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A glimpse of the future in China: two new APP mills.

The Chinese pulp and paper industry is moving from small to large in a big way. Companies in China are investing in new, globally competitive technologies while closing the smaller, more polluting mills that formed the basis of the paper industry well into the 1980s. Asian and European paper suppliers are participating in building a modern Chinese pulp and paper industry to serve a domestic market for paper that is expanding by 3 million metric tons/yr.

Asia Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd. (APP) has taken the two latest steps in China's journey to papermaking powerhouse. The Indonesia-based company recently built a new board machine at its Ningbo mill and the world's largest single fiberline in Hainan province.


The Chinese paper industry set a fast pace for capacity expansion, beginning in the early 1990s. In 1993, a private investor, Morning-side, decided to build a modern art paper line in Suzhou Industrial Park. That machine was 4.3/3.9 m wide, using the same technology as Enso's PM 6 in Oulu, Finland. For a short time after it started up in late 1996, the Suzhou machine was the largest in China, producing 110,000 metric tons/yr. The Suzhou single-machine mill is now owned by Stora Enso and today produces 160,000 metric tons/yr of coated art papers.

Later, several large containerboard machines were built in Guangdong by Nine Dragons and Lee & Man. Chenming invested at a mill in Shouguang, Shandong province by installing a 5.1 m wide fine paper machine in 1997. Two years later, Chenming built another, similar machine at the site. Each machine produces 180,000 metric tons/yr of fine paper. Guangzhou Paper bought an 8.3 m wide secondhand newsprint machine from Sweden around the same time.


Finally, in 1998, Asia Pulp & Paper (Sinar Mas, Indonesia) decided to build two 10.5 m wide fine paper machines (one with a coating unit) in Dagang, Jiangsu province. The machines started up the following year. One of the machines was equipped with an off-machine coater, and later the second machine was equipped with a similar finishing line. These machines are still the largest printing and writing paper machines in the world. In addition, APP will start up PM3 at the mill in spring 2005. This 10.7 m wide machine will produce 600,000 metric tons/yr of fine paper with on-machine coating.

Another major player, Asian-Pacific Resources (APRIL), ordered two 9.4 m wide fine paper machines in 1997 from Beloit for its Changshu mill, 100 kilometers from Dagang. Only one machine was installed and Metso Paper took over the project. Due to cash flow problems at APRIL caused in part by the Asian recession, the mill was then taken over by UPM after a short-lived joint venture. UPM Changshu, as it is called today, is now building a 450,000 metric tons/yr, 10.4 m wide, fine paper line, which will start up in late spring 2005.

At the beginning of this decade, several other Chinese companies installed world scale production equipment, including Huatai Paper (now collaborating with Stora Enso), Zhongshu Group (Shixian Bailu, Jilin), Black Dragon (Qiqihaer), Nanping Paper, Yueyang Paper, and Sun Paper, among others. Today, China is in a period of rapid development in papermaking technology.


One of the most recent large machine installations is at APP's Ningbo mill, where the company has installed the largest coated board line in the world (700,000 metric tons/yr). APP has also started up Jinhai Pulp on the island of Hainan, the largest single fiberline operation in the word, producing 1 million metric tons/yr of chemical pulp. This article profiles these two large investment projects.


Prior to the construction of Jinhai Pulp, the largest pulp mill was the recently constructed Rizhao Pulp Mill, which produces 180,000 metric tons/yr. China produced a total of 2.5 million metric tons of chemical wood pulp in 2004, while consumption was 9 million metric tons. A modern pulp mill producing 1 million metric tons/yr of eucalyptus and acacia pulp, such as Jinhai pulp, will change this equation dramatically. Built by the Sinar Mas Group-APP China, the Jinhai mill was completed less than two years after the financing decision. The first pulp was produced on November 25, 2004.

Jinhai Pulp Mill, or Hainan Gold Hai Pulp, is located on the coast of Hainan island, in the Yangpu Economic Development Zone (a total area of 30 square kilometers, established in September 1993). Hainan province is in southeast China, and is tropical in climate. In Chinese economic development zones, export oriented foreign high-tech companies enjoy special taxation treatment during their first years in business. Sinar Mas received approval from the Chinese government for the Jinhai pulp mill in 1997.

