Tissue360 - Spring/Summer 2017 - 40
"Then in August 2015 we hired the initial
team of 58 employees," Richard says. "The
community college again partnered with us for
a four-month training program. Much of this
training was conducted by suppliers, including ANDRITZ." Part of the funding comes
through a New Market tax credit program.
A requirement for that credit is that St. Croix
hire 60 percent of its new employees from a
low-income bracket and maintain that ratio
for seven years. "This has a huge benefit for
the community," L'Italien says.
Tom Dorsch, St. Croix project leader (left) with John Schamell, ANDRITZ's vice president North
America for tissue and drying, on TM 2.
TM 1 in January 2016," says John Schamell,
ANDRITZ's North American vice president for
tissue and drying. "Even though construction
was proceeding around us, we checked the
machine out section by section. It was a little
hectic and the operators were brand new. But,
we got stock on the wire in early March."
The second machine was commissioned and
started up with a more traditional approach
and pace. "It started up well," says Schamell.
"Even though we had fewer resources since
TM1 was in full operation by then, we had a
good start-up in July 2016."
"In our first full month of operation with
both machines, we reached 70 percent of saleable design capacity for this mill," Dorsch says.
"I think that's a pretty fast ramp-up."
When asked about the working relationship with ANDRITZ, Dorsch comments,
"Whenever there were issues, ANDRITZ took
ownership. Any problem got fixed and got
fixed well. They were very open and transparent. They were always sensitive to timing,
costs, and the impact on our operations. They
are an excellent partner that way."
About 85 percent of the machine components
were manufactured at ANDRITZ's facility in
Foshan, China. The steel yankees were fabricated in the company's state-of-the-art workshop in Hungary. Headbox, press rolls, and
hydraulic systems came from Europe and the
air systems came from Canada.
"Like many North Americans, I wondered
what the quality of the components manufactured in China would be," Richard says. "I went
to the ANDRITZ workshop in Foshan to inspect
the first machine. It was clear that quality was
the first thing on the minds of the people-we
Tissue360º SPRING/ SUMMER 2017
didn't even have to ask the question before management was explaining their QA/QC processes.
It was impressive. After delivery, we could see
that the workmanship was really excellent."
LOCAL TRAINING PARTNERSHIP
"ANDRITZ committed a very good team to
this project, and they integrated well with
our group," Dorsch says. "This is the third
machine-pair startup I have worked on and
I can say that this project had more vendor
support than I have typically seen. But, it was
essential here given that our workforce was
green with very little tissue experience."
St. Croix partnered with the local community college to design a training program so
potential job candidates could learn something
about tissue making. Completing the program
did not guarantee a job, only the opportunity
for an interview.
"Every converter who has run our tissue likes
it," L'Italien says. "One converter was able to
raise speeds by 70 percent due to the runnability of our product."
St. Croix considered investing in structured tissue, but decided to go with the
CrescentFormer. "Even though our tissue
is not structured, it is of very high quality,"
Richard says. "In some cases, it has allowed
us to get a foot in the door in traditional
structured markets. The formation on the
CrescentFormer is just so good that we can
compete well in the softness for the higher
end bath tissues."
"Before we started up, I was concerned about
physical quality of the reels, since we would be
making 88-in. (2,235 mm) diameter rolls,"
L'Italien says. "My concerns were unfounded.
These machines make nice flat rolls with excellent profiles. Whatever ANDRITZ is doing
with its reel building technology certainly
St. Croix Tissue produces 88-in. (2,235-mm) diameter rolls.