Spain’s leading corrugated packaging company Sociedad Anónima Industrias Celulosa Aragonesa (SAICA) opened a state-of-the-art recycled containerboard paper mill in Manchester, UK, in April 2013.

SAICA invested approximately £300m in the new facility. About 450,000t of lightweight 100% recycled paper is manufactured at the plant for use in corrugated packaging. Construction of the new plant generated 200 jobs.

History of new SAICA recycling plant

SAICA had announced construction of the new plant in 2008 after receiving permission for the plant from the Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council’s planning department. SLR Consulting, an independent international environmental consultancy, managed the planning application and a full environmental assessment for the new plant.

In April 2009, SAICA announced that the construction of the plant had been delayed due to global economic downturn. Due to the delay, SAICA focussed on reducing capital costs on the project, and also on bargaining with suppliers for the investment. SAICA resumed construction of the new plant in the first quarter of 2010.

In April 2009, the company bought a 250-year lease on a disused site Partington Wharfside for constructing the new plant. The site is spread across an area of roughly 39 acres and is bordered by the Manchester Ship Canal and the A6144 Manchester Road, which directly links to the M60.

SAICA purchased the land from Peel Environmental, which is part of the Peel Group, a collection of property and transport companies based in Manchester. The new plant is strategically located near the north-west and north-east suburbs from where most of the raw material for the new plant is sourced. It is also well-positioned near a motorway network for distribution of the finished products to consumers.

SAICA acquired Wiltshire-based waste management company Futur and Cutts Recycling to secure supply tonnage for the new mill.

"The new plant is the most advanced, fully-integrated facility in the UK."

The new plant is the most advanced, fully integrated facility in the UK. It uses state-of-the-art technologies to ensure highest safety and environmental performance standards.

Water needed for the plant is drawn from the adjacent Manchester Ship Canal and recycled onsite using an advanced effluent treatment plant.

A dedicated combined heat and power plant supplies the energy for the plant. Surplus power generated by the plant is supplied to the national grid.

Equipment at SAICA‘s recycled paper plant

The new plant is equipped with SAICA’s Paper Machine 11, a 7.5m-wide paper machine. The machine is capable of operating at speeds of up to 1,500m/min. The lightweight board produced by the machine is in the 75g/m²-125g/m² basis weight range.

Contractors

The design and engineering contract for the plant was awarded to Finland-based PÖYRY in February 2010. The $4.4m contract involved the completion of the plant, paper mill design and stock preparation.

In January 2011, SAICA and Metso signed a multi-year agreement under which Metso is responsible for the maintenance operations of the mill, power stations, paper production facilities and the water treatment plant. Metso also provided the containerboard production line for the plant.

Konecranes installed nine cranes and two lifting beams at the new facility in February 2011. In April 2011, Harry Peers Steelwork was awarded a £2.5m contract to carry out steelworks at the plant. Harry Peers was also responsible for the design, fabrication and erection of the production buildings and supply of pipe supports and other plant support and frames.

Financing

In January 2011, SAICA secured a €250m loan from the European Investment Bank (EIB). SAICA used part of the funds for the construction of the new facility.

Benefits

The new plant has been built at a time when processing capacity in the UK needs a boost. The amount of recovered paper is increasing steadily but the capacity to process it has been limited due to global recession.

"In April 2009, the company bought a 250-year lease on a disused site Partington Wharfside for constructing the new plant."

Construction of the new plant increased the recycling capacity in the UK, as well as reduce 450,000t/y of used paper that is exported from the UK for recycling.

The quantity of container board imported from the EU has also decreased. As a result, the overall carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions associated with exports and imports have declined.

In addition, the combined heat and power plant and the effluent treatment plant installed at the new mill help in reducing the environmental footprint of the UK paper industry.

The project received extensive public support and was also endorsed by local politicians. It also triggered other investments in the region. The North West Development Agency (NWDA) helped in improving the A6144 Manchester Road. NWDA provided financial support to the Trafford Metropolitan Borough Council to upgrade the Manchester Road/Flixton Road junction on the A6144. The modifications eased traffic flow on the route.