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New fiber from textile waste – Elomatic helps Infinited Fiber Company in their important mission

Author Elomatic Oy
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Infinited Fiber Company’s technology is globally unique. Thanks to it, textile waste can be transformed into high-quality fiber for the use in the textile industry. Elomatic has played a key role in building and developing the pilot production, and now the companies will continue their cooperation within Infinited Fiber Company’s factory project in Kemi.

 

Did you know that every second, a truckload of textile waste ends up either delivered to a landfill or to be burned?* Infinited Fiber Company offers a solution to this: their patented technology allows transforming textile waste into new, cotton-like textile fiber that can be used to make hoodies, jeans, shirts and dresses. Many big global brands like adidas, H&M and Tommy Hilfiger already sell clothes made from this fiber.

Infinited Fiber operates currently in pilot production scale. A production plant is planned to be built in Kemi, and the implementation phase will start in late 2023, followed by an approximately two-year project before the plant can be commissioned.

Backed by revolutionary technology

Infinited Fiber Company’s success is based on a technology whose development started decades ago. The main benefit of the technology is that cotton-rich recycled textiles can be used as the raw material for cellulose carbamate. The company was established in 2016 to commercialize this invention.

Regulation has also helped the company to thrive. The European Commission made collecting textile waste mandatory by the year 2025 and in Finland separate collection of textile waste will start already at the beginning of 2023. Naturally, the collected textiles must be put to use, and Infinited Fiber Company’s solution is a prime example of this.

Elomatic has been a world-class trusted partner for Infinited Fiber Company

Elomatic has played a key role in building and developing Infinited Fiber Company’s pilot plants. For example, the company has helped in choosing the equipment for various parts of the process and consulted on how to best combine them. Over the years, the cooperation has expanded to the conceptual and basic design of the Kemi plant.

Elomatic’s first commission was conceptual design of a carbamate line in Jyväskylä. Elomatic already had previous experience in carbamation equipment.

– Carbamation is a key part of our process. If we did not have a world-class partner in that area, we would not be able to create value for our own customers, says Petri Alava, CEO and co-founder of Infinited Fiber Company.

“Elomatic’s desire to be an active participant in creating something new has been very significant. That is key in supporting sustainable development and solving global challenges.”

Elomatic’s experience has shown

Elomatic has several decades of experience from the process industry. According to Tero Taipale, COO of Infinited Fiber Company, this has proven to be tremendously useful along the way.

– We have found good equipment solutions. Identifying all of them by ourselves would have been a difficult process, says Taipale.

Taipale also commends Elomatic’s flexible and solution-oriented approach to work as well as the company’s versatile expertise, especially in bio product and chemical equipment technology. Elomatic’s Project Manager Heikki Pirilä says that Elomatic’s team has been able to solve all the development issues Infinited Fiber Company has brought up.

– This is new technology, after all, and we have had to understand what is important and then identify suitable solutions, he says.

 The two companies are joined by their will to create something new

Infinited Fiber Company aims for the global market and intends to license their technology to other companies. Fiber is being produced for commercial sale already during the pilot phase.

– We have always been able to trust in Elomatic’s professionalism and everything has run precisely and smoothly, says Taipale, summing up.

According to Taipale, Elomatic’s desire to be an active participant in creating something new has been very significant. That is key in supporting sustainable development and solving global challenges.

Pirilä is excited to continue in the project.

– This is entirely new on a global scale and I am very excited to get to manage this project on Elomatic’s behalf, he says.

 

*Ellen MacArthur Foundation, A new textiles economy: redesigning fashion’s future, 2017
Elomatic Oy

Elomatic is a leading European consulting and engineering company and a global software provider. We focus on solutions that improve the well-being of people and the environment.

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Elomatic helped VTT scale up a bio-based solution to replace packaging plastic

Author Elomatic Oy
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A transparent cellulose film, developed by VTT, is a more environmentally friendly option for plastic. It will help solve various plastic-related challenges. Elomatic played a big role in the development of the solution by creating the test machine line needed for manufacturing.

 

In addition to protective properties, it is important that packaging material allows the consumer to see the product. The transparent film developed by VTT makes use of recrystallized cellulose. This is a significant solution as it allows replacing packaging plastic produced using fossil raw materials.

The film can be used for a variety of purposes, such as replacing plastic films and cling films. It is easy to recycle because it is made of cellulose and as such it can be sorted together with cardboard. The solution can be put into widespread industrial use within 5–7 years.

Elomatic’s expertise made the solution feasible

A reliable partner was needed to create the machine line needed for manufacturing the film. The search was not difficult, as VTT has a long history with Elomatic. Over the years, the companies have created a way of working that suits both parties.

– We start peeling the onion layer by layer, identifying the best combination of different possible solutions. In other words, we do not just select a solution and then stick to come what may, but rather throughout the project we continually consider what is the best way to do the task at hand, says Ali Harlin, Research Professor at VTT.

– For this project, we created a virtual design team in cooperation with Elomatic. This was not the usual client-supplier relationship, but instead we solved various challenges collaboratively, he says.

Experts from various fields participated in the project

The starting point was a paper drawn by VTT that used a few simple shapes to outline the phases that the machine line needed to have. VTT had an idea on what they needed and Elomatic was responsible for coming up with the required machinery solutions.

One of Elomatic’s key advantages is having a variety of designers: not only mechanical designers but also calculation and process experts as well as people from the fields of electricity, instrumentation, automation and visualization.

