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Paper Machines: Worldwide Investment Overview

The balance between technological advances and return on investment is precarious and before major capital is spent on new projects, careful study is done on the potential turn-around time of new inst...

November 1, 2003  By Pulp & Paper Canada

The balance between technological advances and return on investment is precarious and before major capital is spent on new projects, careful study is done on the potential turn-around time of new installations and rebuilds. In these economic times, projects around the world go through rigorous review before being given the green light. In Canada, only a few projects have matched the scale of some of these international committments. What standards were set around the world by recent projects to justify investment and how do the projects here compare?

Besides speed, which translates into greater quantities produced, some of the recent projects undertaken by Voith Paper and Metso Paper, among the two best known paper machine builders, have included record-breaking statistics and higher quality production, as well as the incorporation of environmentally conscious methods. A partial list of recent orders from both companies follows.

Looking to the Far East


China was the most active market in Asia.

Metso Paper was chosen to supply a complete newsprint line to Hebei PanAsia Long-Teng Paper. The paper machine has a wire width of 8.45 m with design speed of 2,000 m/min and a planned capacity of 330,000 t/y. The newsprint line will be built in a greenfield paper mill in Hebei Province, approximately 300 km southwest of Beijing. The total value of the greenfield mill investment amounts to approximately $300 million US with production to start in the summer of 2005.

Metso Paper will also supply a papermaking line to UPM-Kymmene (Changshu) Paper Industry. The new paper machine will have a wire width of 10.4 m and a design speed of 2,000 m/min. The production capacity of the new line for uncoated copy and offset papers will be 450,000 t/y. The total value of the order is _100 million with start-up scheduled for July 2005.

Another Metso order is for a complete LWC production line to Jiangxi Chenming Paper. The value of the order is approximately _100 million, with start up in late 2004.

A fine paper machine is to be supplied by Metso to Sun Paper’s Yanzhou mill. The total value of the order is close to _35 million, with start up in September 2004.

The combined value of the pulp and paper machine and equipment orders Metso Paper has received this year from China is approximately _550 million.

Voith has had an early start up of a paper machine for newsprint for Shandong Huatai Paper. In July 2003, four weeks before the planned deadline, PM10 was put into operation for the production of newsprint at the mill, located in Dawang, south of Beijing, in the Shandong Province. Start-up was concluded with the production of the first eight break-free consecutive jumbo rolls with a diameter of more than 3100 mm. The start-up speed was 1408 m/min and by August 2003, the paper machine produced more than 650 t/d of 48 g/m2 newsprint at a speed of 1520 to 1550 m/min. Production speeds of 1655 m/min were maintained for several hours with a good paper quality.

In late July 2003, Shandong Bohui Papermaking Group, together with Voith, successfully started up one of the world’s largest board machines for white lined chipboard. The design speed for BM1 is 600 m/min and, with a wire width of 6,230 mm, the machine is the largest machine worldwide for white lined chipboard from recycled furnish.

During the last nine years, Voith installed 11 complete new board machines in China alone. The world’s fastest fourdrinier machine for board, from recycled furnish, was also built by Voith Paper and operates successfully at Oji Paper, in Japan.


Voith was awarded an order from Kappa Zlpich Papier for the optimization of PM6 in Zlpich, Germany, aiming at a speed increase from 1050 m/min to 1200 m/min. The machine, with a wire width of 5650 mm, was originally supplied by Voith in 1996. It produces 1080 t/d of testliner and corrugating medium from 100% recycled furnish in a basis weight range of 95-160 g/m2. The rebuild is scheduled for September 2003.

In May 2003, LEIPA Georg Leinfelder, in Schwedt Germany, placed a major order with Voith. The entire PM4 line is designed for the production of 300,000 metric t/y of LWC offset papers with a basis-weight range of 39-60 g/m2, using 70-100% deinked recycled paper. The wire width of the PM is 8,900 mm. The machine will be operated at a production speed of maximum 1,800 m/min. The order value is approximately. _150 million.

