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Lenzing Technik Contracted by Sappi for Capacity Expansion

November 26, 2012

The Lenzing process as an international benchmark

Increasing its total annual capacity from 800,000 to 1.3 million metric tons, South African pulp and paper group Sappi is reacting to rising global demand for dissolving pulp, which is used for viscose fiber manufacture. Twothirds of Sappi’s expansion program (330,000 tons p.a.) involves its pulp plant in Cloquet (Minnesota). The facility will be converted from paper pulp production to the manufacture of dissolving pulp for viscose. Sappi is investing approx. EUR 130mn (USD 170mn) in the project. At the same time, Sappi is purchasing more than EUR 2mn (USD 2,6 mn) worth in technology and engineering from Lenzing Technik GmbH for digester house and its fiber line, the plant’s key processes. The basic engineering work has just been completed. The newly equipped facility is anticipated to start operation in May 2013. From then onwards, the Cloquet plant has the capability to produce dissolving pulp for viscose fibers under the patented, state-of-the-art pulp cooking process developed by Lenzing Technik.

Pioneer project in the USA
“The fact that a large multinational company such as Sappi relies on the engineering know-how of Lenzing Technik for such a project in the U.S.A is an honor for our team”, says Herbert Hummer, Managing Director of Lenzing Technik. In any case, Cloquet will be the first U.S. plant for Sappi to produce dissolving pulp for viscose. In addition to technology, simulation and balancing, process engineering, mechanical equipment, instrumentation, automation and programming solutions, the spectrum of services offered by Lenzing Technik also includes coordination and supervision of erection works as well as startup, subsequent process optimization and project management. “Our teams are repeatedly on site to ensure smooth operation”, Herbert Hummer adds.

The Lenzing process as an international benchmark
In terms of purity and quality of the pulp, Lenzing Technik has defined a worldwide benchmark. “One can certainly claim that Lenzing’s patented cooking process has set an international standard. We want to ensure that this standard is met at the plant in Cloquet”, says Project Director and Managing Director Mike Schultz, Cloquet Mill, Sappi Fine Paper North America explaining the reason for collaborating with the engineering specialists from Austria. The patented “Viscose Continuous-Batch Cooking” of dissolving pulp for viscose fibers (VISCBC) enhances the quality of the produced pulp, reduces overall cycle times in the production process, maximizes the capacity of the modified plant and minimizes energy consumption at the same time.

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