The results are in! Feltest’s first ever global papermakers survey 2021

The year 2021 has already shown us that the Paper Industry will be facing similar challenges to what we faced in 2020. Never before has the reliability of your Paper Machine Clothing been key to your operation’s continuity.

It was specifically for these reasons that Feltest decided to hold its first global papermakers survey in February 2021. With 2020 in hindsight and the rest of 2021 on the horizon, Feltest wanted to examine the challenges in the papermaking trade where PMC is an important factor. We would like to thank you for your contribution to this survey and are happy to share the results we received anonymously with you.

Nearly all continents are represented in the results of this survey which provides a truly global overview of our industry. Respondents have operations in North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Not only are these the locations where respondents to our survey are active, each geographic location also had its own response to the corona crisis. One striking result that could be directly attributed to the corona crisis and the travel restrictions imposed since the onset of the pandemic: 64% of respondents report that they received fewer PMC service calls than in 2019. 

Despite fewer PMC service calls and the corona crisis, for most respondents, production remained stable or even rose. Of all respondents, 46% reported the same production levels in 2020 as in 2019, and 36% reported even higher production levels. 18% reported lower production levels than in the previous year. These are just some of the findings of our survey.

Feltest is happy to share its PMC knowledge with papermakers as well as with PMC suppliers, who also play a very significant role in our industry, so that we can improve PMC performance. By exploiting the complete potential of PMC, we can rise to an even higher level of operational excellence and at the same time, find more ways to reduce even more costs. 

Here are the results of our first-ever Papermakers survey:

1. What was your production output in 2020 compared to 2019?

46% of respondents reported production levels equal to 2019.

36% reported a rise in production levels in 2020 compared to 2019. 

Production levels dropped for only 18% of respondents in 2020. 

2. The number of service calls by PMC service engineers in 2020 was:

64% indicated that the number of PMC service calls in 2020 was lower than in 2019. This could possibly be related to the Covid restrictions. 

27% had the same amount of PMC service calls as in 2019.

Only 9% indicated that more PMC service calls were made in 2020.

3. On how may many different wet-end positions did you run trials in 2020?

18% carried out 0 trials on wet-end positions.

46% carried out trials on 1 wet-end position.

9% carried out trials on 2 wet-end positions.

18% performed trials on 3 wet-end positions.

Only 9% carried out trials on 4 wet-end positions.

* We did not make a difference between paper grades or machine types, but stating that an ‘average machine’ has 5 wet-end positions (2 forming and 3 pressings) we consider it a good development that 36% of the respondents did trials on 2 or more positions. Things can always be made better and as the British say, “the proof of the pudding is in the eating”.

4. How many wet-end trial fabrics (forming fabrics, press felts) did you run in 2020?

37% of respondents indicated that no PMC trials in de wet-end were performed. 

27% performed 1 PMC trial in de wet-end.

27% performed 2 PMC trials in de wet-end.

Only 9% carried out 3 PMC trials in de wet-end.

* If the ‘average machine’ uses approx. 27 felts 8 forming fabrics per year, the total number of trials seems rather low. Mills don’t want to be a guinea pig, but they do need to improve output. In a next edition of our survey, we want to dive a little deeper into this dilemma. 

5. What was your main objective for the trials?

46% performed PMC trials to prolong PMC lifetime.

18% wanted to reduce the number of production disruptions.

18% wanted to improve paper quality. 

The objective of the final 18% was to increase machine speed. 

6. What are your goals for your machine in 2021?

The goals for machines in 2021 are highly diverse. 

28% want to extend the PMC lifetime.

27% want to reduce the number of production disruptions. 

The objective of another 27% of respondents is to increase machine speed. 

10% want to achieve a higher quality of paper. 

10% is working on lowering PMC and/or paper costs.

Together toward better Paper Machine Clothing

Feltest can help you to reduce production disruption, prolong the lifetime of your PMC and save costs (of PMC or paper).
Schedule a 15-minute call with Marcel to discuss any PMC related problems. Book your free consultation right now or contact us by e-mail.

Looking forward to assisting you on PMC issues to maximize the runnability of your paper machine.

Or let our whitepaper “How to Assess Press Felts” inspire you, read more.