Kelva : The inventor of industrial web cleaning

Manufacturer of web cleaning equipment and having more than 50 years experience with industrial dust removal in reel-to-reel and sheet-fed production processes.

Interview with Mr.Dhwanil Mehta, Area Sales Manager – Asia & MEA markets

Paper Desk : Could we know more about Kelva?

Dhwanil Mehta : KELVA is very familiar industry brand name as far as web cleaning is concerned. Over the past five decades, KELVA has established itself as inventor and pioneer of web cleaning technology in this global market.

KELVA is the world’s leading supplier of web and sheet cleaning solutions for the treatment and converting of material such as paper, corrugated board, fabric, non-woven, film or glass, removing smallest particles, dust, fibers and other foreign matter without affecting the production processes.

PD : What are your company’s principles & Values?

DM : KELVA as a company belongs to the parent organisation – Chromos Group AG, a Switzerland based 75-year-old family-owned company. A strong value system is inculcated in the foundation of Chromos Group and in our Charter of Cooperation, we set out in nine values how we want to shape our cooperation together.

These values are – Trust, Respect, Team spirit, Openness, Commitment, Professionalism, Listen, Joy of learning and Fun. Here, I want to particularly highlight the value of ‘Listening’. It is not only about listening to our employees, but we do also listen to our customers very carefully, consider their feedback and act positively to become a more sensitive and customer centric solutions provider.

PD : What are all the equipment manufactured by Kelva?

DM : KELVA manufactures contact type web cleaning system, non-contact type web cleaning system, pneumatic diaphragm pumps, brakes and tension control systems.

“KELVA systems are working at ITC Ltd., Westcoast Paper Mills, Gayatrishakti Paper & Board, Sattur Sri Venkateswara Paper, Stora Enso and Irwin Tissue to name a few from paper industry”

PD : What is web cleaning and why it is required for a paper mill?

DM : Various kinds of dust and dirt can settle on paper surfaces during production processes. They might seem insignificant, but in industrial environments, dust, debris, and other contaminants can have a significant impact on product quality, process efficiency, and even the health of operators. Industrial web cleaning is a crucial solution for handling these challenges.

Paper mills gain a lot of benefits when installing an industrial web cleaning systems: improved product quality, reduced maintenance intervals, environmental advantages, and finally important cost savings.

PD : What is a non-contact cleaner and how does it work ?

DM : A KELVA non-contact web cleaning system comprises of a web cleaner head with integrated antistatic equipment, filter/ fan unit and connecting duct system. Unique design of the KELVA non-contact web cleaner allows the system to clean both sides of the web simultaneously. The cleaner neutralizes the static charge and breaks down the boundary air layer, which holds the contamination to the surface of the substrate. A combination of pressure air and vacuum creates micro-vibrations on the surface of the web loosening and removing the contamination.

The debris is extracted from the cleaning head and collected in the filter fan unit, which cleans and re-circulates the air for a very energy efficient solution.

“Continual product improvement is the key to succeed for any business and we dedicate a lot of engineering work and efforts in optimising the existing designs”

PD : These cleaners can be manually operated or automatic and does it require skilled persons to operate?

DM : A few of the cleaners, for smaller web width size up to 450mm, are usually operated manually but the medium and wider web width size cleaners, from 500mm up to 10.00m, are operated automatically. All our cleaners and systems can be integrated with main machine controls and its functions can be fully synchronised with machine operation.

We believe in keeping the system simple and it doesn’t require any specific technical knowledge or training to operate. The systems work on basic pneumatic and electrical connections and hands on industrial workforce can easily use and maintain our systems.

PD : Could we clean low tension webs by your cleaners without any technical complications?

DM : Certainly! While discussing about paper industry and low tension webs, we can’t omit tissue paper manufacturing and converting companies. Tissue paper, starting from 12 GSM, is very fragile to handle due to its lower tension range and yet, it releases a lot of fluff and loose fibres from its surface so, web cleaning is extremely important within tissue paper production environments.

We have done some successful projects for tissue paper related applications and even other low tension web materials. We have specific cleaner model to handle low tension webs running at high speeds on the machines and then, we control air flows in such a way during commissioning to balance the web.

PD : What is the solution for wide width web cleaning and any special design by Kelva?

