Domtar, a leading provider of a wide variety of fiber-based products including communication, specialty and packaging papers, market pulp and absorbent hygiene products, completed a major expansion of its manufacturing mill, with the startup of a newly converted fluff pulp operation, in Ashdown, Arkansas.
According to company officials, “this conversion – the largest capital project in the company’s history – makes Domtar the world’s third-largest fluff pulp producer. The fluff pulp produced at the mill will be used to make absorbent hygiene products, including baby diapers and incontinence products, sold around the world.”
Bob Grygotis, mill Manager for Ashdown stated “I’m very proud of our mill employees for working safely and staying focused throughout the entire project. This investment will provide a bright future for the mill at Ashdown and offer a new product line that will service our customers well into the future.”
This extensive construction project began in early 2015 with engineering and design work. Actual construction began in March 2016, with the demolition of the A64 paper machine and preparation to build a pulp machine that would be able to produce both rolls and bales, depending on market demands.
From planning and finance to demolition and construction, engineering and operations to sales and marketing , the project culminated in the first pulp running on the machine in August. Work continued this fall on the installation of the calendar, reel and winder equipment. The first rolls will be produced in the next few weeks, company officials said.
While the most visible work at Ashdown was the transformation of the machine and its many parts, the work happening inside the training area was equal in importance. “The operating crews underwent two months of extensive classroom training and were well prepared for startup when they brought the new state-of-the–art machine on-line,” said Troy Wilson, paper and fluff pulp Production Manager.