Good in a crisis – Volga’s TMP line starts up on time

Despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Volga Pulp and Paper Mill in Russia, along with ANDRITZ experts operating remotely, started up a new TMP line on schedule.

100% spruce is used as raw material for the TMP fiberline.

© Volga Pulp and Paper

Volga Pulp and Paper Mill is situated around 400 km to the east of Moscow producing newsprint and packaging papers. There is an ongoing improvement plan at the mill with the target to increase production by 50% in just three years. “We have been doing this by improving efficiencies, as well as tackling bottlenecks around the mill. Our aim is to produce 320,000 tonnes per year,” says Sergey Pondar, CEO of Volga Pulp and Paper Mill.

As part of its improvement program, Volga Pulp and Paper Mill decided to rebuild an existing groundwood reject line and repurpose it as a TMP system. ANDRITZ was chosen to carry out the rebuild, mostly on the basis that it has the well-proven TMP technology that it could supply at a reasonable cost, and also that it could carry out the project on a tight schedule.

Opening ceremony of the new TMP mill.

© Volga Pulp and Paper

“Keeping the schedule during the crisis makes me very proud of the team at the mill.”


CEO of Volga

Pulp and Paper Mill

The contract for the rebuild was signed in October 2018. The scope of the project included the modernization of the high-consistency (HC) and low-consistency (LC) refining sections as well as the screening plant. ANDRITZ also supplied several new components, such as a new chip washing and pre-treatment system, the HC refiner feeding system, and an ANDRITZ DiscFilter.

“We chose ANDRITZ for this project originally for three different reasons,” says Pondar. “The technology, the cost and the schedule.”

The project itself was already a challenging one, and then along came COVID-19 which struck just as the start-up procedure of the TMP plant at the mill was beginning. Pondar says, “Except for minor challenges, the project was running very smoothly, and we were right on schedule – and then came the pandemic.  ANDRITZ immediately offered us online assistance and promised us that the crisis would and should not affect the scheduled final start-up in late March 2020.”

Additional IT systems were put into place that allowed ANDRITZ experts to communicate directly with the Volga mill project team. Philipp Egginger, Sales Manager ANDRITZ Paper, Fiber and Recycling Division says, “Our engineers established direct access to the DCS system on site to assist the Volga mill project team in real time. Daily and often hourly video meetings helped us to firmly stick to the goals and time frames we had mutually agreed upon in the early stages.”

The TMP line started up on April 4th last year and was very soon afterwards producing the first commercial paper off the line. “We highly appreciate that Volga Pulp and Paper Mill trusted in us and our capabilities, just as we value the excellent support and cooperation that was the basis for this success,” says Wolfgang Lashofer, Senior Vice President and Global Division Manager of the Paper, Fiber and Recycling Division at ANDRITZ.