Starting up a dream
The opportunity to work on a greenfield mill project is the dream of many people in our industry. The people who helped create the 1.5 million t/a Puma Mill exactly on time certainly lived the dream. This includes ANDRITZ, which was recognized as being the best performing supplier in the project.
It seems that all the stars were aligned for the birth of the Puma Unidade (mill) in Ortigueira. The speed with which the project progressed from construction to completion (24 months) was remarkable. The virtually error-free start-up and rampup of the mill not only pleased Klabin’s shareholders, but gained the respect of the international pulping community. At the mill’s inauguration in June, large banners gave a hint of Klabin’s secret for success:
The Puma Mill (named for mountain lions that live in Klabin's preserved native forests and were spotted in the area during the pre-feasibility studies) was carved out of Klabin’s 270,000 ha of forests in Paraná state. “There was nothing but trees and hills here when we arrived,” says João Braga, General Manager for the Puma Project. “The amount of earth we had to move to level out this site makes this the largest earthmoving project that we know of in the industry.” Transportation is a major issue for any mill.
The existing roads to the site were not good enough, so Klabin built a new road to improve access, a 22 km long railway to connect the mill to the existing network, and another road with a bridge over the Tibagi River to accommodate logging trucks without having to put traffic on public highways. As part of the project, Klabin also built 100 km of power transmission lines.
“Considering that we have four debarking lines, two fiberlines, a large energy plant, and an extra converting machine for fluff pulp, we estimate that there is about 40% more equipment in this mill than a normal single-line eucalyptus mill,” says Francisco Razzolini, Director of Industrial Projects and Technology, “Even with this, we started production exactly as planned two years ago,” says Braga. “Our target was to feed chips to the hardwood digester on March 1st and we did it.”
“We use short and long fibers from the two ANDRITZ fiberlines in ways that give us both technical and cost advantages,” Razzolini says. “Annual production capacity will be 1.5 million tonnes (1.1 million tonnes of hardwood and 400,000 tonnes of softwood). A sizable portion of the softwood will be processed as fluff pulp.” Brazil mostly imports its fluff pulp today. Interestingly, Klabin produced small amounts of fluff back in the 1990s. “Resuming production will enable Brazilian customers to source fluff pulp locally,” Razzolini says.
The Puma Mill marks a change in Klabin’s business strategy, which has been focused on packaging papers and corrugated boxes. "We move from being a 1.8 million t/a paper and boxboard supplier to a 3.5 million t/a company producing paper, board, fiber, and green energy.” Total investment in the project was BRL 8.5 billion (EUR 2.33 billion), the biggest investment in the company’s history. Another Brazilian pulp producer, Fibria, will be the exclusive sales partner for most of Klabin’s hardwood pulp (900,000 t/a) in countries outside South America.
The new mill has the two largest turbinegenerators ever built for the pulp and paper industry. The units have generation capacity of 270 MW. Biomass accounts for about 20% of the energy generation. “We started commercial sale of our power (50 MW) to the national grid in July,” Razzolini says. “Our plan is to increase this to 150 MW by the end of the year.”
“In order to be successful, one of the things we had to do well was to manage the huge amount of people working on-site,” says Razzolini. “At the most hectic time, there were 12,000 people here. We were also building roads, transmission lines, railways, etc. nearby which added another 3,000 people.” Since many of the new employees are local and did not have specific pulping experience, Klabin elected to use the IDEAS dynamic simulator from ANDRITZ.
IDEAS models the operation of the fiberlines, bleach plants, white liquor plant, evaporation plant, recovery boiler, and power boiler (some of this equipment is outside ANDRITZ’s scope of supply) to check out the DCS loops and then train employees in a “virtual” environment before the mill started up.
“We are using the best available worldclass technologies to maximize yield and minimize emissions and effluents,” Razzolini says. “The ANDRITZ DownFlow Lo-Solids cooking process gives good flexibility and excellent quality pulp; their DD washers are well-proven in reducing chemical consumption.” For wood processing, Klabin also selected ANDRITZ. The Puma Mill will process about six million tonnes of wood each year with four large chipping lines from ANDRITZ. The average distance from forest to mill gate is only 72 km, which ensures a low total fiber cost.
“These chipping lines are the largest equipment that ANDRITZ makes,” Razzolini says. “We use three for eucalyptus and one for pine.” On the white liquor side, Klabin opted for two smaller ANDRITZ kilns rather than one large one. “Bringing in make-up lime to this mill would be difficult,” Razzolini says, “so we wanted to have redundancy in this area to increase our operational flexibility.”
“In addition to being on time, the start-up was smooth,” Razzolini reports. “The ramp-up is better than we planned, and the safety record is better than any project that Klabin has done in the past. The commitment of all our suppliers was very high – all were working to the same goals with us. “We consider ANDRITZ to be the best overall supplier on this project,” Razzolini says. “From the beginning, they put excellent people on this project and managed all aspects of their work very well – both here and abroad. There were very strong and positive relationships between ANDRITZ and our project managers. Their support in training our people and the quality of their team during start-up was excellent.
This project also had high visibility and support from the top managers at ANDRITZ.” Braga shares a similar view. “ANDRITZ has a very good project organization,” he says. “They managed the work of three different civil construction companies and three different mechanical erection companies. It meant more coordination work for their team, but it reduced project risks and maintained competitiveness. I think that was smart.”
Braga and his team had weekly meetings with key suppliers. “If we found any deviation from the plan, we acted immediately,” he says. “We all worked together. When a supplier had a problem, we all had a problem, and we all worked to recover.” A good example of the joint cooperation, according to Braga, was when Klabin faced some earthmoving delays in the white liquor plant area. ANDRITZ could not start its soil survey work until the area was ready. Valuable time was being lost.
“ANDRITZ immediately went to work with a recovery plan,” Braga says. “We discussed with Klabin and came up with a solution,” says Percio Pereira, ANDRITZ Project Manager for the white liquor plant. “We decided to move the entire plant 21 m to a part where the earthmoving was completed and we could do the soil survey and civil engineering. We put more labor effort in and all the lost time was made up.”
“We were under a tight time schedule erecting two fiberlines in the same time that a single line would normally be built,” says Andre Ehlke, ANDRITZ Project Engineering Coordinator for the fiberlines. “We had to get the engineering done on time, and it had to be right to avoid rework in the field. So, we set up our project organization a little differently and created the role of project engineering coordinator.” A system was developed to have better information about, and control of, basic engineering.
The project engineering coordinators monitored the amount of data that was being entered into the software for developing flowsheets and other documents. “This gave us a measure of engineering effort, both internally and with our external engineering companies,” says Ehlke. “It also showed how much work remained to be done, so we could focus on areas that needed attention. This close monitoring kept us on schedule and saved us considerably in change orders with our suppliers.”
For me personally, this project has been a dream come true,” Braga says. “It was a wonderful professional challenge for me and a great opportunity to be part of the largest investment in my company’s history. The dream has been achieved and it will help Klabin keep growing.”
Contents of this interview:
"Starting up a dream"
"The dream has been achieved
and it will help Klabin keep growing."
Project General Manager, Klabin
“From the beginning, ANDRITZ
put excellent people on this
project and managed all aspects
of their work very well."
Director of Industrial Projects and Technology, Klabin