From collars to cartons
|Founded and still owned by the Kress family, the company had its beginnings in 1919 when Frank Kress began making wooden boxes as a side business to his horse collar company. The mill’s paper machine is named the Marguerite K, the wife of George Kress (Frank’s son).
Unfortunately, the company went bankrupt in 1926 but George mounted a rescue effort and that same year formed Green Bay Box and Lumber, still making wooden boxes and horse collars.
In 1932, the repeal of prohibition brought a large demand for beer cases and other food processors also started using more wooden boxes. Between 1933 and 1948, the switch was made from wooden boxes to corrugated shipping containers. George saw the need to build his own mill, which led to the formation of Green Bay Pulp & Paper and the opening of the paper mill in 1949. As noted, Green Box and Green Bay Paper merged in 1962. The company built its second paper mill in 1965 in Morrilton, AK.
Now, the company has a total of 29 facilities separated into divisions such as Packaging Systems, Coated Products Division, Folding Carton Division, Paper Slitting Division, Coated Slitting Operations and Pinecrest Lumber. Morrilton is also the site of its Fiber Resource Division.
The Kress family has long been active in supporting the communities in which it has operations. It is also very involved in safety issues through the Kress Foundation. It has sponsored the Pulp and Paper Safety Association’s (PPSA) “No lost work day case award” for many years and in 2011 initiated the PPSA’s “No OSHA recordable case award”.
Green Bay Packaging produced saleable paper after three reels. With 30 minute turn-ups, this means the mill had saleable paper 1.5 hours after startup.
There were some specific objectives that the mill wanted to achieve. "We wanted to make a unified platform and increase production by improving our quality with better moisture profiles," says Vandenberg. "We wanted to eliminate the upsets and be more reliable."
According to Vandenberg and his team, the goals have been met. They credit the in-house engineering group for being critical to the success of the project.
The old moisture control system had 42 rows of four nozzles each. Maintenance was a tough task. Now, there are 56 rows with one nozzle per zone and air atomized showers. The water goes where
it should. All the actuators are automated; previously, the mill was often forced to run in a manual mode.
One of the things that helped get the project approved was the promised steam savings. In terms of cost, actual steam savings are projected to be about $0.5 million, or just over 8%, far above the 2.25% guaranteed.
Other improvements have come in bone dry weight CD control 2 sigma, moisture CD control 2 sigma, break recovery times, MD weight and moisture.
Some training was done at ABB in Columbus, OH. Four operators were sent there to see what they were getting. They had some input into the operating procedure. Training was also done in the mill so when it came time to start up, there were no surprises. The operators are very happy overall, adds Allen. "They trust the system."
Green Bay Packaging uses more than one quarter million tons of post consumer fiber annually
Keeping colleagues happy
The majority of the production from this mill is utilized in its internal boxplants. "We have frequent feedback from our plants and they liked our sheet before," Vandenberg explains. "One of the goals was to reduce variation in basis weight and moisture and provide a more reliable product." Green Bay Packaging owns 15 container facilities across the US in its Corrugated Container Division. The mill's paper is used to produce corrugated containers of various types for fast food, tissue, soap, appliances and other industries.
What's next? The mill is rebuilding the fourdrinier table in 2011. IBS is the lead supplier. The mill is looking to maintain its strength and be able to offer the same properties at a lower basis weight, notes paper machine superintendent Pete Ross. This would result in fiber, chemical and further steam savings as well as reduced transport costs.
Green Bay Packaging is also looking at replacing its base fine screening system, which is 19 years old. There are other, smaller quality and reliability issues that are being studied. There is some concern about the US MACT regulations for boilers. The mill has a coal-fired boiler that, in the worst case, could need significant capital for control equipment to meet MACT limits. This would mean the natural gas-fired power boiler would have to be used. In any case, the mill is looking at a new control system for the coal-fired unit.
Environmentally, the mill has an enviable record. It is the first paper mill to close its water system. The work on this started in 1963. By 1972, it had a completely closed water system. After closing the pulp mill in 1991, the mill's water system was out of balance and the mill started to discharge to the local municipal treatment plant at a rate of 100 gal/min. (The mill does not have its own effluent treatment plant.) By September 1992, it had completely reclosed its water system.
The mill uses between 160,000 and 200,000 gallons of make-up water daily to account for evaporation in the drying process as well as the water content in various reject streams. There is a "huge" clarifier to clean white water.
This is a company that has not been afraid to be a leader and as Vandenberg says, "It's good to see that the company is willing to spend money in the mill on big projects."
|The Green Bay mill uses 252,000 tons/yr of post consumer fiber, about 45-55 trucks daily. Yield is in the 92-93% range. Rejects include plastic, wax, metal, wood, nylon and Styrofoam. Most of the furnish comes from the mid-west, particularly the Chicago area. As it uses OCC, grocery stores play an important role in providing the mill with fiber. The mill has about 175 suppliers.
As much of the US has gone to single stream recycling with no curbside separation, sorting out the debris always poses a challenge. Operators are trained on what to reject. Because there are so many suppliers, there is a lot of variation in the quality the mill receives.
The OCC arrives at the mill in bales. There are high-density cleaners after the continuous pulpers. There is a junk tower for heavies, coarse and fine screening and detrashers for the plastics. There is a possibility that the plastic could be made into fuel pellets sometime in the future.
The recycling plant went through a large modernization in 1992. Black Clawson (now Kadant) did most of the work.