Pulp and Paper Canada

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Increased discipline will lead to increased spending


May 1, 2001
By Pulp & Paper Canada

The president and ceo of the board of directors of Voith Paper, Hans Muller, told the assembled editors that in terms of capital additions, pulp and paper companies are showing more discipline. Pricin…

The president and ceo of the board of directors of Voith Paper, Hans Muller, told the assembled editors that in terms of capital additions, pulp and paper companies are showing more discipline. Pricing is more stable and this will lead to more spending in the future. Supply and demand are in balance. Down the road, this will have a positive effect on suppliers.

Less growth in North America has been countered by increased spending in Europe. The South America industry is expanding. Its present focus on increasing pulp capacity will lead to increased paper capacity in the future. Southeast Asia is expanding again but at a pace that will not upset the supply:demand balance.

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Looking at Voith itself, Muller said the company is focused on integrating its recent acquisition of Scapa.

Therefore, it will be less aggressive in acquisitions and mergers. It does not see itself getting into “virgin” pulp making in the foreseeable future, concentrating on developing its deinking processes and equipment.

Voith itself is divided into five divisions:

Voith Paper is the biggest, accounting for 40% of sales. It was recently announced that Sulzer has reduced its stake in Voith to 10% from 40%. (Voith bought back the 30%.) The company is now known as Voith Paper, not Voith Sulzer.

Voith Fabrics (formerly Scapa), 13% of sales;

Voith Siemens — a newly formed joint venture for hydro power generation;

Voith Turbo, drive and brake components for road and rail;

Voith Industrial Services.

In the paper division, service has grown from 20% to 50% of sales. This is part of the company’s long-term plans, to be “less sensitive” to capital project cycles.

Voith officials also spoke of the paper division’s “one platform machine concept”. This provides the same basic paper machine concept for all paper grades. The modular components are designed to provide the specific quality needs of different grades. The concept is designed to be suitable for all major fibre systems. The components include gap former (DuoFormer TQ with ModuleJet headbox; NipcoFlex tandem shoe press; DuoRun single-tier dryer; Janus MK2 calender; Sirius reel.

The one platform concept exists for all grades from news (including 34-g newsprint) to woodfree copy papers. The Ettringen and Schongau machines profiled are the first two SC machines using the concept.

Lothar Pfalzer discussed the use of secondary fibre. It has become the most important furnish in Europe. It is expected that secondary fibre will provide 45% of worldwide pulp furnish by 2005. For example, most European newsprint is made from a 100% recycled furnish.

As printers (and consumers) raise the quality bar, raising the amount of recycled furnish in SC papers from its present average of 25% to 50% is the challenge papermakers face. To use more DIP, strength, surface and optical properties must be improved. Pfalzer said a process is needed that achieves less fibre coarseness without cutting the fibres so strength is not affected. He added that Voith is developing a process that produces a final pulp cleanliness similar to virgin pulp, but added that the process is “elaborate”.

He concluded by saying that the technology to increase the percentage of DIP in SC papers is available. The availability and cost of secondary fibre will determine how fast this technology is installed in mills.


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