Pulp-Paperworld.com / European News
Thursday, 11 April 2019 23:00

North West Manufacturing Under Threat Again

The North West of England has long been the lifeblood of the UK’s heavy industries and its manufacturing sector. Despite its recent resurgence, with 15,000 manufacturing jobs created since 2010, the region now faces a new potential blow from the energy regulator, Ofgem.

Ulf Lofgren, director of a Mill in Cumbria, has been one of the leading opponents, arguing that “the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in the North West is being undermined by a state agency that hasn’t considered the impact it is having on communities”.

Ofgem, the UK’s electricity and gas regulator, is concerned that with increasing numbers of both domestic and industrial users at least partly-off grid, there is a looming shortfall in the costs for running the network.

It is seeking to address this through its Targeted Charging Review, which recently closed the consultation period with industry.

“The competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in the North West of England is being undermined by a state agency that hasn’t considered the impact it is having on communities”, says Ulf Lofgren, Managing Director of Iggesund Paperboard’s paperboard mill in Workington, Cumbria. “The competitiveness of the manufacturing industry in the North West of England is being undermined by a state agency that hasn’t considered the impact it is having on communities”, says Ulf Lofgren, Managing Director of Iggesund Paperboard’s paperboard mill in Workington, Cumbria.

Most users have responded positively to this principle, recognising that everyone should pay something towards the network’s fixed costs. But they’ve been keen to ensure that this does not discourage investment and costs are proportionate to use.

Ofgem are proposing a new fixed charge by user category (i.e. domestic, retail/ light industry, large users). On current information, this model will increase price differences by region meaning the North West’s charges are 26 times that of the lowest charged regions. These regional disparities would increase by a further ten-fold for Iggesund Paperboard under the other charging model Ofgem are still considering.

This would mean several millions of pounds in extra fees for manufacturers across the North West and would be a significant blow for the region, where manufacturing industry employs over 340,000 people and contributes £26bn to the UK economy.

At a time of increased economic uncertainty, energy intensive industries in the UK already face high costs versus other EU competitors. Now, industries based in the North West will be hit with a double-disadvantage with increased costs.

Ironically, this moves against the Government’s own intentions. Investment in combined heat and power plants (CHPs) has been strongly supported by the Government is remains vitally important to the UK. Some 80% of the paper manufactured in the UK is made at the 15 paper mills with a CHP generator.

Financial incentives for constructing and operating CHP have been reduced and removed over the past few years which seem to be self-defeating policy changes which are in direct contradiction of Government’s stated policy of support for high efficiency co-generation. 

Iggesund is a leading manufacturer of paperboard and their products are used in major brands in pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and food and drinks. They are a significant employer in Workington, employing 400 people directly and supporting a further 1200 in the supply chain. In 2013, following Government incentives, Iggesund invested over £100 million in a biomass CHP plant at its Workington Mill.

“This is truly outrageous”, says Mill Director Ulf Lofgren. “We need stable and predictable conditions, and when Ofgem suggests a charging model which includes geographical discrimination within the UK, we are baffled”.

“What has the North-West of England done wrong to deserve this”, he adds and points out some of the regional differences that are the consequence of Ofgem’s Targeted Charging Review.

Any significant further increase in costs as a result of Ofgem’s proposals would harm the competitiveness of firms in the North West in particular; and would at the very least, force Iggesund’s Swedish parent company to reconsider any future investment in the UK.

Iggesund believe that a ‘regional equalisation mechanism’ would be preferential so that manufacturing companies in the North West are not unfairly disadvantaged. The Government has been very keen to encourage a Northern Powerhouse and to keep UK manufacturing alive, but these proposals from Ofgem will dent the long-term survival of the ‘Made in Britain’ brand, especially in the North West.

Iggesund

Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.

Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people.

