In the middle of the health crisis due to Covid-19 and through remote support, Valmet delivered the new production line to ARAUCO, which allowed them to produce textile pulp for the first time in Chile. The mill achieved a production record one year after implementation of the new production line by Valmet. Currently dissolving pulp represents 6% of the total forest pulp production worldwide and in South America it was only one producer in Brazil.
In 2017, ARAUCO company announced an approval of a significant project for its Valdivia Pulp Mill, with the aim of developing a sustainable plan that would allow them to move forward on the way towards the bioeconomy.
ARAUCO opted for a different kind of a production line that would create a milestone in terms of innovation for the Chilean forestry sector: dissolving pulp and / or textile production. This type of pulp, of natural and renewable origin, is characterized by its high capacity to absorb water and maintain colors. Due to its properties, it is also possible to incorporate technological antibacterial and fire-retardant agents into the fiber itself. Dissolving pulp is used to manufacture fabrics in the textile industry, as well as cellophane paper, and filters, among other varied uses in different sectors.
Valmet was selected to deliver this new production line, which included a reconditioning of the batch cooking plant, with two new digesters; and a pulp drying line that incorporated new components in the wet end and new equipment for wrapping the pulp bales.
Because of the delicate health situation in Chile, due to Covid-19, the Valmet team had to carry out their actions mostly remotely. Teams from Finland, Sweden, Canada and Brazil joined the professionals in the field through remote support. The work covered several areas and specialties.
Despite the complex circumstances, thanks to the technology used in the process and the teamwork of both parties involved, the start-up was carried out with an optimal result, quickly achieving the objective values of production and quality.
“Adding value to our customers' production processes is the goal that Valmet always pursues. We will continue to support ARAUCO with the right combination of services for each life stage of the textile pulp production line, adding digitization and automation,” said Carl Mikael Stål, Technical and Operations Manager of Valmet Andes Region.
Currently, the mill has the capability to manufacture both commercial paper pulp and textile pulp, but during the last year they have directed the majority of the efforts to this textile pulp, where the mill registered a production record, obtaining a product that they commercialize under the CREATE brand.
Ricardo Strauszer, Commercial Manager of the ARAUCO Pulp Business, indicated that, thanks to its high quality, CREATE has had a very good reception among customers. “Without a doubt, the key has been the commitment of both the Valdivia Plant team and the Forestry and Commercial area. It has meant an important effort since the process is a whole: from the different way of handling the raw material to the final product”.
“With the launch of textile pulp, we have all grown. Today we have a team with a great capacity to learn and with a very good disposition to change”, said Manuel González, Manager of ARAUCO Valdivia Mill.