ND Paper To ‘Transform’ ME Mill, Expand Packaging Grades Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois based ND Paper reported that it is implementing a series of transformations at its Rumford Division in Maine to further expand into packaging grades. In its current configuration, the fully integrated Rumford Division operates three paper production lines, kraft and mechanical pulping assets, and a pulp dryer; its product mix is heavily weighted toward bleached grades serving printing and writing (P&W) markets. With the COVID-19 pandemic battering economic activity across the world, demand for P&W papers has plummeted; coated wood- free and coated mechanical papers – primary Rumford grades – are expected to decline 23.5 percent and 30.3 percent year-over-year, respectively, equivalent to over 1.4 million tons of output. To ensure a viable, profitable future for the Rumford Di- vision, ND Paper will be transforming the mill to increase its product flexibility and shift further into packaging grades: • Commissioning of an unbleached recycled pulp line to provide fiber flexibility to the R12 and R15 paper ma- chines • Conversion of its R15 paper machine from P&W papers into lightweight, high strength kraft linerboard products • Expansion of R12 paper machine capability to include unbleached recycled bag and converting papers, in
addition to its current offering of bleached and un- bleached papers • Continued operation of the R9 pulp dryer, including expansion into unbleached softwood kraft market pulp • Permanent curtailment of mechanical pulping opera- tions and R15 coating and supercalender assets The newly rebuilt R10 paper machine will continue to deliver high-quality P&W and Specialty products for ND Paper’s base of existing customers. Oxford C1S, Orion, Vi- sion, Escanaba, and Dependoweb grades currently pro- duced on R15 will be transitioned to the R10 and Biron B26 assets, minimizing disruption to loyal customers. Addition- ally, the R12 machine, with both bleached and unbleached capability, will manufacture Rumford Offset, as well as re- cycled and kraft papers for multi-wall bags, retail bags, and converting applications. “The onset of this unprecedented demand decline happened much more quickly than could possibly be an- ticipated,” said Group Deputy Chairman & Chief Executive Officer Ken Liu. “However, while other mills have exited the market and closed their doors, ND Paper is repurpos- ing the Rumford Division for a competitive future. Moving our largest Rumford machine into packaging grades helps to balance the deteriorating P&W market in North America, while simultaneously positioning us into bigger and more stable packaging paper markets.” ND Paper expects the transformation to be completed by the end of 2020.
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