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Pratt Industries selects Valmet OptiConcept M line for Henderson mill

Finland-headed energy and forest technology major Valmet Oyj has announced that it will supply a repeat order of an OptiConcept M board production line to US recycled paper and packaging company Pratt Paper LLC, a subsidiary of Pratt Industries Inc, that is investing US$400 million in a new corrugated box recycling and paper mill complex in Henderson, Kentucky (KY).

Valmet Oyj will supply a repeat order of an OptiConcept M board production line to US recycled paper and packaging company Pratt Paper LLC, a subsidiary of Pratt Industries Inc, that is investing US$400 million in a new corrugated box recycling and paper mill complex in Henderson, Kentucky (image courtesy Valmet).

A sister company to Australia-headed Visy Pulp & Paper Pty Ltd, Pratt Industries is described as “America’s fifth-largest packaging company and the world’s largest, privately-held 100 percent recycled paper and packaging company.” The company currently operates five recycled paper mills in Conyers, Georgia (GA); New York City (NYC); Shreveport, Louisiana (LA); Valparaiso, Indiana (IN); and Wapakoneta, Ohio (OH).

At the end of July 2021, Pratt Industries announced that it is investing US$400 million in a new 100 percent recycled paper mill in Henderson, Kentucky (KY), representing the largest single investment by the company in its 30-year history.

It will be the world’s most advanced, environmentally-friendly 100 percent recycled paper mill. And it means Pratt Industries will have built 6 of the last 8 paper mills in the United States, said Anthony Pratt, Executive Chairman of Pratt Industries.

The new Henderson mill will use 100 percent recycled paper products to produce lightweight, high-strength containerboard and corrugated board grades. Construction on the 42 000 m2 mill is expected to begin in March 2022, with start-up scheduled for Q3/2023.

Our paper mills are 100 percent recycled, which is important since recycling is an important tool against climate change. The Henderson mill, which will be one of the most technologically advanced in the world, will produce more than 1 500 (short) tons, about 1 360 metric tonnes, of recycled paper every day, Anthony Pratt said.

In a separate project, the company also announced it would build a 65 000 m2 cardboard box factory adjacent to the mill. Construction on that phase is slated to begin no later than 18 months after the mill is completed, and become operational in 2026.

Repeat order for Valmet to Pratt Industries

For Valmet, this will be the third order in a row of the OptiConcept M board production line to Pratt. Previously, Valmet supplied the orders of PM 16 and PM 17, which were successfully started up in 2015 and 2019 respectively.

According to Valmet, its OptiConcept M board-making lines are designed for more sustainable paper and board making; they use less water, electricity, and raw materials.

The value of the order has not been disclosed though Valmet says that an order of this type is typically around EUR 80-90 million.

We have an excellent relationship with Valmet: these types of projects are based on trust and partnership. The start-ups of the previous Valmet-supplied OptiConcept M machines, PM 16 in Valparaiso, Indiana, and PM 17 in Wapakoneta, Ohio, were exceptional. All three board machines showcase the latest technology in 21st-century paper-making and they nicely support the sustainability aspects of Pratt Industries, said Ed Kersey, General Manager, Pratt Paper Ohio at Pratt Industries.

Valmet’s scope of delivery will be similar to the Pratt PM 16 and PM 17 with a complete OptiConcept M board production line from an approach flow system and a headbox to a winder, with a wide scope of Valmet Industrial Internet solutions (IIoT), automation and services.

The new PM 18 will be larger than PM 16 and PM 17 with a wire width of 8.3 meters (~325 inches) and a design speed of 1 100 m/min (~3 600 ft/min). It will produce corrugating medium and linerboard grades with a basis weight range of ~112-170 g/m2 (23-35 lbs/1 000 ft2).

OptiConcept M has proven to be a success story: the modular way of designing, building, and operating paper machines enables short delivery times, quick start-ups and low project costs. PM 18 will be Valmet’s fourth OptiConcept M installation in North America, and there are already close to 40 OptiConcept M references globally. We are all proud to continue the work and cooperation with Pratt on this project, said Michael Gray, VP, Capital Business, North America, Valmet.

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