ND Paper announced it will strategically inject investment capital to improve the asset quality of its mills in Maine and Wisconsin in the coming year.
ND Paper is a North American producer of pulp and paper products, including coated two-side, coated one-side and uncoated printing papers; containerboard; and market pulp. A strategic modernization of mill assets will ensure these two facilities can operate efficiently for decades to come, according to the company.
“We have four mills, three of which were built more than 100 years ago,” said Group Deputy Chairman and CEO Ken Liu in a statement. “By focusing on high-return strategic investments, we are building world class, first-quartile mills that deliver innovative, high-quality products for our customers.”
At the Rumford, Maine, facility, the company said its pulp dryer and all three paper machines will undergo significant upgrades. R9, the pulp dryer at Rumford, will take downtime in the first quarter of 2020 for a rebuild to increase pulp production.
R10 machine will pause operation in late March to install a new headbox and shoe press, as well upgrade the forming section. Upon restart, these improvements will enhance product quality for the company’s printing and C1S paper customers, as well as increase capacity and productivity.
R12 machine will convert out of printing and writing grades to focus on specialty packaging products.
R15 machine will take an extended outage in the summer months for the installation of a new shoe press. This addition, combined with enhancements completed earlier this year, will transform the machine into a top quartile producer of C1S and printing grades, said ND Paper.
The company noted that the upgrades on R10 and R15 will increase production output to effectively absorb R12’s exit; Rumford’s printing and writing papers capacity will be the same post-conversion with two machines as it is today with three.
“This investment will not only enhance the quality of our printing and writing and C1S grades but also ensure the long-term viability of the Rumford Division,” said the company.
As for the Biron, Wis., division, ND Paper said it will complete the conversion of the B25 machine from lightweight, coated mechanical papers to recycled linerboard and corrugating medium in the first quarter of 2020. This project will serve as ND Paper’s entry into new markets.