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PMP New Engineering Office in Łódź, Poland, has been launched!

PMP New Engineering Office in Łódź, Poland, has been launched!  (Company news)

To ensure continuous development of technology, which is a distinguishing feature of PMP products, in October 2019, PMP (Paper Machinery Producer) launched a new engineering office in Łódź, Poland. A new entity is dedicated mainly to support tissue business. Sebastian Grabowski has been nominated as Director of Design and Application Office.

Łódź is a big city, located in central Poland. It is a large, rapidly growing industrial and technological hub, also named as engineering and scientific center of papermaking, as Politechnika Łódzka (University of Technology in Łódź) educates students in papermaking and polygraphy.

The employment target of the new office is 40 engineers – experienced experts as well as young professionals, also from outside of the paper industry. Such a blend ensures a fresh point of view and creates a proper synergy effect so that it will be possible to develop innovative solutions, which will guarantee the competitive advantage both for PMP and customers.

Most activities of the new branch will be focused on technology development in tissue sector of PMP. Moreover, there is a project & application team responsible for technical management and projects leadership, starting from sales support to full execution of process in a broad sense.

“An opening of the new office in Łódź is a significant step in PMP development process that has been going for years. It will strengthen a leadership position of PMP as well as contribute to a perception of PMP as the preferred leading supplier of solutions for the Paper Industry” –Sebastian Grabowski said, Director of the Design and Application Office.
(PMPoland S.A.)

Valmet to supply a hard nip sizer to Asia Paper Manufacturing in the Republic of Korea

Valmet to supply a hard nip sizer to Asia Paper Manufacturing in the Republic of Korea  (Company news)

Valmet will supply a new sizing section with a hard nip sizer to Asia Paper Manufacturing at Sihwa Mill in the Republic of Korea. The main target for the rebuild of paper machine PM 1 is to increase strength properties of produced container and gypsum board grades. The start-up of the rebuilt paper machine is scheduled for the second half of 2021.

Photo: OptiSizer Hard sizer

The order is included in Valmet's orders received of the first quarter 2020. The value of the order will not be disclosed. The total value of an order of this type is typically around EUR 5-10 million.

“Valmet was able to offer technical advantages to produce high quality gypsum and testliner board grades with low raw material cost. We were able to get proof for those targets as we run pilot trials at Valmet’s Paper Technology Center in Finland. We also visited a reference mill, which has an OptiSizer Hard sizer. It is important to have a supplier who we can trust and who has a good reputation,” says Kyoung-Taek Lee, Vice Mill Manager of Asia Paper.

“We came up with a solution where the customer is able to reduce basic weight without sacrificing strength properties. Asia Paper was very interested in a non-contact starch application method for recycled board because it reduces the wear of consumables, and thus improves time efficiency of the machine. There is no competing technology at the moment,” says Kwon Tae-Yeon, Sales Manager, Valmet.

Technical details of the delivery
Valmet's delivery will include an OptiSizer Hard sizer with hard nip and spray application, a TurnFloat web turning device, surface size preparation and supply systems, Valmet DNA machine control and Valmet IQ quality control systems.

Compared to conventional sizer, OptiSizer Hard has a pair of hard covered nip rolls. Starch is sprayed on the nip rolls. In addition to increased surface strength, OptiSizer Hard improves also the internal strength values of produced board. Starch is dosed in the roll nip with higher nip pressure, which increases the density of fibers. This leads into better strength properties.

“Asia Paper is expecting a lot of product quality improvement based on Valmet’s new technology and wishes to continue good cooperation with Valmet for further development,” says Dong-Kyu Kim, Production Manager of Asia Paper.

The 5,900-mm-wide (wire) PM 1 produces testliner and gypsum board grades with a basis weight range of 80–300 g/m2. The design speed of the new parts will be 850 m/min. The daily design capacity will be approximately 1,100 tonnes depending on the produced grade.
(Valmet Corporation)

Syntegon Technology brings interpack booth to customers' desks

Syntegon Technology brings interpack booth to customers' desks  (Company news)

-After interpack is postponed, Syntegon Technology launches virtual booth
-Digital presentation of the latest processing and packaging technology and the new Syntegon Technology product design
-Syntegon Technology experts provide information about intelligent and sustainable technologies

Photo: Syntegon Technology launches its interpack booth online (“Picture: Syntegon”)

Following the announcement by Messe Duesseldorf that interpack 2020, which was scheduled for May, will be postponed to next year, Syntegon Technology will present its latest processing and packaging technology on a virtual exhibition booth from 7 to 13 May 2020. The online presence will cover digital product presentations and individual contact opportunities with the experts from Syntegon Technology, who will inform both customers and media representatives about the company’s intelligent and sustainable solutions.

On this occasion, Dr. Michael Grosse, CEO of Syntegon Technology, says: “We regret the postponement of interpack, but consider this to be the right decision under the given circumstances. As a reliable partner for processing and packaging technology, we of course have an alternative plan: our customers can look forward to our virtual exhibition booth. Here, they will soon be able to learn all about our latest technologies, get to know our new product design and experience the new Syntegon brand.”
(Syntegon Technology GmbH)

Roland DG showcases water-based ink innovation with new EJ-640 DECO printer

Roland DG showcases water-based ink innovation with new EJ-640 DECO printer  (Company news)

Roland DG EMEA introduces the new EJ-640 DECO printer, using ecological water-based ink, designed for digitally printing stunning interior décor applications.

Eco-friendly and economical
Developed specifically to meet the demands of the thriving interior décor market, the new EJ-640 DECO can produce customised wallpaper, lampshades, blinds, posters, exhibition graphics, outdoor promotions* and so much more - supplying the ever-growing consumer appetite for eco-friendly products and designs that stand out from the crowd.

“With low production costs and impressive versatility, the EJ-640 DECO delivers exceptional quality and durable print on a range of materials. It’s the printer the industry has been waiting for." says Paul Willems, Director of Business Development and Product Management at Roland DG EMEA.
Vibrant, versatile applications

The EJ-640 DECO combines the creativity of the design world with the technical possibilities offered by wide-format printing.

Rachael Taylor, surface pattern designer, creative stylist and co-founder of Make it in Design, comments: "The EJ-640 DECO printer is perfect for bespoke wallpapers – a great way to showcase my own designs. Roland DG has really understood what designers and consumers want from décor. I especially love the more natural look of the prints alongside its environmentally friendly credentials. I can't wait to see more of my designs printed on the EJ-640 DECO."

The high-density water-based inks are compatible with a wide range of media including coated, uncoated, PVC free and even standard wallpaper from sustainable sources. EJ-640 DECO inks deliver bold, light-fast and washable prints with the highest AgBB rating of A+ for indoor air quality. The fast-drying inks require no outgassing to allow same-day print, finish and supply. Along with durable printheads, low temperature drying and reduced ink costs of up to 50% compared to similar printer systems, the EJ-640 DECO is the only choice for customers serious about décor.
(Roland DG (UK) Ltd)

Stora Enso launches sustainable premium packaging for pellets

Stora Enso launches sustainable premium packaging for pellets  (Company news)

Product development based on design and usability: households benefit from handy and renewable pellet boxes by Stora Enso. A product that is sustainable through and through.

Stora Enso has taken another step forward by replacing plastic packaging with an eco-friendly solution and launching a new cardboard packaging box designed for pellets. With this new packaging, Stora Enso plays a pioneering role in the pellets industry and places sustainability, innovation and customer orientation at the centre of its developments.

This goes hand in hand with the company’s vision of creating a sustainable future by using renewable materials. The new premium box format offers clear advantages for households when it comes to transporting and storing the pellets. In addition, cardboard is fully recyclable, in contrast to the market standard plastic bag solution. The focus entry market will be Italy, being the largest pellet heating market in Europe.

Product development: sustainability, innovation & customer orientation take centre stage
Until now, the offer to customers has been limited to pellets sold in 15 kg plastic bags, 500 kg bags and in bulk. “Market tests have shown the exact pain points of pellet stove users. With the insights gained, we have been able to develop a completely new product that meets all the practical needs of households. The pellet box is now available in the smaller size of 12 kg – easier to carry home from the shop, easier to pour into the stove and easier to store at home,” explains Marion LeRoy-Loikala, Pellets Product Manager for Stora Enso. “The new product is therefore sustainable through and through - our renewable heating fuel is now also supplied in packaging that can be reused or simply recycled after use.”

The new product is also a good example of what cross-divisional collaboration can achieve within a global company. In the Packaging Solutions Division, specialists were involved in designing and supplying the new packaging materials for the Wood Products Division, while the fresh, high-quality graphic design of the box was developed by the Finnish branding & design agency Aune Creative.

Two-phase product launch: Italy as key target market
After an extensive pilot testing phase at the Estonian Näpi sawmill, the launch will focus on the Italian market, which is the largest European market for pellets for private households. Further customer feedback will be collected over the next one to two years, after which the product will gradually become available on other European markets as well.

“Our main objectives are to increase our brand awareness and market share in Italy and other relevant household markets, while diversifying our customer base and contributing to the reduction of overall plastics consumption”, says Joachim Colliander, Vice President and Business Director of Stora Enso’s Pellets Business Line. “The European demand for heating pellets as a renewable and sustainable source of energy is forecast to increase steadily by 5 % CAGR in the coming years.” (2018-2023 forecast period)

Why start in Italy? Italy is the leading European country in terms of recycling, with a rate of 77 % of all waste recycled*. 86 % of the Italians are motivated to adopt a sustainable lifestyle in order to preserve the planet and its resources. When it comes to renewable energy sources and low energy consumption, the number is even higher – this is important for 96 % of Italians. Stora Enso is therefore launching its new premium pellet box in a market that will appreciate the material and the sustainability aspect of the packaging equally.
(Stora Enso Oyj)

Segezha Packaging starts the warehouse logistic optimization

Segezha Packaging starts the warehouse logistic optimization  (Company news)

Segezha Packaging, which consolidates the European paper packaging production facilities of Segezha Group (part of Sistema JSFC) continues the implementation of the digital industrial technologies into the production processes.

As a part of this transformation process, a special SAP module for warehouse management was integrated at Segezha Packaging production plants in Germany and Denmark. The development and implementation was successfully completed by Serkem company (Germany).

The new module allows to perform every warehouse operation, including arrival of raw materials, processing along the technological chain, storage and shipment, via any operator mobile device (tablet PC or smartphone) and place the corresponding information in the general database. In addition, the integration of the barcode scanners will significantly facilitate the information workflow including shipments status within the facility.

“At both our production facilities in Germany and Denmark warehousing operations have been fully integrated with SAP, and will now be performed quickly and transparently,” said Michael Amann, Manager for Development and Support of Business Systems at Segezha Packaging. “A simple and intuitive operation algorithm will not require any special knowledge of the SAP platform. The probability of any mistakes has been reduced to a minimum, because less data will be entered manually.”
(Segezha Packaging GmbH)

Kruger Announces the Temporary Shutdown of Its Brompton Mill for an Indefinite Period of Time

Kruger Announces the Temporary Shutdown of Its Brompton Mill for an Indefinite Period of Time  (Company news)

Kruger Specialty Papers announced the temporary shutdown of its Brompton facility (photo), effective Friday, April 3, for an indefinite period of time. The Company came to this difficult decision due to unfavorable market conditions that deteriorated very rapidly with the COVID-19 outbreak, affecting the Mill’s operations and financial performance

The production of both newsprint and specialty papers for the flexible packaging industry will be curtailed, and the facility’s biomass cogeneration plant will also be shutdown.

The Brompton Mill shutdown will affect 272 employees.
(Kruger Publication Papers Inc.)

Pro Carton Press Statement

Pro Carton Press Statement  (Company news)

Following calls from the packaging industry, the European Commission has confirmed that the transportation of packaging materials, including paper-based cartons and cartonboard, for essential industries such as food and pharmaceuticals, will be able to use its ‘green lanes’ and has updated its ‘Guidelines for Border Management’ to reflect the recommendation.

Short term demand for cartonboard has increased by around 30% as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, with particular spikes in demand for production of packaging for dry foods, confectionery, frozen food and pharmaceuticals.

To secure the supply chain during the crisis hauliers need to be able to transport raw materials to packaging converters or finished packaging manufacturers working in the pharmaceutical and food sectors without unnecessary delay.

