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Voith NipcoFlex shoe press improves quality and production at BM 1 at MEL Macedonian Paper Mills


Tolosa, Thessaloniki. The installation of a new NipcoFlex shoe press was part of a comprehensive modernization of the Macedonian Paper Mills in Thessaloniki, Greece. With its help, the company was able to improve the quality and quantity of paper production. At the same time, the use of Voith technology reduced the plant’s use of resources and therefore improved the company’s competitiveness.

The installation of a NipcoFlex shoe press was the first step in a comprehensive rebuild of the BM 1 at Macedonian Paper Mills (MEL) in Thessaloniki. This measure allowed the internationally operating manufacturer of board and packaging papers to increase machine production by 15 percent. But this increase is only one of the goals of the upgrade, as Georgios Georgiadis, the manager of the board factory, explains : “With the new press section we were able to improve board quality characteristics, reduce breaks and therefore significantly increase machine availability.” MEL mainly produces paper for packing foodstuffs on its BM1. In this segment, good printability is a major criterion. The investment in the new press section is therefore an important first step towards meeting customer requirements in the long term.

The NipcoFlex technology used on the BM 1 reliably corrects deviations in the CD profile and ensures a uniform thickness across the entire 4.110 millimeter wide paper web. A large Yankee cylinder and a coating system with drying function improve the smoothness of the surface.

One challenge associated with modernizing the plant was the tight time frame. The Voith service team had just three weeks to complete the project. Thanks to good preliminary planning and the smooth collaboration between all participants the BM 1 could be restarted on 23 July 2017. As the team from MEL was not familiar with the shoe press technology, comprehensive training including visits to similar systems was conducted in the run-up to the rebuild.

As well as improved paper quality and increased production, the new press section offers another advantage : The BM 1 now needs much less steam, which reduces the energy consumption of the machine. Despite this saving in resources, the NipcoFlex technology also enables a higher dry content in the paper web.

Several factors prompted MEL to work with Voith on this project. One of the key aspects was that Voith has more than 150 years of experience in building paper machines, is a technology leader in many areas and is renowned for the high reliability of its products. In addition, MEL has already worked with Voith on numerous projects, the results of which have been consistently positive for the board mill team. Ultimately, Voith also convinced the customer with an overall concept that was integrated technically and financially. That this was the right decision was not just confirmed by the smooth start to production.

“The atmosphere between the individual teams was excellent. The close collaboration with the colleagues from Voith Tolosa even resulted in some friendships,” says Georgiadis, adding : “I will certainly recommend collaboration with Voith to colleagues in the paper and board industry.”

The project is part of a comprehensive upgrade by the board mill. For example, MEL is investing in its own biomass power plant, which not only supplies power to the paper machine but is also used for steam generation.

2018-05-04  READ MORE...
Top takeaways from the first European shopping bag summit

Challenges, opportunities and new ways of working were the topics of the day at Europe’s first shopping bag summit, hosted by Mondi.

The paper bag industry took an important step towards sustainable innovation when leading shopping bag converters, suppliers and customers came together in Prague on 19 April for Let’s Paper the World 2018 – the first European shopping bag summit, organised by Mondi Group’s Speciality Kraft Paper segment.

Participants included global brands Benetton, H&M and REWE Group ; bag manufacturers ; papermakers and paper associations ; ink and glue producers ; bag machine manufacturers ; and market intelligence leader Mintel.

The four top takeaways from this pivotal summit :

1. Shopping bags are now high-tech products

Gone are the days of the ‘simple’ paper bag. The technical demands of manufacturing the perfect bag for end customers’ needs are increasing continuously.

Today’s paper shopping bags are high-tech products engineered for specific applications within the food and non-food industry. Shopping bags need to meet a variety of requirements, especially when the end uses involve food, as Petr Jindra, Head of Technical Sales Services, Mondi Speciality Kraft Paper, demonstrated.

He presented a shopping bag produced by bag maker Litobal with a sophisticated, full-colour flexoprint on Mondi speciality kraft paper, proven to carry up to 25 kilos (food retail bags must carry at least 12 kilos), made of credibly certified fibre, and guaranteed safe for contact with food.

Demand for such high-tech bags is growing every day, according to the summit’s participants. Producing them is a technical feat that takes skill, innovation and the highest quality materials.

“It’s a big challenge. In the past, we focused on a few bag sizes and a small range of materials. Now we need to have open minds and find solutions to meet every need,” said Fulvio Curioni, Senior Vice President Legal for Curioni Sun, a paper bag machine manufacturer.

Alberto Bovo, Managing Director at Bovo SpA, said : “Thirty years ago we used to make bags from 120/130 gram paper. Now, if we use a good paper, we can produce bags with 70/80 grams that work just as well. But it’s very important to take care of all the details – the paper, the glue, the ink.”

From brown and white speciality kraft papers, to rough and smooth grades in a range of weights, from virgin and recycled fibres to water-based glues and inks – technical complexity is increasing continuously. Expertise and understanding of how all this technology fits together to make the perfect bag solution is more important than ever for manufacturers.

2. Sustainability is no longer an option – it’s a necessity

Shopping bags made of credibly certified fibre and designed to biodegrade, or be easily recycled or reused, are no longer a niche product for boutique brands. Today, sustainability is mainstream.

“I wouldn’t call sustainability ‘a trend’ anymore. It’s a given,” said Paulus Goess, Sales Director of Mondi Speciality Kraft Paper.

Richard Cope, Senior Trends Consultant at Mintel, shared examples from around the world of how consumer expectations have shifted for sustainability and packaging : “Consumers expect companies to set the sustainability agenda. They expect brands to be ethical on their behalf.”

“When you have brands like Procter & Gamble making packaging from recovered ocean plastic, that becomes the norm very quickly. If you’re not doing something, your brand can start to look outdated,” Cope added.

Tanja Dietrich-Hübner, Head of Sustainability at REWE International AG, said expectations and attitudes about sustainability in the food industry had “changed dramatically” in recent years. “As retailers, we’re held responsible that food and packaging are not only safe but also sustainable,” she said.

While more brands today, including H&M, are switching from plastic to paper bags, others like REWE and Benetton made the switch years ago.

However, Dietrich-Hübner emphasised that consumer awareness of what it takes to ensure products and packaging are sustainable and ethically produced is limited : “Information is the key, but it has to be understandable. We have to give people short, reliable information.”

Cope went further, challenging brands and paper bag makers to engage consumers about environmental factors and “put a name and a face to the people behind the bags.”

3. Demand for certified fibre is outstripping supply – sustainable forestry needs more focus

While rising consumer demand for sustainable packaging is a good thing, a clear effect is that demand for sustainable fibre is growing. Both paper and bag manufacturers spoke of stark challenges in meeting the increased demand for certified fibre.

Research and investment into alternative, sustainable fibres may be one answer to safeguard supplies. Increased focus on sustainable forestry is also needed to guard against deforestation and illegal logging, as just 11% of the world’s forests are certified.

Manfred Schachenmann, Head of Wood Supply at Mondi, underscored Mondi’s commitment to sourcing credibly certified fibre, in particular that certified by the PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) – the certification system preferred by small and family foresters and local wood associations in Central Europe – as well as the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council).

“We all want to increase the share of certified fibre. To achieve that we need to promote certification systems such as PEFC in low risk countries,” he said.

Dietrich-Hübner of REWE International noted that organic and fair-trade food certifications are widely recognised, however, FSC and PEFC certifications are not well known to consumers.

“I think the market is ready to learn what the different wood certification standards mean,” she said.

4. Collaborate to meet new challenges in the paper bag industry

Another important takeaway from the summit is the need for more exchange and partnerships to innovate for what’s coming, including the growth of e-commerce and the circular economy, which will favour more re-use of materials.

More collaboration along the supply chain between product managers, technical sales and service, R&D, suppliers (including paper, inks and glues), end users, retailers – and even foresters – will be needed to develop the perfect paper bags for tomorrow’s needs.

“I’ve been working in the paper industry for 20 years. This is the first time I’ve seen such participation by customers in a specific market,” said Massimiliano Scotta, Head of Sales Region South and Americas, Mondi Speciality Kraft Paper.

“At this summit, we can see ourselves as partners in the same world, exchanging ideas about what consumers need, and technology and trends in the market, to find a common strategy,” Scotta added.

“We still have a lot of work to do on the details,” added Bovo Bags’ managing director Alberto Bovo, “but I feel confident that we can do it, if we all work together.”

The second European shopping bag summit is now being planned by Mondi.

2018-05-04  READ MORE...
Mitsubishi increases thermal paper prices from 1 July 2018

Due to continuing rises in costs for pulp and other raw materials, especially leuco dye (ODB2), Mitsubishi HiTec Paper is increasing its prices for thermal paper for deliveries from 1 July 2018. Prices for the whole THERMOSCRIPT® thermal paper range will be increased by up to 10 % worldwide.

Customers will be contacted directly by a representative of the Mitsubishi sales team.

2018-05-04  READ MORE...
Oceanwood new owner of Norske Skog AS

Oceanwood has entered into a sale and purchase agreement (the SPA*) to buy the entire issued share capital of Norske Skog AS (Norske Skog). Following a four-month competitive auction process, in which more than 100 prospective bidders were approached, Oceanwood emerged as the winning bidder by offering the highest value in cash for the shares and the intercompany loans.