A rebuild of a kraft paper production line is being done by Metso for JSC Segezha Pulp and Paper Mill in Segezha, Russian Karelia. The paper machine (PM10) was originally supplied by Metso in 1974, producing extensible sack kraft paper. The machine’s wire width is 7.1 metres. After the rebuild, it will have a production speed of 750 m/min and production capacity of approximately 550 t/d. The total value of the mill modernization project is approximately _40 million. The rebuilt production line will start up in June 2004.

French paper manufacturer Emin Leydier placed an order with Voith for the delivery of a new production line for testliner and corrugating medium. PM1 from this greenfield mill, which will be built at Nogent-sur-Seine, France, will have a wire width of 6,050 mm and produce top-quality testliner and corrugating medium in a basis weight range of 70-110 g/m2. Its design speed will be 1,500 m/min. The contract also includes a complete fibre line with an output of up to 1,000 t/d , which will handle 100% recycled paper.

Voith received an order from Neusiedler SCP, Ruzomberok, Slovakia, for the extensive rebuild of PM18 to produce standard copy papers with a basis weight of 80 g/m2 at a wire width of 7300 mm at a speed of 1400 m/min.

Also in Ruzomberok, Metso is doing a pulp and paper mill rebuild for Severoslovenske Celulozky a Papierne. New equipment and lowering overall environmental impact will preserve pulp quality and increase the mill’s daily production capacity from the present 900 adt/d to 1,300 adt/d. The modernizations will be completed by September 2004.

A paper machine rebuild will be done by Metso for UPM-Kymmene Rauma mill in Finland. PM2, a machine with wire width of 9.15 m and target speed of 1400m/min, will produce SC rotogravure papers. This will raise the average running speed by approximately 150 m/min, and the annual capacity by approximately 30,000 tonnes. The value of the order is in excess of _20 million and is scheduled to start up in spring 2004.

In Austria, Metso will supply the Bruck mill with a wet end rebuild for a LWC paper machine (PM 4), including a headbox and a wire section. The machine has wire width of 7.15 m, and it was originally supplied by Beloit in 1989. Metso Paper will also modernize the SC paper machine (PM6) at the Saugbrug mill in Halden, Norway. The delivery will include a headbox and changes to the dryer section. The machine, with 9.4 m wire width, was originally supplied by Valmet in 1993. The total value of the orders is approximately _22 million. The rebuilds will be concluded in March 2004.

A rebuild of LWC paper machine is being done by Metso for Stora Enso in Corbehem, France. The value of the order is approximately _30 million. The start up of the rebuilt machine will take place during 2004. Another order is for the rebuild of the copy paper machine PM1 at Stora Enso Fine Paper AB’s Nymlla mill in Sweden. The order is part of the mill’s rebuild with the total value of over _20 million. The rebuilt line will start up in February 2004.

In March 2003, Voith Paper received the order from Stora Enso Maxau for a rebuild and modernization of the PM6 at Maxau for SC-B. The almost completely new production line will be installed in the existing building and replaces the existing PM6 with a capacity of 140,000 t/y, supplied by Voith 35 years ago. The new PM will have a production capacity of 260,000 t/y, with the capacity to increase to 280,000 t/y with future development of the mill. SC-B papers in a basis weight range of 45-56 g/m2 are produced on the 8100-mm-wide PM. The design speed of the machine is 2000 m/min and the order value is approximately _120 million.


Metso Paper will supply a complete, state-of-the-art tissue machine to the Nuqul Group in Jordan. The value of the order was not disclosed. The total project investment made by Nuqul Group is in the order of _80 million. The machine is scheduled to start production during the first quarter of 2005. With a width of 5.5 m, an operating speed of 2000 m/min, and production of 54,000 t/y of high-quality facial, toilet and towel grades, the new machine will be one of the most modern in the world, and the largest in the region. The raw material will be virgin pulp.

The main objectives of the biggest coated cartonboard producer in Australia, Amcor Cartonboard, for the rebuild to be done by Voith is to improve the board quality, mainly by improved formation. The mill will produce coated cartonboard in the 200-470 g/m2 basis weight range, at 500 m/min maximum operating speed and maximum production of 630 t/d. Start up will be in March 2004.


