LILA TAKES THE LEAD
Tissue at 2000 m/min has become a mill standard at Lila Kagit, Turkey. The young company started its first and only tissue machine on 7 November 2007. The 5.5 m Metso Advantage™DCT® machine reached 2000 m/min on 17.5 g/bath tissue earlier this year.
A new company, with no previous paper making experience has entered the tissue business and written a success story. “Success does not come automatically,” says Orhan Ögücü, Chairman of Marmara Group. “There are a number of well founded decisions and, not least, a skilled group of people on the site behind it.” Ögücü was speaking from his HQ office on the 23rd floor of the Marmara Group building with a marvellous view over Istanbul. Marmara Group was established more than 25 years ago focusing on textiles. In 2005 electric power generation was added to the group portfolio. Lila Kagit, a company in the demanding consumer business sector, came to the group in 2007.
“It was in 2004”, says Mr. Ögücü, “when the idea of expanding our business into hygiene papers had matured to the point that we decided to proceed to the next phase, the business plan. Our first choice of site location was our existing textile plant in Corlu. Here we have a large capacity of underground well water and good access to electricity. Since five years we generate our own power from natural gas and sell the surplus to the grid. It is another growing business. Starting with two engines, we now have nine, reaching a total of 75 MWh capacity.” Corlu is also strategically located for shipping goods to Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Coming new into this business it would seem natural to start on a small scale, with a 2.5 m wide machine. To begin with a wide machine for 5000+ tons of tissue per month requires a lot of faith as well as good organization. “The selection of machine width was depending on two main conditions,” Ögücü continues. “First, we had to be sure to get the rated production at expected top quality. Second, sales of jumbo rolls. Of course, the quality aspect of the first condition is linked to sale of jumbo rolls. High tissue quality and physically perfect rolls make us more competitive. The size of machine has a paramount impact in the business plan. Therefore we made contact with Metso already when commencing the plan work. Metso spent a lot of effort, not only in the technical matters but also others such as challenging and contributing to the business plan”. Metso Paper did eventually get the order for the machine. Now with two and a half years of operating experience, Ögücü comments: “For us, supplying a paper machine isn’t just about the 'scope of supply'. It is the idea that the supplier needs to know what to do before and after the project period, what to do in order for that mill to operate efficiently, at least for the next 10 years. It is only possible if the supplier thinks and acts as the customer. In this respect Metso has met our expectations.
“Haluk Arican, Metso’s representative in Istanbul, was instrumental in strengthening the bond with Metso even through difficult time. I might add that I, prior to deciding on entering into tissue, personally visited no fewer than 25 tissue operations, mainly in Europe, in order to establish my own idea of a successful tissue business. Several of the visited mills were very pleased operating machines from Metso.”
After an apparently very good start in the tissue business, what next for Lila Kagit? Ögücü breaks the news: “We have just signed the contract with Metso Paper for PM2! It is the same width and a mirror image of PM1. Selecting this option is not only due to the fact that it is easier and less costly to repeat what we have done before. Metso proved to put out an outstanding example and more is expected this time. Production rate on heavier basis weights is increased and for reaching the top machine speed we are not counting months, but days! Metso accepted this challenge.
“Our vision is to become the leading tissue and FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) supplier, not only limited to Turkey, but the whole Mediterranean region. We wish Metso to keep up the good performance and consistently raise the bar in order to be part of this vision.”
The Turkish tissue market has been growing steadily, even through turbulent economic times, since year 2000. The steady increase has attracted many investors to have a share either in tissue paper making or converting. The investments have propelled production to 300,000 tons/yr, by far the largest in the Middle East.
“Turkey has developed from a rather balanced tissue market to a big exporting country in the Mediterranean region,” says Ögücü. “It is now sure that over 200,000 tons/yr of capacity will be added in 2011- 2013. It will take at least five years for domestic consumption to absorb the new investments along with the installed capacity. Therefore, exports from Turkey will need to increase in double digit numbers to keep everyone busy.”
Murat Özgür, Production Manager, started to work for Lila Kagit in January 2008, a few months after the 7 November 2007 start-up of the Metso DCT tissue machine: “To bring PM1, our first tissue machine, to top production speeds is of course a big challenge, but there are also opportunities. The challenge is to quickly inherit experience and skills needed to operate a modern tissue machine at top notch production and quality levels. The opportunity on the other hand is that all the new people hired will not be pre-occupied with the experience of how difficult it used to be operating a tissue machine at high speeds! Investment in training has given results. We have been producing 17 g/m2 toilet several times at a speed level of 2000 m/min.”
In order to ensure that everyone, always, in the machine crew is well trained Lila Kagit periodically puts in an additional machine crew person just for training purpose. This is partly done in view of future expansion. “If and when”, Özgür says, “we add the next tissue machine, it will be much easier for us to staff the crews. Employing machine tenders from outside means that experience easy come but unfortunately could mean also easy go. In-house trained people from the local area have a tendency to want to stay local.”
Given that the machine is built, installed and enabled to operate at guaranteed speeds, what does it take in practice to reach this high level? “When you first reach 1800 m/min, you think, this is it! When you start climbing further you find that all the operating parameters must be at their optimal set points . . . At the same time! That is what makes 2000 m/min possible. Maintaining everything even, cross machine, is extremely important: BW-profile, felt moisture profile, clean wires, yankee coating and of course the performance of the yankee, the hood, and the reel. Monitoring and controlling the whole process is made through the Metso Automation system. It feels safe and convenient to have both the machine and the controls from the same supplier.
“In summarizing the answer to your question, I would say: good training and understanding of the process has made us bring the Metso machine up to the 2000 m/min. Level.”
On experience of the felt and wire life on a high performance machine like this, Özgür is very positive. “Normally a felt would run eight weeks but we have had felts running for 10, even 11 weeks. Wire life is also good. The last one was running for eight months - 240 days! Average life is about 4-5 months.” With the addition of the second big tissue machine at Corlu, Lila Kagit will be the leader, not only in speed performance but will also take No 1 place in Turkey by production capacity. The new machine will secure expansion of Lila’s own products as well as providing high quality tissue paper for export Orhan Ögücü, Chairman of Marmara Group of jumbo rolls.