Siempelkamp to build complete rice straw fibreboard plant in America

The proposed plant layout for CalAg LCC

CalAg LCC is investing over US$315 million for its new rice straw fibreboard production plant in Willows, California.

The complete plant will be installed by Siempelkamp, featuring the complete range of machine technology worth EUR75 million. CalAg LLC signed the supply contract on June 14, shortly after it was acquainted with Siempelkamp’s technology at LIGNA this year.

The order includes the complete preparation technology for rice straw bales with bale twine remover and shredder by Pallmann, a daughter company of Siempelkamp. It also includes a cleaning system for the straw to remove coarse materials and dust. Pallmann will also supply two refiners for the fiberising 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 fibres is a design specially developed by Siempelkamp and designed to process rice straw.

The natural gas fibre 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 fibre 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.

The core component 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 seven per cent under full load operation and up to 14 per cent under partial load operation. Next to the further development of the mechanical and hydraulic machine components, the newly developed 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 American suppliers of wood-based products and main purchaser of the fibreboards. 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.

Rice straw is in abundance in the US. The country grows approximately 10 million metric tons of rice every year, ranking in eleventh place behind Japan.

With the new Siempelkamp plant, CalAg will produce 200,000 m³ of fiberboards annually. Start-up is expected in end 2018.