Sappi Invests in the Future of Graphics Papers at Cloquet Mill

Aug 29, 2018 4:00 PM ET

Significant upgrades were recently made to the headbox on the No. 12 Paper Machine at the Cloquet Mill, including improved dilution control.

The modifications will result in improved sheet flatness and roll quality. The previous headbox controlled basis weight through slice lip profi ling, where the shape of the discharge nozzle is defl ected slightly to spread the fiber evenly across the machine.

“Slice lip profiling has limited range of control and causes undesirable effects on fiber orientation,” said Technical Services Manager for Paper, Kraig Melin. “The new headbox controls basis weight much more precisely through the addition or subtraction of dilution water in narrow control zones, providing much improved fi ber orientation.”

Sappi’s Board approved the $6 million investment on December 6, 2016, setting aggressive milestones to have the project completed in just ten and a half months. The team overseeing the project met the startup target date for completion— October 23, 2017—as well as all key milestone dates along the way.

The project produced several other noteworthy successes: demolition, construction and startup were completed without a recordable safety incident.

Saleable paper was produced after just two reels, with basis weight profi les dramatically improved from baseline. Roll construction and quality were also improved, even before headbox tuning and optimization.

Melin attributes these remarkable achievements to excellent engineering work and lauds Sappi’s investment in the mill.

“The investments will improve quality as well as operational efficiency,” he said.

The investment is another example of Sappi’s 2020Vision, which seeks to balance the group EBITDA by making investments in graphic paper manufacturing in order to remain an industry leader while also exploring other opportunities to balance and diversify group EBITDA.

“The game was about to change,” Melin said. “This investment will help us stay in the game in a competitive market.”