The European Commission agreed with packaging associations across Europe that ‘green lanes’ should remain open for packaging delivery. They are now urging EU countries to allow vehicles to transport goods between countries via these fast-track lanes, which should take no longer than 15 minutes to pass through, including checks and health screenings of drivers.

The ‘Guidelines for Border Management’ also state that ‘Member States should act immediately to temporarily suspend all types of road access restrictions in place in their territory’ and ‘transport workers, irrespective of their nationality and place of residence, should be allowed to cross internal borders’.

To support the European Commission’s move, ECMA, the European Carton Makers Association and Pro Carton, the European Association of Carton and Cartonboard manufacturers, have issued a document in 11 languages for hauliers to display when transporting printed cartons and cartonboard.
(Pro Carton)

International Pulp Week 2020 cancelled

International Pulp Week 2020 cancelled  (Company news)

Given the uncertainty facing a large number of events around the world due to the progression of COVID-19, International Pulp Week 2020 has unfortunately been cancelled.

We have been closely monitoring the development of COVID-19 and its global impacts, which has resulted in travel restrictions, hotel shuts and the prohibition of larger gatherings worldwide. The Fairmont Hotel in Vancouver is currently shut for an 8 week period and they could offer no guarantee that the hotel would be operational come June 14th. We have come to the conclusion that it is in the best interest of everybody involved to cancel the conference for 2020.

We are very disappointed to miss out on the opportunity to connect with our industry colleagues and partners this year and would like to thank all our speakers, sponsors, attendees, and event partners who have supported the event so far – we really appreciate it.

The Fairmont Hotel has agreed to cancel all rooms under our room block for the event. If you have booked accomodation elsewhere, you will need to cancel your rooms separately.

More information on the next steps regarding cancellations and refunds will go out in the next days to our registered attendees, sponsors and partners.

We look forward to reconnecting at International Pulp Week 2021!
(Pulp and Paper Products Council)

Third RotaJET for decor printer - Interprint invests in yet another digital press from ...

Third RotaJET for decor printer - Interprint invests in yet another digital press from ...  (Company news)

...Koenig & Bauer

-Third RotaJET for Interprint
-Web width up to 225 cm
-Company fully committed to digital print
-Continuation of a successful investment strategy

Interprint GmbH from Arnsberg, Germany, since October 2019 a member of the Toppan Group, is continuing its successful investment strategy in digital print. The company recently ordered yet another RotaJET digital web press from Koenig & Bauer. The new press is scheduled to enter production in the first half of 2021. With the RotaJET 225, Interprint will be able to process web widths up to 225 cm.

“We are convinced that the future belongs to digital. And with the digital printing technology offered by Koenig & Bauer, we can both accelerate product development and extend our design flexibility. For our customers, variable job volumes, longer repeat lengths and previously impossible colour combinations are becoming ever more important,” says Robert Bierfreund, managing director of Interprint GmbH.

Barely half a year has passed since Interprint last decided to expand its digital printing capacities with the installation of a second RotaJET, and now the company is back once more with the order for its third industrial digital printing press from Koenig & Bauer.

Koenig & Bauer executive board member Christoph Müller: “We view it as a sign of particular appreciation for our work when Koenig & Bauer is not only successful with new customers for its digital presses, but also convinces companies like Interprint, the pioneer of industrial single-pass inkjet printing in the decor industry, to return for a further RotaJET investment.”

More than 15 industrial single-pass digital presses from Koenig & Bauer (including HP PageWide T1190 and T1100 models), with web widths up to 2.8 m and production speeds up to 305 m/min, are currently already in use or else sold and awaiting installation.
(Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA))

Case Study: How 'Moisture Gates' improve paper quality, transparency and yield

Case Study: How 'Moisture Gates' improve paper quality, transparency and yield  (Company news)

Our Rouen and Dueñas Paper Mills have successfully implemented a new Microwave Measurement System, enabling us to efficiently and accurately measure moisture content in Paper for Recycling (PfR) arriving at our mills.

DS Smith is Europe’s largest cardboard and paper recycler, so we understand the opportunity for packaging to play a powerful role in a changing world. This is why our purpose is Redefining Packaging for a Changing World. We think differently, innovate and put sustainability at heart, developing strategies to increase recycling, reduce waste and understand our customer and supplier needs.

Following positive results in France and Spain, we are beginning the pan-European rollout of the new quality control system. It will allow us to accurately measure moisture content in PfR, improve the quality of raw materials and increase transparency with DS Smith suppliers to ensure fair market price.

The challenge: measuring moisture content in PfR
Accurately measuring the moisture content in a truckload of paper has always been challenging. Existing methods, such as moisture meter plates, ovens and other manually operated systems only measure a ‘spot’ or a small percentage of the overall volume. The same load, measured by these methods, often produces conflicting moisture readings. In addition, paper yield can vary by as much as 6% between summer and winter as a result of moisture content variation alone.

Another factor is overcoming the frustrations felt by some suppliers that are caused by unreliable data and old technology. When high moisture content is detected in bales, suppliers understandably seek reliable, transparent data, to support the credit that DS Smith offers.

DS Smith has met challenges like this before. In our Customer Surveys, suppliers have requested more data-driven insight and auditable solutions to help them improve their quality and increase their financial returns. In response in 2019, DS Smith introduced Near Infrared Technology (NIR) to more accurately measure fibre quality and identify contaminants such as metal and plastic. Now, an equally accurate and transparent solution is required to measure moisture content.

Moisture Gates: The measurement solution to moisture measurement in the paper industry
All trucks arriving at our mills pass through a scanner called a ‘Moisture Gate’ which allows us to accurately identify the average moisture content of the load, not just the surface area of the delivery. Around 75% of the truckload is scanned within 30 seconds and, in less than one minute, a reading for the entire truck is calculated, recorded, and the truck is free to proceed. As the process is so efficient, vehicles aren’t delayed at the mill. ­

What are the benefits?
At DS Smith, quality is at the heart of our operations and we are continually seeking ways to keep PfR in the supply cycle as long as possible. Through driving innovation, we have found a way to increase the quality of raw materials entering our mills and cut waste using no more material than necessary by improving our yield.

Our suppliers now have transparency, access to accurate data, and are paid a fair market price for their EN643 specified material. As Moisture Gates involve no moving parts, our suppliers’ drivers need no additional training.

To further strengthen our supplier relationships, our new system enables us to share moisture content data in an easy-to-read format and via weekly reports. This data can help suppliers to identify and address any issues and help them advise customers whose waste management processes may need to be adjusted to meet targets.
(DS Smith Rouen Mill)

UPM signs a EUR 750 million revolving credit facility with a margin tied to ...

UPM signs a EUR 750 million revolving credit facility with a margin tied to ...  (Company news)

...long-term biodiversity and climate targets

UPM is one of the first companies to link the pricing mechanism of a syndicated revolving credit facility (RCF) to both biodiversity and climate targets. The margin of the RCF is tied to two key performance indicators (KPIs):
-achievement of a net positive impact on biodiversity in the company’s own forests in Finland
-a 65% reduction of CO2 emissions from fuels and purchased electricity by 2030 from 2015 levels, in line with UPM’s commitment to UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C

“Connecting UPM’s sustainability performance to our financing demonstrates the importance of responsible business practises to our long-term value creation. Sustainable forest management plays an important role in mitigating climate change, as it ensures material long-term CO2 sequestration and improves adaptation to global warming. Enhancing biodiversity is not only about preserving forests, but is also a crucial element in sustainable industrial use, taking into account a wide range of flora and fauna. UPM is committed to achieving a net positive impact on biodiversity and we have developed indicators and methods to monitor it,” says Tapio Korpeinen, CFO, UPM.

BNP Paribas acted as a sustainability coordinator for the facility. “Promoting biodiversity through finance is an essential lever in tackling the climate crisis. As a bank committed to innovation towards the transition, we are proud to support UPM in their strategy to accelerate sustainable forest management through finance. This transaction highlights the positive role of sustainable finance to link to progressive decarbonisation targets, which can jointly protect ecosystems,” says Marjo Liukkonen Lazaro, Head of BNP Paribas Finland.

The EUR 750 million credit facility is the first step in building the funding base for UPM's significant transformation projects. The five-year facility has two one-year-extension options.

BNP Paribas, Handelsbanken and Nordea acted as Coordinating Mandated Lead Arrangers and Bookrunners for the facility and Citi, Commerzbank AG, Crédit Agricole Corporate and Investment Bank, Danske Bank A/S, DBS Bank Ltd., London Branch, DNB Bank ASA, HSBC France, J.P. Morgan Securities plc, OP Corporate Bank plc, Santander, SEB and Swedbank AB acted as Mandated Lead Arranger and Bookrunners.

Norske Skog: Operational update

Norske Skog: Operational update  (Company news)

Norske Skog ASA closely monitors the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and continuously implements new measures to reduce the risk for employees and to ensure continuity of operations. Each country has imposed different measures in connection to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Norske Skog will adhere to the individual recommendations and measures taken by the different national authorities.

Sven Ombudstvedt (photo), CEO of Norske Skog, comments: “Our top priority is to ensure the health and safety for our employees. We are now registering some effects on our operations because of lower economic activity and restrictive measures taken by national authorities due to the coronavirus. We will do our utmost to secure raw material supply and maintain production to secure customer deliveries. We continue to monitor the situation day-to-day and will over the coming weeks communicate closely with suppliers, customers, other stakeholders and the financial market."

Under the current circumstances, Norske Skog will do the utmost to maintain the continuity of business operations. The challenge in the forthcoming weeks will be to secure both in- and outbound logistics of raw materials and finished goods under the current cross border transportation restrictions. However, Norske Skog is confident that we will meet customer needs and expectations also in this situation.
Norske Skog has and will closely monitor the development of the coronavirus, and corresponding effects on our supply chains and markets. As earlier communicated, Norske Skog will adjust operational activity to market response, and will therefore implement the following necessary actions as a result of the corona virus situation:

-In France, the Golbey mill has temporary ceased production at one paper machine (PM2) due to one confirmed case of coronavirus at the PM2 line, which required a 14 day quarantine for co-workers. The PM2 is planned to start production again on 1 April. The scarce availability of recovered paper in Central Europe may cause further business interruptions.
-In Norway, Saugbrugs will cease production on one paper machine due to negative market developments as a result of the corona virus restrictions. As a result of this, there will be given notice of temporary layoffs. In addition, administrative personnel at headquarters has been temporarily laid off as a result of the corona situation. The Skogn mill will delay temporary layoffs as earlier announced.
-In Australasia, the production at the Tasman mill in New-Zealand has been deemed an essential industry by the national government for a limited period of 9 days production, out of the current period of four weeks with lock down restrictions. Nature’s Flame pellets production has been deemed essential for domestic, industrial and public heating. However, there may be uncertainty about supplies of raw materials as local saw mills ceased their operations. We are currently rearranging our supply chain in the entire Australasian region to reflect the situation.

In general, the corona situation will not affect our strategy and the on-going tasks to improve the core business, convert certain of the group’s paper machines and diversify the business within bioenergy, fibre and biochemicals.
(Norske Skogindustrier ASA)

Valmet and Orora's Botany Mill renew the Mill Maintenance Outsourcing agreement in Australia

Valmet and Orora's Botany Mill renew the Mill Maintenance Outsourcing agreement in Australia  (Company news)

Valmet and Orora Limited have signed a multi-year Mill Maintenance Outsourcing (MMO) agreement to continue taking care of the site maintenance of Orora’s Botany B9 board making line in New South Wales, Australia.

In addition to the MMO agreement, Valmet and Orora have signed a Performance Agreement targeting clear and systematic production and maintenance improvements. Both agreements include Valmet Industrial Internet (VII) solutions to provide a live link between customer and Valmet experts for process optimization. The value of the agreements will not be disclosed. The renewed MMO agreement will be effective as of July 1, 2020.

“Valmet is one of our key performance development partners, supporting B9’s operation and improvement since the start up in 2012. We have worked collaboratively since then with progressive improvements and achievements in key areas such as productivity and cost reduction. This is the second renewal of our MMO and Performance Agreements and we look forward to further success in our cooperation with Valmet. Our objective is to ensure the B9 facility becomes an industry benchmark in all areas of efficiency and cost,” says Craig Nicol, General Manager Operations, Botany Mill.

