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21 Jun 2018

The Valtellina (Northern Italy) company, Italian excellence in the production of corrugated cardboard packaging, chooses the flexibility and efficiency of the Cannon Bono Energia HE Smart boiler.

Since 1952 Ghelfi Ondulati has been producing and printing corrugated board, transforming it into packaging, displays and containers that protect products, communicating their value in a very effective way.

In the plant of Buglio in Monte (SO), 140 employees produce over 70 million square meters of cardboard each year for the Italian and European markets.

Competence, quality, flexibility and continuous innovation are the distinctive competitive factors of the company and just a simple visit to the production plant can confirm these positive aspects.

Order, cleanliness, space rationalization, cutting-edge machinery and technology mirror professionalism and a true passion for work, that are translated into strong attention to customer and active collaboration with suppliers.

The key component of the plant is the up-to-date BHS corrugator, a unique production line that crimps and combines different kind of papers, cutting them to size, ready for the printing, realized in that same factory.

Company’s needs with respect to the thermal power plant

A basic ingredient to ensure quality and productivity without waste of material is the heat, generated by pressure steam produced by the thermal plant, an essential element of the factory, as stated by Ing. Matteo Casti, Cardboard Production Manager in Ghelfi: “The boiler is fundamental, without it nothing works! It serves the most important equipment in the plant, the whole production go through the corrugating machine. Today we follow the lean philosophy, so a machinery downtime means a downtime of all the production plant in a couple of hours.

Reliability is therefore a primary requirement for the company that is characterized by high energy-consuming processes, as highlighted by Casti:

The cost of the product is heavily affected by energy costs, and the uncertainty on gas and electricity prices has to be considered as well. All savings in this field are important. Efficiency, that is energy consumption reduction, is fundamental“.
The production requires to the thermal plant a high day-time load and a low night-time load, as during the night the production is reduced and only some technical rooms have to be kept warm.

Before the refurbishment of the thermal power plant, two steam generators were used: one that worked at high loads and the other at lower loads.

“The situation – Casti affirms – was not satisfying: the increasing daytime production needs, were not fulfilled by the main boiler that was undersized by that time. And the smaller boiler, less reliable, was not able to support the night production, causing delays in the production plans. In any case the intervention of skilled personnel to turn on a boiler and switch off the other, was always needed; e.g. around five o’clock in the morning it was necessary to turn on the main boiler in order to ensure the start of production two hours later.”

It was clear that the thermal power plant was not suitable to support the Ghelfi Ondulati’s high quality and very flexible production; the company fully embraces the “lean” philosophy, meaning no waste of any kind, including energy. In order to meet the needs of the company – reliability, energy efficiency, loads flexibility and ease of use, in safe conditions – an intervention to improve the thermal plant performances was required.

The Cannon Bono Energia solution

Steam generator efficiency

Cannon Bono Energia has proposed a solution able to meet all the company’s needs.

The HE Smart steam generator operates at a 97.5% record efficiency, within the typical paper mill working conditions: very high temperature feed water, up to 160°C.

In fact, the feed water has significant percentages of condensates returning from the utilities.

The Cannon Bono Energia in-house developed heat recovery system, keeps the chimney flue gases temperature constantly low (max 85 °C) avoiding the harmful phenomenon of condensation in the chimney or even in the boiler itself.

Low temperatures at the chimney mean few heat wasted through flue gases, maximizing the use of the heat produced by combustion and obtaining an extremely high thermal efficiency.

The traditional solutions “boiler + economizer” or “boiler + air preheater” would allow to reach a maximum efficiency of 93% and 95% respectively: the former by releasing flue gas at 160 °C and the latter using large heat exchange surfaces and expensive combustion technologies, in order to comply with the NOx emissions limits provided by the law.

The boiler performances can be verified directly by the feed water temperature indicator and by the electronic control panel Bono Optispark: at a water temperature of 150 °C corresponds an 80 °C flue gas temperature. The 97.5% of the energy content of the fuel is transformed into heat dedicated to the production process.

Flexibility and integration with the production plant

The He Smart boiler supplied to Ghelfi Ondulati is equipped with management modules that allow a very flexible steam production, able to quickly meet the load variations required by the plant, maintaining a high level of efficiency even at lower loads.

Restarting, night stand-by and a proper control of transients reduce heat losses during stops, thus further reducing energy consumption. This is possible because the boiler and the corrugator (the primary utility) are considered a unique system: “The boiler communicates with the management system of the corrugator – Casti explains – and without any human intervention, the machine has already been heated at a proper temperature at seven in the morning, thus the production plant is ready to start at the beginning of the shift. At the end of the production cycle the steam demand stops, the boiler receives this input and goes into hot standby. The system is ready to restart automatically the following day, or the following week if it is Friday, according to the production plan.

The hot night stand-by ensures, with the same boiler, the heat needed for less energy-consuming night-time productions”.

The Cannon Bono Energia Optispark automation and control system, tailor made for the specific application, is the “intelligent heart” of the thermal plant that makes the boiler work at its optimum point, providing the required performances and the guaranteed level of efficiency.

Thanks to the addition of the “integration module”, the boiler automatically sets itself to face the utility’s requests, managing transients and restarting. Furthermore the module allows the 72/h automatic unattended operation, highly appreciated by the company: “this aspect is very useful from an operative point of view, as high-level technician can be engaged in other activities. Moreover, carrying out a manual check only once every 3 days, the risk of machine start-up delays related to unforeseen events or to possible omissions in the control test sequence is reduced. In this case, automation increases safety and availability of the plant “, Casti continues.

Remote control and assistance

The boiler is connected to the Cannon Bono Energia remote assistance service for continuous monitoring of the efficiency and status of the machine, allowing a quick diagnosis of possible anomalies.

The cloud-based data acquisition system does not interfere with any other data transmission systems of the company, as it is totally independent of the customer’s network.

In addition to the boiler operating data (operating hours, pressure, temperature, levels, emissions and efficiency), the system records operation data of pumps, fan, and burner and of the related control loops. Through the elaboration of a series of algorithms, the Optispark system provides the diagnosis of the boiler: it verifies its “state of health“ and foresees possible anomalies or variations in performance, relieving the user from detecting, recording and interpreting the information shown by the instrumentation.

The HE Smart steam generator is therefore particularly suitable to feed high energy-consuming production plants, characterized by high temperatures condensates and significant load changes in “lean manufacturing” conditions.

These are the main reasons why Ghelfi Ondulati has chosen again Cannon Bono Energia:

“The assistance and the cooperation demonstrated by the supplier have represented one of the discriminating elements in the choice of the new solution for our thermal plant. The other decisive aspect has been the guarantee – effectively detected – of 97.5% efficiency with a 150° -160 ° C feed water, without any condensation.
This aspect certainly represents the uniqueness of HE Smart steam generator solution by Cannon Bono Energia”
The Cannon Bono Energia after-sales service and R&D will keep monitoring the Valtellina thermal plant to maintain and improve the level of performances, supporting an “excellence” in the Italian paper industry.