ND Paper plans to make improvements to its mills in Maine and Wisconsin over the next year.
ND Paper, a subsidiary of the China-based Nine Dragons Paper, produces coated two-side, coated one-side, and uncoated printing papers, containerboard and market pulp.
“We have four mills, three of which were built more than 100 years ago,” says Ken Liu, group deputy chairman and chief executive officer of ND Paper. “By focusing on high-return strategic investments, we are building world class, first-quartile mills that deliver innovative, high-quality products for our customers.”
At the Rumford, Maine facility, the pulp dryer and all three paper machines will undergo significant upgrades.
R9, the pulp dryer at Rumford, will take downtime in the first quarter of 2020 for a rebuild to increase pulp production.
The R10 machine will pause operation in late March to install a new headbox and shoe press, as well to upgrade the forming section. Upon restart, the company says these improvements will enhance product quality for its printing and C1S paper customers, as well as increase capacity and productivity.
The R12 machine will convert out of printing and writing grades to focus on specialty packaging products.
The R15 machine will take an extended outage in the summer months for the installation of a new shoe press. This addition, combined with calender enhancements completed earlier in 2019, will transform the machine into a top quartile producer of C1S and printing grades.
The upgrades on R10 and R15 will increase production output to effectively absorb R12’s exit; Rumford’s printing and writing papers capacity will be the same post-conversion with two machines as it is today with three.
As previously announced in October 2018, ND Paper will complete the conversion of the B25 machine from lightweight coated mechanical papers to recycled linerboard and corrugating medium in the first quarter of 2020. This project will serve as ND Paper’s entry into new markets, as well as stabilize the Biron Division and solidify the job security of its employees.