“We are fully engaged and integrated into the B9 Operations team and have been working side by side to deliver progressive development since the machine’s start-up. The renewal of the MMO agreement is the best acknowledgement for the achievements over the years together with Orora. We’re delighted to be able to share the journey forward with the B9 team and to help continuously optimize the performance of our teams and our equipment and processes,” says Jaegen Peet, Director, Australia and New Zealand region, Valmet.

The long-term relationship further strengthened by Performance Agreement

Valmet has previously supplied the complete B9 containerboard line to Orora, started up in 2012. After the start-up, Valmet took full responsibility of the establishment of maintenance operations, site maintenance services including utilities and management of specific improvement projects.

The ongoing Performance Agreement was renewed for a second time in 2019 with targets and objectives focused on cost outperformance and targeted machine efficiency improvements. The results of the collaboration have been positive considering the previous annual production record was exceeded in 2019 and a new 24-hour production record was set in mid-January 2020.

The Performance Agreement includes access to the Valmet Customer Portal, that will provide an interface for both parties to easily and quickly access visualized data and VII solutions. Although Valmet’s remote services have been utilized since the machine’s start-up, the Valmet Performance Center will now offer the customer a new channel to reach Valmet’s specialists for remote support and case studies. The new agreement also includes comprehensive and expanded automation services.
(Valmet Corporation)

Roland DG announces launch of VS-300iS GO

Roland DG announces launch of VS-300iS GO  (Company news)

Experience the new Roland VS-300iS-GO, a collaboration between two leaders in their respective areas of expertise, Roland DG EMEA and ink manufacturer Marabu GmbH & Co. KG. A purpose-built digital flatbed solution for the printing of graphic overlays and membrane switches, the new VS-300iS-GO is compatible with a huge range of products, including consumer electronics, vending machines, office equipment, medical devices and more.

A safe, agile and durable alternative to pure analogue
As part of a unique, hybrid workflow, the new VS-300iS-GO prints colour accurate images, text and logos on to media before a layer of white ink is screen printed on top. Users enjoy all the advantages of digital print technology with low set-up costs, fast set-up times, easy re-prints, superb proofing capabilities, variable data printing, extra durability and an incredible quality finish. Moreover, Marabu’s virtually odour-free water-based inks achieve the highest levels of safety, meeting the EN71-3 standard.

Impressive colour gamut and accurate colour reproduction
The new VS-300iS-GO is perfect for multi-coloured and highly detailed images with smooth gradients. The easy-to-use software and wide colour gamut enable users to match colours quickly and accurately – ideal for corporate branding, hitting PANTONE™ or RAL© shades, or reproducing colours from a previous job.

Huge potential across a wide range of markets
Paul Willems, Roland DG’s Director of Business Development and Product Development EMEA comments: "Roland DG EMEA and Marabu have combined their considerable specialist industry knowledge to bring to the graphic overlay market this innovative purpose-built solution. The new VS-300iS-GO offers the best possible results in terms of quality, durability and efficiency and enables easy access to this profitable market with low investment costs and compact, easy operation. The VS-300iS-GO offers huge potential to PSP’s, servicing a wide range of markets, from medical, aerospace and defence, to gaming, appliances and consumer electronics."

Matthias Schieber, Marabu´s Product Manager for Inkjet Products: "Marabu and Roland DG joined forces to provide a dedicated solution for applications demanding the highest quality images and durability. The ink series Maqua® Jet DA-RGO is a technically validated ink solution for industrial printing and at the same time it’s designed to be combined with Marabu screen printing inks. Maqua® Jet DA-RGO completes Marabu´s technological leadership in industrial applications as a complementary digital ink solution for hybrid workflows."
(Roland DG (UK) Ltd)

Greif Inc. provides update on second quarter to date results

Greif Inc. provides update on second quarter to date results  (Company news)

Greif, Inc. (NYSE: GEF, GEF.B), a world leader in industrial packaging products and services, currently plans to participate in upcoming virtual investor meetings. Given anticipated questions related to the impact of COVID-19 on the company's operations, Greif announced a narrow update on recent company performance. The company's consolidated financial performance for second quarter to date (Feb. 1 through March 17, 2020) is in line with to slightly better than internally forecasted results.

While the ultimate financial impact of COVID-19 is uncertain, difficult to project and could negatively impact the company's consolidated financial performance during the rest of the fiscal year, to date COVID-19 has not had a material adverse effect on Greif that would cause a modification of its Fiscal 2020 financial guidance ($3.55 to $3.91 Class A earnings per share before adjustments) that was published on February 26, 2020. As noted by management on the investor call on February 27, 2020, the guidance range was deliberately wide given continued macroeconomic uncertainty and the still unquantifiable impact of the coronavirus on our global operations.

Greif continues to monitor COVID-19 events closely and is taking appropriate actions at the global, regional and local levels to support our colleagues and customers during this time of uncertainty.
(Greif Inc.)

Jumping Across the Plata River

Jumping Across the Plata River  (Company news)

With the acquisition of an Alegro perfect binder from Muller Martini, Argentine full-service company Arcángel Maggio has created the basis for a successful branch in neighboring Uruguay.

Photo: CEO Sebastián Maggio (right): “We chose an Alegro for our new plant in Uruguay based on our excellent experience with the Acoro in Barracas.” Left: Carlos Rojas, Managing Director of Muller Martini Argentina.

A wide estuary formed by the confluence of two South American rivers divides Argentina and Uruguay. But the Plata River is no barrier to the company in Buenos Aires on its way to becoming the largest exporter of books in the region. It opened a production complex in Colonia del Sacramento that occupies 4,000 m2, half the size of the company’s facility in Barracas, a neighborhood in the Argentine capital. An important part of the investment volume in Uruguay is a Muller Martini Alegro perfect binder with an 18-station 3694 gathering machine, a Book Data Center, a Frontero front trimmer, a Solit three-knife trimmer and a CB18 book stacker.

“We chose an Alegro for our new plant in Uruguay based on our excellent experience with the Acoro in Barracas,” says Sebastián Maggio, praising the proven partnership with Muller Martini. The CEO is confident that his company has one of the most modern perfect binding lines in Latin America. As is the case in Barracas, the company's new location also has a Frontero front trimmer that ensures the economical production of brochures with flaps. The Argentine family-run company hopes to serve customers throughout all of Latin America from its Uruguay location.

Sebastián Maggio appreciates the high net output and level of automation of the Muller Martini systems his company uses. But he is also impressed with the quality of the end products. This quality has won the company a number of major awards in recent years. The Alegro at the company’s facility in Uruguay serves as additional motivation because the 7,000-cycle perfect binder is very user friendly and can be changed over very quickly. The high expectations of Arcángel Maggio have also been met in terms of product quality.
(Müller Martini Marketing AG)

Lecta Distribution Group, New Branding and Communication

Lecta Distribution Group, New Branding and Communication  (Company news)

Lecta aims to strengthen its position in the Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian distribution markets.

Lecta's merchants are grouped under the Lecta Distribution Group name, comprising four companies: in Spain –Torraspapel Distribución–, in France –Torraspapel Malmenayde–, in Portugal –Torraspapel Portugal– and in Italy –Polyedra. As a leader in the largest markets in Southern Europe, Lecta Distribution Group offers a wide portfolio of products aimed at the Graphic, Digital, End of Line Packaging and Visual Communication markets, among others.

More than 20,000 active customers, 650 brands and nearly 23,000 references provided by prestigious industry suppliers –including the full range of the well-known Lecta products – are our best reference. Our portfolio includes environment-friendly products certified to the strictest standards.

With 13 warehouses in four countries, Lecta Distribution Group offers its customers comprehensive, fast and efficient service through its expert sales teams and its e-commerce platforms, available 24/7.

In order to further strengthen its identity, and move closer to existing and future customers, Lecta Distribution Group has updated the look and content of its website, which also offers access to the websites of its four merchants.

We invite you to discover Lecta Distribution Group's extensive range of customized solutions: Infinite Solutions, offered by a partner that is always committed and worthy of the highest trust.

Corrugated Box Industry Keeps Supply Chain Moving Amid COVID-19 Challenges

Corrugated Box Industry Keeps Supply Chain Moving Amid COVID-19 Challenges  (Company news)

The manufacturers of corrugated cardboard boxes are working to keep transport packaging flowing to makers of essential products including packaging for food and other consumer products, medical and pharmaceutical products, tissue and hygiene products and more amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Corrugated cardboard packaging is the backbone of the American supply chain,” said Fibre Box Association President and CEO Dennis Colley (photo). “As COVID-19 changes our daily lives, we want to assure consumers that the box industry is continuing to operate and to deliver needed packaging to our customers who supply grocery stores, pharmacies, doctor’s offices and hospitals with food and medical supplies to keep us all healthy and safe.”

Disruption in the availability of these goods would cause significant hardships to consumers across the country who depend on steady and stable supplies. Corrugated cardboard manufacturers are dedicated to continuing to operate box plants under the guidelines of Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to ensure products continue to flow to market.

Fibre Box Association joins American Forest & Paper Association in encouraging Federal, State and local governments to recognize the corrugated packaging industry as “essential” when drafting “Shelter in Place” orders. We ask for clear exclusion of our manufacturing operations to limit disruptions to the supply chain.

“We are grateful for the dedication and commitment of all people working in the corrugated packaging industry,” said Colley.
(FBA Fibre Box Association)

Rayonier Advanced Materials Announces Lumber and Newsprint Downtime in Response to...

Rayonier Advanced Materials Announces Lumber and Newsprint Downtime in Response to...  (Company news)

... COVID-19 Market Demand Impact; Other Facilities to Operate Normally

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on certain business markets, Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc. (the “Company”) (NYSE:RYAM) announced curtailed production at seven Canadian locations. Starting this week, the Company will cease or reduce operations at all softwood sawmills located in Ontario and Quebec as well as halt production at the Company’s newsprint plant in Kapuskasing, Ontario. These curtailments will last at least two weeks and may be extended longer depending on market conditions. Existing sales orders will continue to be fulfilled from current inventory and reduced production at the Kapuskasing sawmill.

All other facilities, including the four High Purity Cellulose (HPC) facilities in the U.S., Canada and France and the Pulp and Paperboard facilities in Temiscaming, Quebec, are expected to operate at normal levels. These facilities, each deemed an “essential business” in its given country, produce a variety of products including many that are critical raw materials for pharmaceutical, food and cleaning products.

Additionally, the Company is taking precautions to protect employees and their communities against the spread of COVID-19, including office personnel working remotely, travel restrictions, robust cleaning and disinfecting of high touch areas, and appropriate social and physical distancing at all sites.

“The safety of our employees, their families and our communities is of highest concern. We will continue to operate all staffed facilities in a safe and fiscally responsible way to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak while supplying customers with critical materials required to support the battle against the virus,” stated Paul Boynton (photo), Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Additionally, we are providing key raw materials to state agencies to produce hand sanitizer due to severe supply constraints for this product. While it’s a very difficult situation for everyone, our employees will manage through this crisis safely and productively and are proud to play a small but critical role in mitigating the impact of this virus.”
(Rayonier Advanced Materials Inc.)

Valmet to supply key containerboard machine technologies to Sri Andal in India

Valmet to supply key containerboard machine technologies to Sri Andal in India  (Company news)

Valmet will supply key board making technologies to Sri Andal Paper Mills for its new containerboard making line, located in Tamil Nadu, India. The start-up of the machine is scheduled for the first half of 2021.

Photo: OptiFlo Foudrinier headbox for excellent profiles and good formation

The order is included in Valmet's orders received of the first quarter 2020. The value of the order will not be disclosed. The value of a project of this type and scope is typically around EUR 12-15 million.

“It was vitally important for us that the management-level relationship with Valmet was very good. Valmet has a strong reputation, and we trust that Valmet’s technology will help us to reach our high-quality targets,” says Mr. P. Subramaniam, Managing Director of Sri Andal.

Containerboard segment in India is quite fragmented and largely utilizes Asian technology for board making. Sri Andal is aiming at producing high-quality containerboard with tangible efficiency improvements to enhance its competitiveness.