John Chiang, an Investment Adviser of Oceanwood, says : “Our first investment in Norske Skog was back in 2015 and we have supported and worked constructively with the group since. In November 2017, as it became apparent that it would be difficult to reach a consensual solution and solve the financial issues in the former Norske Skogindustrier holding structure, we decided to act to protect the operating companies. With the subsequent auction process now concluded, we are very excited to team up with Norske Skog’s management and employees. We share the ambition to see the new Norske Skog Group succeed and to realise the potential that we believe is inherent in the business as it continues to transform and grow.”

The acquisition is subject to Oceanwood obtaining the relevant antitrust and other regulatory approvals in the countries concerned, including Australia and New Zealand, which is currently anticipated to take between four and six months to obtain.

Sven Ombudstvedt, the chairman of the board of Norske Skog AS, says : “This is one of the most important milestones for the Norske Skog Group in recent years. It concludes almost two years of relentless efforts and engagement to address the Norske Skog Group’s excessively levered capital structure. Oceanwood’s decision to acquire a majority position in the secured bond and subsequently the decision to initiate a sales process proved to be the key to resolving the stalemate that was threatening the future of the operating business.”

The board and management of Norske Skogindustrier ASA initiated the process of addressing its unsustainable capital structure in October 2016 with representatives of its secured and unsecured financial creditors. Despite lengthy and constructive negotiations, the creditors and the shareholders did not reach any consensual capital restructuring solution. The board of Norske Skogindustrier ASA filed for bankruptcy in December 2017.

Lars P. S. Sperre, the President and CEO of Norske Skog says : With Oceanwood as a financially strong new owner, the Norske Skog Group and our employees now have a unique opportunity to further develop a sustainable business platform capable of strengthening our core business and investing in promising new growth projects. We would sincerely like to thank our customers, suppliers and employees who have demonstrated a tremendous amount of trust and support throughout this process, and we look forward to continuing to work with all of you in the future.”

2018-05-04  READ MORE...
BASF and Solenis to join forces by combining paper and water chemicals businesses

On May 2, 2018, BASF and Solenis have signed an agreement to join forces by combining BASF’s paper wet-end and water chemicals business with Solenis. The combined entity with pro-forma sales of around €2.4 billion and around 5,000 employees in 2017 aims to deliver additional value for paper and water treatment customers. The goal is to create a customer-focused global solutions provider for the industry. For the paper industry, the product portfolio of the combined enterprise will cover the entire range of functional and process wet-end chemicals, solutions for the water cycle for paper mills, as well as comprehensive service capabilities. For the water treatment industry, the customers of the joint organization will benefit from Solenis’ high-quality service capabilities and BASF’s broad water treatment chemicals platform. Pending approval by the relevant authorities, closing is anticipated for the end of 2018 at the earliest. Financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed.

BASF will hold a 49% share of the combined entity that will operate under the Solenis name and be headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, USA. BASF will nominate three out of seven shareholder representatives of the joint entity that will continue to be led by current President and Chief Executive Officer John E. Panichella of Solenis. 51% of the shares will be held by funds managed by Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.

“The transaction underlines BASF’s active portfolio management and enables us to share in the future success of this promising joint entity,” says Dr. Markus Kamieth, member of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF SE and responsible for the Performance Products segment.

The transaction comprises BASF’s global paper wet-end and water chemicals business with 2017 sales of around €800 million and around 1,300 employees globally. The transfer includes production sites and plants of the paper wet-end and water chemicals business in Bradford and Grimsby, UK ; Suffolk, Virginia, USA ; Altamira, Mexico ; Ankleshwar, India, and Kwinana, Australia. BASF’s paper and water chemicals production plants strongly embedded in the Verbund in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and Nanjing, China, are not transferred, and will deliver products and raw materials to the combined entity under mid- to long-term supply agreements.

BASF’s paper coating chemicals portfolio is not part of the transaction. 

Strategic fit for future growth
“We will remain committed to the paper and water treatment industries through our 49% ownership of the combined entity and bring our excellent technologies, products, and production processes. Combined with Solenis’ service capabilities, we will create additional value for our customers. They will benefit from our joint innovation activities, complementary state-of-the-art product portfolios, and dedicated service and application support,” says Anup Kothari, President of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division.

“Together, we have a unique opportunity to create a customer-focused global specialty chemical company with an enhanced focus and expanded offerings. I am pleased that our cultures are closely aligned and that our companies share a strong common desire to create value for our customers. Together, as one team of experts, we will continue to strive towards excellence in innovation, sustainability and safety,” underlines John E. Panichella, CEO of Solenis.

Customers to benefit from complementary range of products and services
Solenis is a global producer of specialty chemicals for water intensive industries, including the pulp, paper, oil and gas, chemical processing, mining, biorefining, power and municipal markets. The company’s product portfolio includes a broad array of process, functional and water treatment chemistries as well as state-of-the-art monitoring and control systems. Headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware, USA, the company has 35 manufacturing facilities strategically located around the globe with approximately 3,700 employees in 118 countries.

BASF offers a comprehensive range of chemicals for the paper and water industry. Its paper chemicals portfolio comprises dry strength agents, fixing agents, retention and drainage aids, flocculants and coagulants for water management. Furthermore, BASF offers basic dyes, direct dyes, sizing agents, pigment preparations, wet strength agents and color developers for thermal paper. The water chemicals portfolio includes products used in the key processes of industrial and municipal water treatment. BASF’s paper and water chemicals business supplies chemicals to purify the raw water used to produce drinking water, to treat waste water streams and industrial process water, to protect cooling towers, boilers and desalination plants. The paper and water chemicals business is part of BASF’s Performance Chemicals division reported in the Performance Products segment.

BASF and Solenis will continue to operate as strictly independent companies until the completion of the transaction.

2018-05-03  READ MORE...
SCA increases prices on publication paper

SCA increases prices on coated publication paper, CMR , and improved uncoated publication paper by 40 Euro per tonne.

“ We see a substantially stronger demand for publication paper, “ says Ulf Edman Vice President Sales and Marketing Publication Paper.

The new prices are valid for all deliveries from July 1 this year.

2018-05-03  READ MORE...
Asia Pulp & Paper Achieves Gold Rating in EcoVadis CSR Assessment

Asia Pulp & Paper (APP), one of the world’s largest integrated pulp and paper manufacturers, announced today that it has achieved a gold rating from EcoVadis, the global leader in sustainability assessments, for its continued commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) throughout its business operations. This achievement places the company in the top five percent of organizations rated.

This is the second time APP has received this recognition from EcoVadis. The rating is based on anextensive assessment of four key areas in APP’soperations in Indonesia and China – Environment ; Labor Practice and Human Rights ; Sustainable Procurement ; and Fair Business Practices.

EcoVadis operates the first collaborative assessment platform that derives results from a survey adapted to a company’s size and sector, supporting documentation and public and stakeholder information. EcoVadis holds assessments for around 40,000 suppliers in 150 sectors in 120 countries.

“This gold rating affirms our efforts to ensure sustainability in all areas of our operation and our continued progress on our sustainability journey,” said Elim Sritaba, Director of Sustainability & Stakeholder Engagement, Asia Pulp & Paper. “Continual improvement and consistency are essential as we try to achieve all our goals to become a fully sustainable company.”

2018-05-03  READ MORE...
Valmet's new solution enables accurate high dry solids measurement for industrial applications


Valmet has launched a new Valmet High Solids Measurement (Valmet HS) that enables stable and accurate measurements for industrial wastewater treatment, pulp and paper production and a wide range of other industrial processes. Valmet HS measures for over 30% solids or 1-70% moisture.

Originally designed for municipal waste water plants, Valmet HS is based on microwave technology and features a patented sensor structure. It extracts a continuous sample flow from a downfall or drop leg section in the process and returns it back to the process after the solids content has been measured.

"We see high potential for this solution especially in the pulp and paper industry where an accurate high solids measurement provides many benefits, such as improved high consistency control, cost savings and higher quality," says Jarmo Havana, Product Manager, Automation, Valmet.

Cost and fuel savings lead to better sustainability

The new measurement brings numerous benefits to its users. It helps to minimize transport costs of sludge in waste water applications and reduce supplementary fuel use where sludge fuels a boiler, thus improving the sustainability of industrial processes. Additionally, Valmet HS makes it possible to optimize total solids levels and follow up, in real time, the performance of dewatering or drying processes.

Already in use after a high-consistency roll press, Valmet HS provides accurate pulp consistency control to refining and consequently more stable-quality pulp to the paper machine. Benefits include lower press energy consumption, reduced fiber crushing and the prevention of too high consistency causing damage to process equipment.

Other proven applications of Valmet HS include wastewater sludge solids measurement after dewatering in pulp and paper applications, measuring sawdust moisture before pelleting in the wood processing industry and sludge moisture monitoring before incineration.

"The solution has been so successful that new applications are coming up all the time. Ongoing development work in various industries includes the measurement of moisture with starch, sugar and gypsum as well control of a thermal drying processes," adds Havana.

