Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 13

larger communications machines could put
them at risk, further increasing the potentially disruptive impact of conversions.
Printing and writing has seen a steady
decline over the past decade worldwide.
Newsprint has been in freefall for some time
now and the plunge continues.
WHAT TO DO WITH AGING ASSETS
North American assets are the oldest in
technical age, while Asia's assets are the
youngest (Fig. 2). In North America, there
has been very little new capacity investment
in the 21st century-only a little in corrugating medium, linerboard, and tissue and
towel. Overall assets are very old; roughly
one-third of machines date back 50 years or
more. Some are beyond updating and the rest
still require capital to keep running (Fig. 3).
Either way, the rest of the world will put
competitive pressure on them-despite the
latter's low costs for raw materials-further motivating conversions. This reality is
reflected in North America's rising imports
of paper and board. Historically, a strong US
dollar also triggers overseas investments and
imports into North America.
Additionally, there may be regional reasons holding America back from making
new greenfield investments. Project costs
are more expensive in North America than
in other regions. Permits may be harder to get
and engineering and construction resources
with experience in greenfield paper mill construction may be harder to find after decades
of disuse.
WHAT'S NEXT?
So, it looks like conversions should be the
way to go. Converting a brownfield mill to
another product is far cheaper than building greenfield, and plenty of such capacity
is available. In Europe, there is also another
motivator: mill closures are so expensive
that assets are changing hands at reasonable
cost just to mitigate the expense of shutdowns for companies operating in declining
paper grades.
But this is only half the picture. We haven't
seen much of asset repurposing happen yet
and there are numerous reasons why. To be
successful with a conversion, a mill must
be in the right place for both raw materials
and markets. Some mills that are technically

Fig. 3

Fig. 4

suitable for conversion (e.g., from newsprint
to liner) fail to qualify because they are in the
wrong location. On top of this, a conversion
candidate must trim efficiently, given the
corrugators it will serve (Fig. 4).
We have seen machine conversion projects
look good when compared to new machines
in terms of investment cost per annual ton.
However, other parts of the mill can require
so much work that investment in a conversion doesn't pay off. Consider the problem

of aging recovery boilers, many of which are
approaching the end of their useful lives.
Does it make sense to invest in papermaking when the pulp mill may not survive long
enough to pay back the investment?
A machine's size and configuration also
determine its suitability for conversion.
Newsprint machines are more attractive for
conversion to liner if they already have a shoe
press. Even more attractive can be PW paper
machines equipped with a shoe press, size

Paper360ยบ NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2017

13



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Paper360 - November/December 2017

Setpoint
Over the Wire
Rebuilds and Conversions
Proud to be a Papermaker
The New Cascades
Operational Data Helps Mills Meet Challenges
Papermaking Best Practices with Vacuum-Dewatering Systems: Part 2
TAPPI Library is an Industry Resource
Managing the Decline of Graphic Paper Demand
TAPPI Journal Summaries
2017 PPI Awards Finalists
TAPPI News
ASPI News
Index of Advertisers
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Intro
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - cover1
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - cover2
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 3
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 4
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 5
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Setpoint
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 7
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Over the Wire
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 9
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 10
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 11
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Rebuilds and Conversions
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 13
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 14
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 15
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 16
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 17
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 18
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 19
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 20
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 21
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 22
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 23
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Proud to be a Papermaker
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 25
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 26
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 27
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 28
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 29
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - The New Cascades
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 31
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 32
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 33
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Operational Data Helps Mills Meet Challenges
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 35
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 36
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 37
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Papermaking Best Practices with Vacuum-Dewatering Systems: Part 2
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 39
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Managing the Decline of Graphic Paper Demand
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 41
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - TAPPI Journal Summaries
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 43
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 44
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 45
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 2017 PPI Awards Finalists
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - 47
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - TAPPI News
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - ASPI News
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - Index of Advertisers
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - cover3
Paper360 - November/December 2017 - cover4
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