Going global in Greece
A multinational team and the Voith NipcoFlex shoe press combined to boost production in Greece – and form long-term partnerships.
Most papermaking projects and businesses are global by default. The end products are often destined for both domestic and worldwide customers, and the project activities inside the mills are increasingly based on international partnerships. The leading manufacturer of recycled cartonboard in Greece, the Macedonian Paper Mills (MEL) in Thessaloniki, is one such case in point.
Part of the renowned PAK Group, which comprises 19 companies around the globe, MEL produces high-quality recycled board and packaging for customers across the Balkans, Europe, North Africa and the Middle East. A recent comprehensive modernization of the company’s plant was a resounding success, thanks to the involvement of a multinational team and Voith technology. At the core of the rebuild was the installation of a Voith NipcoFlex shoe press on the BM 1, which enables a higher dry content, reliably corrects deviations in the CD profile and ensures a uniform thickness across the entire 3,600-millimeter-wide paper web. Through the higher dry content after press section the BM 1 now requires less steam in the following drying groups, which reduces the overall energy consumption of the machine.
The result: an impressive increase in production capacity by 15%, to 120,000 metric tons annually – and long-term cross-border business partnerships and friendships. “With the new press section we were able to improve board quality characteristics, reduce breaks and therefore significantly increase machine availability,” explains Georgios Georgiadis, Mill Manager at MEL, who is also keen to emphasize the excellent working relationships: “The atmosphere between the individual teams was excellent. The close collaboration with the colleagues from Voith Tolosa even resulted in some friendships,” he adds. “I will certainly recommend collaboration with Voith to colleagues in the paper and board industry.”
“Cutting-edge, tried-and-tested German engineering combined excellently with our personal approach to service for this project,” says Ignacio Benito, Head of Order Processing Rebuild, Division Paper Tolosa, Spain, who worked closely with MEL from the initial contact to the completion of the rebuild. “There was a very professional Voith working style throughout, which was enriched by the famous Greek hospitality.”
Such relationship-building was crucial to the smooth installation within an extremely tight time frame. The Voith service team completed the project within three weeks, without a hitch. To ensure that MEL benefits from the rebuild, comprehensive training – which included visits to similar set-ups in various locations – was carried out in the run-up. Despite the global nature of the project, a local approach is also essential to its ongoing success, and to future modernization measures. As part of the Voith Servolution initiative, Voith local and international representatives are quickly on hand if support is required, not only because Greek hospitality is hard to resist, but because such comprehensive service is part of the Voith culture.