2018-05-03  READ MORE...
ANDRITZ GROUP: Results for the first quarter of 2018

ANDRITZ saw mixed business development in the first quarter of 2018. While the order intake of over 1.5 billion euros was very favorable and almost reached the very high level of last year’s reference period, sales and earnings were significantly lower than the reference figures for the previous year.
The key financial figures developed as follows :

  • Order intake at 1,532.8 million euros (MEUR) reached a very favorable level and was thus only slightly below the high level of the previous year’s reference period (-1.7% versus Q1 2017 : 1,560.0 MEUR). The Hydro, Metals, and Separation business areas saw very positive development and were able to achieve – partially significant – increases in order intake compared to the previous year.
  •  Sales decreased to 1,291.0 MEUR and were thus 6.9% below the level of the previous year’s reference period (Q1 2017 : 1,386.2 MEUR). This is largely due to a decline in sales in Pulp & Paper (a large pulp mill project still had a significant impact on sales in the previous year’s reference period) and Metals (decline in sales due to the low order intake in the second and third quarter of last year). However, as a result of the Group’s increasing order intake since the second quarter of 2017 (Q2 2017 : 1,211.3 MEUR, Q3 2017 : 1,341.2 MEUR ; Q4 2017 : 1,467.0 MEUR ; Q1 2018 : 1,532.8 MEUR), sales in the coming months should, from today’s perspective, make up for the lower sales figure in the first quarter.
  •  The order backlog as of March 31, 2018, amounted to 6,553.2 MEUR and has thus increased slightly compared to the end of 2017 (December 31, 2017 : 6,383.0 MEUR).
  •  The EBITA amounted to 71.7 MEUR (-26.4% compared to Q1 2017 : 97.4 MEUR) and was thus significantly lower than the figure for the previous year’s reference period. The main reason for this is, above all, the lower sales figure. Furthermore, cost overruns on individual projects in the Metals business area had an impact on earnings. As a result, the Group’s profitability (EBITA margin) declined to 5.6% (Q1 2017 : 7.0%).
  •  Net income (without non-controlling interests) dropped to 44.0 MEUR (Q1 2017 : 63.0 MEUR).


OUTLOOK
In spite of the decline in sales and earnings during the reporting period, ANDRITZ expects unchanged an overall satisfactory business development from today’s perspective for the 2018 business year. In the coming months, the rising order intake since the second quarter of 2017 is expected to make up for the lower sales in the present reporting period and the related lower earnings.
Wolfgang Leitner, President and CEO of ANDRITZ AG : “In spite of the moderate development of sales and earnings in the first quarter, we expect solid business development for the 2018 business year as a whole. The development of order intake in the past few quarters as well as the good project and investment activities overall in the markets we serve give us good grounds for optimism.”

2018-05-03  READ MORE...
Stora Enso - Printed books have a positive future, a new survey indicates

There is a bright future for printed books, a recent survey finds. According to the results, printed books will continue to be important, relevant, interesting and still very much appreciated compared to e-books and audiobooks.

As one of the leading book paper and cover providers, Stora Enso conducted a study with 80 in-depth interviews in 13 countries across Europe, Asia and North America together with research company Opticom International.

The aim was to gain a better understanding of the challenges and opportunities regarding book publishing and consumption. Participants included publishers, retailers, printers, merchants and new players such as audio and e-book publishers as well as companies that transfer physical books into digital format.

“One of the main findings was that there is a positive future for printed books”, says Essi Lauri, VP, Head of Segment Newsprint & Book, in Stora Enso Paper division.

Printed and digital together are the future

While audio and e-books are important in professional and educational segments, only eight percent believe that e-books will grow in volume.

“Interest in e-books seems to have plateaued somewhat, and audiobooks are not necessarily seen as an alternative to physical books, rather a complement. You can listen to an audiobook while driving a car or jogging, where reading a physical book would be impossible”, says Essi Lauri.

E-books sales have been strong in the UK and US (approx. 20% of the market), but have stagnated in recent years and have not affected print sales as much as expected. In France and Germany e-books represent less than ten percent of the market. In emerging markets, the interest for e-books appears weaker, regardless of the rapid growth in tablet and smartphone users.

Audiobooks, on the other hand, continue to increase in sales, mostly via crime novels, true stories, biographies, romantic and erotic genres. However, the majority of the respondents see audiobooks as a compliment, not an alternative − consumers have a choice. In addition, there is no indication that Millennials would prefer digital more than older generations.

‘The more things go digital, the more value there is in the printed product’

Another finding is that people want to have a counterweight to screen time. As one respondent put it, ‘The more things go digital, the more value there is in the printed product.’

“Holding a physical book gives you a different feeling than holding an e-book. It’s an experience. And here, the paper and book cover, the tactile features and quality material, are important”, Essi Lauri continues.

Certain types of books it seems are meant to remain in paper format. Examples of these are hard cover books, including children’s books, photography books, books given as gifts and hobby related books such as Do It Yourself, gardening and cook books.

2018-05-02  READ MORE...
Toscotec’s TT SYD-16FT is running efficiently at Cartiera di Pietramelara mill.

Cartiera di Pietramelara is successfully running a new 16 feet diameter steel Yankee dryer supplied by Toscotec. The second generation TT SYD-16FT replaced a cast iron Yankee and it was started up on schedule in mid-January 2018. The scope of supply also included the complete Yankee steam and condensate system.
Toscotec is the inventor and the undiscussed market leader of steel Yankee dryers worldwide, supplying SYDs both for new tissue machines and in replacement of cast iron Yankees. This proves that paper mills across the globe acknowledge that TT SYD is the best technology currently available on the market in terms of energy efficiency, reliability and safety.
Mr. Di Leva, CEO of Paperdi, said, “After monitoring the new TT SYD for a few months, we can say that it has been performing extremely well in terms of drying efficiency and allowed us to reach the top speed. We are particularly happy with the steam consumption figures, and we expect to bear the fruits of this replacement in the long run, by significantly cutting production costs”.

2018-05-02  READ MORE...
Resolute Announces Ratification of Unifor Labor Agreement in Canada

Resolute Forest Products Inc. today announced the renewal of the collective agreements at eight of its pulp and paper operations in Canada.

A tentative agreement was reached between Unifor and Resolute on April 16, 2018, to renew the collective agreements for a four-year period. The master agreement was accepted by the majority of union members at each mill during the ratification process.

"We are pleased with the support expressed by our employees. The company and the union have invested a great deal of time and resources over the last several years addressing public policy issues facing our company and industry. The collaborative environment we enjoy today is built on mutual trust and transparency," said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer. "Our employees and their union leaders are committed to help keep our Canadian pulp and paper mills competitive, while providing stability for our customers, shareholders, communities and other partners."

The collective agreements cover approximately 1,100 hourly employees represented by Unifor at Resolute’s Amos, Baie-Comeau, Dolbeau, Gatineau, Kénogami and Saint-Félicien mills in Quebec, and Thunder Bay mill and indefinitely idled Thorold facility in Ontario. The eight operations account for about 40% of the company’s total pulp and paper capacity.

2018-05-02  READ MORE...
Resolute Invests close to $13 Million in its La Doré Wood Products Facilities in Quebec

Resolute Forest Products Inc. (NYSE : RFP) (TSX : RFP) today announced major investments totaling $12,956,700 in its La Doré wood products facilities, located in the Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. The announcement was made during a press conference attended by Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, as well as dignitaries and company employees.

The investments will be used to integrate new technologies into the manufacturing processes in order to sustain the facilities’ continuously enhanced performance in an ever-changing competitive environment. Also through these investments, energy efficiency will be improved as operational processes are modernized.

"This is a significant investment for the future of our La Doré facilities," said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer. "We can count on innovation, regional solidarity and the pride our people have in their work to overcome the challenges facing our industry."

Mr. Laflamme also mentioned the efforts of workers, elected representatives and governments, as well as regional economic, education and development organizations, to improve future prospects in the forest products industry.

Resolute employs close to 250 people at the La Doré sawmill, planer mill and finger-jointing facility, and more than 2,000 in the Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean region.

The investments announced today involve upgrades to several areas of the operations :

"We will rebuild the infeed section of the sawmill and add multiple programmable logic controllers, allowing the potential of each log to be better identified, used appropriately and optimally cut," explained Gilbert Demers, division vice president, Wood Products – Sawmills and Engineering. "We are also initiating the launch of a new lumber packaging system in the planer mill, using prototypes developed by manufacturers from the region. Finally, we are completing the project by adding two new electric boilers in order to generate the quantity of steam required for drying."

2018-04-30  READ MORE...
TMC enhances its presence in Brazil with a new production plant

During our 20-year experience, we have solved thousands of packaging needs for our customers and guaranteed reliable solutions on which we keep building our innovation.

To us, innovating means exceeding the limits of the standard relationship between manufacturer and user. It means supporting you with a blend of machines and services, providing innovative solutions for your products, maximizing your investment today, reducing your total cost of ownership and preserving the value of the capital invested through time.

This is why we have decided to enhance our presence in Brazil with the opening of a new production plant that will be inaugurated on June 5th 2018.

