Copamex to add Voith stock prep system

Copamex to add Voith stock prep system

New equipment will be part of Mexican mill’s switch to containerboard production.


Voith Paper North America has reached an agreement with Mexico-based paper company Copamex for the installation of a stock preparation system at the Copamex mill in Anáhuac, México. The mill is being converted from making printing and writing (P&W) paper to making containerboard and packaging.

With the new system, the company can use a variety of raw material including old corrugated containers (OCC) and mixed paper. Voith estimates the mill will be able to handle up to 60 percent mixed paper in its raw material furnish.

“There are considerable differences between the mixed and sorted office paper (MOW and SOW grades) that they (Copamex) are currently using,” says Michael Hmielewski, Voith Paper North America’s vice president of project sales, stock preparation. “Plus, many of the grades use a blend of bleached virgin kraft bales.”

The mixed paper grade can contain a high degree of prohibitive and outthrow material, which makes it more difficult to handle on the front end of the system, says Hmielewski. Inks and ash no longer will be as much of a concern as they are with MOW and SOW furnishes, he adds.

“By partnering with Voith, we’re working with the company that has the most knowledge in processing highly contaminated furnish, and this will assist us with successfully launching our growth in the containerboard and packaging markets in México,” says Alonso González, CEO of Copamex. “The Voith team consistently understands the needs of our projects and customizes our stock preparation systems accordingly.”

Voith and MERI Environmental Solutions (a Voith company) say they will provide Copamex with all the elements of the stock preparation system, including bale handling with automatic wire cutting, reject compactors, sludge handling, water clarification and effluent treatment.

When the new stock preparation system starts up in early 2019, the mill will be able to produce 260,000 metric tons of testliner and corrugated medium per year for use in containerboard production.

While several mills in the United States and Canada have undergone conversions from P&W to containerboard products, Hmielewski says the Copamex project is one of the first in that country to undergo the transition. He predicts the success of Copamex could start a trend in Mexico, causing more companies to follow suit.