In the middle of this year, Laakirchen Papier AG invested around EUR 4 million in the process optimisation of its paper machine 11 (PM 11) for the manufacture of eco-friendly publication papers. This measure represents both a commitment on the part of the Upper Austrian mill to continue to produce graphic papers for the printing industry and a clear indication of its role as a highly responsible and environment-conscious industrial enterprise.
Laakirchen Papier AG, which is a Heinzel Group subsidiary, is one of Europe’s leading manufacturers of publication papers. The mill produces over 300,000 t of super calendered, uncoated natural paper for advertising materials, magazines and newspaper supplements.
Around 95 per cent of this output is delivered to European printers, publishers, chain stores and catalogue producers.
The remainder is exported to customers in overseas markets. Despite the fact that the demand for graphic papers is steadily falling, Laakirchen Papier continues to believe that this segment still offers major potential. This is due in particular to the fact that in its key markets the demand for SC papers for offset printing is actually rising. Accordingly, the outlay on the PM11 by the Upper Austrian mill is intended to ensure that its customers continue to receive outstanding product quality and punctuality of delivery.
An investment in efficiency and sustainability
Laakirchen Papier has spent a total of roughly EUR 4 million on the process optimisation of the PM 11 and has thus both improved the machine’s efficiency and taken another step towards resource-friendly paper production.
The PM 11 has actually been manufacturing SC papers on the basis of 100 per cent recycling paper since 2017 and the related raw material switch from primary to secondary fibres has facilitated a considerable reduction in energy consumption and a cut in CO2 emissions by a fifth. However, in order to both raise the output of the PM 11 via an increase in its speed and achieve greater plant availability, it was necessary to modify the sheet stabilisation and invest in control and electronical components.
As company CFO, Franz Baldauf, explains, “We wish to be a reliable partner to our customers, that apart from quality and flexibility, also demonstrates a clear commitment to sustainability. As a result of the optimisation investment we can guarantee top product quality and reliable plant availability.” Following a four-day shutdown at the beginning of June, the PM11 has resumed successful operation.