An important step that allows us to offer Brazilian customers – and not only – all the support of a specialist capable of making the difference.

From June 5th to 7th 2018, TMC do Brasil opens its doors so you can experience its technology firsthand with the new Roll Packaging and Diaper Packaging lines and see its new organizational structure.

2018-04-27  READ MORE...
Essity - Interim Report Q1 2018
  • Net sales increased 10.9% to SEK 28,020m (25,268)
  •  Organic net sales, which exclude exchange rate effects, acquisitions and divestments, increased 3.4%
  •  Operating profit before amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets (EBITA) rose 6% to SEK 2,760m (2,596)
  •  Adjusted operating profit before amortization of acquisition-related intangible assets (EBITA) rose 7% to SEK 3,119m (2,917)
  •  Higher raw material costs had a negative impact of SEK 755m on earnings
  •  Adjusted EBITA margin declined 0.4 percentage points to 11.1% (11.5)
  •  Adjusted profit before tax rose 1% to SEK 2,660m (2,630)
  •  Profit for the period increased 4% to SEK 1,726m (1,656)
  •  Earnings per share were SEK 2.08 (2.08[1])
  •  Adjusted earnings per share increased 2% to SEK 2.61 (2.55[1])
  •  Cash flow from current operations decreased 26% to SEK 1,685m (2,282)

[1] Indicative earnings per share on the assumption that the number of issued shares in Essity as of March 31, 2017 corresponded to the number of issued shares in Essity on March 31, 2018 (702.3 million).

SUMMARY OF FIRST QUARTER OF 2018
The Group’s net sales for the first quarter of 2018 increased 10.9% compared with the corresponding period a year ago. Organic net sales increased 3.4%, of which volume accounted for 2.5% and price/mix for 0.9%. In emerging markets, which represented 35% of net sales, organic net sales rose 6.3%, while the increase in mature markets was 1.6%.

During the quarter, four innovations were launched that strengthened Essity’s customer and consumer offering. Within Tissue Roadmap, investments and further restructuring measures were decided to strengthen the product offering and increase efficiency in Consumer Tissue and Professional Hygiene.

The Group’s adjusted EBITA in the first quarter of 2018 increased 7% compared with the corresponding period a year ago. Excluding currency translation effects and acquisitions, adjusted EBITA declined 5%. Higher volumes, a better price/mix, cost savings of SEK 232m and the acquisition of BSN medical had a positive impact on earnings. Higher raw material costs had a negative impact of SEK 755m on earnings. The higher raw material costs during the quarter were partially offset by price increases mainly in Consumer Tissue in Asia and Professional Hygiene. Price increases were also carried out in Consumer Tissue in Europe during the quarter, which have yet to impact earnings. The Group’s adjusted EBITA margin decreased 0.4 percentage points to 11.1%. The adjusted return on capital employed was 11.9%.

Organic net sales for the acquired company BSN medical for the first quarter of 2018 were in line with the corresponding period in 2017. The adjusted EBITA margin for the acquired company was 17.5% and was negatively impacted by about 0.2 percentage points due to integration costs. The integration is proceeding according to plan and generating the expected synergies.

2018-04-27  READ MORE...
ÅF awarded contract to expand world’s largest dissolving pulp mill

ÅF has been awarded an engineering, procurement and construction management contract by Sappi Limited to improve the environmental footprint of the Saiccor Mill in South Africa and expand its capacity.

The project is an equal effort joint venture between ÅF and the project, engineering and technical services company, Wood. The project is estimated to be 320 000 hours, which makes it the largest pulp and paper order ever secured by ÅF.

Saiccor Mill is situated south of the port of Durban and is the single largest producer of dissolving wood pulp, used in particular for viscose staple fibres in clothing and textiles.

“South Africa is one of our strongest pulp and paper markets and this contract further strengthens our position as an international engineering and design company with focus on end-to-end projects and solutions”, says Mikael Fränckel, Head of Process Industry at ÅF.

The project will be executed by an international ÅF-Wood team with engineers and designers from South Africa, Sweden, Finland and Brazil.

Upon completion of the expansion, the production capacity will be 890,000 tons per annum of sulphite chemical cellulose as bleached alpha 92 pulp - used for production of viscose staple, filament and lyocell fibres.

The mill will also be in line with European environmental legislations and standards with reduced carbon dioxide emissions and substantially reduced chemical oxygen emissions.

The project is expected to be completed by Q3 – 2020.

2018-04-26  READ MORE...
From newsprint to packaging paper: Voith and LEIPA set new benchmark with the PM 5 in Schwedt

In Schwedt, Voith has converted the LEIPA Group’s PM 5 from a newsprint to a packaging paper machine. On 19 April 2018, the acceptance and handover of the machine of the Schwedt PM 5 project was signed early at LEIPA Georg Leinfelder GmbH, with effect on 13 April. As a result, the Voith team on site managed to bring the entire machine, consisting of a BlueLine OCC stock preparation line, DIP stock preparation line and XcelLine paper machine up to handover quality just 19 days after ‘stock on wire’.

Perfectly matched components and an extensive automation system including OnQ quality control system make the machine a new benchmark in the industry. LEIPA can produce approximately 450,000 metric tons of white top testliner (WTTL) on the machine and is therefore the market leader in this segment. After taking over the UPM mill in Schwedt, the new owner, the LEIPA Group, decided to extensively rebuild the existing PM 11. Under the management of Voith, the conversion of the newsprint paper machine to a machine for the production of white top testliner (WTTL) began in October 2017. LEIPA invested over 160 million euros in the plant. Now known as PM 5, the machine is a new point of reference for packaging paper. Just a few machines worldwide surpass its 9,200-millimeter wire width. It also takes the top spot with its production speed of 1,200 meters per minute. LEIPA plans to produce 1,180 to 1,400 metric tons of white top testliner per day with the best surface properties and basis weights of 100 to 140 grams per square meter. LEIPA wants to manufacture a total of 450,000 metric tons of paper every year and thus expand its market position further.

Optimized for high speeds
To ensure the PM 5 can meet the desired output and quality requirements, Voith modified almost every component of the existing machine. A new hybrid former with two headboxes DuoFormer D and TopFormer F replaced the previous former, for example. Voith also developed a comprehensive solution for the transition to the press section and for the press, with a DuoCentri NipcoFlex shoe press in the center. These two components were designed to meet the requirements in high speed machines and enable outstanding product quality. Robust SolarPress roll covers assist in achieving this. The covers do not require any water cooling and help LEIPA to conserve resources. The SpeedSizer AT is also optimized for the uniform and faultless application of starch at high speeds.

During the rebuild, Voith separated the existing dryer section into a pre-dryer and after-dryer section. In the process, the pre-dryer section received a completely new TopDuoRun dryer group, while existing components were used for the after-dryer section. Thanks to a new MasterReel reel and the rebuild of the two existing DuoRollers, reel diameters of up to 3.5 meters can now be produced on the PM 5. The existing machine hall ventilation system was also expanded and integrated into the new process and quality control system.

15,000 recorded signals ensure optimum paper quality
Some of the existing motors were also used after the conversion. However, the Voith team integrated more than 333 new motors of different sizes into the PM 5, the most powerful of which has a capacity of 1.5 megawatts. Most of the motors are integrated into the automation concept developed by Voith. The system records more than 15,000 signals, monitors all the production steps from stock preparation to the reel, reports even the slightest deviations and levels out any fluctuations within a fraction of a second where needed. 29 state-of-the-art computer processors take care of processing the information. “The continuous data stream forms an important basis for us to maintain a consistently high paper quality at all times”, says Falk Friedrich, Plant Manager of LEIPA Schwedt Nord.

Increased efficiency for paper treatment
While the rebuild was taking place, a new machine for the efficient treatment of up to 1,400 metrics tons of fiber from recovered paper per day was also built. With a length of 50 meters, a diameter of 4.5 meters and a total weight of about 200 metric tons, the IntensaDrum pulping drum is the largest Voith has supplied to date. Much of the existing deinking system (DIP) was retained. Voith only had to modify it to cope with the characteristics of packaging papers. Among other measures, the technology group installed energy-saving components for bleach and flotation, which, along with the new cleaning system, reduce fiber losses.

“The engineers from Voith view the system from the apron conveyor to the winder, including measuring, automation and ventilation technology as a whole, and therefore develop perfectly compatible solutions”, emphasized Martin Kaltenegger, Project Manager for LEIPA PM 5.

Voith clothing for optimum performance
In addition, the order volume included start-up and a number of training sessions in which the LEIPA team became familiar with the intricacies of the PM 5. Voith will remain closely involved in the processes of the PM 5 after start-up too. In the next few years, the single-source supplier will deliver the clothing and doctor blades for the machine and thus ensure the optimum performance of the PM 5. The optimization of the machine within the first eight weeks after start-up is also part of the project – with an option to extend it for longer.

“The entire project, from the shutdown of the PM 11 to the installation of the new components and start-up of the new PM 5 has gone very well. With their professionalism and dedication, the two project teams have ensured the success of the project”, says Robert Osswald, Project Manager Voith Paper.

