Established in 1978, Gulf Paper Manufacturing was the first company to start manufacturing paper in the Gulf region in 1981. Owned by two families of Kuwaiti entrepreneurs, it operates three production lines at its Mina Abdullah paper mill in Kuwait: PM1 produces packaging grades, mainly Fluting medium, Test liner and white top liner, using 100% recycled paper; PM2 manufactures tissue from 100% virgin pulp; the third is a tissue converting line.
Its current capacity is 70,000 tons, with 70% of its packaging grades being destined for export to GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries and chiefly Saudi Arabia, and the domestic market accounting for approximately 30% of its business.
In December 2019, Toscotec completed a major rebuild of its PM1 dryer section. We asked Mr. Ghaleb Al Hadhrami, Gulf Paper Manufacturing Projects & Development Manager, to talk about what they achieved with this rebuild.
Will you please tell us about yourself and your work at Gulf Paper Manufacturing?
I graduated in Paper Technology Engineering in 1981. Two years later, I joined Gulf Paper Manufacturing as a production trainee. In the following years, I held several roles at Gulf Paper until I was promoted Production Manager in 1987. During the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, I worked as Production Engineer for Fine Group in Al Bardy Mill, Egypt and then in Nigeria for Bel Papyrus, which operated a Toscotec tissue machine. Finally, in May 1993 I went back to Gulf Paper as Production and Maintenance Manager. In 2003, the company purchased Ameer Paper Mill in Jebel Ali, Dubai. I managed this project as Project Manager first, then as Managing Director, in addition to my responsibilities at our Kuwait factory. Since 2016, I have been holding the position of Projects and Development Manager for both paper mills.
In 2019, Gulf Paper placed an order with Toscotec for a major rebuild of its PM1. What was the reason behind this investment? And why did you select Toscotec?
We had 4 main reasons to invest in this rebuild. First and foremost, we aimed to increase production. Secondly, we wanted to improve the quality of the fluting and test liner we were manufacturing. Thirdly, we wanted to reduce downtime and maintenance costs to a minimum. And finally, we wished to do a major upgrade of PM1 in order to equip it with state-of-the-art technology.
We chose Toscotec because they were the first paper machinery manufacturer to introduce steel dryers, and then steel Yankee dryers, on the market. They have installed TT SteelDryers all over the world and have successfully proven the advantages of this technology compared to cast iron cylinders. At present, they are the supplier with the most extensive experience in the design, manufacturing, operation and maintenance of steel dryers.
Why did you choose Toscotec as your turnkey supplier?
We chose Toscotec as turnkey supplier because of their good reputation in the market, high equipment quality, their commitment, competitive prices and strict project guarantees. I am extremely satisfied with the format of the turnkey supply. I would chose it again in the future and I would recommend Toscotec to my contacts in the paper industry.
Focusing on the project, what did you achieve with this rebuild?
First, in terms of time schedule, the machine downtime was implemented precisely according to the GANTT project timetable that Toscotec provided at the beginning. In the end, PM1 was started up ahead of schedule.
Second, in terms of our targets, within two months from start-up, the production increased by 15% and we expect to achieve an increase of over 20% within the next few months after removing the stock preparation bottlenecks we currently have.
Third, the dryer section efficiency we achieved with the new TT SteelDryers and the steam & condensate removal system is higher than we predicted.
Finally, we registered a significant improvement in product quality, particularly in the moisture and basis weight profiles, as well as the final hand feel.
Are you satisfied with the new silent drive configuration?
We are very satisfied with it! PM1 is now running very silently, without noise or vibration.
What about energy efficiency: did you achieve a reduction of your energy consumption?
Yes, after the rebuild, we witnessed a significant reduction of our energy consumption figures. In particular, we cut down the electric power consumption in the drives by 35% and the diesel consumption in the steam boilers by 15%.
How would you describe the cooperation with Toscotec?
Toscotec team proved to be highly skilled and very cooperative. They were very committed throughout the entire project and were able to take fast decisions and come back with responses to our problems. We felt they had a good understanding of our needs and factored those in effectively in planning and follow-up phases.
During the erection, the onsite team was very professional and hardworking. They ensured the completion of commissioning and start-up in time and up to our quality standards. Finally, after start-up, Toscotec supported us to achieve stable operations in a very short time.