Published in European News
Tuesday, 05 March 2019 08:58

A new cash flow to local farmers

Local farmers’ ability to sell biomass to Iggesund Paperboard’s paperboard mill at Workington will return over 1.5 million pounds annually to the local agricultural industry. The initiative has created a totally new source of income for close to 200 farms in Cumbria and Scotland. It was recently given Rushlight Bioenergy Award. The Rushlight Awards is a set of awards designed specifically to support and promote all the latest clean technologies, innovations, initiatives and deployment projects for businesses and other organisations throughout UK, Ireland and internationally.

In 2013 Iggesund invested in a biomass-fired combined heat and power plant for the primary purpose of being able to run its paperboard mill on renewable energy. Overnight the mill switched its energy supply from fossil natural gas to biomass, and thereby reduced its fossil carbon dioxide emissions by 190,000 tonnes a year, the equivalent to the annual emissions of about 65,000 cars. In conjunction with this move, the idea was born to offer local farmers the opportunity to grow and sell energy crops to Iggesund.

2019 03 05 085300“Nearly 1.6 million pounds flows annually from our paperboard mill at Workington to the local farming community”, says Ulf Löfgren, Managing Director for the mill. In January 2019 the project was given the Rushlight Bioenergy Award.

“It’s been an exciting journey. We began in a situation where many farmers were sceptical, as farmers often are. But gradually, as they saw our commitment and our calculations for how they could earn more from their less-fertile land, more and more of them have joined our project, which we call Grow Your Income,” explains Neil Watkins, Alternative Fuels Manager at Iggesund in Workington.

The goal was to bring in 25,000 tonnes of biomass from the farming industry. After five years, it is clear that this goal will be exceeded when all the contracted crops are ready to harvest.

Like so many other countries, the UK has an ageing rural population. Most farmers’ sons and daughters want to move to the big cities to become rock stars, computer geniuses or TV personalities. The older generation that remains must find less work-intensive crops which bring in a reliable income. Iggesund’s offer to the farming community involved helping with planting and also handling the harvest and transport to the mill. All these steps help to reduce the workload on the individual farms. Iggesund has also signed long index-linked contracts, which have helped to make the future income predictable.

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When the project began, DEFRA, the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, had made recommendations that parts of Cumbria have land highly suitable for energy crops. As the project developed, it became evident that the crops also help to counteract the effects of flooding and lead to greater biodiversity.

“Yet another advantage of energy crops – in our case Short Rotation Coppice willow – is that they give a good yield on less fertile land and do not lay claim to land that is better suited to food production,” Neil Watkins underlines.

Ulf Löfgren, Mill Director, who was involved in creating Grow Your Income, points out additional effects than just having ensured a supply of the fuel needed to run the mill.

“Cumbria and the parts of Scotland where we are active are dominated by agriculture,” he says. “Our interaction with farmers in working alongside them to grow energy crops, plus the fact that we meet with them at agricultural fairs and they come to us on study visits, has meant that we now have a far better-defined identity in the region.

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“In addition, we can also give ourselves a joint pat on the back for being a good example of the UN’s sustainable development goal 17, a partnership for achieving one of the other sustainable development goals. In this case, we have a collaboration between a large process industry and over 100 farmers to jointly reduce fossil emissions.”

Iggesund Paperboard is growing its own eight-hectare energy crop on the land surrounding the mill.

Iggesund

Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.

Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people. www.iggesund.com

Published in European News

After the Brexit referendum, Windles, one of the UK’s leading printers specialising in greeting cards and high end packaging, had cause to review its supply of paper and paperboard. After careful consideration, the company decided on the domestically produced paperboard Incada from Iggesund Paperboard, who have driven a powerful marketing campaign to create awareness of the product.

“But the choice was not only nationalistic. We tried to look at all aspects – price neutrality, availability, quality and everything that is included in the concept of total cost of ownership,” explains Windles’ Managing Director Bruce Podmore.

