Gorham Paper and Tissue hopes to be making tissue paper next fall

GORHAM – The new tissue machine for Gorham Paper and Tissue has been purchased and company officials hope to have it operating by the end of September 2012.
“Our focus is to get this installed and running as quickly as possible,” said Dick Arnold, president of both Gorham Paper and Tissue and Old Town Fiber and Fuel. “It’s a real aggressive quick installation,” he added.
Arnold said the Italian company, ABK Italia, manufactured the 100-ton per day machine.  The estimated cost of the project is in the $35 million range.
Bancroft Construction Company of South Paris, Maine has been hired to install the machine and Arnold said site and demolition work is underway. He said Gorham Paper and Tissue is not allowed to start construction until it obtains an air permit from the N.H. Department of Environmental Services. Arnold said DES officials have indicated they are confident the permit will be issued in mid-December. The mill also needs a building permit from the town of Gorham.
The tissue machine will produce tissue paper, paper towels, and napkins but Arnold said the mill will focus on bath tissue sold on the private label market. He said the company is already talking to potential customers.
Tissue production is not new to the Gorham mill. Arnold noted they use to produce tissue on the old No. 10 machine before it was removed.
Arnold said the tissue machine will be a nice complement to the No. 9 towel machine, which produces towels for the away-from-home travel market. He said the towel market tends to be somewhat seasonal while tissue is designed for every day use. A variety of products selling in multiple markets, he noted, will help make the mill sustainable.
Adding the tissue machine will increase the demand for pulp, produced by Old Town Fiber and Fuel. Arnold said Old Town has the capacity to meet the increased demand as well as serve its other customers.  Both plants are owned by Patriarch Partners and Arnold said CEO Lynn Tilton likes to see vertical integration within her companies.
The company is already reaping the savings from converting its boiler from No.6 fuel oil to natural gas this fall.  Arnold said next spring he expects the gas line from the Androscoggin Valley Regional Refuse Disposal District Mount Carberry landfill will be installed and the mill will also burn its methane gas. He said the methane gas will be a nice addition to the mill’s efforts to be environmentally friendly.
Plant Manager Willis Blevins said the No. 9 towel machine is continuing to run steady and No. 4 is back up after a two-day shut down. Before the shutdown, he said No. 4 had run for 25 days.
Tilton yesterday was the keynote speaker at the New Hampshire Advanced Manufacturing and High Technology Summit in Manchester. She spoke on “How to Save American Manufacturing”.

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