Global energy consumption due to friction in paper machines

Kenneth Holmberg (Corresponding Author), Roope Siilasto, Tarja Laitinen, Peter Andersson, Ari Jäsberg

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    93 Citations (Scopus)


    Calculations on the global energy consumption used to overcome friction in paper machines in terms of friction in motors, transmissions, pumps, blowers, agitators, pipes and the roll systems are presented. The following was concluded:

    – The energy consumed to overcome friction in a paper mill is in the range 15–25%.
    – Globally there were 8525 paper and paperboard machines in operation in 2012. One paper machine uses on an average 140 TJ of electrical energy per year. Of this 32% is consumed to overcome friction, 36% is used for the paper production and mass transportation and 32% is other losses.
    – The friction losses in an average paper machine are in total 44.8 TJ per year, and they are distributed as 32% due to friction in water-lubricated sliding in seals, doctor blades and fabric/support contacts, 23% due to friction in elastohydrodynamic rolling contacts, 22% due to friction in elastohydrodynamic rolling–sliding contacts, 15% due to friction in oil-lubricated seals and 8% due to friction in hydrodynamically lubricated contacts.
    – Worldwide 105,000 GWh electrical power was used in 2009 to overcome friction in paper machines. This equals to 381,000 TJ of annual energy consumption.
    – By taking advantage of new technology for friction reduction in paper machines, friction losses could be reduced by 11% in the short term (about 10 years), and by 23.6% in the long term (20–25 years). This would equal to annual worldwide economic savings of 2000 million euros and 4200 million euros; electricity savings of 36,000 and 78,000 GWh; and CO2 emission reduction of 10.6 million and 22.7 million tonnes.

    Potential mechanisms to reduce friction in paper machines include the use of low-friction and highly durable coatings, surface engineering including texturing, low-viscosity and low-shear lubricants and fluids, novel additives, new materials in seals, doctorblades and fabrics, as well as new designs.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)58-77
    JournalTribology International
    Publication statusPublished - 2013
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • energ
    • friction
    • lubrication
    • paper machine


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