North American Tissue News

Despite COVID-19 Kimberly-Clark rebuilds tissue machine

Find out how Kimberly-Clark managed to overcome pandemic travel restrictions to start a fully rebuilt tissue machine.

For manufacturers of toilet paper and tissue, the work in 2020 was 24/7. Consumption of these products worldwide increased greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic, in part because people are working and spending most of their time indoors.

In an article, Control comments that Kimberly-Clark was already rebuilding an old tissue paper machine to meet the increased demand.

Kimberly-Clark operates several U.S. mills, but it had a machine that had to be rebuilt at its plant in Mobile, Ala. It was installed in 1965, and had reached the end of this useful lifecycle. It had GE drives controlling its large motors, and a Honeywell TDC 2000 distributed control system (DCS) and Modicon Quantum programmable logic controllers (PLCs) for its distributed I / O points.

“All of these systems were obsolete, and they’d just limped along for a long time,” said Gabriel Pacheco, electrical engineer and project lead, Kimberly-Clark Professional. “It was hard to find replacement parts and the technical knowledge for maintenance.”

According to Control, Pacheco presented his team’s experience in “Delivering a new tissue machine in a COVID-19 world” this week at the Process Solutions User Group virtual event held as part of Rockwell Automation Fair at Home.

Among other matters, Pacheco reported that the reconstruction of the tissue machine was authorized in January 2018, started its shutdown and demolition in September 2019 and was scheduled to start in April 2020. However, as in so many other developments, it was derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The old machine produced its last roll of tissue in September 2019, demolition and construction lasted six months, and we planned to check out new equipment in March 2020 with people coming from different parts of the US and other countries. COVID-19 changed all that, and we had to come up with a new timeline,” said Pacheco. “We had to implement social distancing for the equipment checkout and startup crews onsite. Then, on April 3, we had a COVID-19 case reported in another area of ​​the mill, and all of our machine suppliers had to go back home. This made it seem like our original April 13 startup wasn’t going to happen. “

Despite the situation, Pacheco reported that his team and their supplier partners figured out how to set up remote support, which would allow everyone to see the machine’s components and continue their efforts.

“We completed commissioning on April 20, and on May 9, we were making paper again.” Pacheco finished.

See Control’s full story here.

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