The expansion of the UPM Kymi pulp mill strengthens UPM’s position on the growing pulp market. The investments also improve the efficiency of the entire mill integrate: the pulp and paper businesses can independently optimise their production and simultaneously benefit from mutual synergies related to energy, logistics and environmental management.
The Kymi pulp mill produces bleached northern softwood and birch pulp. The paper mill produces coated and uncoated fine paper. The pulp mill produces renewable energy in the recovery boiler and provides fossil CO2-neutral biomass-based electricity. Also, crude tall oil and turpentine are recovered in the pulp production process and sold for further processing. UPM has invested around EUR 1 billion in developing the integrated mill site since the year 2000.
The largest investments at the pulp mill have been the new chemical recovery island introduced in 2008 and the EUR 160 million investment in a new pulp drying machine, debarking plant and the modernisation of the softwood fibre line, which was completed in the autumn of 2015. The investment increased the annual production capacity of the pulp mill by 170,000 tonnes to 760,000 tonnes.
In the summer of 2016, UPM decided to invest a further EUR 98 million in the UPM Kymi pulp mill to increase the annual production capacity to 870,000 tonnes by the end of 2017.
“The investment will improve the efficiency of production at different stages of the process. The main improvements concern the birch fibre line,” says Markku Laaksonen, General Manager of the pulp mill.
The investments in the UPM Kymi mill site provide the pulp and paper business with the opportunity to optimise and streamline production independently.
The new drying machine increases the pulp mill efficiency
Markku Laaksonen says that the new pulp drying machine will enable the mill to significantly increase its pulp production. A significant amount of the pulp produced at Kymi is already dried, baled and sold to the global market. However, the nearest customer is the paper mill next door, which receives its wet pulp through a pipe.
“Previously, we had to limit pulp production when the paper machine was not running because we didn’t have enough drying capacity to dry all the pulp before baling it for export. Now our pulp production is no longer dependent on whether the paper mill is running or not,” Markku Laaksonen explains.
He points out that the investments in the pulp mill will strengthen UPM’s position as a global supplier of pulp for growing consumer and industrial end-use applications. “The global demand for pulp is increasing, particularly because of the growing consumption of tissue and packaging paper.”
General Manager Matti Laaksonen from the UPM Kymi paper mill says operating on the same mill site means that the pulp and paper mill can efficiently make use of mutual synergies. “Pumping the wet pulp directly to the paper mill results in smaller drying and logistics costs,” Matti Laaksonen says.
The main synergy benefit comes from renewable energy production
“The pulp mill produces both heat and electricity as by-products, and the paper mill can utilise these commodities for running its paper machines and drying the paper it produces,” Matti Laaksonen explains.
The investments improve the energy efficiency of the integrated mill site. “Despite the major increase in the pulp mill’s production capacity, emissions into the air and water will remain at the same level as before,” Markku Laaksonen says.