JB Rawcliffe rose to the challenge when a record-breaking Chinese paper mill needed one more delivery

By David Weston

Yankee and MG paper drying cylinders have been made in Bolton since 1884. In that time, it’s estimated around 500 have been produced, ranging in size from quite small to the monsters weighing in at over 150 tonnes.

A Yankee dryer is a pressure vessel used in the production of tissue paper to remove excess moisture from the pulp about to be converted into paper, taking it from 42-45 per cent dryness, to just over 89 per cent. The foundry in Bolton is currently owned by PMT Industries, and has one of the largest medium frequency electric furnace installations in Europe.

The computer-controlled furnaces can melt 38 tonnes of iron per hour, with each 12-tonne charge being melted at 1450 degrees C, and in just 38 minutes.


Record breakers

This particular 5 m Yankee dryer was being transported by JB Rawcliffe, destined for the Hainan Jinkhai pulp and paper mill – the largest pulp mill in China. It houses the world’s largest paper machine and largest single line pulp mill, producing a staggering 1,200,000 metric tonnes of paper per year.

As ever with the movement of abnormal loads this size, months of planning took place. Trucking caught up with the load just before Leigh, aiming to follow for a time until it passed north of Warrington. But on the day of this movement, there was an unexpected hazard not even the police were aware of – a 6000-strong charity bicycle ride was taking place from Manchester to Blackpool!

For a short distance, the cycle ride was using the same route as the dryer, having converged after the East Lanc’s Road, until they got to the town of Leigh where they went their separate ways. Martin Bradshaw in the front tractor and the Rawcliffe crew, along with their police escort, remained calm throughout this short stretch of road.

Aug coverRead the rest of this feature in the Summer issue of Trucking. Buy the magazine here