Tissue World Magazine

(News from RISI) Resolute Forest Products will launch into the North American tissue market in 2017 behind a Valmet NTT Advantage machine, a new unit that is growing in interest globally because of its production diversity.

Resolute recently announced the order for its Calhoun, TN, mill, with machine startup in first quarter 2017.

It would be the third NTT Advantage in the North America/Mexico region. The first was started up last year by Fabrica de Papel San Francisco in Mexicali, Mexico. By yearend, von Drehle is to start up one in Natchez, MS.

Two others are planned by Chilean Forestal y Papelera Concepción and Abu Dhabi National Paper Mill, a Valmet official said.

The Advantage NTT makes both conventional- and premium-quality papers with virgin pulp or recovered paper furnish.

Resolute’s PM is to run on 100% virgin pulp including some integrated pulp made at Calhoun. The paper will be converted into premium-quality private-label consumer tissue products as part of a $270 million project. The Calhoun mill, formerly owned by Bowater, now makes newsprint and uncoated groundwood paper on three machines, and southern bleached hardwood market pulp. The mill is near Georgia’s border in the southeastern corner of Tennessee.

“The selection of the Advantage NTT tissue machine is in line with our promise to retailers to install equipment that will offer the highest quality and the differentiation they seek for their store brands,” said Resolute pres/CEO Richard Garneau in a release.

Premium and ultra product demand has increased significantly in the USA. A total of 70% of US bathroom tissue is now ultra and premium vs 50% in 2008. It’s the same with kitchen towels, with a 70% share last year for ultra-premium, according to the RISI Outlook for World Tissue Business Forecast.

The NTTs enter the US and Mexico market following the start of eight through-air-dried (TAD) and eTAD machines the last five years. Also, two Atmos machines started in North America since 2011.

The NTT and Atmos units are to offer lower-cost, higher-quality for softness that competes against TADs, which Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark pioneered in the early 1960s in the USA.

“The Advantage NTT machine is equipped with an engraved NTT belt that … gives a soft conventional tissue roll while a coarse NTT belt is used for top quality products with very high bulk,” according to Valmet. “The energy consumption is significantly lower compared to any other way of making tissue products, since it relies upon improved pressing to aid water removal.”