Wood for the mill is primarily Eucalyptus grandia and Acacia crassicarpa, which have rotations of 6-9 years. Sinar Mas has 160,000 hectares (ha) of plantations in Hainan, Guangdong, and Guangxi provinces. The company will plant an additional 80,000 ha of plantations in these three provinces by 2007, and it is preparing an additional 150,000 ha in Yunnan province, which are partly ready.

Liu Han Hung, chairman and president of Hainan Jinhai Pulp & Paper, Hainan Jinhua Forestry, and Hainan Fu Mei Forestry, said that the Jinhai Mill gets its domestic wood from Hainan, Guangdong, and Guangxi. The Yunnan wood is too far away, making it too expensive to transport to the Jinhai Mill. Available wood in Hainan, Guangdong, and Guangxi accounts for a majority of the mill's total consumption, 4 million cubic meters a year. The balance is imported from Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and Australia.

Jinhai Pulp ordered equipment for the mill from Kvaerner Pulping, part of the Aker Kvaerner Group, in December 2002. The order was formalized in March 2003 after financing was completed. In October 2003, construction began. Less than a year later, in September 2004, the start up process began. Initial pulp was produced in Hainan in November 2004, 18 months after the firm order was placed.



Elizabeth Andtbacka, project manager for Kvaerner Pulping, said that this was the fastest whole mill delivery ever made, and the fiberline is the largest in the world. The continuous digester is 72 m high and 12.5 m in diameter. Kvaerner Pulping has guaranteed 3210 metric tons/day from the digester, which currently makes 3000 metric tons/day of bleached pulp. Andtbacka estimates that peak production can be as high as 3500 mtpd, which Liu expects one day to be the mill's regular output.

Andritz supplied the mill's four-line wood and chip feeding system. This huge unit requires 12,000 cubic meters of debarked wood a day when running at full capacity. The wood comes as ready debarked logs or in form of chips from the forestry companies.

The continuous cooking plant is based on proven technology, although the massive scale is new. Operators will need to learn how to most efficiently run the large diameter digester, according to the mill. Washing and screening systems use the compact press technology, which is also proven. The ECF bleaching system works well and should not be a challenge to operate. At the end of December 2004, production was about 1500 metric tons/day, with the bottleneck being chemical preparation. By early February, production was up to 2000 metric tons/day.

Pulp is dried at an Andritz drying machine, which is 9.4 m wide and has a capacity of 250 mpm. The dryer includes a Flakt dryer section and Andritz cutter and baling stations.


The mill takes its fresh water from mountain streams, cleaning it with a micro-flotation system. The mill produces 70,000 [m.sup.3] of wastewater daily when the mill runs to capacity. The wastewater handling system includes a traditional cooling tower, followed by a pre-clarifier.


Ningbo Asia Pulp & Paper Mill is located in Ningbo City, Zhejiang province, approximately 250 km south from Shanghai by the costal road. Sinar Mas, Indonesia built the mill in 1992, when the first coated duplex board machine was installed. Today, the mill has 2100 employees, including 600 working in the new mill. Today, the mill produces a total of 1.2 million metric tons/yr of coated board.

Sinar Mas China invested US$ 650 million in the PM6 line at Ningbo. The company did its own mill engineering for both the Ningbo and Hainan projects in collaboration with equipment suppliers. The new PM 6 board machine started up in November 2004. Wire width is 8.85 m and web at the reel is 8.115 m wide. Mechanical design speed of the machine is 900 meters/min, and its drive system is designed for a maximum of 800 meters/min. The machine has 5-ply forming and five coating heads. It produces coated duplex board and white lined chipboard at basis weights ranging from 200 to 450 gsm, most commonly 200-350 gsm.


