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International Paper Co. spends millions on mill maintenance

International Paper Co. spends millions on mill maintenance
International Paper Co. spends millions on mill maintenance

International Paper Co., the largest paper company in the world, recently announced it plans to spend millions to upgrade its mills throughout the U.S., including its facility in Pine Hill, Alabama, the Mobile Press-Register reports.

According to the news provider, the major renovations will take place at four different mills spread throughout the country, and the scheduled maintenance is expected to begin within the next month. The company, based in Memphis, Tennessee, said the project will include performing preventative maintenance, fixing serious issues with equipment and overhauling and replacing other assets at its mills in Eastover, South Carolina, Augusta, Georgia, Cantonment, Florida and the Pine Hill plant, which makes containerboard in Wilcox County.

International Paper spokeswoman Susan Poole stated that the maintenance activity at the Pine Hill facility will be a mix of routine maintenance and inspection as well as the repair of large equipment and machinery, according to the news source.

"This is a standard business operation," Poole said of the downtime the company is expecting during the maintenance. "These outages happen throughout the organization on a regular basis."

The final price tag for the Pine Hill mill has been pegged to be about $27 million. Poole added that the bulk of these funds will be used to bring in outside contractors and suppliers. Maintenance at the remaining three facilities will include repairing paper machines, pulp and stock pressing equipment and boilers, the company said in statement.

The maintenance activity will lead to slight downtime at all four facilities. The company employs about 382 people at its Pine Hill plant, about 120 at its box-making plant in Bay Minette and another 450 workers at one of its containerboard and paper mills in north Florida.

While maintenance is a crucial part of keeping operations running smoothly, asset downtime can be minimized if the correct programs are in place. Industrial facilities managers can use a new generation of diagnostic equipment and software to forecast when repairs are needed, and how to perform these improvements in a way that complies with federal regulations. 

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