Ashdown Mill A62 Paper Machine Resumes Full Operation

The A62 paper machine at our Ashdown Mill is once again fully operational thanks to excellent planning and foresight by our commercial paper team, along with outstanding dedication and agility from our manufacturing production team.

The strategic initiative to restart the previously idled machine, as well as a sheeter to convert the rolls into cartons of copy paper, is helping us maintain our leadership position in the North American uncoated freesheet paper market and deliver the service and quality our customers expect.

The A62 paper machine was idled in April 2020 — a difficult but necessary action taken to align our manufacturing network’s paper production capacity with reduced customer demand that was brought on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With offices, businesses and schools closed in a large part of our markets, we had to take the appropriate steps to optimize our operations and match our capacity to our reduced demand,” says Rob Melton, senior vice president, pulp and paper commercial.

Then, as the economy recovered from the pandemic, so did the demand for paper. Demand for uncoated freesheet paper increased four percent in 2021 compared to 2020, driven by increased retail activity, in-person store visits, reopened schools and employees returning to the office.

With the economy rebounding from the impacts of COVID-19, the decision was made to restart A62, adding back the paper production capacity necessary for us to meet increasing customer demand.

“Our customers’ business is steadily growing, and we’re fortunate to be able to support that growth by leveraging our asset base’s flexibility,” adds Melton.

But restarting a large uncoated freesheet paper machine isn’t as simple as plugging in your desktop printer or turning on a lamp. It’s a complex undertaking with, quite literally, a lot of moving parts. Restarting a machine such as A62 occurs over a period of months to gradually build the machine up to its current 24/7 run schedule.
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