The new packaging machine at Oulu paper mill is expected to achieve its designed production capacity by the end of this year

Oulu mill

Stora Enso has commenced production at Oulu paper mill. (Credit: Stora Enso)

Finnish company Stora Enso has completed Oulu paper mill’s conversion to manufacture packaging board.

The pulp mill has been operating since mid-January, while the newly converted machine is under a start-up phase.

In May 2019, the project started following a decision to invest €350m and it is said to be completed within the budget frame.

The packaging machine, which will be boosted during the first quarter, is expected to achieve its designed production capacity by the end of this year.

The new line manufacturing kraftliner will benefit global customers in demanding packaging end-uses, which need strength, purity and better visual appearance features.

AvantForte by Stora Enso features three fibre layers, thereby making it a durable kraftliner in the company’s portfolio.

AvantForte kraftliner is suitable for packaging applications such as fresh, fatty or moist food, as well as high-end e-commerce packaging.

One of the two former paper machines has been converted for packaging board production in the conversion project.

The pulp mill and drying machine have been converted for the production of unbleached brown pulp with a capacity of 530,000 tonnes per annum, of which around 150,000 tonnes are marketed externally.

The new kraftliner line’s capacity is 450,000 tonnes per year. Upon full operational within a year, Oulu Mill is expected to generate a €300m annual sales increase for the company’s packaging materials division.

Lumipaper sheeting plant in Antwerp is under conversion from paper to primarily board sheeting. It will use cutters to deliver a fast sheet service in Continental Europe.

Stora Enso president and CEO Annica Bresky said: “Completing the Oulu Mill conversion is an important step in our transformation and responds to increasing global market demand for circular and eco-friendly packaging materials.”

In January this year, the European Investment Bank (EIB) signed a €150m loan agreement with Stora Enso to convert the Oulu paper mill to produce packaging materials of unbleached pulp.