Runtech Systems is a forerunner in the Pulp & Paper industry. Runtech offering includes vacuum systems. Runtech has been a pioneer in reducing the energy consumption of a paper machine vacuum system since the year 1989. As a part of the paper machine vacuum system, turbo blowers’ energy efficiency is the core priority for Runtech.
Runtech became a part of Gardner Denver family in 2018 which merged with another global giant Ingersoll Rand in 2020. Ingersoll Rand, Inc. (formerly Gardner Denver Inc.), is an American worldwide provider of industrial equipment, technologies and related parts and services to a broad and diverse customer base through a family of brands. The company has over 30 manufacturing facilities located in the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, and the Asia Pacific with offices in 35 different countries.
SpinDrive x Runtech reference video
Growing need for active magnetic bearings
Turbo blowers are low-pressure turbocompressors having usually only one impeller whereas medium-pressure compressors require at least two compressing stages. Turbo blowers work at high rotational speeds, typically operating at the range of 10 000 – 60 000 rpm.
Runtech has been exploring alternative bearing solutions to widen their product offering. Active magnetic bearings, known as frictionless and maintenance-free bearings, came into their consideration.
First R&D projects with SpinDrive team were initiated by the LUT University as piloting active magnetic bearings in 2016. With the successful piloting implementation of active magnetic bearings, Runtech decided to apply active magnetic bearings to one of their turbo blowers, RunEco EP1000.
Figure 1: Magma X800 Active Magnetic Bearing controller
Flexible business model and tailored solution provided by SpinDrive
SpinDrive differentiates itself from other players by its flexible business model. As most of the major magnetic bearing manufacturers provide a fixed package of magnetic bearings, the advantage of flexibility made it easier for Runtech to choose SpinDrive.
SpinDrive analyzed Runtech’s special needs and updated the system according to Runtech’s specific requirements. By cooperating with SpinDrive, Runtech got a partner who can provide a controller for an available bearing design and received support for the complete commissioning process.
“In this project, we started with helping to assess customer’s energy efficiency by testing the impeller at different operation points. Using the active magnetic bearing system with Magma controller capabilities we were able to test the system in an efficient manner and provided the data for the impeller redesign. As a result, an updated impeller improved customer’s system efficiency. It was verified to provide robust operation across the whole turbo blower operating range”, says Alexander Smirnov, CTO and co-founder of SpinDrive.
Figure 2: RunEco EP1000 with SpinDrive controller Magma X800 at Runtech test bunker
Significant system efficiency improvement
The superior compensation of the axial force with magnetic bearings allowed Runtech to update the impeller design and improve the process efficiency. Together with the application of active magnetic bearings, Runtech machines achieved over 60% wire-to gas efficiency over very wide operating area.
Additionally, active magnetic bearings eliminate friction providing a new option for customers that want even lower maintenance solution. Active magnetic bearings levitate the rotational part of the electric motor using electromagnetic forces. By levitating the rotor there is no contact between the rotating and stationary parts.
Moreover, AMBs eliminated the risk of oil leakage as the operation is totally oil-free and very robust against impeller build-up.
“Active magnetic bearing technology is a major leap towards more sustainable papermaking, with a very affordable total cost of ownership. 1 MW unit offers an unbeatable small footprint and material efficiency combined with low energy consumption over the lifetime of the product,” says Ville Lahdensuo, R&D Director, Runtech Systems.
Successful sales take off at PulPaper 2022
Runtech presented its RunEco EP 1000 turbo blowers featuring Magma AMB controller at PulPaper 2022 international industrial exhibition. RunEco EP1000 Turbo Blower is the biggest of RunEco models. It features an integrated 1,000 kW high-speed drive with a speed up to 11,500 rpm.
The first-ever variable speed, and variable capacity turbo blower, EP Turbo saves 30–70% in energy compared with traditional vacuum systems. It is a totally water-free solution with significant heat recovery potential.
With all the competitive advantages, Runtech successfully signed the first contract for the RunEco EP1000 turbo blower on the first day at PulPaper 2022. It indicates a clear demand for such turbo blowers equipped with active magnetic bearings globally.
Figure 3: RunEco EP 1000 turbo blower with AMBs at PulPaper 2022
“We really appreciate the flexible business model and the world-class expertise from SpinDrive. This project is just a start. We look forward to deepening our cooperation with SpinDrive and continuing the application of Magma X800 AMB controller in other machine models,” adds Ville Lahdensuo.