2018-04-26  READ MORE...
Ahlstrom-Munksjö plans to invest about EUR 9 million for improved financial performance

Ahlstrom-Munksjö has decided on two investment projects, totaling EUR 9 million, both with attractive financial returns. This supports Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s strategic ambition to maintain a leading position in selected niches of the global fiber-based solutions market that offer positive growth outlook and are supported by sustainable market drivers.

These projects will not materially impact current year’s capital expenditure plan. The capital expenditure guidance for 2018, published on February 13, 2018, remains unchanged.

Investment to further improve quality of decor paper in Dettingen, Germany

In the Decor business area, the company will invest about EUR 5 million to further enhance the quality of pre-impregnated decor papers produced at its Dettingen plant in Germany. Through the investment, which will be completed by the end of 2018, Ahlstrom-Munksjö will be able to strengthen its leading position in pre-impregnated decor papers. Ahlstrom-Munksjö is the global leading manufacturer of paper-based surfacing for wood based materials such as laminate flooring, furniture and interiors.

Investment to shorten lead times and improve efficiency in Pont Audemer, France

In the Specialties business area, the company will invest about EUR 4 million to rebuild a converting line of sterilization wrap being produced at its Pont Audemer plant in France. The material is e.g. used for protecting medical garments and sterilizing instruments. The investment includes installing a new sheeter and folding line as well as automated wrapping and boxing of the finished goods. Through the investment, which will be completed by the second quarter of 2019, the business will improve its competitiveness through higher efficiency and shorter lead times. The Specialties business area produces materials for food and beverage packaging, laboratory filters and life science diagnostics, water filtration, tape products and medical fabrics.

2018-04-26  READ MORE...
UPM continues to grow in the global label paper business

As the world leader in label papers, UPM continues to grow in the attractive release liner segments to support its customers globally. Steady growth is expected to continue in all markets driven by favourable economic conditions and strong increase in specialty paper demand for labelling, packaging and e-commerce as well as in medical and hygiene applications.

To strengthen its position UPM will rebuild paper machine 2 at its Nordland mill in Dörpen, Germany and convert it from fine paper to glassine paper production. The machine will be equipped with new finishing equipment and starts producing glassine paper as of Q4 2019. The planned capacity after the rebuild will be 110,000 tonnes per year. The total investment in Nordland is EUR 116 million. The production of woodfree papers on PM2 in Nordland will continue until Q3 2019 and the machine will be producing both glassine and woodfree paper during the ramp-up phase.

UPM has also decided to further increase the release liner base paper capacity at UPM Changshu mill in China. Since the successful startup of the paper machine 3 in Changshu, UPM has established a strong position in the label paper segment in Asia. By installing a second supercalender on paper machine 3, there will be an additional capacity of more than 40,000 tons of glassine paper a year as of Q1 2020. The total investment in Changshu is EUR 33 million.

"We see strong growth in all our market segments and we are committed to be part of the growth. The planned investments in Nordland and Changshu, along with the earlier announced calender investment at our Jämsänkoski mill, will increase customer confidence in their global growth in release liner applications. The planned installations will also enable increased specialisation of our assets. Thus we can improve our operational efficiency and strengthen supply security," says Bernd Eikens, Executive Vice President of UPM Specialty Papers.

2018-04-26  READ MORE...
The school's TAGA chapter wins the Technical Writing prize

The TAGA Annual Technical Conference took place on 18-21 March 2018 in Baltimore (United States). The Grenoble INP-Pagora student engineers comprising France’s student chapter won the Student Publication Special Recognition Award - Best in Technical Writing, which rewards the quality, accuracy and pertinence of the research topics presented by the nominees in booklet form. We asked the lucky winners a few questions.


What topics does your pamphlet cover ?
The pamphlet provides a summary of the research being performed by students at Grenoble INP-Pagora. The first topic revolves around the reduction of ink consumption during printing, while maintaining optimal reader comfort. The second relates to RFID tag printing. The final article focuses on the potential of combining printed electronics and 3D printing.


How did you select them ?
All the articles were written by students of our engineering school, which is an advantage we wanted to exploit. Printed electronics is gaining interest among an increasing number of industrial firms. Various electronic printing systems have seen the light of day in recent years, in the fields of inkjet printing, flexography and screen printing.


What degree of investment was required on the part of the team ?
Six months of preparation was needed to draw up a schedule, search for and select articles, translate them, lay out and design the pamphlet, find sponsors and organise the trip.


What difficulties did you have to overcome ?
Selecting the articles was particularly time consuming. We had to read a huge number of scientific reports and projects to find the most suitable topics. Because the association is comprised almost exclusively of trainee engineers, it was difficult to communicate and drive the project forward when its members were posted in their companies.
What will you take away from this experience ?
This adventure was extremely enriching for all of us, both personally and professionally. Working in a purely English-speaking environment for several days was not easy, but we managed to adapt and make the most of every minute. It was well worth investing our energy in the chapter for all those months, because we ended up winning the Technical Writing prize. Everyone in the association is very happy with the result.


What are your thoughts on the annual TAGA conference and the award ceremony ?
The presentations given were totally in line with the topics we study at Grenoble INP-Pagora. It was a great learning experience, because a wide range of subjects were covered, including colour management, electronic printing and new printing systems. The award ceremony was amazing, because manufacturers and researchers from across the globe were in attendance. This year, the team from Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada) won the Helmut Kipphan Cup. Grenoble INP-Pagora’s student chapter won the prize for best scientific content. The jury found its article on printed electronics particularly impressive.

2018-04-26  READ MORE...
UPM Paper ENA to be renamed UPM Communication Papers

UPM Paper Europe and North America (ENA) business area will be renamed UPM Communication Papers as of 26 April 2018. The new name underlines the industry focus and global reach of the business area. It further highlights UPM’s long-term commitment to sustaining its global graphic paper business, building on the view that paper will continue to be an important part of the media mix in the publishing industries and business communication.

UPM Communication Papers is a world leading producer of graphic papers, offering an extensive product range for advertising and publishing as well as home and office uses. We serve our customers through a global sales network providing quality papers, strong services and an integrated supply chain. Our papers are produced in 15 paper mills in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, the UK and the USA.

"Along with changes in the print communication value chain, UPM Communication Papers has been exposed to a steady market decline for graphic papers over the past years. Throughout the years we maintained a broad portfolio of sustainable products, strong local sales presence and competent customer service. We are confident this will be the foundation for UPM Communication Papers to make a strong contribution to UPM’s overall success also in the future. Our new name underlines this future orientation and is a promise to our customers and employees alike," says Winfried Schaur, Executive Vice President of UPM Communication Papers.

2018-04-26  READ MORE...
Twinsaver Group fires up Toscotec’s AHEAD-2.0S tissue machine at Kliprivier mill.

PM5 project is a turnkey supply by Toscotec, which includes the stock preparation system, the AHEAD-2.0S tissue line, the electrification and control systems, the complete plant engineering, erection, and supervision for erection, commissioning, training and start-up.

The scope of supply also includes the dust and mist removal systems and the hall heating and ventilation systems. Overall, the plant benefits largely from the numerous stages of energy recovery of the gas-fired hoods and vacuum plant. 

Toscotec’s AHEAD-2.0S tissue machine is equipped with a second-generation TT SYD-15FT steel Yankee dryer of 15 ft diameter. It features Toscotec’s advanced shoe press technology TT NextPress. The AHEAD-2.0S is set to produce premium-quality super-soft toilet tissue, with a total production of over 30,000 t/y and it will deliver on Twinsaver’s plans to increase supply to the local and export markets and preserve its top position in the tissue industry.

Following the announcement of a R580 million (USD 42 million) investment earlier last year, the Twinsaver Group - the leading producer of branded tissue in South Africa - awarded this turnkey project to Toscotec, who presented the most compelling green solutions, in line with the Group’s high environmental standards.

“We are very proud of the results of this turnkey project in South Africa. As Toscotec’s first turnkey in the country, building on the experience of other tissue machines in South Africa, we completed the supply according to schedule and started producing high quality tissue on the day of start-up. The substantial energy recovery advantages granted by the overall design of this plant are bound to exceed expectations,” said Toscotec’s Sales Director, Mr. Marco Dalle Piagge.

2018-04-26  READ MORE...
Veolia’s new ECRP system chosen by Celulosa Arauco at their Valdivia mill in Chile

Celulosa Arauco has selected Veolia Water Technologies’ HPD® CRP/ECRP™ technology to be able to benefit from the chloride and potassium removal in a recovery cycle at the Valdivia Mill, as part of a dissolving pulp project. The ECRP™ process is a new patented technology by Veolia, developed to allow mills with a high potassium input to achieve high removal rates of chloride and potassium while minimizing sodium losses.
Arauco’s Dissolving Pulp project for Valdivia Pulp Mill in Chile is a $185 million dollar investment to produce a range of products such as textile fiber, cellophane paper and filters. At a global level, the textile fiber market represents about 80 million tons. Dissolving pulp, which has experienced a rising trend in recent years, accounts for about 6% of total production. Veolia’s HPD® technology enables Arauco to uphold the natural and environmentally friendly process of production of dissolving pulp.
The project will involve treatment of a portion of the precipitator ash from the recovery boiler to remove chloride and potassium without significant loss of sodium or sulfate from the system. In this manner, chloride and potassium levels in the recovery cycle can be controlled to minimize fouling of the recovery boiler and the associated operating costs.

