| JSC Solikamskbumprom

Russian mill invests in sustainable
forestry and newsprint

In May 2007, the Solikamsk Paper Mill joined an elite group of Russian pulp and paper producers when it received certification from the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) for its forest.  It also joined the Association of Environmentally Responsible Timber Producers which is largely committed to corporate social responsibility.  Russia's third largest producer of newsprint has invested heavily in upgrading production and quality.  A recent project with Andritz is the upgrade of TMP Line 1 and a new reject refining system in the groundwood mill.

“We have consistently been implementing an upgrade program at this mill,” says Viktor I. Baranov, President of JSC Solikamskbumprom. The company, in the Perm region of Russia, is the third largest newsprint producer in the country and has made significant investments in quality and environmental safety.

Founded in 1941 Solikamskbumprom is located in the Perm region in western Russia.  The mill, about 2000 km from Moscow, sits in a region on the western flank of the central Ural Mountains that is thickly forested.  

Production capacities of JSC Solikamskbumprom account for 600,000 tonnes of newsprint per year. The newsprint is 50% thermo-mechanical pulp (TMP), with the rest being stone groundwood (SGW), and kraft pulp. Approximately 56% of the mill's output is exported to countries outside the Commonwealth of Independent States.

The basis for sustainable development of the mill has been a continuing series of modernization programs during recent years.  Recent investments totaling about 3.4 billion rubles (€ 102 million) and the FSC certification testify to Solikamsk's dedication to ecologically sound and high quality production.

top Upgrades to the TMP mill

Solikamsk operates two TMP lines which provide high-quality mechanical pulp for its four paper machines. The first line, TMP 1, was delivered by Andritz in 1997 and has a Twin 60 refiner  in the primary and secondary positions. Original production capacity was 290 t/d and the line has been producing about 300 t/d.

In 2003, a second line, TMP 2, with a capacity of 370 t/d was installed. TMP 2 uses the advanced Andritz RTS technology for energy savings and better pulp quality.  A Twin refiner (TC 66) operating at 2300 rpm is in the primary position, with another TC 66 in the secondary position.  TMP 2 also has a high-consistency reject refining system from Andritz.

After years of successful operation, the decision was taken in 2005 to rebuild TMP 1.  Solikamsk wanted to increase the production of mechanical pulp for the paper machines and to respond to customer demands for higher quality. “The main targets for the upgrade project were to increase production from 300 to 370 tonnes per day (23% increase) and improved the quality of our mechanical pulp,” says Aleksey Iwanchin , Deputy Head of TMP production.

top Fast track, no disruptions

The contract covering the delivery of the equipment and services for the upgrade of TMP 1 line was signed with Andritz in October 2005.  The contract specified that the new equipment would be installed and started up in September 2006 - a short delivery and erection time of only 11 months .

“Solikamsk has been cooperating with Andritz for many years,” says Viktor I. Baranov, President of JSC Solikamskbumprom. “We have jointly implemented several projects and we knew that working with Andritz again on TMP 1 would be quite efficient and professional.” One particular requirement during the project was to minimize any disruptions to the existing production.  As Evgeny Ran , Manager of TMP and Groundwood Production, explains:  “We could not allow any disturbance to our normal TMP production during the upgrade.  We relied upon the expertise of the Andritz specialists.  Only one 72-hour production stop was required at the end to do some critical rebuilding and tie-in the new equipment.  The rest of the new equipment was installed during normal TMP production.”

top New reject refining and upgraded chip washing

“When TMP 1 was first installed, it did not have separate reject refining,” says Iwanchin.  “Screening rejects were sent back to the secondary refiner to lower our initial capital investment.”

So, an important part of the TMP 1 upgrade was the installation of a separate reject refiner (an Andritz S2070 high- consistency refiner).  A new Andritz screw press dewaters the pulp to above 30% consistency and feeds the pulp to the refiner.

Another important part of the modernization included a rebuild and upgrade of the chip washing system to ensure that it could handle the increased capacity and provide clean chips for the refining system.

top Capacity increase

To handle the 23% capacity increase, the feed system for the Twin 60 refiners was rebuilt with a new 16-inch plug screw feeder and a new buffer bin. The power tubes of both refiners were replaced and the refiners were rebuilt.  A new Andritz TwinFlo 52/58 low-consistency refiner was installed as a third refining stage to reduce shives and further improve the pulp quality. Two existing pressure screens were rebuilt and a new Andritz ModuScreen F40 was installed to screen the refined rejects. One additional Andritz disc filter was installed, and new discs were added to the existing disc filter, to ensure that all TMP pulp production would be adequately dewatered prior to storage in the existing tower.

top Upgraded results

The upgraded TMP 1 line started up on schedule in September 2006.  The takeover run was successfully completed in the same month and, after a short optimization period, the guarantee test run was completed on October - with final acceptance reached just a little less than one year after contract signing. According to the management of Solikamsk, the TMP 1 upgrade project met all expectations.  “The modernization project was successful because everything was designed properly and the quality of work and equipment met our requirements,” Iwanchin says.

Baranov, Solikamsk's President, agrees.  “We have been consistently implementing an upgrade program at this mill. For us, a really important event was the TMP 1 upgrade project to increase production from 300 to 370 tonnes per day.  This upgrade also improved the strength of the fiber we send to the paper machines, including the breaking length and tear resistance.  In addition, the heat energy recovery rate was improved from 20 to 30 tonnes per hour.”

top Groundwood rejects project

Almost in parallel with the TMP 1 upgrade , Solikamsk started another project to modernize its groundwood mill.  Andritz delivered a new reject refining system which helped the mill increase the quality of groundwood pulp 6.

The new reject refining system is designed for production of 250 t/d to increase the beating degree of the pulp value by 25°SR (Schopper Riegler).  Groundwood rejects are thickened on two new Micrascreens and then mixed with the rejects from an existing Vibra-screen in a new unrefined rejects chest. From there, the rejects are pumped to a new Andritz screw press and are dewatered to a consistency greater than 30%.

The thickened rejects are then fed to a new atmospheric Andritz S2070 high- consistency refiner.  The refined pulp is discharged into the existing refined rejects chest and then pumped to the screen room.

top Once more a quick start-up

The new system was started up in February 2007 and the takeover was accomplished less than one month after start-up.  All guarantee runs were completed over the next two months and final acceptance was signed in May 2007.  

Leonid Rogozhin , Deputy Chief Production Manager for Groundwood, describes the effectiveness of the new groundwood reject line:  “We were able to replace six old refiners which were operated in two stages with one new Andritz refiner - and the quality of our groundwood pulp has improved.  As a result, we have increased production while reducing our operating costs.  As a side benefit, we now have space available to add a new bleaching line in the future.”

top Looking forward

Soon JSC Solikamskbumprom plans to start the second phase of an investment program that is scheduled to be completed in 2011.  The investments, totalling about 12 billion rubles (€ 360 million) will raise newsprint production to 950,000 t/a.  

The project will include the installation of a new TMP line and a new paper machine.  TMP 3 will have a design capacity of 365,000 t/a and will produce high-quality mechanical pulp from hardwood (aspen and birch).

According to Baranov, the key decisions for these investments will be made after the concept has been finalized, probably at the beginning of 2008.

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