months and his expectations of the new sheeter.
For about nine months now, many of your specialty or security papers have been cut on a Questec sheeter. What is your experience with the pilot machine so far, Dr. Rauhut?
The Questec system now operates around the clock, seven days a week. Of course, there were a few teething problems to overcome at the beginning. We deliberately decided on the pilot machine so that we could use it until the delivery of our customized Questec sheeter early 2022. We closely worked together with the BW Papersystems team. We overcame issues together and improved a lot of things as a team, also with regard to the "large" 1,350 mm wide sheeter. Now the sheeter is running stably. Any difficulties that may arise are always quickly resolved thanks to the direct line to BW Papersystems. I really appreciate this cooperation. Overall, I would summarize it under the heading "joint continuous improvement".
What products do you run on the Questec sheeter? Have orders shifted from the existing lines?
It is a colorful mix and ranges from low grammages of 39 gsm, to papers with 300 gsm. The ability to process this wide range on one machine makes the Questec the ideal smart, small batch sheeter for us. We have already shifted many orders from the older Bielomatik sheeter, but also from the SHM sheeter to the Questec sheeter. With the SHM sheeter, of course, the reel width needs to fit, but then we can now often use all six unwinds of the larger sheeter efficiently and run one or more additional reels on the small batch Questec sheeter. Previously, for such batch sizes requiring seven unwinds, for example, the job had to be split into two runs on the SHM. This was anything but economical.
We now prefer to cut security papers on the Questec sheeter, if possible, because we can produce them quickly and efficiently there. Even on the SHM, we would be limited to only one unwind when running such papers - by switching to the small batch sheeter, the 1,650 mm wide line can now be occupied with other jobs.
This is also urgently needed, because currently we are barely keeping up with production, demand is enormous and, unfortunately, so are delivery times. Every capacity - and above all every capacity that is used as smartly as possible - is needed.
The installation of the pilot sheeter has changed the overall utilization of the equipment in your paper mill. How do things look in terms of efficiency in the meantime? Are you already seeing changes in efficiency?
In fact, we are already seeing improved efficiency. The relocation of security papers and the ability to run the SHM at maximum reel occupancy, i.e., freeing this sheeter from many inefficient orders, has led to a noticeable increase in productivity. We can clearly see the increase in tonnages in the monthly statistics. In figures, we have been able to increase our efficiency by 10% so far, or by around 1,000 tons a year.
10% more efficiency thanks to the pilot installation is already a visible success. What are your expectations of the new sheeter?
Quite clearly: a further increase in efficiency. After all, with a working width of 1,350 mm, the new sheeter will cover considerably more reel widths than the narrower 850 mm wide pilot sheeter currently does. This will enable us to shift even more uneconomical jobs, especially converting security papers and lightweight papers, from the SHM to our Questec small batch sheeter.
Furthermore, we would obviously like to see a very fast ramp-up curve. Based on the experience gained on the pilot installation, we expect that the new sheeter can be integrated seamlessly into production right after installation. Our operators are familiar with the pilot machine and thanks to the close cooperation with BW Papersystems, many of the operators' suggestions for the wide sheeter have been implemented. This is a great advantage, as it certainly eliminates a large part of the training phase that would otherwise have been necessary - even though the operation of the wider and longer machine will naturally present new challenges.
We don't expect immediate record performance, but it is very important to get the sheeter up and running as quickly as possible. We are currently experiencing a real flood of orders and the capacity of the Questec sheeter is needed. I am confident that this will be successful, also thanks to the cooperation on an equal footing with BW Papersystems.
At the end of the day, DREWSEN and BW Papersystems are in the same boat: together we have further developed the pilot unit through the experience gained in production here at DREWSEN, and together we want to get the new 1,350 mm sheeter up and running. We want to see the result of the experience we have gained and the sometimes bold experiments. I am thinking BW Papersystems has succeeded in a small revolution: with a few changes to the cross-cutting unit, the cut quality has been significantly improved. Now even high grammages can be cut very precisely. This has never been done before and we at DREWSEN are pleased that we can pass this quality on to our customers!
A sheeter that we had planned especially for our lightweight specialty papers has become an all-round smart sheeter that can process even heavy grammages up to 300 gsm with maximum cutting accuracy.
Our expectations of the new BW Papersystems small batch sheeter are high. The cooperation with the team from Wedel and Neuss so far makes me very confident that in a few months from now we will be able to say: Our expectations have been met and it was worth the wait.
Thank you very much for talking to us again, Dr. Rauhut.