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Hua, J., Chen, G., Xu, D., and Shi, S. Q. (2012). "Impact of thermomechanical refining conditions on fiber quality and energy consumption by mill trial," BioRes. 7(2), 1919-1930.


Fiber thermomechanical refining is a critical step for the manufacturing of medium density fiberboard (MDF). To increase productivity and improve fiber quality with a reduction in energy consumption during refining, it is essential to determine appropriate refining conditions, such as the chips retention time (accumulated chip height, CH) in the pre-heater, feeding screw revolution speed (SR) in the chip feeding pipe, and the opening ratio of the discharge valve (OV) in the discharge pipe. Using multiple regression analysis, relationships between the response variables (the total fibers, the specific energy consumption obtained by the motor power consumption/the total amount of dry fibers, and the percentage of qualified fibers) and the predictor variables (OV, CH, and SR) were modeled. Specific energy consumption decreased with an increase in CH. When more chips were stored in the pre-heater, the chips were softened by the extended steam-treatment time, reducing the energy consumption. There were negative relationships between the percentage of qualified fibers and the predictor variables (OV and SR). It was reasoned that a greater proportion of coarse fibre was produced when the discharge valve opening ratio or the feeding screw speed increased. This resulted in a reduction in the percentage of qualified fibers. Due to the large sample size (1667 measurements for each variable) in this study, the resulting regression equations can be applied to estimate the productivity, energy consumption, and fiber quality during refining in an MDF mill.
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