– Our strength is being able to manage a variety of projects, in addition to designing. This was a typical EPCM project, where we managed as many aspects of the project as possible on the customer’s behalf: we requested tenders from machine shops, compared them and presented options on where to order different items from, says Vesa Suoranta, Project Manager for Elomatic.

 

“VTT had understood the significance of having a concept and engaging in preliminary design. We also made use of 3D models in preliminary design and only then proceeded to more detailed design.”

A surprise in starting up the machine line

The project progressed well and VTT commended Elomatic at several points. One phase that the project team remembers especially clearly is starting up the machine line, which succeeded on the first try.

– Usually, when you start up a machine for the first time, something will go wrong, but this time that did not happen, Harlin recalls.

The project focused on functionality from the outset and relied heavily on testing. The user participated in the assembly throughout and errors were anticipated from the beginning.

– It was a striking moment for myself too, when I saw the product coming out the machine and our work came full circle, says Suoranta.

Preliminary design was key for the project’s success

Suoranta feels the project was a success in all areas. He highlights how well VTT had understood the significance of having a concept and engaging in preliminary design.

Harlin says having modern design tools at their disposal helped a lot. For example, they utilized augmented reality to see what the final solution would look like already at an early stage.

– We also made use of 3D models in preliminary design and only then proceeded to more detailed design, further specifying the model and creating the final schematics. Otherwise, we may not have been able to fulfill all of VTT’s wishes, Suoranta adds.

A successful project was built on trust

Suoranta feels that commitment to the project by VTT’s management was of key importance for the success of the project. And the cooperation running smoothly was not insignificant either. The project group met with VTT’s researchers as often as once per week.

– Working with people from VTT was pleasant. They understand the need for consideration in this kind of work and that the solution does not just appear all of a sudden, says Suoranta.

Harlin agrees on the cooperation going well.

– We worked in a good and professional atmosphere. Throughout the project we could trust in being able see the project through.

Elomatic Oy

Elomatic is a leading European consulting and engineering company and a global software provider. We focus on solutions that improve the well-being of people and the environment.

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Vaasan Sähkö has commissioned Elomatic to design and project manage a future heat pump plant

Author Elomatic Oy
Posted on

Vaasan Sähkö will have a plant built at the Pått wastewater treatment plant to recover waste heat from treated wastewater. The heat will be fed into the district heating network, where it will be sufficient to meet the needs of almost 2,000 private homes. Elomatic is responsible for the entire project, from the planning and procurement phase to construction management and commissioning. The project has gotten off to a good start, and the pieces have fallen into place for seamless cooperation.

 

Vaasan Sähkö’s heat pump plant is a great example of the circular economy: one investment that utilizes waste heat equivalent to the annual heating energy of all the private homes in Vaasan Sähkö’s district heating network.

Elomatic has designed heat pump plants before, especially for industrial applications. However, this is the largest overall project. Interest in similar projects has clearly increased, and Elomatic is currently working on the concept design of another similar solution.

– Heat pumps have developed so rapidly in recent years that this kind of heat recovery has become profitable, says Anne Kujanpää, Project Manager at Elomatic.

In cities, district heating is the fastest way to move to a zero-emission era

The Pått wastewater treatment plant treats wastewater from the entire city of Vaasa and part of the wastewater from the neighboring municipalities of Mustasaari and Maalahti. The waste heat from the treated water is fed into the district heating network.

“It is better to invest in one efficient heat pump system instead of forcing a couple of thousand single-family home owners in our region to switch their heating to zero emissions themselves,” says Juha-Matti Karvala, Project Manager at Vaasan Sähkö.

According to Karvala, the district heating network serves as a platform for a circular economy, and the Pått heat pump plant is a good example.

“Heat recovery is definitely the way of the future,” Kujanpää adds.

Elomatic brings a wide range of expertise to the project

The project, which started in early 2022, is now in the contracting phase. Elomatic is the EPCM supplier for the project, which means that in addition to design and procurement, it is responsible for construction management and commissioning.

“This is a major project for Vaasan Sähkö and EPCM’s implementation is a good fit, as we want to be involved in the project throughout its life cycle,” says Karvala.

“In addition to extensive planning expertise, supervision and coordination, Elomatic will provide us with up-to-date reporting on the overall progress of the project, including forecasts and necessary decisions,” he continues.

Elomatic’s solid experience shows

At Elomatic, the aim is always to select the project team such a way that the expertise of each individual is utilized in the best possible way. Most of the designers involved in the project have experience in industrial projects over a longer period of time. Some have been involved in heat pump projects before.

“Yes, it shows that the designers are experienced. The most important thing is that they are able to carry out their work to a high standard within their own experience and that information is passed between different locations,” Kujanpää says.

“When cooperation is smooth, the work is a pleasure”

The project is well on schedule, and construction is expected to start in October 2022.

“Our cooperation has been great, and Elomatic has managed the whole thing smoothly,” says Karvala.

“Vaasan Sähkö has a team of experts involved who have put a lot of effort into the project. We have managed to get things done together in a really good team spirit,” says Kujanpää.

Kujanpää stresses the importance of people enjoying their work and a good and open atmosphere.

“Good communication, both within the project team and with the client, helps to achieve a good outcome in all respects,” she says.

 

About the project

What: Waste heat recovery from treated wastewater
Price: approx. EUR 11 million
Grant: EUR 1.9 million investment grant from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment
Energy: 50–60 gigawatt hours (GWh) of heat/year
Planned commissioning: end of 2023

Elomatic Oy

Elomatic is a leading European consulting and engineering company and a global software provider. We focus on solutions that improve the well-being of people and the environment.

Intelligent Engineering

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