They went into an exciting world where technology, and how you foster it, plays a significant role for the characteristics of the paper produced. Their dream was to produce tissue paper soft as silk, reaching the threshold of TSA 100, a holy grail
in tissue business and normally only accessible with TAD technology.
Chile has a population of 17 million people and the average tissue consumption is 10 kg/person a year. The market is dominated by a few big players providing tissue converted to all types of consumer and Away from Home products. With this in mind, it was never an option for FPC to compete in the plain paper tissue market. Neither was it realistic to go to the other end of the scale and start production of structured tissue using the TAD process, due to the expensive energy cost in Chile. They had to do something different.
“At that time we were planning to enter the tissue business, Valmet was releasing the Advantage NTT technology. It was said to provide a textured tissue paper with characteristics close to TAD paper but with significantly lower energy consumption.
We got very interested, or to be honest, excited about it. The NTT technology was just what we were looking for, giving us the opportunity to produce something out of the landscape bringing a competitive advantage for us and our customers” says Eduardo Izquierdo, Director, FPC. The main reason why FPC selected the NTT technology was the opportunity to deliver premium paper to customers who didn’t have access to TAD paper. Giving them a competitive advantage to develop premium brands in a sustainable way. “As soon as the tissue converters realized the magnificence of the NTT paper they went into the boat with us. Now we are working with 15 different customers worldwide. We produce plain and textured tissue, mainly shifting between three belts. Plain belt for toilet and kitchen towel, fine for super soft toilet paper and coarse belt for bulky kitchen towel and super strong towel for the Away from Home market”.
It’s NTT paper – Don’t destroy it!
The company’s strategy was initially to only focus on production of jumbo rolls for the export market. But soon they decided to build a converting facility and develop their own brand. The idea was never to compete with their customers but to assist them better. The converting line gave the opportunity to fully understand how to treat the paper and utilize its properties in the very best way. Knowledge which they now transfer to their customers.
“You can’t treat textured NTT paper as plain paper nor a tough paper – it’s NTT paper. You must take care of the characteristics created in the tissue machine. We found that micro-embossing can be a paper destroyer. Now we know how to make the paper flourish in converting and take full advantage of the bulk and softness”.
Soft as silk
The FPC team have worked hard to tweak the machine and fine-tune all parameters to produce the softest paper with greatest hand feel. And the work paid off. “My dream was to, someday within years to come, produce a tissue paper with a softness of 100 TSA. That threshold is like the holy grail for us tissue producers. But I had never imagined we could do it already after six months. That’s really incredible”.
Eduardo Izquierdo is satisfied with the cooperation with Valmet. “The experience with the team has been very good, both with the people involved in the project and the support from the technology center in Karlstad.
They are very professional and friendly and have been instrumental to achieve the good running conditions and the high product quality”.
Just scratching the surface
“We are delighted with the capability of the NTT machine and it makes me excited to know that we are just scratching the surface of what the NTT technology can do. We will continue to work with the Valmet team and other suppliers to find out how to optimize the technology. To benefit from the great pulp, we have in Chile, how we refine it, what blends we use and how we set the parameters to maintain a stable production of top notch products for our customers”. Today the demand for FPC’s products are increasing and the production is split between 20% converted products for the Chilean market and 80% jumbo rolls for export to Europe, USA and South America. Swan and Mi Hogar are their own brand are appreciated by the Chilean women, who are their main target group in consumer market. It’s women who go to the supermarket and make the final decision, and they seem to like it.
“The NTT technology has really raised the standard in the Chilean market. The consumers are demanding higher quality so from now on the premium paper in Chile has to be textured”.
Leading technologies and expertise for maximum utilization of the complete tissue mill