Pitch Control Strategy

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    3 steps to put a pitch control strategy in place

    The smartest approach to a pitch control program for pulp and paper begins with prevention and preparation. Use these three steps to get ahead of pitch.

    Step 1: Practice pitch prevention.

    You can proactively reduce your need for chemical treatment.

    • Manage your woodyard wisely. The less bark the better, with <1% being optimal. Age chips 30 to 45 days for best results. And be aware of seasonal impact on pitch counts.
    • Keep a tidy house. Monitor lubrication processes for leaks and quickly respond to missing lubricant inventory. Ensure seals are intact and coolers aren’t leaking oil or hydraulic fluid into cooling water.
    • Wash brownstock well. Keep equipment well maintained and under DCS. Operate at the highest temperature possible (>60°C is preferred). Optimize dilution factors. Maintain and manage a well-designed defoamer program with proper feed points and control, using high-quality Buckman defoamer chemistry.

    Step 2: Collect data.

    The key to a value-based approach to pitch control is knowing your equipment, operating parameters, and systems. To do that, you need quality routine inspection programs and data, lots of data.

    • Know your physiology. What’s your grade structure? Do you have hardwood and softwood campaigns? How do seasonal changes impact your pulp?
    • Know your process design. Where do you have changes in temperature and pH? Where is the best feed-point selection?

    Step 3. Pick a chemical pitch control program that fits.

    Based on your mill’s operation, you might need a combination of chemical solutions. Your program mechanisms could include:

    • Works best with high temperature and high pH to keep wood acids colloidal in size so they can be easily washed from pulp.
    • Fixation or adsorption. Acts as a retention chemistry that uses a polymer to attach the pitch to fiber.
    • Breaks down triglycerides in softwoods into more manageable fatty acids and requires a fixative as a follow-up.
    • Neutralizes the anionic charge on the resin particles and can stay in the system to help with encapsulated pitch.
    • Surrounds colloidal pitch with a hydrophilic shell, typically with alternative pitch control products, such as talc, which becomes an inert filler, remaining in and being sold with the sheet for a profit.


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