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VPK Group orders paper machine rebuild from Valmet

Finland-headed forest industry and energy technology provider Valmet Oyj has confirmed that it has been selected for the supply of a grade conversion rebuild to VPK Group’s Alizay paper mill in France. The rebuild will be realized in the second half of 2022 with a start-up planned at the end of the year. The machine will have a net production width of 8.8 m and an annual capacity of 450.000 tonnes of lightweight recycled containerboard.

Valmet Oyj has been selected for the supply of a grade conversion rebuild to VPK Group’s Alizay paper mill in France. The rebuild will be realized in the second half of 2022 with a start-up planned at the end of the year (photo courtesy VPK Group).

Belgium-headed VPK Group produces recycled paper, corrugated cardboard packaging, solid board packaging, and cores. In June 2021, VPK Group acquired Double A’s Alizay mill in Normandy, France – where the company already has a strong presence with three paper mills, nine corrugated box plants, and one core winding plant.

In October 2021, VPK Group decided to convert the DA Alizay industrial site, located in the Normandy region, into a hub for sustainable development in the circular economy and “has set clear plans” to convert the Alizay paper mill into a recycled paper-based production site with long-term sustainable development in the circular economy.

As the next step in this project, Valmet has confirmed that VPK Group has ordered the conversion of the existing paper machine, the value of which has not been disclosed.

We have excellent relations with VPK Group from earlier projects, for example, Blue Paper’s grade conversion rebuild in France. I felt we were able to adapt well to the customer’s needs in this project as well: as the machine in question is familiar to us, we were able to offer proven and reliable technical solutions that fulfilled the requirements cost-efficiently, said Markus Laitila, Director, Large Projects, Valmet.

Integrated model

The Alizay site will consume 650 000 tonnes of recovered paper and board, collected in France, for the production of containerboard at VPK and deinked pulp at IPP.

The rebuild will be realized in the second half of 2022 with a start-up planned at the end of the year. The machine will have a net production width of 8.8 m and an annual capacity of 450 000 tonnes of lightweight 70-135 g/m² recycled containerboard.

With 14 corrugators in France, Belgium, and the UK, VPK is a strategic and unique net buyer of recycled containerboard in markets around Normandy.

The conversion of the paper machine to produce containerboard fits perfectly within VPK’s internal integration model. It enables VPK to meet its needs internally, secure the output of Alizay paper production, and to further strengthen the group’s position.

The on-site corrugator will be dedicated to producing innovative and protective fit-to-size e-commerce packaging, specifically designed to meet the needs of the e-commerce fulfillment centres nearby.

Production will start in the third quarter of 2022, four months ahead of the paper machine.

Scope of supply

Valmet’s grade conversion delivery will include a new approach flow system, modifications to the headbox, a shoe and blade technology upgrade in the forming section, and a new OptiPress Center press section to improve drying and runnability. The drying section will be updated into OptiRun Hybrid.

The delivery will also include an extensive air systems upgrade. The delivery will be complemented with improvements in the automation system, including machine control systems, sectional drive control systems, quality management systems, process control systems, and a paper machine clothing package.

The machines and equipment included in Valmet’s delivery will be delivered installed.

Sustainable production process

The biomass combined heat and power (CHP) station on the Alizay site will supply decarbonated steam and electricity to the installation, resulting in low energy consumption and reducing the group’s carbon footprint.

The Alizay Sustainable Development Hub actively contributes to the environmental, economic, and industrial development of the Normandy region.

The revitalization of the historic industrial site ensures the stability and development of highly qualified jobs and creates added value from locally recovered secondary raw materials.

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