DM : KELVA has solutions for wide web widths up to 10m for cleaning requirements. At design level, we engineer the system in such a way that it can distribute airflow uniformly throughout the web width and efficient dust extraction is achieved consistently during the production. It is the right combination of cleaner head design, straightness and evenness in profile manufacturing and adequate capacity of fan-filter unit that delivers desired results for such wide material widths.

PD : Where is your production facility located?

DM : We have state of the art manufacturing facility at our headquarter company location at Dielsdorf, Switzerland which is in the outskirts of Zurich. Other than this, we also have further manufacturing units in Germany and Netherlands and a warehouse in Augsburg, Germany. From all these European locations, we produce our standard and customised systems to cater to the needs and orders of our worldwide customers.

Outside Europe, I work as a KELVA employee, stationed at Ahmedabad in India and responsible for all Asia, Middle East and Africa markets. As far as our business channel partners are concerned, we have a strong distribution network in all leading industrial nations around the world. We are happy to mention that some of our distributors are associated with KELVA products for last two decades and have been successfully promoting, selling and growing KELVA business in their market regions.

PD : May we know about your environment management policies?

DM : As any other corporate company and to meet the need of an hour, we are equally responsible to preserve and protect the environment through our products and practices.

Our new design of the systems is energy efficient, and it requires minimal power and air consumption to restrict additional energy loading on our customers. Since, many of our projects are retrofit jobs on existing machines, we must consider this point cautiously and responsibly. Secondly, the dust that we extract from the running material during the processes, we collect it into an enclosed bucket or tray which is a part of the fan-filter unit of our system. We do not release the dust out into the environment and thus, we try to keep workspace as well as overall environment cleaner. Our systems also ensure lower noise levels and decreased use of chemicals during production processes.

PD : How important is the QA for an equipment manufacturing company and how do you assure the quality consistency of your products?

DM : Quality of a product, is probably, the only factor which keeps an equipment manufacturer alive in the market at any given time. Through stringent quality checks on our inward material supply and outward finished products, KELVA has been getting repeat orders from its customers – OEMs and End users and winning their trust over all these years to attain leadership position in the market.

Putting small and big system installations together, KELVA’s current tally is around 7500 working systems globally and such milestone for a company can only be achieved by delivering finest quality products consistently over the years.

PD : How is the export market for your Indian branch and how best is Kelva in quality & other terms compared to other manufacturers?

DM : KELVA has its complete manufacturing operations in Europe and the systems are supplied worldwide from here. Even for India market, we supply all the systems of European origin. Since, majority of our business is export oriented, the product quality has to mandatorily be of world class standard. We have a philosophy of maintaining our own standards so, I can’t comment on other manufacturers. We all are a part of this open market, and we leave the decision of choosing the right products to our customers.

PD : What about your after-sales-service network in India and neighboring countries?

DM : It’s not only India and its neighbouring countries but anywhere in the world, we deliver services through our experienced service supervisors. It is also our distributors and agents who have trained workforce for KELVA products so, our decentralised service support is always close to the customers and can act fast.

PD : Challenges you are facing in Indian Market?

DM : Challenges and competition are inevitable in any market for any business and we, at KELVA, are no exception. The foremost challenge for a company is to understand market dynamics and its product acceptability while venturing into a specific country or an unexplored market. KELVA has been around in Indian market since last 15 years and it’s been a journey of a lot of concept selling, product promotion and similar marketing activities to expand coverage and reaching out to maximum users. Investment justification for the users/investors has remained the biggest barrier for KELVA however, through the product quality and its niche purpose and with increasing quality awareness, we are growing steadily in India year-on-year.

PD : Being a part of Paper industry, how do you see paper sustainability and how to make the same more sustainable in India?

DM : To answer this question, may be, I am not the right person as long as internal paper mills practices and processes are concerned. However, as capital equipment supplier to the industry, I can comment that more energy efficient products, longer shelf lives and very less maintenance cost with minimal human intervention would be some of the key factors towards sustainable paper making in future.

PD : How do you look at the growth & future of Indian paper industry?

DM : I have been witnessing Indian Paper Industry since 2006 which has been growing ever since. The growth pattern is of course, cyclic and it is segment oriented but in general, paper board, tissue, kraft and specialty paper volumes tend to show upward trends in the years to come.

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