BIRON, Wis., April 20, 2023 — This month a new, state-of-the-art pulping facility came online at the Biron Division of ND Paper, the US subsidiary of Nine Dragons Paper (Holdings) Limited and a grand opening event will be held to celebrate the achievement.
ND Paper staff and more than 250 contractors worked on the project over the past year and recently put the finishing touches on the 1,400 mtpd OCC (Old Corrugated Containers) facility.
More than 150 discrete pieces of equipment makeup the overall pulping and refining aspects of the process. The processing of the recycled cardboard starts with conveying bales OCC from the warehouse into a pulper vat where the materials are diluted with process water and mechanically agitation using the same principles as the common washing machine. Once the raw materials are broken down into a pumpable slurry, the subsequent screens, cleaners, and specialized process components separate the pulp fibers from the debris steams.
The new OCC pulping operation will primarily supply the recently converted B26 paper machine with fiber and the addition makes the Biron mill a 100% recycled fiber operation with production capacity exceeding 2,000 tpd. As the primary raw material for the facility, OCC – post-use consumer cardboard removed from the waste stream – is collected and processed into a renewable fiber-based pulp. This pulp is used in the manufacture of sustainable, lightweight packaging papers. The facility will be operated twenty-four (24) hours a day and run seven (7) days per week, working similar operational and maintenance shifts as the balance of the Biron mill site. It is anticipated that the OCC facility will employ between 4 -10 people per shift, depending the operational and maintenance needs.
Current employees and newly hired employees are receiving training on the new equipment and processes. This training was made possible because of a Fast Forward grant in the amount of $322,840 through a partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD).
Jay Capron, ND Paper Director of Communications and Government Affairs thanked the DWD, “We are grateful for our partnership with the DWD. This conversion involves a massive amount of training, and the Fast Forward grant is a tremendous opportunity to assist with various training initiatives.”
The OCC recycling plant project helps to advance ND Paper’s commitment to sustainability by reducing energy consumption and removing landfill waste. Recent studies have shown that using one ton of recycled paper, in place of greater energy consuming resources, can save 380 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, 4,100 kilowatts of energy, 4.3 tons of C02, and more than 3 cubic yards of landfill space.
These changes further support the strategic transformation of the Biron Division and the Company. Over recent years, demand for packaging grades, such as kraft paper and linerboard, have experienced substantial growth due to a shift toward e-commerce and consumer demand for more sustainable products. Growth is expected to continue in these markets into the future.
“The work we’re doing at our Biron Division marks another critical step in our transformation towards a bright and successful future,” said Ken Liu, Group Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Our decision to grow our packaging portfolio is grounded in strong demand and support from our customers for ND paper products.”
Partners of the project, local, state and federal officials have been invited to a grand opening event to celebrate the launch of the OCC facility. The event will begin at 10 a.m. on Thursday, May 18th and tours will be provided for invited guests.
ND Paper is headquartered in Oakbrook, IL. ND Paper is a leading manufacturer of various types of high-quality and sustainable pulp, packaging and paper products and is part of a strong, global manufacturing operation and a rich customer-focused tradition. Learn more at www.us.ndpaper.com.