Starch is one of the most important raw materials in the pulp and paper manufacturing process. It has many uses in a paper mill, including as a binder, water holding agent, and carrier for surface sizing chemicals. One North American kraft paper manufacturer needed a continuous starch cooker whose output feeds the paper machines. Because a starch cooker is a critical piece of capital equipment, the company turned to ProFlow, with our 30 years of experience in the pulp and paper industry, to design the right starch cooker for their process.
Inefficient, poorly designed starch handling systems can reduce availability, require cleaning and maintenance, and lead to product loss. In paper mills, where investments can involve tens or hundreds of millions of dollars of capital equipment, these challenges can have a big impact on the bottom line. Additionally, there is a fair amount of technical difficulty in the handling and moving of starch from a processing standpoint, because starch hardens quickly when it’s agitated. Because of this, it’s important to work with experienced partners on equipment that pumps and mixes starch. ProFlow has a tremendous amount of experience in combining solids with liquids in continuous processes.
Moreover, ProFlow has our own proprietary calculator to size the cooking coil and the jet cooker. Our customers only need to specify the type of starch and relevant characteristics, starch supplier, factory steam and water conditions, and the quantities to be produced. With these details, ProFlow can engineer and fabricate what is needed.
For this project, ProFlow built a continuous starch cooker that cooks 1200 lbs/hour of dry potato starch to 2-3.5% final solids, and the system includes an industrial screw feeder system for the solid starch, specialty industrial pumps, ProFlow’s proprietary Q-Jet™ cooker, multiple types of instrumentation to measure density, flows, and temperatures, and a comprehensive set of piping and valves all fitted on a modular stainless steel skid. ProFlow also designed and built a comprehensive control system that provides for automatic sequencing through startup, cooking and flushing cycles, allowing for waste minimization while producing quality starch for use on the paper machine. Automatic PID control is provided for all flows and temperatures to provide for optimal starch cooking conditions.
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