“Valmet offered suitable solution for achieving Sri Andal’s targets. With this technologically advanced project, we are setting our footprint in the Indian containerboard segment. We are looking forward to the successful start-up of this project, which will be a game changer in the containerboard segment,” says Varun Jain, Director of India Region at Valmet.

Technical details about the delivery
Valmet's delivery will include three OptiFlo Foudrinier headboxes for excellent profiles and good formation, an OptiPress Linear press section to achieve excellent end product properties, high dewatering capacity and good runnability, and an OptiSizer Film size press with a supply system. The delivery will also include a start-up package of spare parts and consumables, a Valmet DNA machine control system, Valmet IQ quality measurement system and Valmet Performance Center connectivity.

The 4,800-mm-wide (reel) will produce recycled liner, recycled fluting, corrugated kraft (kraft top recycled liner) grades with the basis weight range of 70-300 g/m2. The design speed will be 750 m/min and annual capacity 200,000 tonnes.
(Valmet Corporation)

Corrugated: Circular by nature - what else?

Corrugated: Circular by nature - what else?   (Company news)

FEFCO welcomes the new Circular Economy Action Plan recently published by the Commission. The circular economy is vital for achieving the Green Deal ambition for climate neutrality, preserving natural resources and supporting the competitiveness of the European economy.

The sustainable product policy framework could be a real driver for circularity which starts with the right selection of raw materials and the efficient use of resources. The bioeconomy plays a key role by providing renewable fibre-based materials as a sustainable alternative to other finite resources. FEFCO is pleased with the Commission initiative to support the “sustainable and circular bio-based sector”.

Recycling gives valuable materials like paper and board a long-life span. The circular economy needs recycling as much at it needs waste prevention and re-use to keep the materials in the loop and to minimise the use of resources.

Designing sustainable products is key and should be a requirement for all packaging. The paper and board industry already issued “Paper-based packaging recyclability guidelines” to support the industry and its customers in building circularity into their products.

Corrugated cardboard packaging is a real example of circularity and sustainability. Paper comes from a renewable source and we use recycled paper as a major raw material, optimising the use of natural source and reducing the environmental impact. “On average corrugated packaging contains 89% recycled content and is circular by nature”, says Angelika Christ, FEFCO Secretary General.

Packaging plays a key role in protecting products and ensuring safe delivery and storage, maintaining the quality of the product and often extending shelf life of fresh food. While overpackaging should be reduced, underpackaging can have a hugely negative impact on the environment. Packaging fit for purpose can prevent food waste and support the EU ambition and the UN Sustainable Development regarding food loss and waste.

It is essential to maintain the competitiveness of the EU industry and to support its growth while protecting the environment and building a new circular economy.
(FEFCO I.A. Fédération européenne des fabricants de carton ondulé)

Verso Corporation Announces Senior Leadership Changes

Verso Corporation Announces Senior Leadership Changes  (Company news)

Adam St. John (photo) - President and Chief Executive Officer
Aaron D. Haas - Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing

Verso Corporation (NYSE: VRS) announced that its Board of Directors has elected Verso's Chief Executive Officer, Adam St. John, to serve also as the company's President, effective immediately.

In addition, the Board has elected Aaron D. Haas to serve as Verso's Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, effective immediately. In this position, Mr. Haas joins the Company's senior leadership team, with responsibility for leading the company's strategic and tactical sales and marketing initiatives.

"On behalf of our senior leadership team, I am extremely pleased to have Aaron lead our Sales and Marketing organization," said President and Chief Executive Officer Adam St. John. "Aaron has a proven exceptional ability to lead various teams within Verso and has extensive paper industry knowledge and sales and marketing experience. We expect a smooth transition for our employees and customers, as Aaron is already deeply engaged with our Sales and Marketing and senior leadership teams and is very familiar with many of our customers from prior roles."

Mr. Haas's previous leadership experience at Verso and its predecessor companies includes Director of Product Management; Vice President, Marketing Services; Vice President, Commercial Print; Vice President, Marketing; and most recently Vice President, Supply Chain Management.

Mr. Haas holds a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin in Madison, Wisconsin, and a bachelor's degree from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.
(Verso Corporation)

New service: Marbach die-cuts samples and limited editions for its customers

New service: Marbach die-cuts samples and limited editions for its customers  (Company news)

Marbach now offers its customers a new service: die-cutting of samples in Heilbronn. Marbach customers can thus keep their own machine capacities free for their production orders and easily outsource samples for packaging and filling tests or limited editions. Marbach currently die-cuts on a BRAUSSE 1060ER.

Jan Brunner, Head of Business Development at Marbach: "We are pleased to offer this service to our customers and with immediate effect. Already first orders have been successfully carried out."

The Marbach service can be very flexibly arranged. Die-cutting with a Marbach tool package is possible as well as with a tool package from the customer. What is important is a suitable machine format which is coordinated in advance. As well as all other necessary parameters. It is possible to die-cut with stock material from Marbach as well as with printed customer material.

Brunner continues: "With our new service we support our customers in keeping their machines free for their production orders. And, the mostly time-consuming die-cutting of samples can simply be taken over by us."

Marbach is expanding its service portfolio under the heading ‘360° services step by step’ in order to support its customers' individual requirements in the best possible way.
(Karl Marbach GmbH & Co. KG)

Cascades' New 100% Recycled and Recyclable Cardboard Tray Wins a Grand Prix Award ...

Cascades' New 100% Recycled and Recyclable Cardboard Tray Wins a Grand Prix Award ...  (Company news)

...From DUX

Cascades (TSX: CAS), a leader in eco-friendly recovery, hygiene and packaging solutions, is delighted to receive a DUX Grand Prix Award for its latest food packaging innovation: a 100% recycled and recyclable cardboard tray.

The innovative packaging solution won the "Products" category at the DUX Grands Prix Awards which recognize the food industry's successes each year.

Sustainable and robust, this fresh food tray is the first in North American to use a water-based, functional barrier that protects it from humidity, thereby enhancing the packaging's performance without making the cardboard less recyclable. The patented coating is a unique recyclable and compostable alternative to the traditional wax or plastic-based applications widely used in cardboard food packaging, which pose some challenges in terms of recyclability. The tray is made in Québec, Canada.

"A pioneer in recovery and eco-friendly packaging, Cascades is honoured to receive this award for a product that gives concrete life to the circular economy. Favouring the recyclability of the materials means we can do more with less, which benefits both our customers and the environment," said Luc Langevin, President and Chief Operating Officer of Cascades Specialty Products Group.

Launched in December 2019, this innovative product has already received three recognitions: in addition to this DUX Grand Prix award, it has earned the Prix Innovation en Alimentation 2019 from the Conseil de la transformation alimentaire du Québec (CTAQ), and the 2019 Gaïa Award in the fruits and vegetables category.
(Cascades Inc.)

CITPA: Cross-border transport of raw materials, goods and packaging should continue

CITPA: Cross-border transport of raw materials, goods and packaging should continue  (Company news)

The paper & board converters call on the European Commission and Member States governments to ensure continued cross-border and intercountry transport of raw materials, goods and packaging.

In this crisis situation, packaging is essential to ensure continuing supply for the pharmaceutical, food and drink and medical equipment sector. Paper & board packaging is a leading material for consumer goods and transport packaging. The industry is doing its utmost to remain fully operational in order to provide sufficient packaging and ensure safe supplies of food and pharmaceutical that are vital for the European society at this moment.

We are grateful for the efforts of the European Commission to date and the issuing of “Guidelines for Border Management” aiming to preserve the integrity of the internal market and prevent shortages of medical equipment or food.

“The industry urges governments to keep the borders open and to allow continued transport of raw materials and packaging which are vital for the medical and food sectors” says CITPA Secretary General, Angelika Christ.

Member States are starting to develop lists of key or critical sectors. We call on them and the European Commission to ensure that paper & board packaging manufacturing and related value chain activities are recognised as a critical sector and included in the “green corridors” for transport of raw materials and goods.
(CITPA - International Confederation of Paper and Board Converters in Europe)

Resolute Update on COVID-19 Temporary Impact to Operations

Resolute Update on COVID-19 Temporary Impact to Operations  (Company news)

Resolute Forest Products Inc. (NYSE: RFP) (TSX: RFP) provided an update on the impact of the COVID-19 situation to its business. Resolute remains as committed as ever to the health and safety of its employees, business partners and communities by adhering strictly to the guidelines and measures put in place by government authorities.

While certain government authorities in Canada and the United States have ordered the closure of all non-essential business operations in regions where Resolute operates, they have also recognized the importance of the forest products sector in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic: tissue products to fill empty shelves; pulp to produce tissue, air filters, paper gowns, and other medical and personal care supplies; paper to keep people informed of developments and advisories; and wood products to support the demand for building and essential infrastructure.

Accordingly, Resolute expects to continue to operate in all of its business segments – pulp, tissue, wood products and paper – in Canada and the United States. But the company expects to take certain temporary steps to reduce its operational footprint to demand levels consistent with essential needs for the duration of the crisis. The company will adjust capacity dynamically based on the conditions and rapid evolution of the situation, but most of the capacity reduction is expected to come from the wood products and paper segments. The temporary capacity reductions will be implemented over the coming days and will be announced locally.

The company will continue to monitor the situation and to work closely with its valued customers to provide the high-quality products and strong support that they expect, particularly in these challenging times. The company will also continue to closely monitor the supply of incoming raw materials and work in collaboration with its numerous suppliers to secure the stability of the supply chain.

"These are certainly unprecedented times," said Yves Laflamme, president and chief executive officer. "The COVID-19 situation is evolving very quickly, and there is a sense of stress and concern weighing on everyone. I want to especially thank our employees for their support: Your hard work and dedication are particularly appreciated given the uncertainty the economy is currently facing."

Resolute has introduced special measures to minimize the spread of the virus at its locations, including: putting in place a company-wide risk management committee to monitor the situation and the implementation of preventive measures across all sites; developing a special support website for employees with guidelines, forms, FAQs and other relevant documents and links; making the necessary accommodations to support the health and well-being of employees and business partners; introducing restrictions on travel; canceling non-essential visits by external suppliers and other outside support services; and increasing safety measures for visits by service technicians, truck drivers and delivery personnel.
(Resolute Forest Products Inc.)

UPM develops a truly wood based biocomposite material with up to 100 % renewable resources ...

UPM develops a truly wood based biocomposite material with up to 100 % renewable resources ...  (Company news)

...- utilising residues from pulp production, not compromising the food chain

UPM has developed a new world-class biocomposite material which meets the highest sustainability requirements. The new material, called UPM Formi EcoAce, contains certified wood and cellulose fibers, as well as certified renewable PP polymers from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE™ solutions that are made using wood-based feedstock from UPM Biofuels production. The UPM BioVerno production is certified by both ISCC PLUS and RSB and the sustainability of the material has been verified accordingly.

The environmentally sound UPM Formi EcoAce is a drop-in solution: it can smoothly replace fossil-based solutions as it is identical in quality and performance to non-renewable alternatives. The biocomposite is almost 100% based on renewable resources, followed by ISCC certified mass balance principle. Every ton of UPM’s wood-based renewable BioVerno naphtha for plastics saves three tons of greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil naphtha.

Having multi-use material performance in its DNA, our EcoAce biocomposite reduces waste through less material consumption. The biocomposite is enhancing part lifetime, provided from bio-material that is based on renewable resources, utilizing residues from existing pulp production, says Ralf Ponicki, Director, UPM Formi business at UPM Biocomposites.

“Certified renewable polymers from SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE™ solutions act as a bridge to enable the value chain to evolve from a linear to a circular economy. Our collaboration with UPM Formi is a good example of how this pioneering product can be implemented in various applications and can help to meet consumer demand for more sustainable products”, says Mark Vester, Circular Economy Leader at SABIC.

The processing of fibers, production of biobased polypropylene and compounding the biomaterials together in order to make high quality raw material to various end-uses, is a really demanding business exercise requiring high-tech and know-how. After successful pilots, we are now looking forward to start offering our new biocomposite to business partners around the world, says Ralf Ponicki.

