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UPM Changshu: Finland on the Yangtze.

UPM's Changshu mill seems like a typical Finnish mill. From the Nordic design of the headquarters building and furnishings, to the brand new Metso paper machine in a squeaky clean machine hall, to the bicycle racks by the front gate, you can imagine yourself in Tampere, Kuusankoski or any other Finnish papermaking town. Then, when you see the mighty Yangtze River flowing by, the sweat pouring off you from the nearly 100 degree F heat and 95% humidity in mid-August, and the barrier just outside the mill that was built to ward off "evil spirits" from the river, you know you're not in Finland anymore.

The UPM Changshu mill--located in an industrial park on the Yangtze in Jiangsu Province, China--produces 800,000 metric tons/yr of coated and uncoated graphic paper for domestic consumption and export. The mill makes UPM the largest producer of uncoated fine paper in China. Clearly, UPM has imported the approach it uses in its European mills--use the latest equipment, best practices, and continuous training for mill employees.

The mill has a total capitalization of just over EUR 1 billion. The 185-hectare mill site includes ample room for expansion, and is strategically located near Shanghai--with major road and water transportation routes readily available. The mill is self sufficient in power, has its own harbor, and draws its process and cooling water directly from the Yangtze. The mill uses a mixture of hardwood and softwood pulp in its furnish, all of it imported.

The mill operates two large Metso paper machines. Though it started up first, the smaller machine is named PM2 and produces 350,000 metric tons/yr. PM 1, which started up last year, produces 450,000 metric tons/yr. The mill also has a large converting plant producing and packaging folio sheets and cut size paper. Cut size sheeting amounts to 320,000 metric tons/yr while folio production is also 320,000 metric tons/yr. About 66% of UPM Changshu's production is consumed domestically, and 34% is exported to Asian markets, including Korea, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Australia. The domestic market is growing sharply.


The mill has a staff of 830 people with an average age of just 29. Most of the workers are local people, and most are university and college graduates. Staffers receive intensive on the job training and key people are sent to mills in Europe for additional training. The mill focuses intently on safety and received its initial audit for OSHAS 18001 from accrediting firm DNV in April 2005.

The mill site also houses or will house production facilities for two UPM subsidiaries. Walki Wisa (which produces ream wrapping and other wrapping materials) is already onsite, and Raflatac will build a new production facility for pressure sensitive label stock adjacent to the mill.


The UPM Changshu mill began as a joint venture between UPM and April, but UPM, based in Helsinki, Finland, is the sole owner today. Key dates in mill history are as follows:


* December 1995: Changshu mill established

* March 1999: PM2 startup

* September 2000: Mill becomes 100% owned by UPM

* December 2002: PM 1 project approved by the UPM board

* September 2003: PM1 construction work started

* January 2005: Walki Wisa converting plant construction started

* May 2005: PM 1 startup.

UPM installed PM1 to meet burgeoning demand for fine papers in the Chinese market, and to tap into growing export markets throughout Asia. PM1 takes advantage of the mill's low fixed costs, established sales network and customer base, low operations risks, a trained workforce, and synergies with the existing paper machine.


PM 1 started up on May 24, 2005, four weeks ahead of schedule. During the first three months of production, the machine made 80,000 metric tons of A grade quality paper. The new OptiConcept paper machine is the world's largest and fastest unit for uncoated fine paper. It has a wire width of 10.4 meters and a design speed of 2000 m/min. Average speed has improved since startup, though its remains below target due to two defects in the first press nip. Machine development plans are in place to improve machine speed.

PM 1 includes an OptiFlo headbox and an OptiFormer with loadable blade. The OptiPress section includes two inclined shoe presses. The machine produces sheets with 22% dryness after the former, and 50-52% dryness after the press section. PM1 includes a metered size press, OptiSoft Slim Line soft calender section, and an OptiReel Plus. The machine also includes two WinDrum winders. The machine's DCS was supplied by ABB, while the quality control and machine control systems was supplied by Metso Automation.

"Commissioning of PM1 went very well," said Stephen Masterson, office paper production unit director for UPM-Kymmene (Changshu) Paper Industry Co. Ltd. "We were ready with water lines, repulping, and refining weeks before startup. We brought some workers from PM2 to PM 1, and trained all new workers on PM 2 before starting up PM1. The whole process worked very well."


At the same time as it was installing PM1, UPM rebuilt its PM 2 and the converting operations that now serve both machines. The mill added a new OptiLoad supercalender and an extended coating kitchen to PM2. The mill relocated its converting machinery, adding one new machine and a wrapping line. With all the new equipment in place, PM1 is now focused on producing copy paper, while PM2 is focused on uncoated and coated graphic papers.


Changshu's pulp supply is imported mostly from Europe, Canada, and South America. Northern bleached softwood kraft (NBSK) comes from Scandinavia and Canada, while bleached hardwood kraft pulp (BHKP) comes from South America--mainly acacia and eucalyptus from plantations. The mill has a pulp supply agreement with April that expires in 2006. Botnia's pulp mill in Uruguay, which is expected to start up in the third quarter of 2007, will be the main source of short fiber pulp in the future. The mill also uses ground calcium carbonate (GCC) in the sheet in a range of 22% to 27% by weight.



Like other UPM mills, Changshu employs state of the art environmental protection equipment, and water and power consumption per ton of paper are at the same level as the best European mills, according to Masterson. Effluent and air emissions exceed Chinese national standards. The mill regularly wins environmental awards, such as the Top 100 Environmentally Friendly Enterprises of China in 2003 and the Environmental Enterprise of Jiangsu Province in 1999. In March 2003, the mill qualified for the ISO 14001 environmental standard.



The UPM Changshu mill uses about 40,000 cubic meters of water today, and treats 26,000 cubic meters of effluent per day. Due to tidal patterns, salt water moves up the river about one month in the spring, so the mill has created large water lagoons to store non-salt water that can be used during this period. The mill is also investing in a weir system to settle water from the river prior to treatment. The US$ 40 million system will start up beginning in 2007.


UPM is completely self sufficient in power production, producing 100 MW of power in two boilers and two turbines. The mill uses natural gas and coal for fuel, with coal offloaded at the mill's harbor and sent to the mill over a half mile long conveyor. The mill is connected to the national power grid in case of emergencies, though purchased power is much more expensive than self-generated power.



While the UPM Changshu mill has already accomplished a great deal, the mill has several ambitious goals, said Masterson. "Our target is for PM1 to the world leader in production efficiency for woodfree uncoated," he said." We also want to produce a new generation of LWC woodfree papers in Asia on PM2. We intend to keep our leading position in environmental performance, and we are working toward maintaining strict chain of custody for our raw materials, which is in place in all other UPM mills."


Alan Rooks is editorial director of Solutions! magazine, the official publication of TAPPI and PIMA. Prior to joining Solutions!, Rooks was the editorial director of PIMA's Papermaker. Contact him by phone at +1 847 998-8093, or by email at




* How UPM Changshu has imported Finnish papermaking practices.

* The development of the mill's new PM1.

* The mill's future goals.


* See related article on Printing Papers in Asia in this issue.

* "Jiangxi Chenming drives Chinese LWC market," by Alan Rooks, Solutions!, December 2005.
COPYRIGHT 2006 Paper Industry Management Association
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:MILL PROFILE
Author:Rooks, Alan
Publication:Solutions - for People, Processes and Paper
Date:Jan 1, 2006
Previous Article:China charges ahead in printing and writing papers.
Next Article:Are you in the MRO parts business or pulp and paper?

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