Elevating containerboard production in India: Valmet and Sri Andal Paper Mills join forces

Dec 13, 2023

Sri Andal Paper Mills recently started-up their new PM 4 in Tamil Nadu. Thanks to advanced board making technologies from Valmet, the new line has elevated the containerboard manufacturing landscape in India to new heights.


“The future of paper industry in India lies in the realm of packaging paper. The nation's strong favorable demographics, growing retail and e-commerce, and demand for processed and packaged food represents some of the key factors driving the market growth. Paper industry is expected to play a significant role in this economic growth. With brands switching their packaging supplies from non-renewable materials to paper-based packaging materials made from renewable resources, the packaging segment is experiencing steady expansion, with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 6.63% for the forecast period of 2022-2027, describes Mr. Rajithlal Janaki, Business Unit Head of Sri Andal, the current state of the paper industry in India.

Sri Andal PM 4 includes key technologies from Valmet: headboxes; the press section; film sizing; automation solutions; remote support services from the Valmet Performance Center; and a clothing agreement.


Looking ahead, the paper industry in India will face intense competition in all segments, emphasizing the importance of quality, cost, and timely delivery. To stay ahead, paper manufacturers must leverage technology to gain competitive advantages and meet market demands effectively. Technological advancements will enable the industry to innovate, improve efficiency, and optimize production processes, thereby enabling it to stay competitive and fulfill the evolving requirements of the market.

Valmet-delivered press section makes the process more energy efficient and sustainable, consuming less steam at the dryer section.


The transition towards paper-based packaging aligns with the global sustainability movement and enhances the market prospects for paper-based packaging. This shift is boosting the demand for containerboard and corrugated boxes in Indian market. In order to meet expectations, board mills should provide superior quality container board. Today the trend is towards lightweighting and customers are looking for lightweighted boxes without compromising strength”, continues Mr. Janaki.

“The trend is toward lightweighting, and customers are looking for lightweight boxes that don’t compromise on strength properties,” says Mr. Rajithlal K Janaki, Unit Head of Sri Andal.


Smooth cooperation from the start

PM 4 produces a range of recycled liner, recycled fluting and corrugated kraft grades, covering a basis weight span of 70–300 g/m2. The success of this modern containerboard production line is the result of close collaboration between Sri Andal and Valmet.

With Valmet’s key technologies, we can easily achieve our containerboard’s strength properties.


“The specific capabilities we’re looking for when selecting a supplier are technical expertise, customization and flexibility, quality and reliability, innovation and technological advances, aftersales support and service, energy efficiency and sustainability, cost-effectiveness, reputation, and global presence. Valmet met our requirements and expectations, and we decided to go with them for the key technologies for the new PM 4 project,” explains Mr. G. Chellamuthu, General Manager of projects at Sri Andal. 


Key technologies from Valmet

Valmet’s comprehensive delivery included three OptiFlo Fourdrinier headboxes to ensure precise profiles and optimal formation. Additionally, the package included an OptiPress Linear press section, which not only enhances the final product’s quality but also offers high dewatering capacity and smooth operating performance. The installation also featured an OptiSizer Film size press equipped with a supply system. To support the project’s initiation, a start-up package of spare parts and consumables was provided alongside the Valmet DNA machine control system, Valmet IQ quality measurement system and connectivity to the Valmet Performance Center with remote On-Demand Expert Support.

“With Valmet’s key technologies, we can easily achieve our containerboard’s strength properties. Valmet OptiFlo Fourdrinier headboxes enable our team to retain proper formation and fiber orientation. They’re superior, and their wide flexibility and quick response fulfill our requirements. Valmet OptiPress Linear gives us good dryness. This makes the process energy efficient and sustainable, consuming less steam at the dryer section. The design and technology of Valmet OptiSizer Film ensure an even application of surface size starch across the paper width, resulting in uniform end-product quality,” summarizes Mr. Rajithlal K. Janaki.

Valmet OptiSizer Film provides uniform containerboard end-product quality.


Agreement for paper machine clothing

Sri Andal and Valmet also signed an agreement for the supply of paper machine clothing, including formic fabrics, press felts, a Valmet Black Belt shoe press belt and dryer fabrics. “Clothing performance is good in terms of sheet consolidation and stability. We achieved good drainage control and formation with the fabrics. Valmet’s technical support is very good, and various types of analysis were undertaken with the latest measuring equipment to evaluate the performance of all the fabrics,” says Mr. G. Chellamuthu.

“We compared the leading technology suppliers in India based on parameters like technical expertise and flexibility, and Valmet exceeded our requirements and expectations,” says Mr. G Chellamuthu, General Manager of projects at Sri Andal.


Successful start-up according to plan

PM 4 started up in December 2022. “There are always challenges and unexpected issues in major investment projects. Valmet was extremely responsive, adaptable and helpful in completing this project on time. We stayed on schedule and commissioned and produced sellable material within the allotted time frame,” says Mr. G. Chellamuthu. “Valmet is an extremely cooperative partner, providing timely assistance at every stage of the project and commissioning. Their online assistance is amazing, and a solution is usually available within a short period. ‘Valmet is just a phone call away,’ my team used to say,” concludes Mr. Rajithlal K. Janaki. 

Text Marika Mattila