Windles, one of the UK’s leading printers specialising in greeting cards and high end packaging, chose Incada for both availability and excellent print result.Windles, one of the UK’s leading printers specialising in greeting cards and high end packaging, chose Incada for both availability and excellent print result.

Windles moved into new premises in Thame, Oxfordshire, a couple of years ago. The factory was designed with long-term sustainability in mind. It is heated 80% with biomass, as the company extracts all the required energy from all the pallet wood it previously had to pay to get rid of. Nearby is another building designed to help the local bat population reproduce, a facility which Bruce Podmore calls “the bat cave”. Also on site is “the badger hotel”, a badger sett that was purpose built to house the local badgers.

“The most important aspects of our decision to choose Incada as our house paperboard were our desire to reduce our carbon footprint, plus Incada’s availability. With alternative manufacturers offering lead times of about 15 weeks, we would have needed a buffer of stocks to compensate for disruptions in the supply chains. That costs money, and more than we had expected,” Podmore continues.

“The lead times we can get for Incada with its production facility in Cumbria are significantly shorter than many of our previous supply arrangements,” he adds. “It’s also important not to underestimate the value of learning complete mastery of a material if it’s something you use often.”

Windles buys its paperboard via the merchant Antalis, and the collaboration with Iggesund was cemented when the two companies jointly visited the mill at Workington for a review of Incada’s performance and environmental properties.

Bruce Podmore at “the bat cave”, a building designed to help the local bat population reproduce, a requirement for Windles present location.Bruce Podmore at “the bat cave”, a building designed to help the local bat population reproduce, a requirement for Windles present location.

“For us it’s ideal to have a high-quality paperboard that is made nearby,” Podmore says. “Minimal shipments, short lead times and very good print results are quite simply a winning combination. And from a British perspective it’s also positive that we are buying input goods whose manufacture creates jobs in the UK.”

With regard to print properties, he says that Incada is one of the whitest paperboards on the market with an impressive surface smoothness, which also provides stability for creative cold foil, the process Windles is renowned for.

“Printing will be a dream where you don’t have to think about the yellowness of a board when designing. Glossy and matt finishes, and true baby blues and pinks are achievable without compensation – and there’s a huge improvement in lead times and fantastic service from the mill, plus we can guarantee the quality,” he says. “In addition, at Windles we are always striving to act in the most environmentally responsible way we can, which is why the fit of Incada being produced in the UK and at a mill using biomass for its energy is so important to us. Quite simply, we believe it is the right thing to do.”

Iggesund

Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.

Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people.

Published in European News

The two KB2300 board sheeters will contribute to the British plant to continue offering a high-quality product alongside impeccable service.  

Iggesund, an important Swedish group and a benchmark in the board mills on a global scale, produces two of the highest quality paperboard products in the market. In their Workington (UK) plant they make “Incada” folding box board. The brand is used for packaging in sectors with high quality requirements, such as the food, cosmetics, electronics and the pharmaceutical.

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The factory’s finishing area is one of the fundamental areas of its production process. For 20 years, they have entrusted Pasaban with the supply and service of some of their paperboard cutting machines, this way offering them a total solution.  

In the Workington Mill, Iggesund already has a KDD-2600 board sheeter which, together with an old Jagenberg and a Pasaban  board winder, they have been some of the key machines in the paperboard finishing area. However, they are currently immersed in a machinery renewal process for which they have once again trusted in Pasaban. We will substitute the old equipment for two KB-2300 sheeters with highly automated rotary unwind stands able to process 170 to 400 gsm folding box board (FBB).  

We are proud to be able to continue to satisfy our customer needs and to continue being a benchmark in the market. In this case being a part of the manufacturing process of 'Incada' and 'Ivercote' FBB.

VIDEO: The Making of Incada here 

Once again, the quality of Pasaban machines, services and customised solutions make it a reliable brand for the world's leading paper and board manufacturers.