Minimizing Sodium Losses
The ECRP™ is a two-stage crystallizer system which will allow for the required removal of chloride and potassium at less than half of the losses to accomplish the same in a conventional CRP™ system.
“Veolia has a long history in providing solutions to the Pulp & Paper market. The project for Arauco Valdivia is another example of the application of proven technology in a very unique configuration to meet the objectives of this project” stated Klaus Andersen, CEO of Veolia Water Technologies Americas.
The various benefits of the Veolia CRP/ECRP include an increase in sticky temperature, the reduction in soda loss (and subsequent soda makeup) compared to ash dumping or alternate technologies. In some other instances, the potassium recovered from the purge can also be re-used to produce a very valuable fertilizer such as SOP.

2018-04-25  READ MORE...
Moody's changes outlook on Metsä Board's Ba1 ratings to positive

Moody’s has today changed the outlook on Metsä Board’s ratings to positive from stable. The ratings have been affirmed.

"Today’s rating action recognises the continued strengthening of Metsä Board’s business profile and increasing likelihood that Metsä Board will be able to maintain credit metrics commensurate with an investment grade rating", says Martin Fujerik, Moody’s analyst for Metsä Board.

2018-04-25  READ MORE...
Introducing the first deep dive into the BillerudKorsnäs Consumer Panel: Packaging Sustainability for Helpful Brands

Packaging is a clear point of contact with the consumer, regardless of sales channel, and therefore a strategic tool for a brand that is helpful in people’s increasing ambition to become more sustainable-oriented in everyday actions and choices. The BillerudKorsnäs deep dive Packaging Sustainability for Helpful Brands shows that brand owners who clearly empowers consumers to act more sustainable are in high demand among global consumers.

In BillerudKorsnäs Consumer Panel Report 2017, the highest index score of all was on the opportunity for brands to differentiate by packaging sustainability, giving clear benefits to the consumer to act more sustainable. Be it easier recycling, reducing food waste or a beneficiary second and third use of packaging.

Those benefits, if communicated, would be powerful to show that you are a helpful brand. The long-term winners will be the brands and corporation that are perceived as really helpful. Because all consumer (and B2B customers) will feel sure that they are part of the solution – not the problem.

From the content :

 Helpful brands – a key to success
 Being helpful is a general, holistic approach to your business model, encompassing both why and how you do business. It is also about operating close to your customers : listening, interacting and innovating to make it easier for them to act in a sustainable way.

 Helping the consumer be a hero
 About brand owners and the support, inspiration and innovation they can provide to make it easier for consumers to do right.

 Packaging as a strategic tool
 Brand owners that are able to activate and engage consumers, to communicate the value and functionality of the packaging and to make consumers feel their behaviour has a positive impact, will be rewarded through preference and loyalty.

 Packaging as a sustainability enabler
 Food waste is the highest priority for consumers when discussing the global challenges that packaging can help solve in the future.

 Making recycling easy
 Making it easy and rewarding to recycle is number one on consumers’ list of dream results of future packaging innovation.

 Going beyond the obvious
 Consumers are asking for true innovation – new ideas that change the role of packaging in their everyday lives.

2018-04-25  READ MORE...
TMC enters the IMA Group to create the largest hub for the packaging of Tissue and Personal Care products in the world.

TMC (Tissue Machinery Company), the Italian leader in the manufacture of machines for the packaging and management of Tissue and Personal Care products, consolidates and strongly reasserts its leadership
position thanks to its entry in the IMA Group, world leader in the design and production of automatic machines for the processing and packaging of pharmaceutical products, cosmetics, food products, tea & coffee, listed on the Italian stock exchange since 1995 in the STAR index.
TMC, the IMA Group’s choice for entering the field of packaging of Tissue and Personal Care products, is ready to place its experience at the disposal of the Group and to enhance its knowhow to create what will become a true hub and reference point in the field.
TMC’s undisputed international leadership in market niches such as primary and secondary packaging of kitchen towel rolls and toilet rolls and secondary packaging of personal care products, together with the strength of the IMA Group – 5,600 employees (2,800 of whom abroad), 42 production facilities in Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, Spain, UK, USA, India, Malaysia, China and Argentina, 29 branch offices with sales and assistance services and 50 agencies, covering 80 countries worldwide – will allow the TMC Group to accelerate its projects for growth, the development of innovation and the creation of superior-level partnerships.
The agreement entails an 82.5% stake by IMA in Tissue Machinery Company.
The TMC Group, with its subsidiaries, has a forecast turnover of about 80 million euro and an EBITDA of over 10 million euro with positive growth prospects, enhanced by the overall support it can provide thanks to its entry into the IMA Group.
Matteo Gentili President of TMC, commented :
This agreement is one of great satisfaction for us. In IMA we have found the best partner for the further development of our company to attain additional technological and commercial objectives in the field of Tissue and Personal Care products. Entering the IMA Group will enable a strong acceleration of our innovation, product development and geographical expansion projects. Personally, I will continue to play a leading role in the strategic management of the TMC group, with interests fully aligned with IMA, with the goal of consolidating and developing TMC as a global  reference for technological innovation and customer service.”
Alberto Vacchi President and CEO of IMA, commented :
“The agreement is strategic for the IMA Group and the partnership with Matteo Gentili, with TMC as a platform for the development of the project, will allow us to create an international hub that is the undisputed leader in the field of Tissue and Personal Care products.
With this operation, IMA continues along its path of enhancing and growing the leading market bands, further strengthening its industrial presence in Italy.”

2018-04-25  READ MORE...
Solenis to Increase Prices on all Process Chemicals Globally

Solenis, a leading global producer of specialty chemicals, will increase prices by five to 30 percent on all process chemicals, effective immediately or as customer contracts allow. The price increases are due to increases in key raw material costs, escalating freight costs and decreased market availability of several raw materials.

“We are committed to delivering high-value, innovative solutions to help customers maximize their productivity,” said Varun Ratta, Senior Vice President, Product and Pricing Management. “While these price increases are necessary for us to reliably supply and support our customers, we’ll continue our efforts to help mitigate these increases and control their costs with beneficial process improvements.”

2018-04-24  READ MORE...
Lecta at the Upcoming Milan Packaging Première Fair


Lecta will be presenting its extensive range of specialty papers for premium packaging.

Lecta will participate in the upcoming edition of this exclusive event devoted to luxury packaging, to be held in Milan from May 15 to May 17. At this international exhibit, which brings together designers, manufacturers and top brands in the premium packaging industry worldwide, Lecta will showcase its wide range of papers for select packaging with numerous possibilities for applications.

We invite you to visit us at stand F06 at the Packaging Première, where you will discover the outstanding quality of Lecta’s range of specialty papers for high-end packaging :

Diva A​rt : a one-side double-coated cardboard with a silk finish specially designed for creative uses of graphic and luxury packaging

Metalvac : 100% high-vacuum metallized paper designed for premium labels and flexible packaging, graphic applications and luxury packaging

Eurokote : cast-coated paper for wine, spirits, sparkling wine and water bottles, premium packaging and advertising

Creaset : one-side coated papers for different label and packaging end uses

Adestor : Lecta’s range of pressure-sensitive paper and film for premium labels (wine, spirits, sparkling wine and beer). ​

2018-04-24  READ MORE...
Packaging leader Smurfit Kappa has identified a sustainable new use for its aid boxes

The boxes are used by Scottish charity Edinburgh Direct Aid to send clothes and other essential items to refugee camps and can now be turned into furniture.

Smurfit Kappa design teams from the UK and the Netherlands were given the brief of making the corrugated boxes, which would previously have been recycled after use, dual purpose. The teams looked at how the boxes could be designed to facilitate easy conversion into stackable stools, storage chests and desks.

The ‘re-purposable’ boxes, which are printed with instructions in local languages, can be easily assembled and are designed to cope with changing climatic conditions.

“We read about how refugees around the world are suffering when they’re forced to flee their homes and how much they depend on these camps, so we were keen to help,” said Stephen Cawdell, Technical Design Manager at Smurfit Kappa Northampton.

“At Smurfit Kappa, we constantly explore creative ways for our packaging to be re-used. The furniture made from our boxes is sturdy enough to be kept outside and the desks are very useful for use in temporary schools that have been set up in some refugee camps.”

Speaking about the partnership with Smurfit Kappa, Denis Rutovitz, Chairman at Edinburgh Direct Aid, said : “Smurfit Kappa came up with an impressive solution in the form of these specially designed boxes and it’s the first time we’ve used anything like this. In general, the camps are not well resourced so having a source of furniture will make a difference.”

To date, Smurfit Kappa has donated 10,000 boxes to Edinburgh Direct Aid.

2018-04-24  READ MORE...
Ahlstrom-Munksjö to acquire the Caieiras specialty paper mill in Brazil

Ahlstrom-Munksjö has entered into an agreement to acquire MD Papéis’ Caieiras specialty paper mill in Brazil of the Formitex Group, an industrial conglomerate active in the paper, chemicals and panel board industries.

