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Successful startup of ANDRITZ alternative fibre processing tech at Essity

Austria-headed international technology group Andritz AG (ANDRITZ) has announced the successful startup of the main equipment forming part of an innovative mechanical pulping line supplied to hygiene and health company Essity in Mannheim, Germany. The new system features a capacity of 100 bdmt/d and processes 100 percent wheat straw to produce bleached straw pulp for the mill’s own tissue production.

Andritz AG supplied the main wheat straw cleaning, screening, dewatering, and bleach tower discharge to the refining line at Essity Mannheim tissue mill in Germany, a first-of-its-kind to produce tissue from wheat straw pulp (photo courtesy Essity/Geiger).

As recently announced, Sweden-headed global hygiene and health company Essity AB has begun tissue production based on pulp from wheat straw at its facility in Mannheim, one of four tissue mills it operates in Germany.

With an annual capacity of 283 000 tonnes produced on five paper machines and 23 converting lines, the Mannheim mill is Essity’s largest production facility in Europe.

As raw material for pulp production, the Mannheim mill mainly uses FSC and/or PEFC certified thinning and waste wood from the region. Essity has now also been using plant-based agricultural residue from local farms for the production of high-quality tissue since the new equipment was started up.

The innovative process uses less water and energy and can thus be considered a breakthrough in sustainable tissue manufacturing. The plant in Mannheim is the first of its kind in Europe and the first in the world to operate on a large scale.

This is a big step for Essity – and the paper industry as well. Essity is the first company in the tissue industry to process agricultural residue on an industrial scale. We have developed unique processing technology that does not exist anywhere else in the world. The design is purely based on a small pilot installation and, together with ANDRITZ, we have managed to implement the concept in a little over two years. That is really impressive, said Dr Martin Wiens, Mill Manager and Project Manager for the new installation.

ANDRITZ supplied most of the main equipment, from technology for cleaning, screening, dewatering, and bleach tower discharge to refining. Mechanical installation, commissioning and start-up supervision was also part of the scope of supply.

In the run-up to the project, several trials for dewatering, refining, bleaching, and the mixing behavior of wheat straw as well as extensive tissue production trials were conducted in ANDRITZ’s fiber preparation pilot plants and the PrimeLine TIAC – Tissue Innovation and Application Center.

I’m impressed by this future-oriented approach and regard Essity as a pioneer in the use of alternative fibers for tissue production. The new facility sets benchmarks for the industry, said Markus Pichler, VP for Mechanical Pulping Systems at the ANDRITZ Paper, Fiber and Recycling Division.

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