The QRT Paper Machine, developed by Valmet, is new technology capable of manufacturing both ultra-premium and premium tissue, towel, facial, and napkin paper at a lower manufacturing cost compared to traditional ultra-premium machines. This paper is an integral part of Orchids strategy to penetrate the ultra-premium tissue and towel market, which is growing at a rate of 3-5% compared to a 1% overall tissue market growth rate.
The machine will also provide flexibility to produce premium products which will give our retail customers more choices in product selection within the premium and ultra-premium product segments. The paper machine has started up in optimization mode and is expected to be producing at 70% of production capacity in the third quarter of 2017, 85% in Q4 and 100% by January 1, 2018.
This schedule will help Orchids satisfy the significant additional demand for the premium bath tissue and towel business from a major new customer. Shipments to that customer started as scheduled in June from both Pryor and Barnwell and full implementation of the sales to this customer are expected in July. In addition to helping satisfy this demand, the new machine allows Orchids to selectively target additional business, both private label and branded, in the ultra-premium sector of the paper market.
Jeff Schoen, Orchids Paper Products CEO, stated, “QRT technology is a quantum step forward in terms of quality, capacity, and opportunity for Orchids. The new paper machine provides the flexibility to manufacture the highest quality products at a competitive cost advantage, and increases our ability to diversify our business.”
A “Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony” celebrating the completion of the Barnwell facility will be conducted at 11 AM EDT on June 14 at Orchids Paper Products in Barnwell, South Carolina, with local officials attending.