Typical end-use applications for the new UPM Formi EcoAce biocomposite include uses in food contact, personal care and consumer goods, made by injection moulding or extrusion. Characterized by UPM Biocomposites materials, wood-look surface of UPM Formi EcoAce is warm and silky to the touch and can be produced in different colours, from light to dark shades. UPM Biocomposites has been awarded several certificates, including PEFC™. UPM Formi grades are available with PEFC certification.

TRUCIRCLE is SABIC’s complete portfolio of solutions that span design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of plastic waste streams and certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock.

Major UK book printer reflects on the versatility and make-ready benefits of Fujifilm's ...

Major UK book printer reflects on the versatility and make-ready benefits of Fujifilm's ...  (Company news)

...Jet Press 750S

Established over 200 years ago, Clays is recognised as a market leading book production specialist. Its 14 acre Bungay site employs 700 staff and processes an extraordinary 50,000 orders a year for 160 million books from some of the best known publishers in the UK. In July 2019, the company became the second in the UK to invest in Fujifilm’s Jet Press 750S to further enhance its digital printing operations.

Photo: Ian Smith, Operations Director at Clays.

“Working with such high-profile authors and publishers means we must have equipment that satisfies their requirements,” says Paul Hulley, Managing Director at Clays. “The book industry has seen a marked changed from where it was 10-15 years ago; rather than being printed in bulk, books can be printed on demand and in response to retail sale requests. It is vital therefore, that we have technology to produce outstanding quality quickly and efficiently. Uptime is constant at our facilities, so we must also ensure that we have products that allow for seamless job changeovers and generate as little a waste as possible.”

“We use a wide range of litho and digital presses, and each offer significant advantages in their own way,” adds Ian Smith, Clays’ Operations Director. “We are always looking for ways in which we can streamline our processes and also improve the quality of our work. Fujifilm’s Jet Press 750S has certainly offered that and more.

“It can print on a wide range of substrates without us needing to use any particular coating, and from a business point of view, it brings short-run, self-colours and a wide range of pantone colours. In fact, the machine stores any colour we create for one job, so we can use it again and again and be in no doubt it will produce the same quality every time.”

Hulley is clear on the gaps the Jet Press has filled within the business:
“There were times in the past when we had to use litho presses for more complex work that our existing digital presses struggled to complete to the necessary quality. That gap in our capabilities has now been filled with the Jet Press – it’s extremely capable – not only in doing some things that we were unable to do digitally until now, but it’s also fulfilling other roles as well. As a solution, it adds to an already impressive arsenal of equipment and the abilities we have as a business.”

As the company continues to evolve to meet the needs of an ever-changing market, Smith explains how Fujifilm’s Jet Press is helping them on that journey:
“The Jet Press gives us the ability to produce a wider range of short run work, more cost effectively than before. We understand our customers’ desire to have varied, colourful and impactful covers – so being able to produce such a wide variety of products with no make-ready, and at ever-lower run lengths, provides us with a platform to greater satisfy the needs of our customers now and in the future.”

The Jet Press is also helping Clays to meet the high environmental standards it sets itself. Smith explains:
“Sustainability is something people are becoming more and more aware of across the printing industry, so the fact we now have a zero make ready press, using far less paper and reducing our overall wastage, helps us meet those obligations.

“Ultimately, we see the Jet Press as having simplified our workplace – there is little wastage and the transition of work off our other presses and onto the Jet Press has been completely seamless. We expect the highest quality from our equipment, as do our customers, and we’ve had nothing but positive feedback on the work we’ve done on the Jet Press.”

Smith also has high praise for Fujifilm’s support team:
“Relationships are incredibly important – you must get along with whoever you are working with and the team at Fujifilm have been great since day one. For the machine to hit the floor here and achieve what it has in such a short space of time has truly demonstrated how well we were able to work with them, and gives us a great platform to work from in the future.”

Andy Kent, Divisional Manager at Fujifilm Graphic Systems UK says:
“Clays has responded to changes in the book printing market and acted to make sure it can now deliver on short run requests more efficiently than ever. As one of the biggest and historically significant book printers in the UK, producing millions of books every year, we’re delighted that they’ve been able to enhance their offering still further with the Jet Press 750S.”
(Fujifilm UK Ltd)

Miraclon announces return of Global Flexo Innovation Awards

Miraclon announces return of Global Flexo Innovation Awards  (Company news)

Industry expert, Christopher Horton, confirmed as independent judging panel chairman

Miraclon, home of KODAK FLEXCEL Solutions, today announces the return of the Global Flexo Innovation Awards to honor companies that are at the forefront of the transformation of the flexo industry. Christopher Horton, former senior vice president of SGS, will chair the independent international judging panel that will comprise a rich selection of flexo industry influencers, technical experts and CPGs.

The inaugural Global Flexo Innovation awards, launched in 2018, received over 200 entries spanning across 26 countries. With high quality considered a pre-condition, the ‘one of a kind’ program looks beyond the print sample and recognizes innovations that deliver value across the print production value chain. Entries had to demonstrate how flexographic printing, KODAK FLEXCEL NX Technology and their own innovative approach resulted in outstanding achievements in the use of creative design, production workflow improvements, greater use of the flexo print process and commitment to sustainability.

Emma Schlotthauer, Chief Marketing Officer at Miraclon, comments: “The transformation and growth of the flexo industry is dependent on companies that grow their businesses through innovation that impacts the whole supply chain while driving an efficient, consistent and sustainable manufacturing process. The first iteration of the Global Flexo Innovation Awards proved that there are a great number of these businesses that have motivating stories to tell. The Global Flexo Innovation Awards not only celebrates these companies, it also helps bring like-minded individuals together and creates a valuable global network in pursuit of the same goals. The next round of the Awards program will further strengthen that network.”

Christopher Horton, who was also on the previous Global Flexo Awards judging panel, is excited to again be part of the judging process: “It’s great to see what companies around the globe are accomplishing with flexo to differentiate themselves from competitors and bring additional value to their customers. While other awards typically focuses on quality print, the Global Flexo Innovation Awards allows the industry to showcase how they are using flexo technology to be more efficient, reduce waste and leverage environmental benefits, and execute work to a higher level to meet brand and financial needs. It is the perfect platform to showcase the transformation of flexo and the future of the flexo industry.”

As an Entrepreneur, Innovator, and Executive, Christopher spent the last 30 years of his working career driving exponential gains in company value for the organizations he worked with. He entered the Graphic Services space by founding Advance Printing Products, Inc. (APP) in 1988, and grew the business value to several million dollars before merging the company with Southern Graphic Systems, Inc. (SGS) in early 2001. With SGS, Christopher was instrumental in the company’s growth into a Global Graphic Services powerhouse before he retired from SGS in 2015. He remained active in Graphic Services – today providing business optimization and exit planning consulting services.

The rest of the judging panel, which will see experts representing the complete flexo and packaging value chain, will be announced next month. Entries for the 2021 Global Flexo Innovation Awards will open in June 2020.
(Miraclon Corporation)

TRESU iCoat II: Next-generation Coating Technology for Folding Carton

TRESU iCoat II: Next-generation Coating Technology for Folding Carton  (Company news)

TRESU, a leading provider of flexographic printing technology and coating solutions, has consolidated the successful partnership with HP Indigo to supply the next generation of inline coating solutions for the new HP Indigo 35K Digital Press.

TRESU iCoat II delivers high-end coating opportunities for digital printing using industry-standard UV or water-based varnish in a single production pass and is capable of applying spot, partial or full surface coating immediately after the printing stage.

The new generation TRESU iCoat II features significantly improved registration and tighter tolerances, enabling high-end coating results for a wider range of substrates – both thinner and thicker.

The new TRESU iCoat II was developed in synergy with HP Indigo and as the result of a successful partnership of more than eight years, TRESU now presents a new fully integrated inline coating solution enabling higher productivity and full inline connectivity with HP’s Indigo 35K Digital Press.
Folding carton customers will now benefit from a competitive solution based on experience, know-how and high-quality components.

The new TRESU iCoat II is designed on a flexible modular platform, which can be updated with further modules and functionalities at any time in order to accommodate future changes in brand owners’ printing operations or changes arising from short-run seasonal fluctuations or fashion cycles.

Ronni Nielsen, VP TRESU Solutions Division, comments: “With the next generation TRESU iCoat II, the converters in digital printing enter a new era of coating application opportunities and we now present a flexible modular coating solution with significantly tighter registration and tolerances for a wider range of substrates, enabling our customers to match the quality they already know from offset.”

The new TRESU iCoat II will be demonstrated during the HP Indigo VIP events in Israel and released for sale at drupa 2020, taking place from 16th June in Düsseldorf, Germany. The first units of the HP Indigo 35K Digital Press with an inline TRESU iCoat II are expected to be installed before drupa 2020.
(Tresu A/S)

Scientific consensus statement on food contact chemicals and human health

Scientific consensus statement on food contact chemicals and human health  (Company news)

On March 3, 2020, a group of 33 international scientists published a consensus statement urging decision makers in government, industry, and civil society to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals that are present in food packaging and any other food contact materials. The peer-reviewed consensus statement highlights seven specific areas in need of improvement, including: elimination of hazardous chemicals in food contact articles, development of safer alternatives, modernizing risk assessment, consideration of endocrine disruption, addressing mixture toxicity, improving enforcement and establishing a multi-stakeholder dialogue to find practical solutions.

The authors of the consensus statement analyzed existing lists of food contact chemicals (FCCs) issued by legislators, industry and NGOs worldwide. They found that almost 12,000 distinct chemicals are potentially in use in the manufacture of food contact materials today, and that many have not been tested adequately for toxicity.

While there is a great amount of information for some of the most well studied FCCs such as bisphenol A (BPA) and phthalates, the authors emphasize that thousands of reported FCCs lack data on their hazardous properties and/or level of human exposure, even though these are critical data for determining human health risks. The statement further explains that there is an unknown but presumably even higher number of non-intentionally added substances present in food packaging (e.g., contaminants, degradation products) that have the potential to migrate into food, especially from recycled materials.
(Food Packaging Forum Foundation)

Cepi Press Statement - European pulp and paper sector maintains essential operations ...

Cepi Press Statement - European pulp and paper sector maintains essential operations ...  (Company news) help EU citizens tackle the COVID-19 pandemic

Jori Ringman (photo), Director General of Cepi, Confederation of European Paper Industries:
Cepi, the European paper industry association, and its members across Europe are shocked and saddened by the COVID-19 pandemic dramatically impacting people globally and in Europe, with a growing number of lives lost.

We have taken the situation very seriously and implemented all necessary measures to guarantee the safety of our people: employees, transport operators and customers.

Our main priority now is to ensure that EU citizens can access the products that they desperately need for hygiene, health and food purposes in the current lockdown context.

For that reason, we are relentlessly working with other industries in our value-chain to operate as much in a “business as usual” mode as possible and guarantee security of supply to our fellow Europeans.

Our tissue and hygiene products are of vital importance to citizens, particularly to implement the recommendations issued by national governments and the World Health Organization (WHO): frequent hand washing and proper hand drying is vital. Tissue offers the safest option.

Our fibre-based packaging is also essential to transport and deliver all types of food and pharmaceutical supplies such as medicines in protective packaging.

We depend on the quick availability of fibres from recycled paper to manufacture our packaging. Therefore we call on local communities to help us serving them, by ensuring that the collection of paper and board continues smoothly during the crisis. Otherwise, it would create a shortage of raw material within weeks and force us to stop our production.

We also have the obligation to ensure the timely and safe delivery of essential goods to our communities. Many of our companies are currently struggling due to extra border control checks and related delays within Europe due to lack of container capacity after the closure of China’s harbours. We need support to avoid delays in deliveries of these key supplies.

For all these reasons, we have been calling for our sector (NACE code 17) to be recognised as an essential supplier in several critical European value chains and to be eligible for state aids to ensure continuity of vital supplies to the society during the health crisis and facilitate a sustainable recovery of the European economy after we overcome the health crisis.

We expect the Corona virus to prompt many changes in the way businesses are operated and society is organised. We call the European Commission to review the recently adopted Industrial Strategy in the light of the changes to ensure it remains valid and a strong policy for the new industrial realities.

