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Alan Choy


Fabric Tension and its Impact on Drying Rates of newsprint

Introduction and Background

The engineer was tasked with investigating the effect tension has on the drying rate of
newsprint paper. The purpose of this project was to possibly increase capacity of the mill
machines for greater efficiency. Previous Studies by Lang et al. have shown an increase in
drying rate when tension along the drying drums were increased using 50-70% solid paper,
similar to those found in modern newsprint paper. The governing equation for the contact
pressure is


Where T represents the drying fabric tension, and r is the radius of curvature of the
cylinder1. Typical operating fabric tensions range from 2.1 – 3.2 kN/m which produces reliable
results2 . There is a balancing act between tension and paper quality/degradation. Increasing
tension, will increase output at the expense of possible damaging the paper or the machinery.
Hence, the purpose of the investigation was to explore the possibility of increasing tension in
our current operations.

Methodology and Results

Four machines were tested to increase paper output, machine #1, #2, #4, and #5. The
average speed was found to be 350-400 meters/minute. Normal contact pressure between the
paper and drums were 1.4 - 3.4 kPa. Previous tests have shown the max tension without
breaking or quality degradation was 6 kPa. Hence, the target contact pressures for the test was
set at 1.4 - 5.7 kPa. As shown in the chart below, machine #1 had a mild increase in drying rate
as the tension increased from 1.4 to 3.5. Further tests need to be done to test machine #1 for
higher tensions. Machine #2 and #4 showed significant increase in drying rate as the tension
approached 5.7 kPa. The results from the test have also shown no quality issues with running
the machines at a higher tension. However, further studies need to be done to analyze the
effect on the machines’ bearings and longevity as they will be running off specification from the
manufacturer. A possible correlation of the results could mean an increase in tension only

Lang, I. "Drying Performance and Fabric Tension-Mill Trials." ANNUAL MEETING-PULP AND PAPER TECHNICAL
ASSOCIATION OF CANADA. Vol. 89. Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada; 1999, 2003.
Wedel “TIP 0404-04” NUMBER, OLD. "Recommended tensions in dryer fabrics."
Alan Choy

increases the drying rate at elevated temperatures because Machine #2 and #4 run at 113C
and 121C respectively. Machine #1 ran at 105C.

Drying Rate vs Normal Contact Pressure






0 1 2 3 4 5 6
Normal Contact Pressure (kPa)

1: Results from the Lab tech of varying tensions were plotted against the heat transfer coefficient


Although, the tests have been promising, other factors should be considered prior to making any
recommendations. The literature has suggested further tests with energy consumption be ran. Hastily
increasing the tension in our operations could result in quality errors such as over-drying or causing
excess wear on our machines. 3

Lang, I. "Effect of the dryer fabric on energy consumption in the drying section." Pulp & Paper
Canada 110.5 (2009): 33-37.