Metsä Board announced its investment in the Kemi board mill development programme in February 2021. Juho Lavonen, Project Manager, explains how the large-scale development programme is progressing inside a running mill.

"Work on the construction projects related to the development programme is progressing rapidly. The heat recovery tower was replaced in the middle of last year, and at the beginning of this year we were already able to install the new water and pulp towers, which are more than halfway completed as planned. Most of the construction work on the project is also currently underway on site, including the new disc filter building, office and workshop space, and the compressed air and oil storage facilities. Construction work on the pulper station, pipe bridge foundations and hall ventilation modifications has also started during June," says Juho Lavonen.

Three sub-programmes side by side

The development programme consists of three sub-programmes: the investments required for the new bioproduct mill, investments in energy and water efficiency and an increase in production capacity. As part of the development programme, one of Metsä Fibre's unbleached pulp production lines will be modernised and transferred to Metsä Board in 2023.

The investments required for the bioproduct mill consist of various pipe connections between board mill and bioproduct mill to utilise synergies. The new connections between the mills will reduce energy consumption at the Kemi mill by 5% and water consumption by 40% per tonne of produced paperboard.

The increase in the mill's capacity also means several changes to the board machine and winder, which will be carried out this year during the annual maintenance shutdown.

"Examples of the changes include replacing the winder with a new core feeder and electrical drives, new air compressors and an automatic tambour transfer. Improvements will also be made to the air conditioning in the hall," Lavonen lists.

Ready by autumn 2023

Although the pace is fast, there is still plenty to do next year. The board machine with the additional capacity will start side by side with the new bioproducts mill in the third quarter of 2023.

“When new things are built inside of a running mill, it requires special arrangements and flexibility depending on the situation. All of the challenges have been overcome in a cooperative effort, for which special thanks are due to the project team, the personnel of the running mill, as well as all partners,” Lavonen sums up.