Solidarity has to come first; we will strongly support the work of the EU institutions and national governments with our reiterated commitment to invest in Europe and for maintaining European jobs in the next 5 years.
(CEPI aisbl)

Bobst: Temporary activity decrease of several production sites worldwide

Bobst: Temporary activity decrease of several production sites worldwide  (Company news)

Given the acceleration of the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, recent decisions of local authorities, and to support our customers and employees, Bobst Group has taken additional measures. The decision is to focus on what matters most: respect of the safety recommendations in all countries, global employees’ health prevention, and business continuity for all customers support.

As a consequence, Bobst Group will put some factories at their lowest machine production level to focus on parts and services without compromising the security of our employees. The site of Bobst Lyon in France moved into its minimum production level as of Thursday, 19 March. The sites of Bobst Mex and Bobst Grenchen in Switzerland entered into their minimum production levels Friday, 20 March end of day. This measure will be valid for a minimum period of two weeks. The site of Bobst India will close until 31 March, based on government decisions. China is recovering and expected to be back to normal by mid-April.

We continue to closely monitor our Technical Service Centers country by country to ensure the business continuity of our customers to the highest level possible. We assess daily the evolution of the situation in all countries, and for all Bobst sites, and take the necessary measures.

Bobst Group has taken the necessary measures to manage this crisis and to ensure its liquidity.
(Bobst Group SA)

ANDRITZ suspends sales and earnings forecast for 2020

ANDRITZ suspends sales and earnings forecast for 2020  (Company news)

Due to the global COVID-19 crisis, international technology group ANDRITZ expects a negative impact on the development of its sales and earnings in the 2020 business year.

The extent depends on the duration of the crisis and its future impact on the global economy and on the markets served by ANDRITZ. Hence, it cannot be quantified at the moment with sufficient certainty.

As a result, ANDRITZ has suspended it sales and earnings forecast for 2020 as disclosed at the presentation of the results for 2019 and anticipating a slight increase in sales and unchanged earnings before extraordinary effects (EBITA) compared to 2019 (before extraordinary effects). At the moment, it is impossible to estimate the effects on sales and earnings in 2020.

In order to counteract a possible drop in sales as best as possible, ANDRITZ has already initiated temporary cost-saving measures in many countries where the Group is active.

A change of the resolution concerning use of profits (dividend proposal) is not planned at the moment, however – depending on the further development of the corona crisis – this cannot be excluded.

The Annual General Meeting originally scheduled for March 25, 2020, had to be canceled due to the regulations introduced by the Austrian Federal Government.
(Andritz AG)

BRAGAGNOLO will upgrade the PM3

BRAGAGNOLO will upgrade the PM3  (Company news)

From 150 to 250 t/d
Avelino Bragagnolo S/A, located in the west region of Santa Catarina, has just hired Hergen for a large expansion of its PM3.
The project aims to increase paper quality, as well as production, which is currently 150 t/d and after the upgrade will go to approximately 250 t/d.

What will be done
-Flat Table Extension
-Installation of new Couch Suction Roller
-Installation of 04 new Drying Cylinders (14 bar) in Pre-drying
-Installation of a new Post-drying section with 12 Drying Cylinders (14 bar)

It is a great honor for Hergen to be a partner of Avelino Bragagnolo for so many years.
We congratulate Bragagnolo for yet another great advance and we appreciate the opportunity to participate in this project.

drupa 2021: New date and new experiences from the world of printing

drupa 2021: New date and new experiences from the world of printing  (Company news)

Due to the spread of the coronavirus, Messe Düsseldorf decided on 13 March 2020 to postpone the leading trade fair drupa, which is planned for June. Instead, the fair will take place from 20 to 30 April 2021.

Claus Bolza-Schünemann (photo), Koenig & Bauer CEO: "drupa is the leading trade fair and the highlight of an entire industry. This is why we stand behind the responsible decision of Messe Düsseldorf to postpone drupa until April 2021 due to the current threat posed by the corona virus. The safety and health of all those involved has top priority. Nevertheless: we at Koenig & Bauer have put a lot of energy and heart and soul into drupa. We would like to share this with you - also in 2021 - and of course on the way there. Stay tuned, it's worth it!”
(Koenig & Bauer AG (KBA))

HJK and Kotkamills team up for a plastic-free stadium

HJK and Kotkamills team up for a plastic-free stadium  (Company news)

Under the collaboration agreement signed between Football club HJK and Kotkamills, a manufacturer of fully recyclable food service board, HJK is aiming to significantly reduce the carbon footprint of its matches in the upcoming season.

HJK published in December 2019 its environmental responsibility programme and concrete measures to reduce its carbon footprint. The target is to decrease emissions by 20 percent during 2020 and to compensate the rest of its emissions through EU emissions trading. HJK is aiming for its first teams to be totally carbon neutral by 2025.

“The collaboration with Kotkamills is part of HJK’s environmental responsibility programme and a significant advancement in reducing plastic emissions. Beer, soft drinks and coffee are served in 150,000 single-use cups every year at the Bolt Arena. With the help of Kotkamills, we can discontinue the use of plastic mugs and plastic-coated cups,” says HJK CEO Aki Riihilahti.

Collaborating with sports teams is not new for Kotkamills. Norwich City Football Club, which plays in the English Premier League, announced in January that starting next season it will replace single-use plastic cups with Kotkamills’ more eco-friendly alternatives. Also the KooKoo ice hockey team playing in the Finnish Elite League aims to reduce plastic waste at its home games to as close to zero as possible with the help of its main partner Kotkamills.

“It’s great to see how sports teams are taking responsibility for ecological rebuilding. As a major Finnish football club and a platform for junior teams, HJK plays a significant role in building a new consumers mindset around sustainability and recycling,” notes Kotkamills CEO Markku Hämäläinen.
(Kotkamills Oy)

Hahnemühle Natural Line at Gian Paolo Barbieri

Hahnemühle Natural Line at Gian Paolo Barbieri  (Company news)

Lately, our Natural Line Papers were presented for the very first time at an exclusive launch event with ImageConsult in Italy. Close to one hundred print studios and photographers, as well as press gathered to learn about the special features of our sustainable papers, at no other place but Gian Paolo Barbieri’s studio in Milan.

At this iconic location, Digital FineArt Product Manager, Andrea Sippel gave an in-depth presentation about our company’s history, the Natural Line papers and the story behind their development. The first part covered the history of Hahnemühle and its beginnings in 1584. She further explained why the paper mill is located near a nature reserve and how the paper production even started. The second part of the presentation was fully dedicated to our Natural Line papers and Green Rooster initiative. Our Export Area Sales Manager for Southern Europe and Latin America, Luciana Leite, was on site, too. Both described in detail how Hahnemühle’s sustainability efforts are anchored deeply in the company and why a respectful attitude towards the environment is part of our success.

On top of this, ImageConsult organized an exclusive test printing with various photographers and print studios from all over Italy. Numerous works of these Italian photographers were displayed to show our latest paper invention in usage. Via a central portal interested photographers could register, receive a DIN A3 set of Natural Line papers and send it back printed. The result was a diverse, colourful and varied portfolio on paper made from Bamboo, Hemp or Agave. One of the highlights at the launch event. The reactions were overwhelming – papers made from sustainable raw materials that are true FineArt inkjet papers and do something good at the same time.

The Natural Line has a special place within the Hahnemühle Digital FineArt Collection. It focuses on FineArt inkjet papers made from exceptional raw materials – Bamboo, Hemp and Agave. The undemanding plants from which the required pulp is obtained are fast-growing and do not require pesticides. Due to their fast growth, they provide more pulp than other raw materials on the same area while requiring significantly less water. This saves valuable resources and protects the environment.

In addition to this successful launch event with ImageConsult, Andrea Sippel and Luciana Leite visited other Hahnemühle partners and certified studios in Italy. One of the stops was the Hahnemühle Certified Studio NEWLAB in Brescia. An exclusive Hahnemühle Natural Line Event was also held there.
(Hahnemühle FineArt GmbH)

Norske Skog: Operational update and annual report 2019

Norske Skog: Operational update and annual report 2019  (Company news)

Norske Skog ASA closely monitors the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and continuously implements new measures to reduce the risk for the employees and to ensure continuity of operations. Norske Skog operates seven business units in five countries. Each country has imposed different measures in connection to the outbreak of the coronavirus. Norske Skog has and will adhere to the individual recommendations and measures taken by the different national authorities.

Ensuring the health and safety of our employees and their families is the top priority for Norske Skog. Under the current circumstances, Norske Skog will do the utmost to maintain the continuity of business operations also including home offices and video-meetings.

So far, Norske Skog's business units operate as normal except for Golbey, which has ceased production at PM2 due to one confirmed case of coronavirus at the PM2 line requiring a 14 day quarantine for co-workers. The length and financial consequences of this stop is currently uncertain. The Skogn mill has already given 50 employees notice of temporary layoff due to reduced operational capacity as a result of local restrictions due to the corona situation.

The challenge in the forthcoming weeks will be to secure both in- and outbound logistics of raw materials and finished goods under the current cross border transportation restrictions. For the time being, the scarce availability of recovered paper both in Austria and France may cause further business interruptions. In addition, some customers have in the last days requested accelerated delivery of orders, whereas some French printing houses have signaled temporary stops in production.

Norske Skog will closely monitor the development of the coronavirus, and corresponding effects on our supply chains and markets. As the situation may evolve rapidly, several factors could impact our operations and production resulting in necessary operational and financial adjustments including temporary layoffs.

Sven Ombudstvedt (photo), CEO of Norske Skog, comments: “Our top priority is to take care of the health and safety for our employees. Taking into consideration our complex value chain, we will do our utmost to secure raw material supply and maintain production to secure stable deliveries to our customers. We monitor the situation day-to-day and will over the coming weeks communicate closely with suppliers, customers, other stakeholders and the financial market."
(Norske Skogindustrier ASA)

ANDRITZ successfully starts up the world's first fossil-free biomethanol plant at Södra, Sweden

ANDRITZ successfully starts up the world's first fossil-free biomethanol plant at Södra, Sweden  (Company news)

International technology group ANDRITZ has recently started up the world’s first biomethanol plant using ANDRITZ’s self-developed A-Recovery+ concept at the Södra Cell Mönsterås pulp mill in southeastern Sweden.

The plant has an annual production capacity of 6.3 million liters of biomethanol from forest biomass. The fossil-free biomethanol can be used for applications in the pulp mill itself, or as a substitute for fossil-based methanol in the transport sector (biodiesel) and as a chemical base substance. The ANDRITZ delivery to Södra included proprietary process design and full EPC delivery, excluding automation, instrumentation, electrification and civil works.

The A-Recovery+ concept from ANDRITZ delivers commercial grade biomethanol by using a patented extraction process. It offers next-generation solutions for the chemical recovery cycle of pulp mills, with the target of utilizing the pulp mill side streams to the maximum extent possible. In addition to biomethanol production, A-Recovery+ also produces sulfuric acid from odorous gases and recovers lignin for the production of high-quality lignin to be used in advanced bioproducts.

With this first ever fossil-free biomethanol plant worldwide, ANDRITZ is strongly supporting Södra’s ambitions to make its operations entirely fossil-free and be climate-positive by the end of this decade. To achieve this aim, Södra is aiming at eliminating fossil fuel use throughout its operations and producing innovative products that replace fossil-based raw materials.
(Andritz AG)

Ence drives telecommuting, as a preventive measure against Coronavirus

Ence drives telecommuting, as a preventive measure against Coronavirus  (Company news)

Ence – Energía y Celulosa, in application of its Internal Protocol for Prevention against Coronavirus, has decided to strengthen prevention measures in its different plants and offices. With this objective, the company has started the technical tests to implement teleworking in all its centers.

The safety of all people is the top priority for Ence and, therefore, the company is launching all the necessary initiatives to ensure the safety and health of all workers.

Teleworking tests will be applied progressively among those employees who, by their position and by the characteristics of their work, can continue with their professional work from home, as well as among those who, by their state or situation, could be more vulnerable .

The activity in the different workplaces of the group takes place within normality, as in the Navia biofactory where, as a preventive measure, those employees who may have had contact with a possible affected are already developing their work through teleworking.

It is a provisional and extraordinary measure that seeks to prevent contact between workers without stopping the company’s activity. The objective is, in this way, to minimize risks and protect direct and indirect workers, among whom, in any case, no infection by Coronavirus has been recorded.

