The Papresa Paper Mill in northern Spain produces newsprint paper and packaging paper from recycled paper. Mainly supplying newspaper publishers, together with other commercial printing, Papresa’s production capacity of 375,000 tons of paper is delivered by three paper machines and two de-inking plants. Following the firm’s recent acquisition by Quantum Group, and as part of the new owner’s industrial diversification plan – a response to the global decline in newsprint – the mill will now be producing new products such as cardboard packaging paper. This strategy responds to the growing demand for packaging as a result of the growth in e-commerce. This new plan will secure the future of the mill, the eighth-largest paper producer in Spain, and its 243 employees.
Successful implementation of the new strategy was going to rely on the use of technology to automate processes and facilitate more effective forward-planning and decision making. Most of the planning and trim processes were being carried out manually using Microsoft Excel, and, while this approach had been satisfactory for the production of a range of newspaper print reels, the firm was about to invest in both new and existing equipment and wanted to maximise productivity.
The investment in new equipment would include increasing production capabilities with a full rebuild of one paper machine scheduled for spring 2022, and a new OCC Plant to cover the requirements of raw material by the production increase. To accommodate the period of time when this machine was unavailable, and in advance of the completion of the rebuilding work, the factory needed to find ways to operate more efficiently in advance of work starting. Building automation to the planning processes was seen as a potential solution that would also be able to increase the visibility of future planning decisions.
Papresa’s USP is its ability to maintain a flexible production strategy to meet customer delivery dates. This meant that the solution needed to be able to measure production and switch over costs while ensuring every delivery date is achieved.
Greycon Ltd, experts in planning, scheduling, trimming and MES software, proposed their opt-Studio and X-Trim solutions to Papresa to help meet their goals. The trim optimisation tool reduces waste and improves machine efficiency while reacting to customer requirements by prioritising urgent orders without missing deadlines for other production throughput.
This is a powerful combination of tools that automates production to optimise trim processes and consequently deliver much-improved dispatch times. The solution facilitates daily production planning while identifying any conflicts in production capacities and capabilities at the same time as providing the commercial and logistics department with information about production plans, order delays and any backlogs.
Papresa’s investment in opt-Studio and X-Trim means they now have access to the most efficient planning tools in advance of the planned infrastructure upgrade, ensuring the business is well-positioned to maximise Quantum’s investments in the future of the mill. The project was proposed with an aggressive timeline of 4 months, including the systems live integration with their existing Navision installation. With that, Papresa could achieve an early ROI, and have already planned six days of trim sheets across two slitting machines. This could not have been achieved without excellent synergies between the teams at Papresa and Greycon.
“opt-Studio has allowed us to transform our production planning system, reducing the workload by automating the optimization of materials, reducing product in process, significantly reducing waste, and helping improve our competitiveness and profits” states Miguel Ángel Sánchez García, Papresa CEO. “I highly recommend its application as a powerful tool for productivity. We are very happy with the support and professionalism throughout the project, which was delivered impeccably and within the time constraints that we set. We are looking forward to a fruitful partnership with Greycon as we continue to upgrade our technologies.”