Published in European News
Friday, 20 January 2017 07:07

One of the world’s sustainability leaders

Iggesund Paperboard’s parent company, the Holmen Group, has gained a place on the Global 100, an index of the hundred most sustainable corporations in the world. Holmen ranks 21 and is the only company from the forest industry on the prestigious list.

The Global 100 list of the world's most sustainable corporations is announced each year at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. The index has been published by the Canadian analysis firm Corporate Knights since 2005 and is based on an overall assessment of how a company handles issues concerning resource management, employees and financial management. Almost 5 000 companies have taken part in the assessment, with the hundred best featuring on the Global 100 index.

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Iggesund Paperboard’s parent company, the Holmen Group is listed as number 21 on Global 100, a list of the world’s most sustainable companies.© Iggesund

"We are both proud and pleased to be on the Global 100 list as one of the most sustainable companies in the world. Holmen has taken a focused approach to sustainability issues for many years now. Being recognised and ranked highly by leading analysts is an acknowledgement of this work," says Lars Strömberg, Director of Sustainable and Environmental Affairs at Holmen.  

"This ranking is the result of dedicated work and the strategic choices and investments we've made for the future, which have reinforced our sustainability profile. There is no doubt that the forest has good prospects as a raw material, especially amid a transition to a bio-economy in which products made from fossil raw materials are being replaced with renewable alternatives," comments Henrik Sjölund, President and CEO of both Holmen and Iggesund Paperboard.

Reaching the position on Global 100 is especially important for Iggesund Paperboard. The company’s products, Invercote and Incada, are targeting the high end packaging segment where a good track record in sustainability is a valuable asset.

“We have been ranked high on indices like the UN Global Compact Index, Carbon Disclosure Project, and now the Global 100. To repeatedly be acknowledged by these well renowned indices  clearly shows that we are among the most sustainable companies in the world and is a recognition of the holistic and long term approach that characterizes our sustainability work”, says Johan Granås, Sustainability Communications Manager at Iggesund Paperboard.

Iggesund
Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.

Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people.

Published in European News
Monday, 26 September 2016 17:49

A hundred-year perspective on sustainability

The brownish water and dead seabeds are gone. This year Iggesund Paperboard, manufacturer of the paperboards Invercote and Incada, can look back on a century’s unique performance record on sustainability. Iggesund Mill opened its first pulp mill in 1916, which was expanded to become an integrated pulp and paperboard mill in 1963.

“I’m proud to have the privilege of working for a company whose environmental efforts are characterised by both a long-term approach and a sense of responsibility,” comments Anna Mårtensson, Environmental Manager at Iggesund Paperboard’s Swedish production facility, Iggesund Mill. “Today our environmental impact is almost non-existent compared with the situation just over 50 years ago.”

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“From the 1960s and onwards we have steadily reduced our local environmental impact even though our production has increased,” comments Anna Mårtensson, Environmental Manager at Iggesund Paperboard’s Swedish production facility, Iggesund Mill. “Iggesund has every reason to be proud of this development as well as the fact that the mill now runs almost exclusively on fossil-free energy.” © Iggesund

When Iggesund built its first pulp mill in 1916, environmental legislation did not exist and companies were basically free to release fibre waste and chemicals into the air and water. During the mill’s first 50 years this caused a significant negative effect on the local environment. The first emissions limits were set in 1963, symbolically the same year that biologist Rachel Carson’s famous book about the influence of pesticides on nature, Silent Spring, was published and became the alarm clock that laid the foundation of today’s environmental movement. 

“By the mid-1960s the combined emissions of process chemicals and cellulose fibres had turned the seabed around the mill into a desert,” Mårtensson continues. “The water smelled bad and was a brownish colour. Sensitive species at the top of the marine ecosystem’s nutrient chains had disappeared from the mill’s vicinity.”