Ence Energy and Cellulose has been running for weeks an internal Prevention Protocol against Coronavirus updated promptly and that all workers are informed. This protocol includes hygienic measures and action guidelines such as not taking trips, not receiving external visits in the workplace or attending mass meetings.
(Grupo Empresarial ENCE S.A. Divisíon de Celulosa)

Mayr-Melnhof: Annual Results 2019

Mayr-Melnhof: Annual Results 2019  (Company news)

-Further profit increase
-Dividend increase to EUR 3.60/share proposed
-High capacity utilization
-Significant growth in results in both divisions
-Good start into 2020 – challenges increase

The Mayr-Melnhof Group was able to conclude the year 2019 with a further profit increase in succession despite slower market dynamics. Both divisions made a significant contribution to this and reported overall good capacity utilization in a competitive environment.

While the cartonboard division benefited from largely stable average prices and cost reductions, the profit in the packaging division was significantly higher than in the previous year, mainly due to the initial inclusion of the Tann-Group, which met the expectations. At 10 %, the Group's operating margin again developed at a high level.

In line with the sound profit development, a recommendation will be made to the 26th Ordinary Shareholders’ Meeting to increase the dividend for the financial year 2019 to EUR 3.60 per share (2018: EUR 3.20).

The consolidated sales of the Group reached EUR 2,544.4 million and were thus 8.8 %, or EUR 206.7 million, above the previous year's value (2018: EUR 2,337.7 million). This increase was mainly acquisition-related from the packaging division and to a lesser extent from the cartonboard division.

EBITDA rose by 20.1 %, or EUR 65.2 million, to EUR 389.6 million (2018: EUR 324.4 million), the EBITDA margin to 15.3 % (2018: 13.9 %). At EUR 255.3 million, operating profit was 17.6 %, or EUR 38.2 million, above the previous year (2018: EUR 217.1 million), with MM Packaging accounting for around 60 % and MM Karton for around 40 % of this growth. In the course of the initial consolidation of the Tann-Group, one-off expenses from acquisition effects of EUR -4.8 million were reported due to the recognition of order backlog and inventory measurement. The Group's operating margin totaled 10.0 % (2018: 9.3 %), the return on capital employed amounted to 15.4 % (2018: 15.0 %).

Financial income totaling EUR 1.4 million (2018: EUR 1.3 million) was offset by financial expenses of EUR -8.4 million (2018: EUR -6.1 million). “Other financial result − net” changed to EUR 2.8 million (2018: EUR 5.6 million) in particular due to higher foreign currency gains in the previous year.

Profit before tax increased accordingly by 15.2 % to EUR 251.1 million (2018: EUR 217.9 million). Income tax expense amounted to EUR 60.9 million (2018: EUR 53.7 million), resulting in an effective Group tax rate of 24.3 % (2018: 24.7 %).

Profit for the year went up by 15.8 % to EUR 190.2 million (2018: EUR 164.2 million).

Consolidated Balance Sheet
As of December 31, 2019, the Group's total assets amounted to EUR 2,422.7 million and were thus EUR 357.0 million above the value at the end of 2018 (EUR 2,065.7 million). This increase is primarily due to the initial consolidation of the Tann-Group. The Group's total equity rose from EUR 1,384.8 million (December 31, 2018) to EUR 1,508.3 million, mainly as a result of profit. The equity ratio maintained a sound level at 62.3 % (December 31, 2018: 67.0 %). Return on equity was at 13.1 %, after 12.1 % in the previous year.

Financial liabilities, primarily of a long-term character, increased from EUR 211.7 million at year-end 2018 to EUR 345.4 million on December 31, 2019, due to the acquisition and the financing of the company purchase as well as the first-time inclusion of lease liabilities according to IFRS 16.

At EUR 126.8 million, total funds available to the Group were below the comparative figure for the previous year (December 31, 2018: EUR 261.1 million), mainly owing to the purchase price payment for the acquisition of the Tann-Group and the dividend payment. Net debt thus amounted to EUR 218.6 million at the end of 2019 (December 31, 2018: net liquidity of EUR 49.4 million).

Outlook on the financial year 2020
European economies are showing low momentum. Nevertheless, private consumption continues to show a stable development and, thus, also the demand for cartonboard packaging. Against this background, the Group's cartonboard and packaging production facilities have overall again been highly utilized since the beginning of the year. Sales markets, however, remain characterized by intense competition due to sufficient capacities in the industry.

MM Karton continues to focus on maintaining price levels. The goal for both divisions is to continue to grow in 2020 and maintain profit quality at a high level.

Ongoing investment in state-of-the-art technological innovations and ongoing measures to improve cost efficiency and optimize the product and sales program are intended to make this possible also in the future.

The aim is to follow up the record year 2019 in the best possible way in 2020. After a good beginning of the year we consider the challenges in the course of the year increasing. As in the past, we will continue to pay high attention to the future-orientated development of our production facilities and products and the risk-conscious continuation of our global acquisition course.
Development in the 4th Quarter of 2019

Market dynamics traditionally slowed towards the end of the year but remained overall more solid than in the previous year’s quarter which had been characterized by a noticeable weakening due to a reduction in stocks along the supply chain.

MM Karton recorded a capacity utilization of 95 % after 90 % in the fourth quarter of the previous year. Operating profit of the division totaled EUR 23.1 million after EUR 16.5 million. The operating margin reached 8.7 % (4th quarter 2018: 6.3 %).

Operating profit of MM Packaging at EUR 36.6 million was mainly acquisition-related above the previous year’s value (4th quarter 2018: EUR 28.3 million), resulting in an increase of the operating margin to 9.5 % (4th quarter 2018: 8.4 %).

Consolidated sales at EUR 620.1 million were around 7.9 % higher than in the previous year’s period (4th quarter 2018: EUR 574.6 million). This growth is mainly due to the initial inclusion of the Tann-Group.
The Group's operating profit rose to EUR 59.7 million (4th quarter 2018: EUR 44.8 million), the operating margin to 9.6 % (4th quarter 2018: 7.8 %).
Profit before tax increased to EUR 56.9 million (4th quarter 2018: EUR 48.9 million), the profit for the period to EUR 43.9 million (4th quarter 2018: EUR 37.8 million).

Development in the Divisions
MM Karton
Restrained demand and intensified competition characterized the general conditions on the European cartonboard markets in 2019. Against this background, MM Karton was nevertheless able to solidly maintain its position, retain or increase market shares and convince with attractive, highly functional and sustainable packaging solutions. We continued to attach high priority to price discipline and the pursuit of a selective sales policy. The specialization of the mills as well as growth with an optimized product portfolio and the expansion of our focus on European business were pursued consistently.

Prices for mixed grades of recovered paper on the fiber markets declined gradually, while those for products based on virgin fibers decreased from a high level.

At 97 % (2018: 97 %), capacities in the division were again highly utilized. Investments focused on enabling further growth through continuous technological development of our mills and increasing product and service performance. Since 2018, we have attached special priority to digitalizing our business processes, and today, we benefit from high speed, perfection, and efficiency.

Owing to more short-term planning of customers, the average order backlog of 68,000 tons was below the comparative figure of the previous year (2018: 77,000 tons).

Cartonboard production grew by 3.5 %, or 59,000 tons, to 1,723,000 tons (2018: 1,664,000 tons). 1,382,000 tons (80 %) were attributable to recycled fiber-based cartonboard and 341,000 tons (20 %) to virgin fiber-based cartonboard (2018: 1,313,000 tons or 79 % and 351,000 tons or 21 %, respectively). At 1,705,000 tons, cartonboard sold was slightly below production and 2.5 % above the previous year (2018: 1,663,000 tons).

Sales increased in line with sold volumes to EUR 1,078.3 million (2018: EUR 1,062.2 million). As in the previous year, sales to European markets were slightly higher, with a share of around 65 % in Western Europe (2018: 63 %) and 22 % in Eastern Europe (2018: 21 %), resulting in the sales share in countries outside Europe decreasing to 13 % (2018: 16 %).

Operating profit grew by 14.6 %, or EUR 14.1 million, to EUR 110.5 million (2018: EUR 96.4 million), primarily due to lower direct costs and slightly better average prices. The operating margin reached 10.2 % following 9.1 % in 2018.

MM Packaging
In the course of weaker economic conditions in 2019, planning on the European folding carton market was also more restrained and stocks were reduced along the entire supply chain. Consequently, and due to still sufficient capacity reserves, the high level of competitive intensity and consolidation in the industry continued.

Despite temporary heterogeneous capacity utilization among the plants, MM Packaging reported a stable overall development as a result of the good order backlog. Measures aimed at improving cost efficiency and value added as well as gaining new business were pursued and implemented systematically. In this connection, the strategic focus remains on maintaining strength and exploiting growth opportunities on individual markets such as FMCG (fast moving consumer goods), packaging for tobacco products, pharmaceuticals, and personal care with specialized plants through maximum cost efficiency and quality.

Particular focus in 2019 was placed on integrating the Tann-Group acquired at the beginning of the year into the division. This developed according to plan using synergies arising from technological proximity and organizational integration. Like the development in the course of the year, the annual result of MM Packaging is mainly characterized by the initial inclusion of the Tann-Group.

Processed tonnage of cartonboard and paper increased acquisition-related by 2.5 % to 785,000 tons (2018: 766,000 tons).

Sales went up by 14.0 %, or EUR 193.8 million, to EUR 1,578.0 million (2018: EUR 1,384.2 million), of which 49 % and 33 % were accounted for by Western and Eastern Europe and 18 % by business outside Europe (2018: 57 %; 32 %; 11 %).

Operating profit increased by 20.0 %, or EUR 24.1 million, to EUR 144.8 million (2018: EUR 120.7 million), with one-off expenses of EUR -4.8 million being recorded as a result of the initial consolidation. The operating margin therefore only rose slightly from 8.7 % to 9.2 %.
(Mayr-Melnhof Karton Gesellschaft m.b.H.)

Arctic Paper Q4/2019 - preliminary results: Paper segment boosting profit improvement

Arctic Paper Q4/2019 - preliminary results: Paper segment boosting profit improvement  (Company news)

Paper & Pulp–a resilient combination over time

-Q4sales revenue amounted to PLN 739.7mn (EUR1172.1mn).
-Q4 EBITDA wasPLN 34.9mn (EUR18.1mn), Q4 EBIT PLN 13.2mn (EUR13.1mn).
-FY 2019 sales revenue amounted to PLN 3,117.1mn (EUR1725.1mn).
-FY 2019 EBITDA was PLN 278.0mn (EUR164.7mn), FY EBIT PLN 191.4mn (EUR144.5mn).
-Paper production capacity increase in Kostrzyn completed.
-Paper segmentreached 94% capacity usage for 2019.
-New annual record in sales of special and premium paper products.
-Successful pilot project in packaging segment. Transition continues throughout 2020.
-Accurate fulfilment of Profit Improvement Program to increase efficiency.
-Management board suggests a dividend of PLN 0.20 per share.

"The combination of distinct performance improvements for the paper segment, the launch of new premium paper and packaging products, and a stable pulp segment, raised profitability at consolidated level to one of the best annual results in the Group's history. As a result, we propose a dividend of 0,20 PLN per share.” Michal Jarczyński (photo), CEO of Arctic Paper S.A.

Against market developments and seasonal trends, the year 2019 ended with a stronger fourth quarter, with sales totalling PLN 739.7mn (as compared to PLN 780.7mnin Q4 2018) and EBITDA of PLN 34.9mn (3.0mn). A more balanced market with lower raw material prices favoured the paper segment. For the full year, the Group achieved sales of PLN 3,117.1mn (3,158.2mn) with EBITDA of PLN 278.0 mn (218.8mn), a strong cash flow of PLN 342.3mn (148.6mn)and a Group Net Debt/EBITDA below 0.6. This shows the benefits of combining paper and pulp: two segments with different cycles —both based on renewable resources— which together provide stable, resilient development.

Our Profit Improvement Program for the paper segment 2019–2020 is being implemented according to plan. Together with lower raw material costs, this contributed to increasing the profit for the paper segment during Q4 to PLN 35.3mn (-40.3mn) on a turnover of PLN 532.0mn (539.1mn). For 2019, the paper segment generated an EBIT margin of 3.3%, and in Q4 the margin was 3.2%. The work to increase efficiency and strengthen the margin has continued with great determination, and during the period we started lean projects, a method that has been successfully used in Grycksbo, also for the mills in Kostrzyn and Munkedal.