Metso Paper was selected as a major supplier for Stora Enso’s coated fine paper machine rebuild of PM97 in Kimberly, WI. The modernization, designed to improve the machine’s paper quality and operating speed, will be completed during 2004.

A complete tissue making line will be supplied by Metso to the Procter & Gamble plant in Missouri, USA. The new machine is scheduled to start up in 2004. The value of the orders was not disclosed.

Voith Paper has been a key equipment and technology supplier for the conversion of two newsprint machines to LWC as well as supplying a shoe press for a woodfree coated PM. The customers and project details are confidential.

Within Canada

Metso is supplying Kruger Wayagamack with a large LWC papermaking line. The 200,000 t/y line will start up at the Trois-Rivires, QC, mill in late 2003. The total value of the project, including mill upgrades, is approximately $400 million. Using groundwood furnish, the line will produce LWC grade #5, mostly in a basis weight range of 41-60 g/m2. The new PM4 will have a wire width of 8.0 m and a design speed of 1500 m/min.

Metso will also supply Gaspsia Papers with a major rebuild for its high-quality, on-line printing and writing super-calendered coated paper line located in the mill in Chandler, QC. PM1 has a wire width of 6.8 m and was originally installed in 1967, later rebuilt by Valmet in the late 1980s. Following this latest rebuild, which will be completed by mid-2004, the machine will be capable of producing high-quality coated paper, using bleached pulp, in the basis weight range of 60-80 g/m2. After the modernization, machine speed is capable of increases up to 1350 m/min.

Abitibi-Consolidated placed a major order with Voith to convert PM14 at Alma, QC, from newsprint to coated groundwood. Design speed is for 1100 m/min and start-up of the rebuilt 8360 mm wide machine is scheduled for May 2004.

Around the world records

At 1,567 m/min, Soporcel, Portugal, set a new world record in July, 2003, producing fine paper on PM2. The paper machine for uncoated, wood-free fine paper was delivered by Voith Paper and started up in July 2000. The last record, at 1,514 m/min, was reached on this machine one year ago. Starting on July 6, 2003, the machine produced 3,800 t fine paper in a basis-weight range of 70-80 g/m2 at a speed of 1,567 m/min for more than 75 hours. The operating time efficiency was 90.3%.

Almost at the same level is the coated and uncoated wood-free fine paper produced by the Metso’s PM8 at Kuusankoski, Finland, which is running at 1541 m/min with a basis weight of 50 to 130 g/m2. Other Metso world records include Stora Enso’s Port Hawkesbury PM2 for SC paper which is running at 1800 m/min; Norske Skog’s Golbey newsprint machine in France, running at 1902 m/min and the PM4 for LWC at Rauma, Finland, running at 1853 m/min.

Depressed economy causing anticipated undershoot

Although the times are still hard and overall order values are down, the above projects show that there are still bright spots.

Voith Paper and Voith Fabrics — the two divisions of Voith Paper Technology — received combined new orders in fiscal 01/02 worth a total of _1.5 billion despite poor market conditions. Although this marked a decline of 13.9% from the previous year, the figure for 02/03 is expected to be higher.

Metso’s Annual Report for 2002 stated that Metso Paper’s net sales were _1.812 billion. The Interim Review (Jan 1 – June 30, 2003) admitted that customers were a little more reluctant to commit to larger projects, but went on to say that, on the whole, the market for Metso’s products was satisfactory. New orders were focused on rebuilds of papermaking and pulping lines and on finishing systems.

Future possibilities

Along with the difficult economic times, investment in general has slowed down but mills continue to need investment in capital equipment as a basic necessity for maintaining productivity and competitiveness.

According to Voith, there is a demand for machine rebuilds to convert to value-added grades (e.g. coated paper). These rebuilds involve new headboxes for better sheet uniformity and better basis weight profiles, top former rebuilds for better formation, shoe presses for higher sheet dryness before the dryer section (i.e. less steam consumption or PM speed increase), dryer section rebuilds for better sheet support/stability, on-line coaters to convert to value-added grades, on-line supercalenders to produce smoother and glossier paper (i.e. value-added grades), new reels to enable reeling of good quality parent rolls from very smooth paper.

As the economy improves, the outlook for more orders should increase.#text2#

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