The furnish is mainly recycled fiber. The middle layer, or filler, is of mixed waste and old corrugated containers (OCC). Undertop and underback layers are of deinked pulp (DIP), processed by the mill itself. The top layer is of northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) mixed with bleached hardwood kraft pulp (BHKP) and/or office waste. The back layer is of BHKP mixed with office waste or office waste mixed with old newsprint (ONP) and DIP, or it is a mixture of mixed waste, ONP and DIP.

All 8 fiberlines (NBSK, two BHKP, office waste, DIP, ONP, OCC, mixed waste), including the DIP plants, the paper machine, automation, and the winder were delivered by Metso Paper. The machine is based on mini-fourdriniers and has five hydraulic headboxes. The machine uses a dilution control headbox in the middle ply, two tilted shoe presses and a smoothing press, a film press, a hard calender prior to five OptiJet coaters, a two-nip soft calender, and an OptiReel. The top side of the board is coated three times, and the back side twice. For winding, the mill purchased a Winbelt winder to ensure minimum variation in bulk and surface smoothness. For finishing, the mill has Saimatec wrapping units (20-30% of production), and 9 sheeters, each producing 150-200 metric tons/day (including 8 Maruishi sheeters).


Anil Kaul, senior director of operations for Ningbo Asia Pulp & Paper, said that PM6 is the largest of its kind in the world. It was running at 630 mpm at the end of December 2004. The product being produced at the time was a 250 gsm duplex board, with a 35 gsm top layer, 33 gsm undertop layer, 80 gsm filler layer, 27 gsm underback layer, and a 30 gsm back layer. Top layer brightness was about 78% and gloss 55%.

The machine ran at 2170 metric tons/day producing 350 gsm duplex board during the first week of January 2005. The mill is aiming for a speed of 700 meters/min, but to date bottlenecks have prevented the mill from reaching that goal. The mill's production target for the machine, 2350 metric tons/day, which will amount to 700,000 metric tons/yr, is expected to be realized in 2006 at the latest. The start up has been easy considering the complicated wet end system, although many start up problems have been solved and some are yet to be solved.

Kaul noted that the machine has high product quality and low production costs, due to a flexible furnish. The machine's large scale is very important. APP's motto is to produce high quality products at low costs, which will certainly be realized here; return-on-investment for the machine should be reached in only a few years. The mill's production is being sold on the Chinese market, where demand for coated paperboard is high.

The mill produces its own natrium carbonates, but purchases other pigment components. OCC, ONP and mixed waste come from abroad, mainly the United States. Eucalyptus pulp comes from Hainan Jinhai Pulp, while softwood kraft is purchased from abroad. PM 6 is dedicated to production of white lined chipboard and coated duplex board. Demand for these grades in China is growing, and additional production capacity is needed. The mill is already planning to install PM7, which will produce packaging materials on the same scale as PM6.


APP, the parent company of Sinar Mas, faced the full effect of the Asian crisis in 2001 due to the collapse of the Indonesian currency. The company says that its long-expected debt restructuring is almost complete, with more than 90% of the debtors agreeing to the prepared debt-repayment program. However, the process was still open at the writing of this article in the beginning of February. APP's debt problems halted the company's Indonesian investments, but its Chinese investments have continued. In 2004, Sinar Mas also completed several second-hand paper machinery installations, some in Indonesia and some in China. This growth is needed, according to Eero Palokangas, technology director for the APP Group, who adds that the company's paper and board production capacity will reach 10 million metric tons/yr by 2010. Most of the new capacity will be built in China, where the investment climate is favorable.

China needs to build new capacity to satisfy growing demand, and Sinar Mas has been an efficient builder of new mills. The next mill--a large-scale coated packaging material production line--will be located in Guangxi province, said Palokangas. Sinar Mas has a mill site ready in that area. According to Palokangas, Sinar Mas' primary investment criteria is good profitability, not market share.