Since the 1960s the mill’s effect on the local environment has continually been improved, driven by both economic and environmental demands. Today’s processes make more efficient use of the timber raw material, leading to a better use of resources and less release of organic material. Today having chemical emissions at the levels of the 1950s would be inconceivable; instead, more than 99 per cent of the process chemicals are recycled. Since the 1970s, Iggesund’s water purification measures have been built up into a three-stage process: mechanical, biological and finally chemical purification almost identical to that used to produce drinking water. 

“Experts say the solution we have at Iggesund Mill is the best available technology,” Mårtensson adds. “Above all, it has radically reduced our emissions of sulphur and phosphorus, which are particularly important since our water goes out into the Baltic Sea, which is threatened by eutrophication.” 

The mill’s airborne emissions have developed in the same direction – the levels of acidifying sulphur or eutrophying nitrogen are down to levels where their local environmental impact is hard to document. 

“People can catch edible food fish in the water surrounding the mill,” Mårtensson says. “Using chemical analysis it is impossible to distinguish those fish from fish caught in reference areas far from industrial sites. We are very pleased to see how species like sea eagles and seals, which had disappeared from near the mill, have now returned.”

Sulphur emissions are one example of how the systematic environmental work has developed over time. In 1988 Iggesund Mill emitted 1.98 kilos of sulphur per tonne of pulp produced. Today’s emissions are just over six per cent of that, at 0.13 kilos per tonne. The corresponding value for the total amount of sulphur emitted per year has gone down from 540 annual tonnes to about 44 annual tonnes. This means that total sulphur emissions have fallen by 92 per cent despite a 25 per cent production increase over the same period.

In the past five years Iggesund Paperboard has also invested SEK 3.4 billion (EUR 360 million, GBP 225 million) to make its facilities in Sweden and the UK almost entirely fossil free by switching the energy source at the mills in Iggesund and Workington to bioenergy.

In the summer of 2016 Iggesund applied for a new permit for its operations. As a first step the company wants to increase its pulp production by 40,000 annual tonnes. In a later step, Iggesund Mill wants to increase its pulp production by another 40,000 tonnes and its paperboard production from today’s 400,000 tonnes to 450,000 tonnes per year.

“We’re now starting discussions with the authorities and I believe we have a number of good arguments going into the negotiations,” Mårtensson concludes. “Not least because we can point to half a century of continual improvements.”

2016 09 26 175035

Published in European News
Friday, 29 July 2016 08:30

Iggesund focuses on Japan

Iggesund Paperboard is expanding in the Asia Pacific region and will open a sales office in Japan from 1 September. Over the past year Iggesund has established a service centre with sheeting and warehousing in Taiwan to cut lead times in the region.

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“We have great respect for Japanese business culture and are therefore only recruiting Japanese staff. We believe that this factor, together with our long-term commitment, will be decisive to succeeding in Japan,” says Ivan Chong, President of Iggesund’s Asia Pacific operations. © Iggesund

“Traditionally Iggesund has focused very much on Europe but we are now prioritising work to increase our global sales,” explains Arvid Sundblad, Vice President Sales and Marketing for Iggesund. “For more than a decade we have seen the conversion of packaging for consumer goods move from western Europe to other parts of the world, mostly in the east,” he says. “Brand owners with headquarters in one part of the world can have the manufacturing of both their goods and packaging in another. This is globalisation in a nutshell and we must adapt to it.”

The Japanese paper and paperboard market is known for its high demands on quality. Iggesund’s flagship product, Invercote, will be the cornerstone of the new venture. The paperboard is well established in the highest quality segments in the more than 100 national markets where it is sold. It is made of virgin fibre and meets exacting standards of purity, so it should do well in Japan.

“When we decided to focus more on global sales, one of the first steps was to develop our delivery service outside Europe,” explains Ivan Chong, President of Iggesund’s Asia Pacific operations. “Since then we’ve built up new inventory and sheeting facilities on the US West Coast and in Taiwan. The result is radical reductions in lead times to Asia.”

