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Nippon Mill in Port Angeles Adding Paper-Pulper

Port Angeles, Washington, USA 12 June 2015 -- (From The Peninsula Daily News) -- Nippon Paper Industries USA has purchased a new paper-pulping machine to expand the range of products manufactured at its Ediz Hook mill.

"We are repurposing the mill," plant Manager Steve Johnson said Thursday.

The two half-moon halves of the 9,300-pound pulper were being welded during its assembly Thursday in the plant parking lot as part of a $1.22 million project.

Johnson said the apparatus will be installed on a platform next to the existing paper recycling plant in about two weeks.

It will begin production this fall.

Bales of various types of recycled paper will be fed by conveyor into the round, 14½-foot-diameter pulper, which is shaped like a large bowl.

The paper will be made into pulp by combining it with water and agitating the mixture.

The pulp slurry will be pumped into the adjacent recycle fiber plant for processing into products.

The mill produces telephone-book paper, uncoated mechanical paper grades for catalogs, fiber for magazines and printed shoppers, and newsprint for publications including the Peninsula Daily News.

But Nippon is refocusing its production away from telephone-book paper, which it continues to produce in a declining market, to other forms of fiber.

"This is part of our plan to transform ourselves," said Johnson, who declined to say what kind of paper products the plant will add.

"This is just a piece we are installing to allow us to handle different fibers," he said.

"It increases our flexibility for different types of fibers to pursue the market we are working on."

The city's building permit issued May 27 says the pulper is being added to recycle corrugated cardboard, but that's not the case, Johnson said.

"That's the system we bought; that's not its intended use," Johnson said.

"We were after the design of the pulper rather than the description."

Port Townsend Paper Corp. uses recycled cardboard for its products.

The company produces pulp and paper for mills, kraft converting paper, unbleached kraft pulp and kraft linerboard.

"We are not going to be competing with Port Townsend Paper," Johnson said.

Part of Nippon's efforts to transform itself consist of an $85 million biomass cogeneration plant, which went online in November 2013 to produce steam for the mill and up to 20 megawatts of electricity for sale.

The company continues to address operational problems with the boiler, Johnson said.

"We're still tweaking it," he said.

"We have our daily issues."

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