Everything here is big

Interview with Júlio César Rodrigues da Cunha, Fibria’s Director of Engineering and Projects and Joel Starepravo, ANDRITZ Project Director

The second line at Fibria’s Horizonte mill in Brazil will have a capacity of 1.95 million tonnes per year of bleached eucalyptus pulp, making this one of the largest pulping sites in the world. ANDRITZ is supplying woodyard, fiberline, pulp drying, chemical recovery, and power island systems on an EPC basis. We spoke with the Project Directors from both Fibria and ANDRITZ.


New thinking

da Cunha: “Our calculations in planning the second line at Horizonte put the maximum size at 1.5 million t/a. We kept wondering, though, if there was something we could do to make the economics more attractive.  ANDRITZ asked if we would be interested in some new ideas to get capacity up to 1.95 million t/a. Of course, they had our complete attention. We talked through the morning – our technical people and theirs – and by the end of the day, we had a solution.”


Starepravo: “The size of our largest existing DD-Washers in the fiberline would limit production to 1.75 million t/a. Our team in Finland designed a bigger washer.  But, we didn’t have the manufacturing machinery to make that size of a drum. We decided to acquire the machinery, and when we presented our solution to Fibria, we had a deal.”


"Even though this is the largest equipment in the world, I don’t have any doubts."

Júlio César Rodrigues da Cunha, Director of Engineering and Projects


No doubts

da Cunha: “Even though this equipment is the largest in the world, I don’t have any doubts. Of course, with any project there are risks. But, the concepts and designs are proven. The real risk for us is schedule, as we are on a fast-track delivery for all the equipment.  We trust ANDRITZ. We have worked together for a long time.”


Starepravo: “Our schedule is to start-up the line in the fourth quarter of 2017. As of now, we are on target.  Fibria did a great job getting all the roads, sewers, and other infrastructure in place before civil contractors came on-site.”


da Cunha: “I have been doing project work for 30 years. This is the first project I have been involved with where we started start the mechanical erection with all the flooring, drainage systems, etc. in place.”

A complete team

da Cunha: “One thing we have chosen to do differently here is to co-locate everyone from our team to the same offices -- all the related activities from the plantation nursery to shipping and logistics. This is truly a big team effort.”

Lessons learned – lessons applied

Starepravo: “The lessons we learned from previous large projects is that the first 100 days are critical. If you don’t get started right, you are forever playing catch-up. We are fortunate that the timing of the Klabin Puma Project allowed us to move our teams from one large project directly to another. This keeps the continuity. We focused on making sure that the engineering was solid and that our subcontractors had the guidance they needed to work effectively.”


Improved tools and methods

Starepravo: “We have developed new systems and tools to help us manage risk and identify potential problems before they become real issues. We also are using new measurements to understand our true productivity – not just the traditional percent-complete scale. We can take corrective actions with our customer before we seriously impact schedule, quality, or safety. 

Leaving a legacy

Starepravo: “This is an important project for ANDRITZ, our largest. My dream is that we not only deliver what we have sold and make the customer happy, but also that we leave a positive legacy for Fibria and the country of Brazil.”



“My dream is that we leave a positive legacy for Fibria and the country of Brazil.”

Joel Starepravo, ANDRITZ Project Director



Early years

Born in Araguari, Minas Gerais State; 53 years old


  • Electronic Engineering degree
  • Post Graduate in Pulp & Paper Process Fabrication
  • MBA in Business Management

Work life

  • First job as process control engineer
  • Process engineer for paper mill and consulting engineers
  • Process and Project Engineering management at VCP
  • Project Director at Bahia Pulp
  • Currently Project and Engineering Director at Fibria

Private life

  • Married
  • Hobbies include travel and having fun with family/friends

Most important lesson

  • People are the key to project success
  • Open and shared management, combined with committed and well-prepared professionals in the right positions, will overcome any challenge.


Early years

Born in Curitiba; 46 years old


  • BSc Information Systems
  • MBA International Project Management
  • Post-MBA in Negotiation PMP Certificate

Work life

  • First job as process control su-pervisor at Rigesa (WestRock) paper mill
  • Extensive experience in commissioning and start-ups (Veracel, CMPC, Suzano, Fibria, etc.)
  • Engineering Manager (EIA)
  • Currently Project Director for Horizonte 2

Private life

  • Married
  • Hobbies include biking, running and movies

Most important lesson

  • Commitment and communication are essential to the success of a project, encompassing all levels in a company. The organization as a whole should be aware of the project and be encouraged to participate.
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