How should we measure leadership in the global packaging industry: Market share? Capital investment? Product innovations? Cutting-edge manufacturing? An emphasis on sustainability and safety?
For the record, BillerudKorsnäs has invested more than EUR537 million (more than US$590 million) to launch KM7 in Gruvön, Sweden, which hits all of the above. The company expects KM7 to produce 550,000 million metric tons of paperboard per year. The machine has a length of 350 meters and weighs 17,000 metric tons; it produces liquid packaging board, cartonboard, food service board, and liner. The board machine’s anticipated annual capacity—equal to about 100 million milk cartons per day—will make it one of the largest of its kind in the world.
With the advantages of huge scale and superior equipment, the company aims to be competitively priced for all grades. Its liquid packaging board, cartonboard, white top kraftliner, and cupstock will impact strategic segments, including premium foods and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceutical, and health care packaging. BillerudKorsnäs customers make milk cartons, fruit boxes, and premium boxes for electronics, perfume, chocolate, and whisky bottles.
BillerudKorsnäs was recently recognized as an industry leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index. The index lists the top 10 percent most sustainable companies in the world—taking into account climate and the environment, but also customer relations, the logistics chain, and the ability to attract and retain staff.
“BillerudKorsnäs is well-positioned to grow in the packaging market for sustainable solutions. We can do this even faster and more efficiently than before,” says Lennart Holm, BillerudKorsnäs CEO.
With sustainability built into every aspect of the company’s platform, its focus includes:
• Increased internal efficiency through stable and secure production,
• Profitable growth by creating added value for customers,
• Faster commercialization of innovations, and
• Expansion of the Solutions business as a result of the rapidly growing internet business.
Adds Holm, “When we meet brand owners’ growing demand for sustainable and effective packaging solutions and systems, we all win.”
To achieve these ambitious goals, Gruvön KM7 teams now have the benefits of even more advanced technologies, supported by strong R&D capabilities to innovate around customer needs. This includes lower grammages at equal or higher strength and novel ideas like smart devices implanted in the board.
SUSTAINABILITY’S NATURAL COMPANION: SAFETY
According to Maria Engnes, program director, NEXT Generation for BillerudKorsnäs, “Stable, consistent high performance only happens when worker safety is a pillar of success. We pride ourselves on comprehensive and creative safety practices, supporting individual and team accomplishments at the mill and beyond.
“Our success is really about empowering people on the factory floor and through the entire supply chain. An excellent safety record is a reflection of being very good at what we do, and being committed to small improvements every day.”
KM7’s initial ramp-up focuses on brown board, white top kraftliner, and cupstock. The machine is also starting qualifications for liquid packaging board.
“Cleanliness is paramount to consistent runnability and ease with grade changes,” says Johan Isaksson, superintendent with BillerudKorsnäs. “Our Swedish fiber is most valuable when it’s not encumbered by contaminants. One of our innovations for superior cleanliness is our new paper machine wet end and headbox screening (POM, manufactured by AFT). By eliminating air bubbles in a comprehensive way, we minimize stickies and other contaminants. In the papermaking processes that follows, every proven technology is in place, so that operators further optimize with greater flexibility.”
Gruvön uses the AFT POM System for all three layers and headbox screening. This includes POMix stock processors, POMp degassers, POMLock drop legs, MaxFlow Headbox screens, cascade cleaning system, process pumps and auxiliaries, plus associated basic engineering. According to Timo Koivisto, vice president, process and equipment solutions for AFT, “Compact and highly efficient, POM paper machine wet end and headbox screening delivers superior cleanliness in a compact package, even with constant grade changes. The simple POM system, with its small footprint, has become the de facto alternative to traditional complex approach flow, eliminating capital and high operating costs.”
Also, the new line’s Voith XcelLine paper machine fits company targets for fast and easy start-up, pioneering technologies, ease of use, and integrated solutions. With these innovations and more, Gruvön is likely to become one of the most efficient and sustainable production lines in the world.
Adds Magnus Haldor Johansson, project manager for KM7, “We are challenging ourselves to achieve a record level of runnability and quality output with pioneering and proven technologies. No one is going for status quo at Gruvön.”