Laakirchen: „ANDRITZ was the right choice“

On October 28, 2017, Laakirchen Papier AG in Austria celebrated production of its first containerboard reel: a milestone in an ambitious rebuild project that was of great strategic importance for the papermaker and for the main supplier – ANDRITZ. At the beginning of January 2019, more than one year later, PM 10 was running with basis weights of around 100 g/m2 at a speed of 1,300 to 1,330 m/min. CEO Thomas Welt comments, “We have achieved the goals set for speed development.”

ANDRITZ ModuScreen TD coarse screen as part of the stock preparation plant

The rebuild to production of 450,000 tons of recycled containerboard with a basis weight range of 70 to 140 g/m2 from 500,000 tons of recycled paper was a real challenge. This was because the rebuild of PM 10 was to take place alongside production operations on the second paper machine at this location (PM 11 continued to produce SC paper parallel to the rebuild work) and because many innovative units and technical refinements were implemented.

And there were other challenging circumstances: considerable time pressure – only twelve months between the investment decision and the starting date for the rebuild – also added to this was the request to integrate as much of the existing equipment as possible, both in stock preparation and at the paper machine.

But the efforts needed to meet all these requirements were well worth it, “We were lucky to be entering a very good market environment with our new product and thus were able to place our production volumes easily right from the beginning,” Welt explained during an interview in Laakirchen recently.

PM 10 after the rebuild is designed for a maximum volume of 1,450 tons per day – and this benchmark was already reached in September 2018. So it didn’t even take a year after the first paper reel was produced for this record to be set. And this is not an exception. Welt emphasizes, “We frequently achieve new production records. The guarantee figures for steam and electricity consumption were also achieved. We reached the goals we had set within one year.”


“If we take a retrospective look at where we are now and what we have achieved, we can say that ANDRITZ was the right choice.”

CEO, Laakirchen Papier AG


Welt considers both the efforts by his own staff as well as the commitment by the supplier ANDRITZ as important factors in this success; he says, “We succeeded here in achieving something very good together – also if you consider the fact that we were not building a new plant, but rebuilding a part of the plant while the remainder was in normal operation. If we take a look at other rebuild projects, we can certainly be proud of this.” On the part of the supplier, the project was completed on December 20, 2018, when the Final Acceptance Certificate (FAC) was signed. Thus, the project was also completed by the agreed date.

When asked what he found especially convincing in this project, Welt replied, “Integration of old and new – that was really successful and is also something special.” In his view, this also demonstrates good interface planning. “I have only had experience with greenfield projects so far and saw how overall predictability is quite different in projects like this. I would say that it is more demanding – and more strenuous – than a greenfield plant.”

“If we take a retrospective look at where we are now and what we have achieved, we can say that ANDRITZ was the right choice,” Welt summarizes. “This rebuild project was a real opportunity for the supplier and thus a large incentive to make it a success.”

For Laakirchen Papier, the rebuild was location’s economic future. As a result, Welt is looking ahead with optimism, “The project gave us real impetus and we are now on the right road to achieving more growth.”

Thomas Welt, CEO of Laakirchen Papier AG, in front of the new ANDRITZ PrimeFlow TW two-layer headbox and PrimeForm TW Gapformer with high dewatering capacity

The former grinding facility was converted to an RCF line with a capacity of 1,350 tons per day. An ANDRITZ FibreSolve FSR pulper complete with disposal system ensures optimum pulping of the raw material.