In September 2012, Norske Skog announced the conversion of one of the Boyer Mill’s two newsprint machines to the production of coated grades. The $85 million project was completed in April 2014 and is now in full scale production, producing Vantage and Vantage Super LWC.
The project generated significant interest and support as all coated paper used in Australia has been imported from overseas with the associated long lead times. Many local printers and their customers have therefore been keen to see the establishment of a secure local supply.
In simple terms the project involved adding coating and calendaring capacity onto the existing machine which is well set-up to produce the required base sheet, as well as extending the current building as necessary to house the new equipment. In reality however, the project involved a vast array of equipment upgrades and process changes to ensure the final product met the high quality specifications and printing performance demanded by the market.
The conversion project therefore has included a raft of demolition and civil works including large foundations to support the new equipment and installation of a new 50 tonne overhead crane. The recently rebuilt Thermo-Mechanical Pulping plant has also been upgraded with the installation of a high consistency bleach plant. Coating colour make-down equipment has been installed including a plant for the on-site production of the required ground calcium carbonate filler/coating materials. Into the newly extended machine room is the on-machine installation of state-of-the-art coating equipment, an infra-red impingement dryer, multi roll hot soft-nip calendar and new reel to the end of the paper machine as well as a new winder and roll handling equipment.
To complicate matters further, the preparatory work was undertaken while both paper machines at Boyer continued to produce newsprint, high whites and other paper grades. PM2 closed mid December to allow for the significant capital works to commence in order to get the calendar, coater, dryer and reel set up for commissioning mid-late March.