SCA invests in the future
SCA Timber AB, one of the largest sawmilling companies in Europe, operates seven sawmills and six planing mills, as well as wood-processing units, distribution and wholesale operations in Sweden, with a total production of solid-wood products amounting to 1.8 million cubic metres.
The company’s state-of-the-art sawmills produce wood products from northern Swedish timber grown in its own forests, which are the size of Wales and certified to Forest Stewardship Council standards.
SCA Timber is a global consumer goods and paper company that develops, produces and markets personal care products, tissue, packaging solutions, publication papers and solid-wood products. With a total of 50,000 employees at the beginning of 2008, the company’s sales are conducted in over 90 countries and, by the end of 2007 its sales figures were a significant SEK 106 billion (approximately 11.4 billion euros). While Scandinavia, the UK and France are its main markets, SCA Timber’s ambitious environmental programmes have also ensured that its products are highly sought after in demanding markets such as Japan and the US.
On the 29 February 2008, SCA decided to invest SEK 210 million in a new automatic grading mill that will replace the two existing grading mills at one of its sawmills, Tunadal. Like every other investment in modern technology, this is expected to result in increased production and higher product quality. Sawmill manager, Jerry Larsson believes that this is an important and long-awaited investment for the plant and is a necessary step in its aim to develop Tunadal into a spruce sawmill that can compete with the best in Europe.
In the new automatic grading mill, the dried wood products will be graded using modern image analysis technology and acoustical strength sorting. These will then move from the grading mill to packaging or to further processing. With the aim to complete the investment by autumn 2009, it will result in reduced production costs, higher quality outcome and reduced waste. The new grading millwill have a capacity for handling a production of 750,000 cubic metres of sawn products, which will mean that the production will increase significantly from the current level of 332,000 cubic metres. “We have increased production and productivity at the Tunadal sawmill through a number of investment plans,” states Jerry. “We are taking a major an important step forward and it is highly necessary to invest in modern technology in order to keep up with the demands of the market. Unfortunately, every investment in technology will inevitably result in a downsizing in the number of jobs. This new grading mill will be in place in one and a half years’ time, so until then we will seek solutions to help those that will be affected.”
Not only a strong believer in ensuring its position as one of the largest sawmilling companies in Europe is retained by investing in modern technologies, SCA Timber also invests to meet the ongoing demands of the market as well as in complying and making a difference to environmental issues. As an example, ten million euros will be invested to increase the capacity for the production of pulp based on recovered paper at the paper mill in Laakirchen, Austria. Production will be raised from today’s level of 145,000 tonnes of de-linked pulp to 175,000 tonnes annually. As a result of this investment, the paper mill will reduce its energy consumption and its emissions of carbon dioxide, as well as its use of pulpwood.
“We have successfully launched an SCA paper grade, GraphoVerde, with high content of de-linked pulp,” says Mark Lunabba, mill manager at Laakirchen. “As a result of the favourable demand for this paper and our positive experiences of using a high proportion of recovered paper, we now need to increase our capacity for de-linked pulp. What’s more, we are also able to reduce our consumption of energy and wood, which have both increased sharply in price.”
Only four months into the new year, SCA has already experienced major changes and developments including the appointment of a new president of SCA Forest Products on 1 April 2008. Ulf Larsson, the new president states: “The responsibility for SCA’s forest industry business is a huge task. It is obvious to me, however, that we keep up well with the competition in all our businesses. We have great challenges, for example increasing energy and raw material costs, but we have also better conditions than most of our competitors when it comes to taking on these challenges.”
The vision for SCA Timber’s future is simple – to be as efficient and profitable as it can. It focuses very heavily on providing extremely efficient, low cost products and services, which matches its customers’ end markets. SCA Timber also aims to be the most profitable supplier of wood-based products and consumer-oriented wood products in the Nordic countries.
Products: Wood products
Sites: Seven sawmills & six planing mills
Employees: 50,000 (worldwide)