Green Bay Packaging chooses Voith as full-line supplier of the new Green Bay PM 4
In Wisconsin, Green Bay Packaging has built one of the most modern packaging paper mills in the world, starting successful production in March 2021.
The facility located near the headquarters of the family-owned company in Green Bay, Wisconsin, is a groundbreaking project in several respects. The testliner machine is the first new paper mill built in Wisconsin in over 35 years, creating numerous new jobs in the Lake Michigan region. Moreover, it is the first time in history that a single company – Voith – was awarded the contract to supply a complete production line for the U.S. paper industry.
The centerpiece of the facility is the new paper machine with a wire width of 331" (8,400 mm) and a design speed of 3,937 fpm (1,200 m/min). The new mill will produce testliner at basis weights between 18 and 56 lbs/1000ft2 (88 and 273 g/m2). The testliner machine will produce 685,000 short tons (621,422 metric tons) per year enabling Green Bay Packaging to more than double its production capacity at the Green Bay facility.
Everything from a single source
Green Bay Packaging is relying entirely on Voith Paper to supply the technical equipment for the production facility. Since the project was implemented by a single vendor within the scope of a full-line supplier approach, there were no interface problems in any of the project phases.
In addition to the XcelLine testliner machine, the scope of supply also includes the VariFlex Performance winder with an operating speed of 3,000 m/min, the BlueLine OCC stock preparation system, as well as a reject handling system. The supplied AquaLine Flex System includes a so-called “biological kidney,” which treats the process water in such a way that it can largely be returned to the production cycle. The overall package includes a multi-year roll and clothing servicing agreement for all sections of the paper machine. Voith also supplied the MCS, DCS and QCS automation solutions.
Scope of supply
- BlueLine stock preparation
- XcelLine packaging paper machine
- AquaLine Flex water management system
- Reject handling system
- Multi-year roll and clothing servicing agreement
- MCS, DCS and QCS automation solutions
BlueLine stock preparation
At the time of awarding the order, the stock preparation system was the largest of its kind in the U.S. It processes up to 1,862 short tons (1,690 metric tons) of feedstock per day, consisting exclusively of recovered paper. To ensure the high quality of the testliner produced, Voith equipped the BlueLine OCC stock preparation line with innovative technology.
“This means the facility can still guarantee a high fiber quality even if the proportion of mixed recovered paper is particularly high,” explains Johannes Rimpf, Senior Project Manager at Voith. At the same time, the products of the BlueLine stock preparation, including IntegraScreens, InfiltraDicfilters and InfibraFiners, allow for a maximum flexibility. The highly purified fiber suspension from the stock preparation line is important for minimizing web breaks during paper production and thus improving the efficiency of the system.
Green Bay Packaging is using the XcelLine paper machine to produce testliner at basis weights of between 18 and 56 lbs/1,000 ft2 (88 and 273 g/m2). “The stock preparation line is a crucial factor in ensuring reliably high quality in this broad range,” explains Matthew Szymanski from Green Bay Packaging.
AquaLine Flex water management system
An important part of achieving sustainable production is the AquaLine Flex system. The effluent treatment plant is fitted with a so-called “biological kidney” that treats the process water in such a way that it can largely be returned to the production process, helping reduce water consumption and protecting the environment. With the AquaLine Flex concept, 600,000 gallons (2,271 m³) of fresh water can be saved every day compared to comparable mills.
The supplied reject handling system is the first fully automated system of its kind in the U.S. and improves the availability and efficiency of the PM 4. Voith subsidiary Voith Meri Environmental Solutions, Inc., was in charge of implementation and also designed and built the effluent treatment system. The facility is also designed so that only a minimal amount of sludge occurs in the anaerobic system. “Green Bay Packaging wanted an innovative system that produces as little wastewater as possible and leaves only a small carbon footprint behind,” explains Johannes Rimpf, Senior Project Manager at Voith. The installed anaerobic reactor achieves a substitution of fossil fuels of approximately 10% through biogas generation.
Digitalization and automation
On the PM 4, comprehensive automation and digitalization solutions ensure a stable production process and efficient work flows. “The PM 4 is equipped with the condition monitoring system OnCare.Health, for which we installed more than 800 sensors – likely a record in North America.” And it will also help Green Bay Packaging to optimize its maintenance activities and avoid unscheduled downtimes, says Johannes Rimpf, Senior Project Manager at Voith.
Maximum performance in the end section
The new VariFlex Performance winder was assembled at the Voith workshop in Appleton, Wisconsin. Appleton's proximity to Green Bay allowed Green Bay Packaging to track and witness the winder's assembly progress. After assembly and testing was completed successfully, the VariFlex Performance winder was ready for shipment to its permanent home 31 miles away in August 2020 – no small task since the winder is 40 feet long, 8 feet high and weighs in at 142,000 pounds.
Did you know that the PM 4 is named “The Marguerite K”?
Green Bay Packaging’s new PM 4 has been given this nickname as a tribute to the wife of the company’s founder, George F. Kress. In the company’s early years, Marguerite Kress was an important factor in its initial successes. She worked at the company until 1935 and thereafter was heavily involved in the company’s ongoing development. It is therefore perfectly fitting to see the name “The Marguerite K” as a reflection of the company’s essence: By giving the PM 4 this name, the family-owned company is acknowledging its roots.
Green Bay Packaging and Voith are longstanding partners. Voith has already demonstrated its comprehensive capabilities and technological expertise in numerous upgrade projects, e.g., the Morrilton PM1 in Arkansas. This excellent experience was one of the deciding factors Green Bay Packaging cited in contracting Voith to build the new production line.
"Voith’s strong service organization in North America and the mill’s local proximity to Voith's U.S. headquarters in Appleton were also factors that favored the extensive collaboration on this project," says Matt Szymanski, Vice President of Mill Operations at Green Bay Packaging. "Our relationship has grown constantly over the years. The Voith team has in-depth knowledge of our plants and our objectives. The short distance also makes it easier to discuss and implement optimization solutions quickly on site."
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