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Sappi continues to make capital investments to ensure our paper mills are state-of-the-art and globally competitive. We've invested over $37 million in our paper machines this year alone. Learn more about how we're growing the future of Sappi:
$19M has been invested in the papermaking operation at Cloquet, including a new state-of-the-art, dry fiber handling building, new refiners for both PM4 and PM12, and former upgrades on both paper machines. These investments will enable us to continue to manufacture our full grade and basis weight range with excellent quality and flexibility.
$13M has been invested in PM3 at our Somerset location. This will upgrade coated paper quality and lower input costs, as well as expand our commercial web capacity and flexibility.
A $170M capital investment was made in dissolving pulp to convert the Cloquet kraft pulp mill to produce 330K metric tons per year of specialised cellulose.
Dissolving pulp, also referred to as specialised cellulose, has a lower yield than kraft pulp due to the purity level of the cellulose required, so yes, we will be using more trees per ton of finished product. But remember, we don't let any wood go to waste – the lower pulp yield results in more black liquor with a higher energy value (more BTU's/gallon). The Cloquet mill will continue to generate all of its own electricity via the three existing turbines. The net result is that we will be generating more steam from renewable resources to provide energy to the entire mill complex.
The $170M investment to convert the kraft pulp mill to produce specialised cellulose, combined with the $19M paper investment, will improve site profitability and set up this newly configured but still integrated mill to be globally cost competitive. Cloquet will continue to be a profitable, highly efficient mill with outstanding environmental performance. All paper products produced at Cloquet will carry both FSC® and SFI® chain of custody certifications, and everything but Somerset web is Green-e certified. The Cloquet mill will remain to have one of the lowest carbon footprints in the industry with over 85% renewable energy.
Sappi will produce the same high quality products throughout the grade and basis weight line-up that you have come to expect. The investments in refiners and former upgrades are being made to allow all the technical capability to utilize dry fiber while producing the same base sheet formation and quality as slush fiber. Extensive qualification trials have been conducted with a variety of purchased fiber. Print trials have been conducted at beta sites for both sheet and web products. These results have been reviewed by a cross-functional team including Cloquet operations, R&D, Printer Tech Reps, and Marketing Directors to ensure quality and consistency are achieved.
As we convert the Cloquet mill to produce specialised cellulose, we are also investing in our long-term growth. From our low-cost position, we will continue generating all of our own electricity with 85% renewable energy while diversifying our business to sell a high-margin product. Going forward, we foresee this conversion will not only improve the overall returns of our North American region, but provide opportunities for further re-investment in capital projects across our business, ensuring profitability for many years to come.
The rebuild of PM3 was completed successfully in October 2012. The results are far exceeding expectations. We achieved all of the formation and other quality improvements, while surpassing the speed, production, and variable cost goals.
Installed: October 2012
Project Cost: $13M Capital
Improves formation with controlled drainage on both sides of web
Reduces variable cost for TiO2 and Softwood Kraft
Reduces formation defects causing holes and breaks on lightweights
Reduces wire carry back of fiber and fines with improved wire cleaning
Which reduces lump defects causing holes and breaks on lightweights
Expected Benefits include:
Chemical and fiber savings
Increased paper production
Increased commercial web capability with ability to make Opus web and 80# on PM3
Start-up: February 2013
900 TPD Pulper
Baleline with automated dewiring and destacking
25,000 square foot building with rail siding and 3 truck bays
Start-up: October and November 2012
Project Cost: $1.5M Capital
2 Andritz TwinFlo Refiners for strength development
One HW refiner per machine
Start-up: March 2013
Project Cost: $1.9M Capital
Former rebuild to allow all grades and weights to be manufactured to current
Project Cost: $1M Capital
Upgrade to allow continued production of 119lb cover web