Iggesund has been represented in both Singapore and Hong Kong for almost two decades now and has been successful in building sales over that period. The improved availability means there are good prospects for the company to reach a wider market not only in Japan but also in the Asia Pacific region generally.

“The improved inventory and service are a game changer for us,” Chong says. “Now we can be competitive in contexts where before we weren’t even an option due to the lead times. We’ve already gained a number of new orders due to our new delivery capacity.”
“We have great respect for Japanese business culture and are therefore only recruiting Japanese staff,” Chong explains. “We believe that this factor, together with our long-term commitment, will be decisive to succeeding in Japan.

“Quality is extremely important in Japan,” he continues. “Hygiene, purity, and taste and odour neutrality are just some of the aspects that are emphasised more in this market than in many others. That’s why we believe Invercote has terrific opportunities to do well here.”
Invercote has long been represented by the esteemed Japanese paper merchants Takeo with a focus on the graphics market and this arrangement will continue. The new sales office will further develop new business opportunities in the premium packaging and graphical segments, where the qualities of Invercote are especially preferred.

“We believe it is a clear advantage to have two channels into this demanding market,” Arvid Sundblad concludes.

Iggesund

Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.

Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people.

Published in Asian News

2016 05 11 084730

When Iggesund Paperboard’s Workington Mill in Cumbria, UK, took the decision to invest in a bio mass boiler in order to switch its energy sourcing from fossil fuels to biomass, they immediately started to plan for the future needs of fuel. One project, Grow Your Income, was to engage and interest local farmers to start growing willow to be delivered as biomass to the mill. The programme has been well received and is growing.

Some of the benefits for local farmers in Cumbria & the borders include a secure, long term regular income, increased farm biodiversity and provides land protection, e.g. soil erosion and management of environmental pollution such as excess run-off. SRC willow crop can even give bees a good source of pollen early on in the season. SRC willow crop can help farmers realise diversification by providing an additional good and reliable source of income on part of their land, thereby improving profitability and enabling sustainable supply of food when world market affects food income. 

Working with farmers and land owners is the task of Neil Watkins, Alternative Fuels Manager at Iggesund Paperboard’s mill in Workington, England. The mill produces Incada, a high quality folding box board, FBB.

“We have to appreciate that this takes time and involves major decisions,” he explains, summing up the four years he has worked with the project so far. “Investing in energy crops is a twenty-year commitment so of course people want to feel they are doing the right thing. Interest is growing and the number of farmers planting new SRC Willow crops is increasing each year, especially since SRC Willow energy crops offer the farmer a way to diversify without taking on much risk.”

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So far the mill received over 26 000 Tonnes of Willow chip added in to the fuel mix, which is much more willow than was expected early on in the project. It also has a growing list of farmers and landowners who are planning to plant willow within the Grow Your Income programme this year and in 2017.

“And that only involves a small fraction of the planted areas we’ve helped to create, because it takes three years to reach the first harvest,” says Managing Director Ulf Löfgren, who helped to initiate the whole project. “From 2016 onwards we’re expecting more volumes but we’ve already received more biomass from energy crops than we expected.”

The project was launched due to a dramatic shift in the energy supply of Iggesund’s paperboard mill in Workington. The company invested 108 million pounds to build a new biomass-fuelled CHP plant, which went online March 2013. Overnight the mill’s fossil carbon emissions were reduced to zero. At the same time the mill’s need for pure biomass went up by 500,000 tonnes a year.

The mill had already secured a sufficient biomass supply for the next several years but wanted to plan for the long term. Iggesund saw the opportunity to develop a new source of biomass in SRC energy crops. In its structure plan for Cumbria the UK environment department, DEFRA, has singled out parts of the county as being highly suitable for growing such crops. “The willow plants that we recommend are also very suitable to wetter unproductive ground, so they do not compete with food production,” Neil Watkins says.

Learn more at biofuel.iggesund.co.uk

Previous energy crop projects in Cumbria have failed due to their unpredictable harvesting costs. Biomass prices have been good but the costs of harvesting and transporting the crop to the customer have more or less erased farmers’ profits.

