Paper360 - May/June 2017 - 34
millwise | CONVERSION
In 2015, Stora Enso invested EUR 110 million to reinvent its
Varkaus fine paper mill in a bid to gain market share. The result is
a first-class packaging facility.
When you visit Stora Enso Varkaus,
Finland-the location of BM 3, a new 390,000
tpy virgin-fiber-based brown and white top containerboard machine-you know you are in a
history-making place. Recently, the mill was
reborn for the fourth time since 1921, this time to
meet market needs for kraft liner and white top.
What's evident immediately in Varkaus and
the new containerboard facility is that old and
new live side-by-side. Few towns and factories
can claim design from architect Alvar Aalto,
or such prominence and scale of industrial
success over nearly a century. Yes, they have
had serious setbacks in recent years, even the
near closing of the mill. However, resurgence
is happening again.
In 2015, Stora Enso invested EUR 110 million
(US$116.5 million) to convert its Varkaus fine
paper mill to a 390,000 metric ton/yr virginfiber-based brown and white top containerboard facility.
Modifying existing assets to become a new
product line is part of Stora Enso's transformation to being a value-creating renewable
materials company. Through this machine
conversion, it is positioned to gain market
share in a growing world market, recognizing
the decline of fine paper. Stora Enso is vigilant
about quality, including key properties such as
strength and printability.
The new facility includes an existing 310,000
metric tpy unbleached kraft pulp mill, a power
plant, considerable infrastructure, and a competent workforce. The mill is also ideally situated near an abundance of local virgin fiber
resources. It is energy independent, employing
95 percent bio-fuels with low CO2 emissions.
BM 3 makes brown kraft liner and white top. Production is predominantly based on virgin fiber from
the integrated pulp mill. Mika Kaurola, operator, observes quality visually and by touch.
The conversion increases Stora Enso's renewable packaging sales by EUR 280 million (US$
296.7 million). The company reports that the
targeted EBITDA margin for the converted
machine at full capacity is above 15 percent, provided that current market conditions continue.
GLOBAL MARKET ADVANTAGE
With the conversion, Stora Enso considerably strengthens its global offering to customers in containerboard. The Varkaus mill's
domestic customers are in Europe; its global
markets include South America and Asia. The
value proposition is consistency with strength,
moisture resistance, purity, and printability.
For fruits and vegetables, food packaging,
retail, and industrial heavy duty, the mill's
offering of kraft liner and white top is ideal.
The mill also had an expert support team.
Pöyry Engineering played a key role in the
Stora Enso Varkaus at a Glance
Saw mill, white wood timber: 260,000 m3
Pulp mill, unbleached kraft pulp: 310,000 metric tpy
Paper mill, containerboard: 390,000 metric tpy
LVL mill, LVL: 100,000 m3/yr (start-up in June 2016)
Wood usage: spruce, pine, birch-approx. 2.1 million m3 (after investments)
conversion. Valmet delivered a new headbox
and wire section for reverse ply and modified
the old wire section for print ply, as well as
provided a shoe press. They revamped the
paper machine's dry end, including a quality
Honeywell modernized control, security,
and management systems-all from two fully
integrated control rooms. A compact wet end
and screening from Aikawa Fiber Technologies
(AFT) for the new reverse ply eliminates many
redundant pieces of equipment, and is an
advanced version of Stora Enso's pioneering
work with this concept back in 2001.
NEARLY 100 YEARS OF
SUCCESS AND EVOLUTION
Back in 1921 Varkaus, then owned by
Ahlstrom, was the largest paper mill in
Europe. In the 1980s, when Enso Gutzeit
(Stora Enso since 1998) took over, the mill
was a major newsprint producer. Its output
supplied the newspaper plant of Helsingin
Sanomat, the leading Finnish journal, as well
as many other Nordic newspapers. Later in the
1980s, Varkaus made publication grades for
magazines and brochures throughout Europe.
It also started uncoated and coated fine paper
production through conversion of two lines.