Positive changes at Varkaus Mill

Published 28 April 2016
​Stora Enso’s Varkaus Mill in Finland is stepping into a new, dynamic era with the conversion of the paper machine to produce containerboard and the brand new LVL (laminated veneer lumber) line.

Varkaus is a town with a long industrial history. The area is perking up again with Stora Enso’s significant investments to Varkaus Mill.

During 2015, Stora Enso’s Varkaus Mill in Finland converted its fine paper machine to produce high quality virgin-fibre-based containerboard (kraftliner). Varkaus was an ideal mill for this kind of conversion. It had an integrated pulp mill, a power plant and a suitable paper machine. In addition, the mill is well located from a raw material supply point of view and it had the necessary infrastructure and competence to run the project successfully.

With the conversion, Stora Enso considerably strengthened its global offering to customers in containerboard. Sales can now be expanded to customers and end uses where strength, moisture resistance, purity and printability are important to the packaging solution. These end uses include, for example, fruit and vegetables, food packaging, retail and industrial heavy duty.

A new production line for wooden building elements

Stora Enso’s investments in Varkaus didn’t end there. The second investment was building a new production line for wooden building elements on the mill site. The investment is based on peeling technology which will further enhance Stora Enso’s position as a global provider of high quality engineered wooden elements. The new LVL products complement the existing product portfolio. The new production line will start up in June this year.

LVL, laminated veneer lumber, is made from multiple layers of thin (peeled) wood bonded together under heat and pressure, and it is dimensionally stable, homogeneous and stronger than steel when compared by weight. It is suitable for a wide range of construction purposes from residential housing to large industrial projects. It is typically used for I-joists, post and beams and scaffolding planks. Advanced applications can include roof trusses, building elements or even complex engineered structures.

More employment to the region

The investments in Varkaus will increase the demand for softwood raw material by about 1.3 million cubic metres. The heavy spruce log supply together with the increased pulpwood supply is well aligned with Varkaus area wood supply base. The wood is mainly supplied from local privately owned forests.

All in all, the renewed mill directly employs some 400 people and the estimated total employment impact for the Varkaus region is 1 600 FTEs.

Timeline of the Varkaus Mill renewal

4 June 2013. Stora Enso announced that the company has decided to do a feasibility study with the aim of converting Varkaus Mill fine paper machine to produce virgin-fibre-based containerboard.

24 April 2014. Stora Enso announced that the company will invest approximately EUR 110 million in the Varkaus Mill conversion.

4 February 2015. Stora Enso announced that the company will invest EUR 43 million in a new production line for wooden building elements located in Varkaus.

28 August 2015. The Varkaus Mill paper machine quieted down after pushing out the last roll of fine paper.

21 October 2015. The converted Varkaus Mill machine produced successfully its first tambour roll of containerboard.

Autumn 2015. Recruitments for the new LVL production line began.

29 April 2016. Inauguration of the renewed Varkaus Mill.

June 2016. The LVL production line will start up.

Early 2017. Full production of containerboard (krafliner) expected.

Varkaus Mill in figures:

Saw Mill white wood timber
260 000 m3

Pulp Mill unbleached kraft pulp
310 000 t/a

Paper Mill containerboard
390 000 t/a

100 000 m3/a (start-up in June 2016)
Personnel current LVL
350 (including Efora maintenance operations) 80
Wood Usage spruce, pine, birch
approx. 2.1 million m3 (after investments)

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