SINGAPORE, Nov. 5, 2013 (RISI) - China's Baoding Gangxing Paper has ordered a tissue machine from Kawanoe Zoki for its mill in Baoding city, Hebei province.
The new BF-1000-type unit, which has a width of 2.76 m and a speed of 1000m/min with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes/yr, is scheduled to come online in July 2014, according to the Japanese supplier.
The order includes a former, a Yankee dryer, and a suction roll, along with a heat recovery and monitoring system.
This will be Baoding Gangxing's third Kawanoe Zoki machine. In the past two years it has started up two 2.76 m wide BF-10EX-type supplied by the Japanese firm, each having a design speed of 770 m/min and a capacity of 12,000 tonnes/yr.
Prior to the addition of the Kawanoe Zoki machines, the firm operated 53 small machines manufactured by Chinese suppliers.
A major supplier pointed out that a tissue machine supplied by a well-known overseas firm could cost ten times what a machine of the same size made in China costs.
However, domestic prices for virgin fiber-based tissue jumbo rolls made on domestic machines are usually RMB 1,000/tonne ($164/tonne) lower than those for tissue produced on imported machines.
This significant profit incentive has prompted Baoding Gangxing to upgrade its operations.
Crisis-spurred mill upgrade:
Environmental concerns and intensified enforcement of regulations by local authorities are other factors behind the move.
Baoding is dotted with small tissue plants. The northern Chinese area has developed into a tissue production hub over the past two decades.
In the township of Daceying, where Baoding Gangxing is located, there were once more than 160 such mills operating small, domestically manufactured tissue machines. These plants churned out over a million tonnes/yr of tissue products.
These were the culpable factories that local authorities and residents pointed to as polluters of the downstream Baidianyang Lake, the largest fresh water lake in the region.
The pollution caused a mass kill of fish and a dark greenish lake surfaced in 2006. The environmental incident was broadcast on the national news network and internet.
Against the backdrop of rising nationwide concerns, the local government stepped up the enforcement of laws to curb the illegal discharge of wastewater from mills, while urging tissue producers to shut old, inefficient machines and invest in bigger lines supplied by foreign firms.
The medium-sized Baoding Gangxing is a showcase for the local government's efforts to instigate the reform of the local tissue industry.
Around half of its domestic machines have been idled but the remaining 26 units in operation are still capable of churning out 50,000 tonnes of output per annum.
In Daceying, more than two thirds of the 160 local mills are out of commission due to fierce competition in the Chinese market or to mandatory shuts by the government.
Today, only 49 plants remain in operation and the local authorities aim to close more, mainly through policy or fiscal incentives to encourage mergers and acquisitions, according to the town authorities.