More than a new machine - Mondi's ECO7

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More than a new machine - Mondi's ECO7

October 03, 2010 - 16:00

BRUSSELS, Oct. 4, 2010 (RISI) -The Mondi Group, one of the leaders in the European packaging market, has recently set its focus on exploring growth potential in eastern Europe. Its new lightweight recycled containerboard machine, PM 7, is aimed to strengthen the company's position in the Polish packaging market and set a new standard in serving clients through promoting PM 7 as a paper machine, a product and also as a service.

In April 2010, the Mondi Group presented the new 470,000-tonne/yr recycled containerboard machine and new box plant in action at its facility in the Polish town Swiecie.

PM 7 in action

The Euro 350-million project is the largest investment in the Polish paper industry in recent years. PM 7 is also the first new paper machine built in the country since 1976.

"We started thinking about a new machine at Swiecie back in 1999, but the real work did not start until 2005," recalls Mondi Swiecie CEO Maciej Kunda. "The feasibility study and pre-engineering stage were executed over 2005-2007. And when Mondi decided to go on with the project, it had to choose between implementing it in Steti, in the Czech Republic, or here, in Swiecie."

Once the decision was taken in favor of Swiecie, it took some 17 months to complete the investment since ground works started. The paper machine produced its first saleable paper in September 2009, whereas the corrugating plant was brought online in January 2010.

By mid-2010, PM 7 had reached 80% of its design capacity and is performing ahead of plan.

Mondi Swiecie management team (from left): sales & marketing director, Containerboard Europe and International Florian Stockert; Corrugated Packaging CEO Thomas Ott; area manager corrugated packaging Krzysztof Wasielewski; Mondi Swiecie CEO Maciej Kunda

ECO7: fast, light, central

The 7.8-m wide paper machine has a maximum drive speed of 1,700 m/min and is designed to produce lightweight recycled fluting and testliner in a basis weight range of 75-140 g/m².

The unit, a Metso OptiConcept paper machine, features the most advanced technology for testliner and fluting production. PM 7 boasts high efficiency and short production cycles, resulting in shorter lead times.

The order included a two-layer OptiFlo headbox, an OptiFormer gap former, a SymPress B shoe press section, a SymRun dryer section and an OptiSizer size press.

The finished paper is reeled on a fully automated OptiReel Plus roll. It is further cut to the required reel width and diameters on a WinDrum Pro winder.

The order also included a metsoDNA automation package with machine and process control systems as well as the PaperIQ quality control and diagnostic measurement technology.

Once PM 7 reaches its maximum capacity, it will use some 550,000 tonnes/yr of recovered paper, mostly old corrugated containers as well as mixed paper and board.

The new production line is designed to be highly efficient in terms of steam, electricity and water consumption. Mondi estimates that the new line will consume 20% less steam, 30% less electricity and 40% less water per one tonne of paper, compared to other machines at Swiecie. Besides, more than 90% of the heat for PM 7 is produced from biomass.

For Mondi, the new machine is not just a highly efficient and low cost unit, but also a service offered to its clients.

"When we talk to our customers, we use the name ECO7 rather than PM 7. We are trying to promote ECO7 as a paper machine, a product and also as service. And I think this is quite new in the paper industry," says Florian Stockert, sales and marketing director, Containerboard Europe and International.

To optimize lead times in serving its customers, Mondi introduced a so-called ECO Premium ordering system. "Rather than placing orders, our customers send us their forecasts. This enables us to deliver standard weights and grades within 24 hours in Poland and 48 hours in other European countries," Stockert adds.

PM 7’s product: Lightweight recycled lightweight containerboard in jumbo reels

Focus on central Eastern Europe

Over 2008-2010, Mondi divested its operations in the containerboard and corrugated packaging sector in western Europe, with the aim of focusing instead on emerging markets, primarily central eastern Europe. "Currently, we are focused on four areas: Poland, Germany, Austria and Turkey. We intend to be the leader in the markets, in which we operate," explains Mondi Corrugated Packaging CEO, Thomas Ott.

In Europe, Mondi currently produces recycled containerboard at four sites. It also operates 18 corrugating plants, five of which are in Poland where the group sees its highest integration potential. Up to half of PM 7's output will be converted by Mondi's corrugating plants in Poland and Germany.

The strategic location of the new PM at Swiecie will make it easy to deliver paper to the firm's customers in Poland as well as neighboring countries such as Germany, the Czech Republic as well as into Scandinavia.

"Transportation is a big factor in being cost efficient. We see the recycled containerboard market becoming more and more local. We are trying to keep transportation low-cost, therefore our new machines will cover local demand," says Stockert.

The new state-of-the-art corrugated packaging plant features a 2.8-m wide BHS corrugator, a 6-color Goepfert printer, a 5.5-m wide BGM jumbo case maker and a 2.1-m wide Bobst die-cutter

Following the market trend

The startup of PM 7 is Mondi's response to growing lightweight containerboard demand in the European market. By adding lightweight recycled containerboard to its portfolio, the firm aims to strengthen its position in central eastern Europe as well as in Germany and Scandinavia.

The Swiecie plant, which already manufactured lightweight kraftliner, now boasts a whole range of lightweight containerboard grades produced there.

Besides, after bringing online a new BHS corrugator and a converting line there, including a six-color Goepfert Evolution Offline Printer, a 5.5-m wide BGM jumbo case maker and a 2.1-m wide Bobst flatbed die-cutter, Mondi Swiecie has entered the market of shelf-ready packaging, which is currently on the rise across Europe.

"Shelf-ready packaging (SRP) is one of the reasons why we are making this investment in Swiecie. SRP is coming from the UK, moving across Europe and being used more and more in Poland by the main brand holders. We are ready to serve them in terms of a packaging solution. What we are offering to our clients is performance packaging," says Ott.

"Last year Poland showed GDP growth of 1.7%. It was the only country in Europe to post growth. This translates into growth in packaging consumption," adds Stockert. "Poland is very strong in electronic and household goods, the industries where our boxes are used. There was a need for new capacity to satisfy the growing demand and reduce import dependence."

The mill’s timeline
Late 1960s:The Swiecie pulp and paper plant, Zakłady Celulozy i Papieru in Swiecie, was commissioned as a dissolving pulp producer.
1970-1976:Start-up of five paper machines, a kraft pulp plant and a neutral sulfite semi-chemical pulp plant.
1977:Building work on the plant completed. The Swiecie plant can manufactur a wide range of products from viscose pulp to kraft pulp, containerboard, cardboard and sack kraft paper.
April 1997:15% of the firm’s shares floated on the Warsaw Stock Exchange.
August 1997:A majority share sold to Framondi NV, headquartered in the Netherlands. The firm’s name changed to Świecie Frantschach S.A., controlled by Mondi.
May 2008:The firm acquired its current name Mondi Świecie S.A.