Paper360 - March/April 2012 - (Page 14)

SPECIAL FEATURE: TISSUE MILL WISE Tissue Industry BACK on TRACK in North America With demand growing again, mills serving the private label market expand capacity in U.S. KEN PATRICK T issue and towel (T&T) appears to have survived the global downturn of 2008-09 better than most other paper grades. But some of the industry’s closest observers say there was some damage and that contrary to what might have been commonly believed before the slowdown, many companies, especially in North America, discovered that tissue really isn’t recession proof. As Lindsay Gervais, a consultant with Pöyry Management Consulting in New York, notes, “we saw a real dip in demand during those two years.” The T&T i ndu s t r y h a s now recovered and is more or less where it was before the recession, Ger va is told Paper360° during a recent discussion that i ncluded t wo Frank Perkowski other experts in this historically robust sector—John Stitt, Market Manager, Creped Technologies, at Buckman in Memphis, Tenn., and Frank Perkowski, President of Business Development Advisory Inc., in Marietta, Ga. Recovery on the tissue side was much slower than anticipated, Gervais points out, which "has sort of dampened the historical growth rate," she adds. "In the five years before the recession, T&T growth was more than 2%. Now it's around 1.5%. But going into 2012, we see a lot of positives for the industry." The downturn mainly impacted the awayfrom-home (AFH) side of T&T, according to Perkowski. In the at-home (AH) area, "consumers mostly just downgraded to price brands or Paper360º MARCH/APRIL 2012 private labels. They continued using as much tissue but there has been some switching from napkins to paper towels and lower usage rates overall in some cases. I haven't seen any final figures for 2011, but the U.S. industry has continued to grow at or slightly below historical rates with some shifting between segments and quality tiers," he explains. GROWTH SPURT Since emerging from the recession, several U.S. and Canadian tissue producers have begun a growth spurt, especially in the Southeast U.S., pushed by several developing John Stitt trends. Stitt sees “a big movement toward the high end tissues, whether it’s with through-air-dried (TAD) technology or recent new approaches such as Voith’s ATMOS technology. “As we back more fully out of the recession into a better economy, there’s probably going to be too much tissue on the market in North America,” he says. “I think we’re going to see some of the low end, inefficient producers hurting, and not necessarily the small companies either. Some of those inefficient mills belong to the big producers.” As listed in Table 1, most of the new U.S. capacity in the Southeast U.S. is TAD-based or ATMOS. Clearwater Paper is installing a new Metso Advantage ThruAir 200 TAD machine at its mill in Shelby, N.C., and First Quality Tissue is putting in its fourth TAD machine, a 70,000 tpy Metso Advantage unit, in Anderson, S.C. First Quality, also as shown in Table 1, started up its first Metso TAD machine (PM 3) at Anderson in the third quarter of last year. Wausau paper, Gervais adds, is putting in an ATMOS machine at Harrodsburg, Ky., which should be operational by 2013, and Kruger is upgrading to TAD at its Memphis mill. These investments are mainly targeting higher quality AH market segments, she notes. According to Perkowski, capacity-wise most of these new investments in TAD and/ or ATMOS are focused on retail private label. The companies putting these machines in, he says, compete just in the retail private label area. “So the big, new tons are basically TAD/ ATMOS,” he emphasizes. An existing tissue machine with a Yankee dryer can be rebuilt with ATMOS Technology, Perkowski explains, to produce a TAD-like product, using a lot less energy, and up to 100% recycled furnish, whereas TAD machines almost exclusively use virgin fiber. “But it remains to be seen just how close ATMOS products will be to TAD.” Stitt explains that right now everybody wants to get in the top end markets. TAD is a proven technology, he says, but it’s very complex and very expensive. “Voith has gotten over the hump with the startup of an ATMOS machine at a mill in Canada, three more mills have announced, and other installations are being ta l ked about. Also, G-P has its proprietary new process, as does Kimberly-Clark. This is a trend that we will see more of, and the Lindsay Gervais 14

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - March/April 2012

Over the Wire . . . News Summary
Asian Innovation on the Rise
SPECIAL FEATURE: Tissue Industry
North America Shifts to Specialization
A Measured Success
Aligning Rolls in a Paper Machine Winder
Understanding Lightweighting
Sappi Biberist Tests a New Inline Sensor to Control OBAs and Colors
Process Control for Stickies
An Innovative Yankee Coating Program
Biopolymers in Papermaking
Best Practices in Product Development
Employee Work Restrictions Challenge Human Resources
Paper360° Online Exclusives
Association News

Paper360 - March/April 2012