During the production of medium density fibreboard (MDF), high density fibreboard (HDF), some high pressure laminates (HPL), prepreg mats for the automotive and other industries and geotextiles, resins are most frequently applied into a turbulent flow of steam and fibres in a blowline. Resin and fibres are then flash dried from 100 % to 10% (or lower) moisture content (dry basis) in a high temperature air stream. The whole process from resin application to dried pulp takes under 4 seconds. Losses in resin effectiveness within this process degrade output quality, reduce new product opportunities and can cost each individual production line 0.75 million ECU/year. These losses are also linked to the relatively high formaldehyde emissions from the
drier gas outlet. The high speed of the resin application process, and the need to perform experiments on full-scale production plants (with the associated high costs this entails) have led to an empirical approach to blowline blending and drying. Blowline blending and resin changes are treated as an unknown 'black box' by equipment manufacturers, resin manufacturers and fibre processors alike.
The project will rigorously investigate blowline blending and resin changes during drying by combining the skills of resin chemists, board producers and a university wood fibre composites research group.
The project will entail :
- developing theoretical models of the blowline;
- development of new methods for assessment of the uniformity of the distribution
- performing a large number of univariate pilot scale experiments (impossible
to perform in industry);
- assessing the influence of production variables on the uniformity of resin
distribution and product strength;
- investigation of the potential of refiner blending as an alternative to blowline
- confirming the industrial relevance of the theoretical models and results of
pilot scale experiments with a small number of industrial scale trials in industry;
- determining the main resin and processing factors responsible for resinlosses;
- determining the main factors responsible for drier emissions.
The partnership includes a university with unique pilot plant, a research institute with theoretical physics expertise, a leading equipment manufacturer, a leading resin manufacturer, and a producer of MDF, HDF laminates and prepregmats. The route to market for the new technology is thus well established. Very substantial cost savings, improvements in product consistency, and reductions in environmental impact are expected to arise from the project.
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
2600 AA Delft