According to Sinar Mas, the biggest obstacle to profitable investment in China today is the global currency system. The Euro is currently extraordinarily expensive, boosting investment costs by 30% over the past three years; and critical pulping and papermaking technology is available only from Europe. Sinar Mas must, according to Palokangas, consider all its means to reduce investment costs, including the possibility of building its own factory to manufacture "non-critical" parts of paper and board machines in China. Sinar Mas will consider this alternative if its suppliers are not able to arrange delivery systems with lower investment costs.
Company Location PM Start

Chenming Paper Shouguang, Sd 12 2005
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Dong Guang, Gd 8 2005
Dongying Huatai Paper Bing Zhou, Sd 11 2005
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) Dagang, Jg 3 2005
Hengan Holding Company Weifang, Sd 3 2005
Hengan Holding Company Anhaichen, Fujian 1 2005
Jian Hui Paper (Sun Paper) Dongguang, Gd 2 2005
Chenming Paper Nanchang, Jx 1 2005
Lee & Man Paper Hongmei Xian, Gd 7 2005
PanAsia Long-Teng Paper Hebei 1 2005
UPM Changshu, Jg 2005
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Taicang, Jg 5 2004
Jian Hui Paper Dongguang, Gd 1 2004
Lee & Man Paper Jiangsu 6 2004
Ningbo Asia Pulp & Paper Ningbo, Zh 3 2004
 (Sinar Mas)
Zhonglong Paper (Cheng Loong) Pudong, Shanghai 1 2004
Bohui Paper Zibo, Magiao, Sd 18 2003
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Dong Guang, Gd 4 2003
Dongying Huatai Paper Bing Zhou, Sd 10 2003
Lee & Man Paper Jiangsu 5 2003
Shandong Sun Paper Yan Zhou, Sd 18 2003
Yueyang Paper Hunan 8 2003
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Dong Guang, Gd 3 2002
Hengan Holding Company Changde, Hunan 2 2002
Lee & Man Paper Guangdong 4 2002
Shanying Paper Maanshan, Anhui 2002
Yanbian Shixian Bailu Paper Jilin 10 2002
Black Dragon Paper Qiqihaer, Hg 8 2001
Chenming Paper Shouguang, Sd 11 2001
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Dong Guang, Gd 2 2000
April, Changshu Fine Paper Changshu, Jg 1 1999
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) Dagang., Jg 2 1999
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) Dagang, Jg 1 1999
Gold Hongye (Sinar Mas) Suzhou, Jg 11 1999
Gold Hongye (Sinar Mas) Suzhou, Jg 12 1999
Gold Huasheng (Sinar Mas) Suzhou, Jg 1 1999
Nanping Paper Mill Fujian 5 1999
Vinda Paper Xinhui, Gd 3 1999
Hengan Holding Company Changde, Hu 1 1998

Company Supplier Wire/Reel Speed
 Width (mpm)

Chenming Paper Shanghai 6100, 5650 800
Dong Guang Nine Dragons MHI 7000, 6400 1100

Dongying Huatai Paper Voith 10200 2000
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) Voith 10600 1800
Hengan Holding Company Andritz 5550 2000
Hengan Holding Company Metso 5500 2000
Jian Hui Paper (Sun Paper) Metso 4950, 4500 600
Chenming Paper Metso 8600 2000
Lee & Man Paper MHI 7000, 6400 1100
PanAsia Long-Teng Paper Metso 8450 2000
UPM Metso 10400 2000
Dong Guang Nine Dragons MHI 7200 1000
Jian Hui Paper Metso 4950, 4500 700
Lee & Man Paper Voith 6000, 5400 1400
Ningbo Asia Pulp & Paper Metso 8850, 8115 800
 (Sinar Mas)
Zhonglong Paper (Cheng Loong) Voith 7000, 6300 1300
Bohui Paper Voith 6230 600
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Metso 5650 1100
Dongying Huatai Paper Voith 7100, 6600 1800
Lee & Man Paper Kobayashi, Liaoyang 4900, 4400 1400
Shandong Sun Paper Metso, Valmet-Xian 3700, 3300 700
Yueyang Paper Metso 6300 1500
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Metso 5950, 5430 1100
Hengan Holding Company Andritz 3650 1800
Lee & Man Paper Voith, Liaoyang 6000, 5500 1250
Shanying Paper Liaoyang 5300, 4800 700
Yanbian Shixian Bailu Paper Metso 6900, 6350 1600
Black Dragon Paper Metso 6150 1800
Chenming Paper Metso 5100, 4690 1300
Dong Guang Nine Dragons Metso 5950 1000
April, Changshu Fine Paper Metso 9350 1500
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) Voith 10500 1700
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) Voith 10500 1700
Gold Hongye (Sinar Mas) Andritz 5600 2000
Gold Hongye (Sinar Mas) Andritz 5600 2000
Gold Huasheng (Sinar Mas) MHI 8000, 7400 1700
Nanping Paper Mill Metso 6150 1800
Vinda Paper Beloit 3650 2200
Hengan Holding Company Andritz 3700 1600

