Aalen, Germany 14 September 2018 -- The Aalen-based family business Palm has completed its plans to realign its headquarters in Aalen-Neukochen and to make it fit for the future. The heart of the € 500 million investment is a new paper machine (PM 5) for the production of corrugated base paper. It is embedded in an innovative and sustainable new plant construction, environmental, transport and infrastructure project.
The new paper mill will be built between 2019 and 2022. The project will lead to a complete dismantling of the existing plant. In several stages, the three technologically obsolete paper machines are replaced. The investments not only give the approximately 300 directly employed employees at the location a career perspective in their traditional work. Rather, the environmental balance improves, despite a higher capacity.
Dr. Wolfgang Palm, Managing Director of Papierfabrik Palm says: "Our investment of € 500 million is one of the largest investments ever made in Ostalbkreis. We use the latest technologies. All requirements in terms of environmental protection, sustainability, energy efficiency, architecture and transport infrastructure are, wherever possible, not only met, but even exceeded. In doing so, we set standards and will remain competitive in the long term. We will reliably supply our customers with future-proof corrugated base paper. Our papers, which have excellent running characteristics for every corrugator, are among the best of their kind in the world. They reduce weight and save packaging. We're already setting trendsetters for future developments. "
Traffic and noise situation mitigated
A higher volume of traffic, due to a larger production volume, can be shifted from Aalener Straße to the B19. According to own calculations, the Palm-based trucks account for 0.4 percent of the total traffic on the federal highway in Unterkochen. In addition, truck traffic will be relocated within the company premises to the northern part. Palm will again build a siding, so that goods can be transported by rail. The paper mill will provide a "bar" along the B19, which will reduce noise to the opposite slope. The factory itself is completely built in reinforced concrete. With the help of this soundproofing function, it will be quieter than the existing old system.
Investing in sustainability
In the new plant sewage sludge is stored in a bunker, which is encapsulated. The loading process of the trucks transporting the sludge will take place in a closed hall rather than in the open air.
Traditionally, Palm only uses recycled fibers derived from recovered paper for paper production. The water consumption per ton of paper is halved by the new plant. Although the production volume doubles, the same amount of water is needed for the production of corrugated base paper as before. The new wastewater treatment plant, designed according to the latest technologies, will be significantly quieter and will easily enable double degradation. The wastewater is therefore passed as clean as before in the digester, in some parameters, it is even better.
A new power plant will work according to the energy-efficient principle of combined heat and power. It will consist of a state-of-the-art gas turbine that provides 90 percent energy efficiency. This produces steam and electricity. Both are needed to operate the paper mill. The power plant can even supply the city of Aalen with surplus electricity. Due to its flexibility, the gas turbine is the ideal partner for renewable energies. It can cushion fluctuations in renewable energies in an environmentally friendly way.
When drying the paper web naturally falls to steam. Using the latest technologies, a concept has been developed to make the unavoidable but harmless water vapor invisible.
The paper machine building will be almost 30 meters high. However, it "disappears" optically largely on a slope. Therefore, the building is only half visible from the main road. An automated finished goods warehouse operated with low noise by cranes could be designed as far away as possible from Aalener Straße. It now has a distance to the Kocherböschung of nearly 20 meters. In front of the hall, a mound with a height of six meters is being built. On him tall trees are planted, which lead to a not inconsiderable optical coverage.
The color scheme of the hall was chosen so that it "disappears" visually almost into the sky. Due to large windows, the part of the hall, which extends furthest into the valley, harmoniously and transparently blends into the landscape. The roof is completely landscaped, so that there is also a pleasant view from above.