Milestone order characterized by green business concept and resource efficiency: The Californian CalAg LCC ordered from Siempelkamp a complete plant for the processing of rice straw

23 June 2017

Many years of research and development regarding the use of annual plants for the production of fiberboards provided Siempelkamp with a considerable technological edge which resulted in another major order from the USA. CalAg LLC commissioned Siempelkamp with the supply of a production plant for fiberboard made of rice straw. CalAg LCC is investing more than US$ 315 million for the new location in Willows, California. This order requests Siempelkamp’s complete range of services. From a single source Siempelkamp will plan, build, supply, install, and startup the entire machine technology for the Willows location amounting to an order value of € 75 million.

Rice straw, as raw material, is available in large quantities in North America. The USA grows approximately 10,000,000 metric tons of rice every year. This makes the United States one of the 20 largest rice producers in the world, ranking in eleventh place behind Japan. The main cultivation areas include the states of Mississippi, Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, and California. CalAg LLC signed the supply contract on June 14, shortly after it became known, at this year’s LIGNA 2017 in Hannover, that the required investment volume became available through public investors’ contributions. The future production location was financed by CalAg LLC by issuing bonds at the New York Stock Exchange.

The order includes the complete preparation technology for rice straw bales with bale twine remover and shredder by Pallmann, a 100 % daughter company of Siempelkamp, as well as a cleaning system for the straw to remove coarse materials and dust. Pallmann also supplies two refiners for the fiberizing of the rice straw. These refiners are equipped with horizontal digesters, a design typical for annual plants, to prevent material bridging. The cleaning system for separating silicate components from the fibers is a design specially developed by Siempelkamp and designed to process rice straw.

The natural gas fiber dryer designed for a material throughput of up to 32 metric tons/h bone-dry is supplied by Siempelkamp’s subsidiary Büttner. So are the energy plants needed for steam and heat generation. The front-end technology for fiber and mat preparation is supplied by the Italian subsidiary CMC. A special resin blending system with a turbo mixer will be used. This high-speed mixer processes isocyanate PMDI in a procedure developed by Siempelkamp.

ContiRoll® Generation 9: The new industry benchmark

The core component of the future production plant for rice straw fiberboards will be a 9th Generation ContiRoll ® press with its numerous innovations including, for example, the highly efficient drive motor ContiRoll Ecodrive. These motors provide the plant operator with energy savings of at least 7 % under full load operation and up to 14 % under partial load operation. Next to the further development of the mechanical and hydraulic machine components, the newly devel-oped Siempelkamp Press Controller, Sico SPC, controls the desired press forces and distances between the cylinders in the technological press zones of the ContiRoll® by means of modern hardware technology and precise sensor technology. The ContiRoll® will feature a variable press width of 8 – 10’ and a length of 35.4 m.

The finishing line will include a diagonal saw (rip-cut saw) which will cut exclusive sizes for Columbia Forest Products, one of the largest US-American suppliers of wood-based products and main purchaser of the fiberboards. Next to the sanding and stacking lines, a fully automatic storage system with warehouse vehicles and base carrier is also part of the scope of supply.

With the new Siempelkamp plant, CalAg will produce 200,000 m³ of fiberboards annually following the startup of the plant scheduled for the end of 2018.