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Industrial Plant Retrofits

  • Introduction to retrofitting
  • What is plant retrofitting
  • The importance of retrofitting in today’s manufacturing
  • Retrofitting a tissue or nonwovens plant the right way
  • Why choose retrofits by A.Celli?

Introduction to retrofitting

Retrofitting is a buzz word that is circulating in the manufacturing industry since the early 21st century and for good reason. Many tissue and nonwovens producers have been in the business for decades, so it is common for them to have existing systems with years of operating life, systems that required a substantial initial investment and are still in good working order. Yet, the average age of this equipment and machinery is 20 years, which means, for example, that it predates new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT) and Industry 4.0.

With the boom of technology over the past 10 years, particularly the growth of Industry 4.0 technology, modern solutions are now equipped with sensors, cameras and computer systems and they are connected to the cloud. This technology gives tissue and nonwovens manufacturers the capability to increase the speed and efficiency of production while significantly improving the quality of the final product and reducing costs. Without the upgrades to bring their machinery and equipment up to today’s technological standards, companies can easily fall behind their competition.

In addition, older equipment does not have updated safety features that are required to keep workers safe during operations. The effectiveness and efficiency of these assets, when compared to the latest technologies, can be lacking. These are some of the reasons why you should consider retrofitting and upgrading your existing equipment.

What is plant retrofitting

What is plant retrofitting

Retrofitting is a broad term that can apply to any physical structure or object, such as buildings, bridges, mobile phones, elevators, photocopiers and, in our case, industrial machinery. 

To retrofit something imply the replacement of existing parts or the addition of new parts to improve the features of the machine or device, such as its performance or the safety of workers. 

When it comes to the tissue and nonwovens industry, these activities are performed to:

  • Increase the safety of all the staff in the plant
  • Improve the quality of life of operators assigned to the machinery 
  • Detect defects in real-time during operations
  • Optimize production speed and quality
  • Computerize systems to ensure thorough data collection, analysis and reporting
  • Automate processes such as winding and slitting to improve finished reel quality
  • Reduce labor costs
  • Reduce maintenance costs
  • Reduce spare parts costs

The importance of retrofitting in today’s manufacturing

The importance of retrofitting in today’s manufacturing

In today’s world the manufacturing industry, as with all other industries, is expected to do more with less. For manufacturers, including tissue and nonwovens ones, this means an increase in the quality of their products, a more efficient and faster production and a decrease in costs. At the same time, manufacturers are required to minimize their impact on the environment, thus operating in a sustainable way.

With this in mind, let’s take a look at the areas of the plant where retrofitting can help tissue and nonwovens manufacturers:

Safety

Safety is of the utmost importance in any plant, particularly where there is moving machinery. In tissue and nonwovens plants there are moving belts, unwinders, winders, slitters and more, and every piece of these machineries poses a potential threat to workers’ safety. Machinery from even 20 years ago does not necessarily have updated safety systems.

Fortunately, retrofitting tissue and nonwovens machinery on the production line to include updated safety features that will bring machinery up to current standards is possible. This can be done by adding any or all of the following safety features to existing equipment:

  • Guard rails
  • Safety fences
  • Doors with interlocking closure
  • Accidental breakage protection
  • Cameras
  • Movement management

Thanks to these, you will minimize the risk of accidental injury for your workers and improve your safety record. You will also bring your plant up to safety standards based on government regulations.

Quality

Quality control (QC) of tissue and nonwovens products has becoming increasingly necessary for producers in order for them to meet the demands of their customers. Customers expect defect-free products, a difficult goal to achieve using legacy machinery. Retrofits can improve the quality of the product in two ways.

First, new software functions make it possible to conduct better winding of the product thanks to the possibility of automatically adjusting the speed and tension during the winding process. Second, the mechanical upgrades of the winder itself would place less stress on the product during the winding process, reducing the likelihood that the product would be damaged, wrinkled or otherwise inferior.

Operational efficiency

The goal of manufacturers is to produce the highest quality products in the shortest amount of time possible. In other words, efficiency has to be at its maximum. To obtain this, we must achieve a balance between speed and quality: If the speed of the production line is too high, we risk obtaining a defective product, but if it’s too low, productivity will be affected.

When it comes to machine settings, the key is to find the sweet spot that will allow you to determine the maximum speed at which the machines can operate without compromising the quality of the raw materials or final product.

The answer to achieving maximum operational efficiency is automation. Thanks to sensors installed on the machines, you can increase the speed of operations right up to the point at which the first defects are detected, allowing you to easily find the maximum speed at which you can operate without affecting the quality of the final product.

Best of all, you can determine these settings for various materials and save those settings for future operation. That way, you will know precisely what settings to use, depending on what materials you are working with at any given time.

Energy efficiency

Energy efficiency follows from operational efficiency. When you know the precise settings that will optimize operations, you will be able to minimize energy usage. You will also reduce production waste because you will have little to no product damage.

At the same time, simply by retrofitting your existing machinery and equipment, you are acting in a sustainable manner. You can:

  • Switch to high-efficiency motors that perform better and integrate better with new technologies
  • Use energy-monitoring technology to ensure your energy targets are met
  • Reduce waste by keeping the machines you already have and simply upgrading them to work more efficiently, instead of replacing them and meeting the consequent costs and waste

Retrofitting a tissue or nonwovens plant the right way

Retrofitting a tissue or nonwovens plant the right way

In order to implement a full retrofit of your plant the right way, you need to plan ahead and implement this activity in a way that will bring the most benefit to your company. This means doing the following:

  1. Develop a solid retrofit strategy – Take the time to determine the business objectives you want to reach with your retrofit. Whether it is increased efficiency, increased sustainability, increased safety or all of the above, you need to know precisely why you are doing what you are doing.
  2. Select the proper upgrades and technology – Work with an expert to determine where you need upgrades. There are many solutions that can ensure your tissue / nonwovens plant is operating at peak efficiency and with the latest technologies available.
  3. Ensure full security of all online systems, including encryption technology and identity verification.

Why choose retrofits by A.Celli?

Why choose retrofits by A.Celli?

A.Celli is a trusted partner for tissue and nonwovens companies. It is our mission to increase productivity, efficiency and safety for our customers.

A.Celli can count on a department dedicated to retrofits made up of senior mechanical and automation engineers. This enables us to modify legacy equipment both from automation design standpoint as well as the machine itself.

Our experts are available for technical consultations, equipment inspections and software and equipment updates, which can result in:

  • Optimization of machine productivity
  • Improvement in operating efficiency
  • Enhanced automation
  • Extended service life of machinery

Plus, in addition to being able to provide retrofits to their own machinery, A.Celli can do the same with machinery made by other manufacturers.

These are some examples of what A.Celli can do to update or retrofit your existing machines and systems:

  • Install new, high-efficiency motors equipped with software for energy monitoring
  • Slittomatic upgrade – a longitudinal cutting system that ensures high-quality production and reduces the positioning time of the slitting units (it is possible to position 45 slitting units in 2 minutes with the highest precision)
  • Tissue and Paper machine rebuilding
  • Pope Reel section upgrade – a rebuilding of your existing machine to increase automation and efficiency
  • Dust removal system custom-designed to reduce the dust originated by the slitting processes in the rewinding section
  • Fully automated roll ejector and core loading systems suitable for working with both tissue and cardboard
  • Unwinder web tension upgrade to automate the unwinding process
  • Change the operation of the machine from manual to automatic
  • Winding upgrades that include upgrades to slitting, drives and more

For more information about A.Celli’s updates and retrofits, please contact us today and book a consultation with our experts!

Improve your tissue and nonwovens plants