The annual net sales of the business to be acquired are approximately EUR 80 million and comparable EBITDA approximately EUR 13 million in 2017. The debt free purchase price is approximately EUR 100 million. Annual synergy benefits of up to EUR 6 million are estimated, mainly arising from optimization of overlapping business. Banco Citibank S.A. has agreed and committed to provide financing for the acquisition.

The transaction is expected to be completed during the third quarter of 2018 and is subject to customary completion terms, including merger clearance from the relevant competition authorities.

The Caieiras product offering is an excellent match for Ahlstrom-Munksjö with 80% of sales being in line with Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s current product and solution portfolio. The acquisition significantly strengthens Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s offering and production platform in the region, and provides attractive growth opportunities, synergies and further production optimization opportunities for the longer term. The Caieiras mill is located in the vicinity of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s existing production plants in Jacarei, part of the Industrial Solutions business area, and in Louveira, part of the Filtration and Performance business area. The mill gives access to local production of decor paper, thus strengthening Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s service offering and partnership with existing customers, which so far has relied on imports. Ahlstrom-Munksjö becomes a global leading producer in decor paper, and the mill is a competitive platform for further growth in South America. Ahlstrom-Munksjö is already a global leading supplier in tape, serving both local and global customers, and this position is further strengthened through the transaction. And in addition by combining the businesses of Caieiras and Jacarei Ahlstrom-Munksjö improves production and delivery capability as well as competitiveness.

Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s presence in Brazil grows further through the acquisition, operating three plants, all near Sao Paolo, and employing over 700 persons and revenues of approximately of EUR 200 million.

“The Caieiras business is an excellent addition to our global platform, and drives our ambition to maintain a leading position in selected niches of the global fiber-based solutions market that offers growth. We have plentiful of opportunities to grow in our existing business segments, proceed with new product development and consider growth in adjacent segments”, says Hans Sohlström, President and CEO of Ahlstrom-Munksjö Oyj

“Further expanding our platform in Brazil will allow us to serve our specialty paper customers with an even stronger offering and efficiency”, says Daniele Borlatto, EVP of Industrial Solutions Business Area.

“This acquisition strengthens our position as a global leader in Decor papers” says Tomas Wulkan, EVP of the Decor Business Area.

“Formitex Group regards the divestment from the specialty paper business as an opportunity for the group to consolidate its strategic interest in strengthening its chemicals core businesses. Ahlstrom-Munksjö is a great fit as a new parent to the Caieiras Mill, a strategic owner that can expand the mill’s technology base - further accelerating its growth potential and strengthening sales internationally”, Formitex says in a statement.

2018-04-24  READ MORE...
ANDRITZ to refurbish dewatering equipment for TMP washing stage at Hallsta Paper Mill


ANDRITZ has received an order from Holmen Paper, a part of the Holmen Group, Sweden, to refurbish and install dewatering equipment for a new TMP (thermo-mechanical pulp) washing stage at PM 12 in Hallstavik. Basic engineering, erection as well as commissioning and start-up, which is scheduled for the final quarter of 2018, are also part of the delivery scope.

ANDRITZ will refurbish two used ANDRITZ twin wire presses and relocate an existing ANDRITZ pulp screw press. After re-installation as the TMP washing stage, the dewatering equipment will improve the pulp quality, thus ensuring higher product quality on the paper machine. PM12 manufactures book paper and newsprint grades.

SCOPE OF SUPPLY
• Refurbishment of two used ANDRITZ twin wire presses.
• Relocation and overhaul of an existing ANDRITZ pulp screw press used in the former deinking plant at Hallsta paper mill.
• Installation of a new conveyor for pulp dilution and shredding after washing.
• Rebuild and relocation of two existing screw conveyors.

ANDRITZ’s broad know-how on refurbishment of dewatering equipment as well as its longstanding and excellent relationship with Holmen Paper were decisive for the order award. The Hallsta Paper Mill has relied on ANDRITZ dewatering technology for many years. After completion of this project, the mill will be operating 14 ANDRITZ twin wire presses.

2018-04-24  READ MORE...
Infinity FineLine: Seam felts for sensitive paper grades


For Infinity FineLine, an especially fine loop structure was developed and the seam zone was further improved. This is why these press fabrics are used above all in the tissue and specialty paper segment.

High dewatering efficiency and long service lives have made press fabrics from the Voith Infinity series best-sellers for packaging papers, board and graphic paper grades. The technology group has now extended its product range. Infinity FineLine offers an ideal solution for sensitive applications like tissue or specialty papers. The modular structure of the press fabrics allows easy adaption to any requirement.

With its new FineLine module, Voith is further expanding its successful range of Infinity fabrics. For the new products, a particularly fine loop structure was developed and the seam zone was further improved. FineLine is mainly used in the tissue and specialty paper segment. The new press felt is available as endless and seam product. Infinity FineLine debuts with remarkably minimized seam loops that reduce marking potential even in the finest papers. As with all Infinity products, the seam loops in FineLine also have an identical loop length, roundness and spacing. This makes the closure particularly simple and enables machine downtimes to be reduced by up to 25 percent.

A combination of Infinity FineLine and twisted yarns has proven particularly advantageous in sensitive applications. The twisted yarns ensure better batt fiber anchorage. As a result, the paper producer benefits from consistent performance over the entire service life. At the same time, Infinity FineLine is specifically energy efficient through its low grammage.

Cohesive range for all requirements
Alongside FineLine, the Infinity series also includes the ToughLine range of fabrics which Voith designed specifically for extreme environments. These conditions occur, for example, when manufacturing board and packaging papers, where the felts are continuously exposed to heat or abrasive materials. The use of Infinity press fabrics for the production of graphic papers is also constantly increasing. “Our Infinity series offers the best press felts portfolio for all paper machine requirements”, says Anne Klaschka, Global Product Manager Press Fabrics at Voith. The modular structure of the fabrics means that they can be tailored optimally to customer requirements.

The Infinity series is part of the PressMax portfolio of the Voith AdvancedProducts range. It allows paper makers a combination of perfectly coordinated components to improve the performance of their paper machines.

2018-04-23  READ MORE...
Långasjö sawmill equipped for the future


On Saturday 21 April, Södra’s sawmill at Långasjö was reopened at a ceremony attended by more than 2,000 visitors. In 2017, just over SEK 100 million was invested in the facility to increase capacity and achieve more efficient production. The initiative has also created an additional 25 jobs.

More than 2,000 visitors from all over Götaland attended the reopening ceremony of the Långasjö sawmill. The day’s theme was ‘We are creating a sustainable future here together.’ This was reflected during the opening ceremony when the entire chain – from forest owners, forest inspectors, employees and customers to the next generation – tied ribbons, instead of cutting a ribbon.

“I am proud of what we have done at Långasjö. With this investment of SEK 100 million, we have created an efficient and modern sawmill where we can produce even higher volumes at a lower cost and meet the demand for our sustainable products. The investment makes the facility well-equipped for the future and strengthens our market position,” said Jörgen Lindquist, President of the Södra Wood business area.

The sawmill produces panelling and cross beams, but also painted products, and demand in this product category has been growing every year since 2013. The products are mainly delivered to the Netherlands and Sweden, two markets where pressure on construction timber is high.

“Market demand is high, and the investment has already generated positive results. The sawmill has been in full production with the new equipment since November 2017 and is performing according to plan,” said Jörgen Lindquist.

2018-04-23  READ MORE...
Chinese tissue paper giant became a shareholder - Finnpulp starts basic engineering of the bioproduct mill

Basic engineering of Finnpulp’s bioproduct mill has started. Company’s mill will be built on the site in Sorsasalo in Kuopio, for which the city plan was enforced earlier in January. Basic engineering for this world’s largest bioproduct mill that uses only softwood will last about one year. Engineering work now starting will form basis for the final investment decision by the company. This is due to the first half of next year. The decision also will mean construction works of the mill to start.

One of the most respected forest industry companies in China as a shareholder

Owners of Finnpulp will finance approximately 15 million euros basic planning period. Before starting the engineering work, the company has increased its owner base. Hengan International, which is China’s most significant tissue and hygiene product manufacturer, became a shareholder of the company. The EUR 11.7 million investment made by Hengan entitles to 36.5% of the share capital. In the future Hengan has a possibility to increase its share of the company up to 49%.

Hengan International is listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, and its share of China’s growing personal hygiene product markets is 20% (2016). Founder family is still responsible for the management of the company, which has been chosen in international forums among to the most respected Chinese companies in business management, innovation and taking care of the environment and workforce responsibility.

At the same time with Hengan becoming a new shareholder, the previous owners MTK and Grizzly Hill Capitals have raised their investment in Finnpulp. After the issue the both parties will have 11,5 % of the company´s ownership.

Expectations are to get the verified environmental permit next summer

The Regional State Administrative Agency granted the environmental permit in March 2017 for Finnpulp’s Kuopio bioproduction plant. The strict terms of the permit maybe the tightest ever been set to production plants in Finland or elsewhere. Terms are also stricter than the EU’s best practice requirements for the industry. Finnpulp takes this this as a positive challenge and will employ new technology to meet the requirements.