This was where Iggesund Workington saw new possibilities. The company already has its own forestry harvesting service plus an extensive timber transport network throughout northern England and southern Scotland. Iggesund is also part of the Holmen Group, one of Sweden’s biggest forest owners. So both the knowledge and resources for the harvesting of forest raw materials were readily available.

On this basis the company developed an offer to farmers. Iggesund takes responsibility both for the harvesting costs and for transporting the crop, while also guaranteeing farmers a return on their investment, which is index linked during the contract period, currently 22 years.

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“We provide advice, financial support for the change-over, and a harvesting and transport service – all based on long-term contracts,” Watkins explains. “Our offer – which we’ve named ‘Grow Your Income’ – is a particularly attractive solution for older farmers interested in less work-intensive crops.”

Iggesund Paperboard has been one of Workington’s biggest employers since the end of the 1980s. Since the turn of the millennium the company has invested almost 200 million pounds to develop its paperboard manufacturing process. Three years ago Iggesund made one of its smaller investments over the years – it planted an energy crop on the ten hectares of land surrounding the mill. The crop will be harvested for the first time in the winter of 2016.

“We’re keen to show people that we believe in growing energy crops and we also want a demonstration facility so we can show visitors exactly how it’s done,” Watkins concludes. “And we’re counting on making a profit from it, too.”

Published in Energy News

Production at Iggesund Paperboard’s mill in the UK is now fully operational again. At the beginning of March the board machine was shut down for a rebuild, in which its oldest part, the press section, was replaced with cutting-edge technology. The rebuild will increase the machine’s capacity by 20,000 annual tonnes from 200,000 up to 220,000 and will also enable further quality improvements in the future.

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Iggesund Paperboard’s paperboard mill at Workington is up and running again after almost a month-long stoppage to install a new press section, which will give more consistent quality and an additional 20,000 annual tonnes of production. © Iggesund

“These are the immediate effects but in the longer term the new press section means we have a more advanced platform for our continued development work, which will be decisive for our future competitiveness,” comments Bengt Löfroth, technical strategy officer at Workington Mill.

A rebuild of a huge paper machine is a race against time. The high capital costs mean that the loss of every hour’s earnings is significant. The rebuild must therefore be planned down to the smallest detail so that all the contractors know precisely what they must do and when. Planning for a stoppage like that at Workington starts more than a year in advance.

After the rebuild is finished, uncertainties still remain: will the machine restart and how quickly can production get back to the quality that existed prior to the stoppage?

“Looking back, this was a superb job by both our own staff and the contractors involved,” says Ulf Löfgren, Managing Director of Workington Mill. “They worked night and day to give us the best possible results.”

Prior to this year’s rebuild, Iggesund Paperboard had invested more than £200 million in Workington Mill since the turn of the millennium. Today Workington is the only remaining paperboard mill using virgin fibre in the British Isles. The mill has a high technological standard and is a good demonstration of paperboard’s environmental advantages over other packaging materials. In 2013 the mill switched overnight from using fossil natural gas to using biomass as its energy source. The change meant an instant reduction of the mill’s fossil carbon emissions by 190,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of taking 65,000 cars off the road. The investment that made this possible cost £108 million.

The new press section, combined with other measures implemented during the rebuild period, also increases the mill’s energy efficiency.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to become more efficient and save on the resources we use,” Bengt Löfroth says. “What we’ve just done now means that we will reduce our energy consumption by almost 10 per cent – which is an achievement in itself.”

Incada is the name of the folding box board produced at Workington. It is made of virgin fibre and is built to have a stiffness that makes it a preferred packaging material among companies wanting to give their products good protection with low weight while still getting the best possible print results on their packaging.

