Fit for Future – Rebuild of PM 5 in Oberkirch

As part of its corporate strategy geared towards sustainability and in order to further expand the market position of the PM5 line in Oberkirch for the production of high-quality specialty papers, Koehler Paper initiated a plant-wide modernization project with the "Pegasus 100" project. Increasing plant efficiency, reducing specific energy requirements, and making production more flexible for new grades were the main project goals for the PM5 rebuild.
In the course of the modernization, top priority was to be given to improving occupational safety.

The key success factors for target achievement were the rebuild of the press section and the coating unit, including contactless drying. The customized rebuild concept developed by Voith was implemented in two steps.

Part of the first rebuild step was the replacement of the old HSM coater with the 30-year-old inefficient IR dryer by a modern SpeedSizer AT paired with the innovative drying technology, the qDryPro Compact. Thanks to the integrated recirculation technology between the IR rows and the hot air section, the new high-performance drying system enables significantly higher drying efficiency despite the extremely compact design, which was particularly crucial due to the limited space available.

In the second rebuild step, the existing DuoCentri II press section was then converted to a modern DuoCentri NipcoFlex press with shoe press technology. The dry content increases due to the shoe press in the third nip enable not only increased production with reduced paper web draws and breaks, but also considerable steam savings in the pre-dryer section. The paper quality could also be improved. In order to be able to realize fast felt changes under high work safety criteria, the press section framing was also converted to a full-cantilever system.

Thanks to the excellent cooperation between Koehler and Voith, both steps of the rebuild were completed within a few shutdown days. In addition, the rebuild goals in terms of plant efficiency, energy savings, plant flexibility, occupational safety and paper quality were fully achieved. With the successful completion of the modernization project, PM5 in Oberkirch is ideally equipped for future-proof production.