HELIOS shines bright at SCA Östrand

The largest engineering projects northern Sweden has ever seen was completed recently with the doubling of capacity at SCA Östrand’s softwood kraft pulp mill. The project – named Helios after the God of the Sun in Greek mythology – is now setting a new global benchmark in high-performance pulp production. ANDRITZ supplied some of the latest key technology to the completely rebuilt mill.

“When we started this project, we wanted to create a pulp mill that would be the brightest star in the heavens,” says SCA Östrand’s Helios Project President, Ingela Ekebro. “We had an internal competition to find a name, and one name jumped out clearly, ‘Helios’ the ancient Greek name for the sun, the brightest star in our solar system.”

The name Helios is indeed fitting – the project has been immense in its scope and scale – the aim was to more than double the capacity of Östrand’s softwood kraft pulp mill from 430,000 tonnes a year to 900,000 tonnes – but with some extra challenges thrown in; the expansion was to take place in the same mill perimeter (there was no extra land available) and it had to take place while the mill was still running.

Left to right: Göran Bröttgårdh, ANDRITZ; Ingela Ekebro, SCA; Håkan Wänglund, SCA; and Henrik Grönqvist, ANDRITZ; alongside the new Pulp Drying System from ANDRITZ.


Plans for expansion at Östrand have clearly been on SCA’s agenda for some time. As long ago as 2004, a new recovery boiler was ordered from ANDRITZ with a unique insistence; it had to be expandable for an imminent future capacity increase.

“When it came to the recovery boiler, we initially had it designed for higher steam pressure and better efficiency and also with an increased turbine capacity to enable us to produce much more electricity.

In January 2014, a feasibility study was conducted with the results being presented six months later, after which the go ahead for the pre-project study was given.

SCA Oestrand_Helios (5)

“We needed to be sure we were aware of all the impacts that would occur with such an expansion at the mill.”

Project Helios

The new Pulp Drying System from ANDRITZ

SCA Oestrand_Helios (2)

“The recovery boiler expansion was really special, and something that had never been done before, so there was a lot of excitement around the mill.”

General Project Manager,
Project Helios


ANDRITZ was chosen to supply its very latest technology to four key areas of the Helios project; wood processing, pulp drying, the white liquor plant and the recovery boiler.

“ANDRITZ was selected as a supplier because of its excellent technology in these process areas,” says Ekebro.

New technology for the Helios project included the latest ANDRITZ HQ-Presses in wood processing, new technology for burning wood dust in the lime kiln, a new state-of-the-art Pulp Drying System and, finally, the skill and expertise to expand the recovery boiler.

Kristoffer Mohlin, Project Engineer, Project Helios (left); Johannes Jammernegg, Senior Start-up Manager, Pulp Drying, ANDRITZ

Two new-generation HQ-Press bark presses at wood processing increase energy value of bark.


The project to double capacity at SCA Östrand took a total of nearly three years with numerous start-ups of combined equipment at carefully timed phases to allow minimum disruption to the mill operation. In fact, there was only one complete shutdown during the whole project, when the recovery boiler expansion took place.


Grönqvist concludes, “Ten successful start-ups by ANDRITZ while the mill was still running with no serious incidents or accidents is work well done. Without good cooperation with SCA and seamless teamwork within the ANDRITZ team, this would never have been possible.”

SCA Oestrand_Helios (33) (1)

“Ten successful start-ups while the mill was running with no serious incidents or accidents was possible due to good cooperation!”

Project Director, ANDRITZ
Helios Project

The unique ANDRITZ horizontally fed HHQ-Chippers produce View from the inside of the lime kiln, using wood powder
excellent chip quality

There were five start-ups in the white liquor plant during project Helios

Substantial increase in the recovery boiler capacity from 3,300 to 5,000 tds/d. The existing boiler was supplied by ANDRITZ in 2006 and had already been designed to enable a major extension by moving the boiler side wall and widening the heating surfaces of the superheater, boiler generation bank, and economizers.

View from the inside of the lime kiln, using wood powder.