Iggesund

Iggesund Paperboard is part of the Swedish forest industry group Holmen, one of the world’s 100 most sustainable companies listed on the United Nations Global Compact Index. Iggesund’s turnover is just over €500 million and its flagship product Invercote is sold in more than 100 countries. The company has two brand families, Invercote and Incada, both positioned at the high end of their respective segments. Since 2010 Iggesund has invested more than €380 million to increase its energy efficiency and reduce the fossil emissions from its production.

Iggesund and the Holmen Group report all their fossil carbon emissions to the Carbon Disclosure Project. The environmental data form an integral part of an annual report that complies with the Global Reporting Initiative’s highest level of sustainability reporting. Iggesund was founded as an iron mill in 1685, but has been making paperboard for more than 50 years. The two mills, in northern Sweden and northern England employ 1500 people.

Further information:

Staffan Sjöberg
Public Relations Manager
staffan.sjoberg@iggesund.com

Iggesund Paperboard
SE-825 80 Sweden
Tel: +4665028256
Mobile: +46703064800
www.iggesund.com

Published in European News

When Ton Vermeulen bought a pressing plant for vinyl records in Haarlem outside Amsterdam at the end of the 1990s neither he nor anyone else believed he was investing in tomorrow’s technology. The seller, one of the big players in the global music market (Sony Music Entertainment), had watched sales gradually decline since the 1980s and then basically disappear as CDs took over. Today the previously low-valued machines are working at full capacity and the company, now called Record Industry, has laid on an extra shift to meet demand.

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As Vermeulen needed sleeves and labels for his records he approached Wil Pfeiffer of StyleMathôt, a printer based on the same industrial area, to help him out. A few years ago StyleMathôt moved into the same building so Record Industry is now a complete facility for the production of vinyl records, both LPs and singles.

“Since we switched to using Invercote from Iggesund for our record covers, we’ve been able to increase the productivity of our printing process by about 35 percent.”

The vinyl pressing plant is led by Vermeulen and his partner Wil Pfeiffer is in charge of the printing presses that uses 70 percent of their capacity to print record covers, sleeves and labels. In the past few years they have seen a powerful upswing in the market. Between 2013 and 2014 alone, global sales of vinyl records rose from 6.1 million records to 9.2 million.

“Within a fairly short time period we’ve quadrupled our production, leading to extra high demands on efficiency and the smooth functioning of everything we do,” Pfeiffer says. “Since we switched to using Invercote from Iggesund for our record covers, we’ve been able to increase the productivity of our printing process by about 35 percent.”

He is careful to emphasise the importance of the cover’s quality, a view that is supported by Ton Vermeulen’s analysis of the dramatic increase in vinyl record sales.

“The changeover from CDs to streamed music means that a large proportion of music consumers feel no need to own the music in physical form. Nor do I believe that the audiophiles’ view that vinyl records produce a better sound is very significant,” explains Vermeulen, who as a former DJ knows about music’s technical quality. “I’m convinced there is a group of music lovers who want to own their music and the traditional LP format just feels right to them.”

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Most of the records produced (on behalf of their customers) are reissues of classic albums by such big names as Elvis Presley, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix and Miles Davis, though the company also offers and presses a lot of new releases like David Gilmore and Ed Sheeran. The problem with reissues is that very often it can be difficult to find a good source to reprint the cover. The music might be well preserved but the covers have not received the same degree of care.

“Sometimes we have to use a worn cover with the price sticker still on it as the basis of our cover,” Pfeiffer says. “This then places heavy demands on our prepress department, which has to do a combination of restoration and hunting for material. The graphic quality of the cover is an important part of the whole experience.”

Together with Record Industry, StyleMathôt now has 150 employees and the record production of 2014 was 5,4 million, which increased to 7,5 million in 2015. The company is predicting yet another increase this year up to a total of 10-11 million albums produced.

But then perhaps the future can only be bright for a company whose visitors no sooner step into the reception area than they are welcomed by “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” with Marvin Gaye. Played on a traditional turntable, of course.

Published in European News
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