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2011 Voith Energy Optimisation Conference

South African mills currently experience only a third of the energy price level of the US, China and Europe. Any celebration of our relative savings will be short-lived, however, as the energy price pressure experienced by our European competitors is moving speedily south. This forthcoming increase in energy prices motivated Voith to host an energy optimisation conference in Johannesburg and Durban – the first event of its kind to be hosted locally by Voith – which was successfully attended by a by full range of top management and process operators.

According to Tony Joseph, Voith Sales Manager for South Africa, the objective of the Voith Energy Optimisation Conferences was to "wake up the industry to numerous small issues that can be fixed and optimised, and to stimulate discussion". What was particularly exciting to attending delegates was the role that the Voith Energy Optimisation Conference played in not introducing one particular technology, but reminding the industry that there are many technologies available to reduce energy usage. "One particular technology may be better suited to a mill than another, but the fact that there is a choice is what makes it so invigorating," explained Peter Haider, Voith Vice President: Sales Products and Services, who also attended the Johannesburg and Durban events.

Addressing energy optimisation
Just as there is a wide range of available technologies, so too is there still real potential for optimisation throughout the papermaking process. Although steam and condensate management generally offer the most potential for energy reduction, such potential is mill-specific; papermakers therefore need to evaluate the entire manufacturing process for more (effective) opportunities.

As Tony Joseph explains, "You need to identify before you can quantify the potential for energy optimisation". In order to do so, Voith promotes the implementation of what it calls the "Partner Approach" – an audit that is provided as an up-front service from Voith. This form of auditing reduces the risk for the mill and loads it onto Voith as the supplier, who commits to investment return post-implementation through a written agreement clarifying the conditions after the potential analysis. The differences between the partner model and the traditional audit model can be tabulated as follows:

Traditional Model Partner Model
Customer purchases audit with unsure result - risk on customer Audit defines potential and rebuild from one partner who takes responsibility for result - risk is shared and project handling costs are reduced
Payment after order Investment costs base on achieved return on invest / savings per annum
Implementation of energy saving proposals are independent of audit - customer receives report with suggestions for improvement partner Audit and execution of energy saving rebuilds are both conducted by Voith

The partnership approach towards audits procedure involves the following:
1. Potential analysis / Bird view to check possible savings
2. Decision of audit conditions
a) traditional model
b) Bonus Model
3. Conduct audit to localise and suggest saving potential
4. Implement saving suggestions

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