2018-04-23  READ MORE...
Another two successful startups for Valmet and Lee & Man in China


Valmet recently made two successful Advantage DCT 200 tissue line startups at Lee & Man’s tissue mill at Chongqing, China. The first machine in the startup queue was TM13, which started producing high quality paper right from the start on January 18. The second startup was on March 3, when just as good tissue paper hit the reel on TM15.

"Valmet has sold a total of nine tissue machines to Lee & Man since 2014. All startups have been characterized by good collaboration, efficient installations and steady startup curves. Efficient project execution and tissue lines that deliver good results right from the first roll have become the trademarks of Valmet’s and Lee & Man’s winning co-operation," says Valmet’s project manager Tomas Eklund. A big part of a successful delivery is trustworthy technology. Valmet’s well proven Advantage technology has been designed with the success of tissue makers in mind.

Efficient teamwork forms another great part of the success that has been achieved by Valmet and Lee & Man in Chongqing. "We work as one to reach our mutual aims. At this point, we know each other so well that the machines, more or less, start with a push of a button," says Eklund.

Valmet will start two more Advantage DCT 200 tissue production lines for Lee & Man during 2018. All at the same mill in Chongqing and with the same scope of delivery - complete tissue production lines featuring stock preparation systems and Advantage DCT 200HS tissue machines.

All nine machines are equipped with OptiFlo headbox and cast alloy Yankee cylinders. The Advantage tissue technology includes ViscoNip press, steam heated AirCap hood, WetDust dust system and a SoftReel P reel. Basic engineering and site services are also included in the delivery. Valmet’s automation package is also included, with Valmet DNA machine and process control system (DCS), as well as Valmet IQ quality control system (QCS) and Valmet IQ Dilution Profiler.

The tissue machine has a width of 5.6 m and a design speed of 2,000 m/min. Each machine has the capacity to produce 60,000 tons of toilet and facial tissue per year. Lee & Man uses virgin wood pulp and bleached bamboo fiber as raw material.

2018-04-23  READ MORE...
HM The Queen recognises Greycon with Award for International Trade

Greycon has won the coveted Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the International Trade category in recognition of the company’s sustained success in overseas expansion.

The Queen’s Award for Enterprise is the UK’s most prestigious business accolade. The Queen’s Award highlights outstanding achievement in the fields of innovation, international trade and sustainable development. The Award celebrates companies and individuals who are outstanding in their field. Greycon demonstrated successfully to the judging panel that its strategic diversification into new growth markets and geographies across the globe deserved recognition at the very highest level.

Constantine Goulimis, Greycon’s CEO and founder, commented : “I’m delighted to announce Greycon’s important achievement in one of the most high-profile and celebrated awards for commercial success. The Queen’s Award for Enterprise in International Trade is a wonderful validation of our achievements. I am immensely proud of the whole Greycon team for winning the highest business accolade that a UK company can receive. It is the peak of achievement in terms of recognition for our proactive, dedicated approach to championing international business growth. Greycon’s strong profile outside the UK is one of our key differentiators and winning the award is further proof that the strategy to diversify Greycon is working.”

Colleague David Mushin said : “Targeting growth, Greycon has proved highly responsive at aligning business with our target industry’s priorities such as Sustainability, Customer Service, geographies and buoyant global sectors that offer the greatest opportunities, such as the Plastic Film & Flexible Packaging, Nonwoven, Metals, Converting, and Paper & Board industries. We have combined our reputation with organic growth and new strategic appointments in key markets internationally, while continuing to improve our position in the UK.”

2018-04-23  READ MORE...
Smurfit Kappa continues to invest in its Facture Paper Mill to meet the growing demand for kraftliner grades in Europe.

An upgrade of the mill, which is in South West France, was successfully completed in March following a three-week shutdown and included the implementation of a new pulp washing line, and a complete overhaul of the black liquor recovery boiler.

SKG next plans a series of improvements to the paper machine No. 5 commencing in 2019 which, on completion, will increase its production capacity of white top kraftliner from 174,000 tonnes to 220,000 tonnes per annum, and further enhance the quality of this premium product. 

Smurfit Kappa’s paper-based packaging is the packaging of choice for many brands which are seeking a more sustainable alternative to plastic and it is used widely in both the eCommerce and retail sectors.

Premium white top kraft paper, which is made from virgin fibres, is also a very suitable material for the high-specification digital print used to make brands come alive on the shelf.

The Smurfit Kappa Facture Paper Mill has been producing kraft paper since 1928. Speaking about the upgrade project, Laurent Sellier, Chief Operating Officer of Smurfit Kappa Paper & Board Europe, said : “The Facture site is going through a major upgrade programme which will significantly increase both the output and quality of the kraftliner we produce.

“This mill has an ideal location for meeting the demands of customers in Southern Europe so we are committed to implementing ongoing innovations and improvements.”

The Facture Paper Mill is part of Smurfit Kappa’s global network of paper mills that are all connected through a single, optimised supply chain system.

The upgrade of the Facture Paper Mill will reinforce the industry-leading position Smurfit Kappa holds for the production of kraftliner containerboard in Europe.

2018-04-23  READ MORE...
Former Appleton Coated facility to begin doing business as Midwest Paper Group

The Combined Locks paper mill formerly home to Appleton Coated will begin doing business under the name “Midwest Paper Group”. The new entity was established by Industrial Assets and Maynards after their October 2017 purchase of substantially all the assets of Appleton Coated LLC. The company restarted the facility in December.

After the purchase, Industrial Assets took note of the highly experienced and dedicated workforce and focused on upgrading the mill’s production capabilities and fiber handling systems. “We have a made a significant investment in this mill and community. We are grateful for our customers, vendors and the team onsite which has allowed the company to continue its tradition of producing some of the highest quality paper in the industry.” said Steve Mattes, CEO of Industrial Assets Corp.

“We are excited by the investment our new ownership has made which enhances our production capabilities in order to grow and diversify our product offering. We remain committed to providing our legacy printing/writing and new containerboard customers with high quality products and unequalled service.” said Kyle Putzstuck, President of Midwest Paper Group.

“Restarting the facility on our legacy grades while also developing new products and engaging new customers has been excellent for all involved” said John Mazuroski, Head of Sales and Marketing. “Our dedicated employees and rich history of product development helped us meet every challenge. The strategy of merging our capabilities in printing/writing grades together with new containerboard development is proving successful, and we have significantly diversified our product portfolio” he added.

“The future now looks bright for the company,” stated Doug Osterberg, Managing Director of Midwest Paper Group. “We are very grateful to our customers, suppliers, and employees who have stood with us through this process.”

2018-04-20  READ MORE...
Sulzer - Record first quarter order intake – operations back to normal

Order intake in the first quarter of 2018 grew strongly across all divisions, reaching CHF 900 million compared to CHF 758 million in the same period a year ago. Organic order growth of 12.8% was mainly driven by the oil and gas market. Five days after the complete unblocking of its assets, Sulzer’s operations are back to normal and customers have remained loyal to Sulzer. The company estimates a one-off cost impact from sanctions of approximately CHF 10m, which will be treated as non-operational. The company expects no sanction impact beyond 2018. Sulzer confirms its 2018 guidance.

2018-04-19  READ MORE...
Södra - Highly robust first quarter


Södra reported a highly robust operating profit of SEK 938 million (490) for the first quarter of 2018, up more than 90 percent compared with the year-earlier period. Strong demand with a positive price trend underlie these figures, and the higher volumes generated by the expansion investments are reflected in the results.

Consolidated net sales rose 12 percent to SEK 5,717 million compared with the year-earlier period, and the operating margin improved to 16 percent (10). Return on capital employed increased to 22 percent (12) and the equity ratio to 58 percent (56).

“There are several reasons for this robust earnings trend. The favourable global economy has contributed to high demand and a positive price trend for Södra’s products in both market pulp and the sawn timber area. We are also seeing the positive effects of our comprehensive expansion investments in the pulp mills, and the efficiencies and restructuring we have achieved in sawn timber production,” said Lars Idermark, President and CEO.

“Our efforts with new innovations and sustainability have continued unabated. Södra’s investments to increase liquid biofuel production are on track, as well as investments in sawn timber processing. These strategic investments in the future are helping to create new business opportunities. They also represent steps towards a fossil-free society, and a sustainable bioeconomy in which forests can play a key role,” said Lars Idermark.

In the Södra Skog business area, operating profit totalled SEK 19 million (16) for the period. The results were charged with higher transport costs due to the intermittently challenging wood supply situation during the first quarter.

In the Södra Wood business area, operating profit totalled SEK 91 million (3) for the period, mainly reflecting the positive price level and strong demand for sawn timber. The ongoing operational changes in Södra Interiör are proceeding as planned.

In the Södra Cell business area, operating profit totalled SEK 926 million (496) for the period. The earnings trend was mainly attributable to the strong upward price trend and higher volumes.

January-March 2018 in brief :20182017
Jan-Mar
Jan-Mar
Net sales, SEK million

5,717

5,098
Operating profit before depreciation, amortisation and impairment, SEK million1,216750
Operating profit, SEK million938490
Profit before tax, SEK million941430
Operating margin, %1610


2018-04-19  READ MORE...

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