Stora Enso has completed the conversion of its Oulu paper mill for production of packaging board. The pulp mill has been in production since mid-January and the newly converted machine is in a start-up phase. The project began in May 2019 following a decision to invest EUR 350 million, and it was completed within the budget frame. The packaging machine will now be ramped up during the first quarter and is expected to reach its designed production capacity by the end of this year.
The new line producing kraftliner will serve global customers in demanding packaging end-uses that require strength, purity and strong visual appearance features. The product, AvantForteTM by Stora Enso, has three fiber layers, making it the strongest kraftliner in Stora Enso’s portfolio. Packaging applications include fresh, fatty or moist food, as well as high-end e-commerce packaging.
“Completing the Oulu Mill conversion is an important step in our transformation and responds to increasing global market demand for circular and eco-friendly packaging materials,” says President and CEO Annica Bresky.
“Oulu Mill will utilise state-of-the-art technology to produce a strong, material-efficient, high-quality kraftliner product. This allows us to tap into premium packaging segments with strong growth potential, such as food contact and e-commerce,” says Hannu Kasurinen, EVP, Packaging Materials division.
In the conversion project, one of the two former paper machines was converted for packaging board production. The pulp mill and drying machine were modified to produce unbleached brown pulp (530 000 tonnes annually), out of which about 150 000 tonnes are sold externally. The capacity of the new world-class kraftliner line is 450 000 tonnes per year. When fully ramped up within a year, Oulu Mill will generate a EUR 300 million annual sales increase for the Packaging Materials division.
The conversion of Oulu Mill also enables the strengthening of Packaging Materials division’s sheet service. Lumipaper sheeting plant in Antwerp, which is being converted from paper to primarily board sheeting, will utilise cutters from Oulu and provide a fast sheet service in Continental Europe.
After the ramp-up of the first converted production line, Oulu Mill will have an additional growth option in the possible future conversion of the second paper machine for packaging materials. This would further improve Oulu Mill’s competitiveness, with integrated pulp availability and additional fixed and variable cost savings, including higher utilisation of the in-house deep sea harbour.
Approximately 400 people are employed on the mill site, including facilities personnel and logistics staff. The mill’s wood consumption, mainly purchased from private forest owners in Northern Finland, will increase by 0.5 million m3 to 2.4 million m3 annually.