Kadant Black Clawson: 140 Years of Imagination to Industrialization
This year Kadant Black Clawson, a subsidiary of Kadant Inc., celebrates its 140-year anniversary. We met with Mr. Peter Flynn, president of Kadant Black Clawson, and several members of his management team to learn what has driven success in this dynamic and innovative organization.
“Since 1873, our job has been to make quality equipment for pulp and papermakers,” said Flynn. “Many of our innovations have become preferred products, modified and improved to remain top choices for decades.
"There's no pulp and paper region in the world that doesn't have a Hydrapulper® pulping machine and Hydrapurge™ reject defibering system for better processing and utilization of recycled fiber…a success story that began a century ago and continues today. I mention the Hydrapulper and Hydrapurge, but could have just as easily been talking about our FibreWall™ screen cylinders, which have only been part of Kadant for five years, or even Noss cleaning and approach flow equipment, which was acquired just this year. With the FibreWall cylinder, we acquired a superior technology and took it global very quickly. With Noss, we expanded our product range to strengthen our offerings to the chemical and dissolving pulp segments."
Continues Flynn, "Our core competence has always been to develop and manufacture outstanding inventions for the benefit of our customers with an emphasis on understanding the process and utilizing our application expertise. And always seeking to offer a compelling return on the investment to our customers who operate in a challenging economic environment due in large part to the cyclical nature of the industry and the global economy."
1873 happened to be the year of a major global depression, based on an oversupply of silver. The entire world economy was in turmoil. But, it didn't stop the willpower and momentum that won contracts for Black Clawson's roll-grinding and paper machine repair. Just a few years later, the talents of Peter Black and Linus Clawson produced a fourdinier machine for Harding Paper.
Adds Flynn, "Simply put, we have always excelled at making and servicing innovative equipment that maximizes pulp and papermaking efficiency and helping our customers make better products. The best proof of value for our complete stock preparation system is the high rate of reorders from loyal customers."
From virgin to recycled and back again
Woody Tyler, vice president, sales and marketing, Kadant Black Clawson, notes that the company's long recycled fiber tradition actually has roots in virgin fiber, which represents a key area for growth in the coming years.
Says Tyler, "Utilizing our evaporation and recausticizing systems along with the Chemi-Washer® horizontal belt washer, we offer a significant step forward for pulp mills seeking quality improvement, energy reduction, and environmental compliance.
"Back in 1998 we acquired the Goslin recausticizing and evaporator technology. The evaporator technology has been vastly improved to increase solids and improving system uptime.
"In addition, innovations in the recausticizing process for recovering cooking chemicals in the kraft and soda processes provide solutions to improve existing overloaded equipment performance. This technology is incorporated in our new equipment design as well.
"The Chemi-Washer® horizontal belt washer system offers a unique, single machine approach to pulp washing, providing simplicity of operation, water economy, and high washing efficiencies. Coupled with our proven line of knotting and screening technology, we can deliver results on a wide range of pulping processes."
Adds Tyler, "Our latest design evaporation system for a southern US mill has run for three years without a forced boilout. Our customer considers our evaporation system their gold standard for evaporation systems. The evaporator train we recently delivered started up and achieved design flow plus 10% within a week of start-up. We build for the long term, because that's our tradition. When you observe the history of pulp and paper, we have always been on the scene as an innovator and reliable partner."
Future in Dissolving Pulp
Notes Tyler, "Kadant is well positioned to have a leadership role in developing markets like dissolving pulp. The recently acquired Noss brand, having its own 50-year history, is an ideal fit as it expands our current offerings in approach flow for recycled and virgin fiber lines."
Adds Flynn, "Coming from Sweden, their applications know-how and technology capability is deep. They are an ideal extension for us, because of their offerings for screening, hydrocycloning, and deaeration for both virgin and recycled fiber lines. Now, we have yet another advantage to offer our customers when it comes to approach flow equipment and optimization for recycled and virgin fiber, as well as dissolving pulp.
Material Advances Reduce Maintenance
According to Chris Demler, vice president, technology, Kadant Black Clawson, "Our product development initiatives have made a significant impact in reducing the operational and maintenance costs of fiber processing. To achieve even more value for customers, we are constantly evaluating new technologies and innovations in materials used in system machinery and components.
"Utilizing computational fluid dynamics and other engineering tools are an important part of our ongoing progress to refine and enhance our product offerings. We have switched from conventional materials to wear resistant alloys, contributed by metrologists and manufacturing technology gurus outside of the pulp and paper industry.
"Lower machine loads and reduced wear rates, which extend service life of many expensive machine components, are another positive trend."
When BC became KBC
An important milestone in Kadant Black Clawson's history happened sixteen years ago, when it became part of Thermo Fibertek Inc., a subsidiary of Thermo Electron (now Thermo Fisher Scientific) headquartered in Waltham, Massachusetts. In 2001, Thermo Fibertek was spun off from Thermo Electron as an independent, publicly-traded company and renamed Kadant Inc. with Kadant Black Clawson becoming the name for its Black Clawson subsidiary.
With headquarters in Mason, Ohio, Kadant Black Clawson has a manufacturing facility in Theodore, Alabama and affiliate manufacturing sites in Jining, China and Vitry, France. In addition to Mason, Ohio, the company operates a sales office in Montreal, Canada and supports new market development efforts in China as well as other regions of the world.