Impact of CeraEdge™ Creping Blades on Tissue Production During A Pandemic
Five years ago, the CeraEdge™ creping blade product line was launched for use in the tissue industry. The following year Kadant Solutions expanded its manufacturing capacity for the product line in the U.S.
Who could predict after five years we’d be in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic leading to an increased demand in tissue production? I had the opportunity for a video call with Jerry Vandoros, technical director at Kadant Solutions, to talk about the positive impact ceramic-tipped creping blades are having on tissue production during the global pandemic.
V: What trends have you seen in the last six months since the global pandemic lockdown?
J: One unexpected consequence of the pandemic is the unprecedented demand for consumer tissue and towel. Many people, including myself, experienced the disappointment of not being able to find a preferred toilet paper brand from the store. I recently read an article from the American Forest & Paper Association that graphically depicted the drastic increase in tissue production in the first few months of the year. In March, tissue mills produced 700,000 short tons of parent roll tissue which works out to more than four pounds of tissue for each U.S. resident.
With the increase in demand, some manufacturers shifted their standard production to bath tissue. A consequence of these production changes is increased demand for quality blade performance. The goal is to make as much high-quality product as possible with minimal disruption and downtime.
Also, the various travel restrictions and lockdowns have led to interruptions in supply of critical consumables and spares especially from overseas.
V: With tissue mills running at capacity with all-hands-on-deck what can be done to avoid disruption?
J: When a mill is focused on pushing out as many tons as possible it is crucial to keep equipment running at optimal levels. A significant and often overlooked component to this is ensuring there are no upsets in the supply of critical consumables and spares. This is where Kadant Solutions has been able to step up. Because we were deemed an essential business, our facilities have continued to operate at full capacity. We continue to shift priorities to meet the market demand. Also, our U.S. facilities allow for quick, uninterrupted supply.
V: Earlier you spoke about the increased demand for quality blade performance. We suggest the CeraEdge™ creping blade to help with blade performance. Can you refresh readers on what makes this blade family of products perform with such efficiency?
J: First, the blade has a proprietary thermal spray process that’s a bit different than the other materials on the market. This results in a very dense coating that is resistant to chipping and micro-cracking. Second, the blade wears very smooth and resists dishing away at the creping shelf. The tissue maker will notice smooth wear profiles, less dust, and the capability to maintain important quality parameters such as softness for longer periods of time.
V: What immediate benefits will customers see when switching and using CeraEdge creping blades?
J: Strong performance! While performance is important the additional benefits are our supply and personnel support.
Manufacturing CeraEdge creping blades in the U.S. allows us to serve customers in the U.S. quickly and efficiently with shorter lead times and easier inventory management at the mill site. It’s worth mentioning that with a supply agreement and blanket purchase order, we can react even quicker when blades are needed. Shipping product overseas can expose the material to undue stress, cause quality defects in the material, and add weeks to the lead time.
In addition to the supply chain advantages, our applications engineers and service team are available for mill visits. We understand the challenges facing mills in today’s environment and are ready to adapt.