Case Study

How do we optimize Foam Control for Paper Machines?

In this case study, we present and discuss HABER’s approach and AI’s role in addressing a leading printer & writing paper manufacturer’s issues of high consumption of defoamer, irregular drainage, and quality defects in the paper.


Foam formation occurs in multiple stages of the process of paper manufacturing due to the dispersion of air/gases in the process water. Foam adversely affects the production rate and paper quality, resulting in poor sheet formation or in the formation of foam marks on the paper.

Defoamer chemicals aid not just in reducing poor sheet formation, but also in resolving drainage, housekeeping, and other equipment efficiency issues. However, optimizing the control of foam content in the process requires constantly updating the defoamer chemical proportions, an absence of which would result in chemical wastage as well as residue foam formation.

The customer faced issues in the same and hence, approached HABER to have a detailed technical discussion, to further understand the issues experienced. The solution for these issues were ideated by applying a thorough system study & lab screening of suitable products, keeping the following priorities in mind:

-         Improving machine running capacity

-         Foam elimination

-         Reducing the overall cost of the program

 Our Approach:

HABER’s eLIXA® platform provided real-time artificial intelligence and machine learning-based closed-loop control for defoamer programs. Key process variables like pH, temperature, conductivity, and others were measured and uploaded to the cloud in real-time. Based on the acquired data, a specialized defoamer formulation was created. This real-time information also helped regulate the chemical dosing, thus resulting in the elimination of foam, followed by a corresponding reduction in overall cost.


HABER’s solution resulted in the better running of the system with an increased production rate, with:

-         A 92% improvement in the machine running capacity

-         A 20% reduction in the amount of entrained air in the head-box

-         A 30% reduction in overall cost

The implementation of AI/ML optimized the foam control process as it helped in avoiding potential delays in the execution of the solution due to human intervention. Due to the optimization of the defoaming process, the product quality improved. Thus eLIXA® helped the paper manufacturer achieve quality control over their products on a consistent level, with minimum investment involved.

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