Company Cap. Main Grade
 (000 mtpy)

Chenming Paper 300 Coated Board
Dong Guang Nine Dragons 400 Fluting
Dongying Huatai Paper 350 Newsprint
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) 600 Coated WF
Hengan Holding Company 64 Tissue
Hengan Holding Company 64 Tissue
Jian Hui Paper (Sun Paper) 300 Coated Board
Chenming Paper 320 LWC
Lee & Man Paper 400 Testliner, Fluting
PanAsia Long-Teng Paper 330 Newsprint
UPM 450 Coated WF
Dong Guang Nine Dragons 450 Testliner
Jian Hui Paper 300 Coated Board
Lee & Man Paper 350 Testliner, Fluting
Ningbo Asia Pulp & Paper 700 Cartonboard
 (Sinar Mas)
Zhonglong Paper (Cheng Loong) 360 Testliner, Fluting
Bohui Paper 300 Coated Board, WLC
Dong Guang Nine Dragons 400 Cartonboard
Dongying Huatai Paper 250 Newsprint
Lee & Man Paper 300 Testliner, Fluting
Shandong Sun Paper 200 Coated Board, LPB
Yueyang Paper 200 LWC
Dong Guang Nine Dragons 400 Testlinerboard
Hengan Holding Company 32 Tissue
Lee & Man Paper 330 Testliner, Fluting
Shanying Paper 180 Testlinerboard
Yanbian Shixian Bailu Paper 180 Newsprint, SC-B
Black Dragon Paper 180 Newsprint
Chenming Paper 200 Coated WF
Dong Guang Nine Dragons 400 Testlinerboard
April, Changshu Fine Paper 330 Uncoated WF
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) 450 Coated WF
Gold East Paper (Sinar Mas) 400 Uncoated WF
Gold Hongye (Sinar Mas) 60 Tissue
Gold Hongye (Sinar Mas) 60 Tissue
Gold Huasheng (Sinar Mas) 250 NCR-Papers
Nanping Paper Mill 200 Newsprint
Vinda Paper 27 Tissue
Hengan Holding Company 35 Tissue

Source: Business Cycle Report

Table 1: High-technology papermaking lines in China in the beginning of
2005, and start up plans


* Startup and production information for China's most important new projects.

* Details of APP's two newest investment projects.

* Future plans for new capacity in China.


* "China on a hot streak with larger scale, new mills," by H. Oinonen and N. Xiaorong, Solutions!, March 2004. To access this article, type the following Product Code in the search field on 04MARSO24.

* "Chinese government funding massive forest products industry expansion," by W. H. Moore, Solutions! Magazine, October 2004, Product Code 04OCTSO08.

* "Looking east," by Alan Rooks, Solutions!, Part 1, October, 2004, Product Code 04OCTSO06; and Part 2, November, 2004, Product Code 04NOVSO04.

* Home page for Asia Pulp and Paper Co., Ltd. (APP):


Nie Xiaorong, Ph.D, is a professor at Nan Chang Science and Technology University in Jiangxi province. She completed her post-graduate degree at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Contact her by email at

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Author:Xiaorong, Nie
Publication:Solutions - for People, Processes and Paper
Geographic Code:9SING
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Previous Article:Pulp and Paper Research Institute of Canada (Paprican).
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