Despite weak paper and packaging markets, capacity utilization remained high at 96% during the fourth quarter and paper production was 151,000 tonnes (150,000). Sales amounted to 150,000 tonnes (145,000),with speciality and premium paper sales reaching a new record level of 23.5% percent (22%) in volume and 29% (27%) in value at year-end thanks to our strong brands and recently launched products.

The successful pilot of kraft paper for the packaging market in 2019 resulted in a new portfolio, Munken Kraft. The modernization of PM1 Kostrzyn and innovation grant from the Polish NCBiRare helping accelerate the change to new products for the packaging market. This transition is also supported by the ongoing global shift from plastic to paper in the market. Here Arctic Paper is well positioned, with a long tradition in sustainability.

For the Group company Rottneros — the pulp segment — Q4 was characterized by a weak market situation, which together with the normal maintenance shutdown in Vallvik resulted in a negative EBIT. Q4 sales amounted to SEK 547mn (580mn) and EBITDA SEK -5mn (39mn). For the full year 2019, pulp segment sales amounted to SEK 2,376mn (2,260mn) with an EBIT of SEK 268mn (295mn), while production reached a new annual record of 406,000 tonnes (401,200).

The combination of distinct performance improvements for the paper segment, the launch of new premium paper and packaging products, and a stable pulp segment, raised profitability at the consolidated level to one of the best annual results in the Group’s history. As a result, we propose a dividend of PLN 0.20 per share. This does not mean that we are at ease —on the contrary. The improvement work will continue at the same pace during 2020.
(Arctic Paper S.A.)

Ahlstrom-Munksjö not affected by the decree issued by the Italian government – ...

Ahlstrom-Munksjö not affected by the decree issued by the Italian government – ...  (Company news)

...all plants operational worldwide

The Italian government has issued a decree for the lock-down of industrial and commercial operations. The decree entered into effect yesterday, and is valid until April 3, 2020. However, the decree excludes certain industries and activities. The paper and non-woven industries are specifically excluded from the lock-down according to the decree. Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s production plants in Italy, Turin and Fabriano, are currently operating and are not directly affected by the decree.

Photo: Ahlstrom-Munksjö offers a range of high quality filtration media for separating particles from fluid in manufacturing processes.

All 45 Ahlstrom-Munksjö manufacturing facilities worldwide are currently operational. The company is closely monitoring the situation and taking strict health and safety precautions at all sites to protect the wellbeing of its employees and all stakeholders.
(Ahlstrom-Munksjö Italia S.p.A.)

International Containerboard Conference - Latin America - CANCELLED

International Containerboard Conference - Latin America - CANCELLED  (Company news)

Conference Cancelled - Alternative Event Experiences to be Announced

We have been closely monitoring the situation of Covid-19 and its impact on global travel plans and the likely attendance at our International Containerboard Conference - Latin America, due to commence on March 25-27, 2020. After consultation with our speakers, sponsors and wider community, Fastmarkets RISI has made the decision to cancel the event this year.
(Fastmarkets RISI)

Metsä Board joins forces with the new European Paper Packaging Alliance

Metsä Board joins forces with the new European Paper Packaging Alliance  (Company news)

Metsä Board, the leading European producer of premium fresh fibre paperboards and part of Metsä Group, is one of the founding members of the recently established European Paper Packaging Alliance (EPPA). EPPA is a food and food service packaging association whose aim is to promote food safety, circular solutions, and lower carbon emissions as well as call for evidence-based policy making. The members represent leading raw material manufacturers and food & food service packaging producers.

"I believe that EPPA has a really good and important message to tell. Fibre-based food service packaging has a significant role in terms of food hygiene, public health and consumer safety. It is made of a renewable raw material – wood fibre. It is recyclable and also recycles well; in Europe paper and board packaging recycling rates are over 80%. That is circular economy at its best,” says Risto Auero, Sales Director, Metsä Board Food Service Boards.
(Metsä Board Corporation)

Investment in additional compensating stackers optimizes parallel production

Investment in additional compensating stackers optimizes parallel production  (Company news)

Herold Druck und Verlag GmbH in Vienna (Austria) has optimized its mailroom lines with an investment in two additional Ferag MultiStack compensating stackers. Having four compensating stackers lined up in a row now makes it possible to distribute several productions between them in whichever way is optimal for bundle formation.

Herold has been printing newspapers for over 125 years, starting in 1893 with production of Reichspost, the first daily to be distributed across the whole Danube Monarchy. After becoming part of the Dr. Taus industrial group in the 1990s, Herold Druck und Verlag embarked on “an increasingly dynamic and innovative track”. And as a pure contract printer, Herold always keeps in mind the quality that customers expect. “This is what underlies our business decisions,” states Managing Director Thomas Unterberger.

Herold currently has production running seven days a week. The focus is on three interregional daily newspapers, plus around 50 weekly and monthly titles. At the company’s printing plant located at the southern edge of Vienna’s city centre district, Herold prints the daily Die Presse as well as Wiener Zeitung (the world’s oldest daily newspaper) and the Vienna partial edition of Heute, the most successful free daily newspaper in Austria.

Herold Druck is currently among the most innovative companies in Austria specializing in the production of coldset newspapers and semi-commercials – with highly capable prepress, printing and postpress all the way through to postal dispatch. Via its subsidiaries, Herold is also one of the largest sheet-fed offset printers and bookbinderies in Austria.

Repeated investments
Herold invested in a new printing press in 1993 and again in 2002, this time with re-equipment of the mailroom as well. The most recent newspaper press was moved to the site on Faradaygasse in 2012, at which point Herold also invested in the latest Ferag mailroom technology.

For inserting, an MSD-M 2:1 ECB inserting drum was chosen eight years ago. This can be used in combination with a RollStream precollecting system for regionalization of short runs. In 2:1 mode, for example, Herold processes 75,000 copies per hour via an inserting drum and is thus capable of handling even large print runs and inserts within tight time windows

Flexible compensating stacker arrangement
One inserting drum dating back to the 2002 investment project is still in operation. Until as recently as last year, this production line was also using two Ferag stacking systems for bundle formation – forerunners of the MultiStack compensating stacker line introduced later. What prompted the Herold management to take a further investment step was not only the obsolescence of this “ABL” technology and the difficulty of obtaining spare parts for it, but also complicated in-plant transport routes that had arisen over the years.

So in the summer of 2019, the existing configuration of two MultiStack compensating stackers was supplemented by another two identical systems. The universal conveyor chains leading from the printing presses or the precollecting lines now feed into a matrix that allows any assignment of incoming products to the four compensating stackers. This allows optimized processing speeds for individual orders. Even with odd bundles, there is still the option to use several stackers.

Since the two bundle-forming lines were previously very far apart, a great deal of manpower was required for pallet transport. It was also not so easy to switch orders between the two lines. All that has now changed, with production on both mailroom lines being run from a central control station with the aid of Navigator software.

One challenge for the Ferag team was to optimize the universal conveyor routes. But above all, installation of the new stackers and conversion of the mailroom technology had to be accomplished in parallel with daily production. The only time test runs could take place was during Saturday and Sunday day shifts. With all now said and done, Thomas Unterberger, Managing Director of Herold Druck und Verlag GmbH, is very satisfied with the investment and the project execution. Personnel savings in particular help to shorten the ROI.
(Ferag AG)

Södra wins two awards at PPI Awards 2020

Södra wins two awards at PPI Awards 2020  (Company news)

We are absolutely delighted to announce that we won awards for both Environmental Leadership and Marketing Campaign of the Year at the 2020 PPI Awards in Portugal this month.

The PPI Awards are dedicated to recognising the achievements of companies, mills and individuals in the pulp and paper sector. The awards also serve as a platform that celebrates leadership, vision, innovation and strategic accomplishments within the industry. Our marketing campaign focusing on sustainability, The Journey, won the Bringing Paper to Life - Marketing Campaign of the Year Award, while our groundbreaking OnceMore™ technology to recycle textiles won the category for Environmental Leadership - From Sustainable Forestry to Waste Management.

Linda Ottosson, Head of Marketing Communication: “A sustainable future requires everyday heroes and new ways of thinking. It can be as easy as actively choosing products from responsible-managed forests, but we also need to maximize our part as an industry and communicate our sustainability credentials to a wider audience beyond our immediate target market. This is what we did with The Journey campaign and we are delighted to see its value recognised.”

According to the judges, “The winner of this category really went the extra mile when it comes to the global promotion of paper products as it told the world about the sustainability of the industry. It deliberately targeted customers' customers and beyond to redress misconceptions around, and raise awareness of, the sustainability of the modern industry.”

Win number 2: OnceMore™
The forest is an important part in the transition to a sustainable bioeconomy. Today, more smart products can be made from the forest than ever before and now Södra wins the prize for its sustainable and ground-breaking innovation OnceMore™

Johannes Bogren, Vice President of Södra Cell Bioproducts, was equally delighted: “A new, exciting journey has started for Södra. We can now offer circular flows of textile fibres so that a sweater can become a sweater again - this is a unique global solution for post-consumer waste!”

The jury’s verdict: “The pulp and paper industries can be very proud of all the work that has been done over recent decades on the environmental front, and now, at last, all that hard work is being rewarded by a general public that really ‘gets’ the fact that the products this industry makes are simply the best renewable, reusable and recyclable products on the market. But it’s not just paper products, there are other industries that are now open for the pulp and paper industries to enter into with its deep environmental know-how and process experience. The winner of this category clearly demonstrates this.”

Angeline Elfström, Customer Relations Manager, highlighted the team effort involved: “These achievements are the result of a lot of people working very hard – colleagues on The Journey project, the communication department, those behind and in front of the cameras and our external agencies such as Studio Dittmer. The OnceMore™ project team included a cross-functional team from our mills, Innovation, product development, sales and marketing. This really is a team award.”
(Södra Cell AB)

Kelheim Fibres achieves low risk in first CanopyStyle Audit

Kelheim Fibres achieves low risk in first CanopyStyle Audit  (Company news)

Recently, environmental not-for-profit organization Canopy, third-party auditor NEPCon, and Kelheim Fibres released the results of Kelheim’s CanopyStyle Audit. The company’s current supply chain is confirmed as low risk of sourcing wood from Ancient and Endangered Forests or other controversial sources.

“Canopy congratulates Kelheim Fibres for its low risk audit results,” said Nicole Rycroft, Canopy’s Executive Director. “Producers are increasingly hearing from brands that they will no longer source Ancient and Endangered Forest textiles by the end of 2020. This audit result is a validation of Kelheim’s efforts in that direction and positions it well in a competitive market place.”

“Future-oriented fibre materials cannot come at the cost of Ancient and Endangered forests and other valuable resources. Therefore, we are committed to focus on sustainability at every step from raw material sourcing and state-of-the-art closed-loops production processes,” said Craig Barker (photo), CEO of Kelheim Fibres. “As a small producer, we are proud to have accomplished low-risk audit results. We welcome the recommendations the audit report has given us for further improvements and we will actively work towards implementing them.”

NEPCon is pleased to be the independent auditing body for the CanopyStyle initiative and in particular making it possible to meet the growing demand for CanopyStyle audits throughout Europe,” stated Jon Jickling, Director, NEPCon Solutions. “Kelheim Fibres was committed to this third-party assessment of their raw material sourcing.”

Key findings of the audit include:
-The company is at low risk of sourcing from Ancient and Endangered Forests;
-The company has a limited fibre basket and uses a significant proportion of FSC-certified fibres in its viscose products; and
-The company has begun supporting forest conservation solutions in key areas of Ancient and Endangered Forests.

In the spirit of continuous improvement, Canopy recommends that the company increase the proportion of FSC-certified fibre, and make efforts to source 100% FSC, as well as continue to invest in research and development of low-impact alternative fibres, with the goal of launching a fibre line that contain these products.

This audit, which reflects a snapshot in time, is to be conducted annually to ensure that the company continues to meet the expectations of the CanopyStyle initiative. The audit findings contribute to Hot Button Issue Report.
(Kelheim Fibres GmbH)

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