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Technology in Australia 1788-1988Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering
Table of Contents

Chapter 4

I Management Of Native Forests

II Plantations-high Productivity Resources

III Protecting The Resource

IV Harvesting The Resource

V Solid Wood And Its Processing

VI Minor Forest Products

VII Reconstituted Wood Products

VIII Pulp And Paper
i Early eucalypt pulping research and development
ii Eucalypt pulp production begins
iii Early commercial operation
iv The beginnings of pulp production from plantation pine
v Technological development and economic growth
vi 1975 and beyond

IX Export Woodchips

X Future Directions

XI Acknowledgements



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Technological development and economic growth (continued)

New pulping technology was also introduced by ANM and APM during the 1950s and 60s, in both cases stimulated in part by a need to utilize new wood resources. To enable regrowth eucalypts from its concession area to be used ANM developed a cold soda process (chips soaked in sodium hydroxide and then de-fibred in disc refiners) to make a high yield chemi-mechanical pulp which could be used with advantage as about 20 per cent of their newsprint furnish.[93] In a later development of the same principle regrowth billets were impregnated with sodium hydroxide under pressure and then de-fibred in the conventional groundwood plant.[94] ANM was not only the first company in the world to make newsprint using mainly hardwoods but also the first to use the cold soda process.

APM built neutral sulphite-chemical (NSSC) mills at Port Huon, Tas. in 1962 and Maryvale, Vic., in 1968, the former on the site of the Tasmanian Paper's 1928 Kermandie pilot plant. The NSSC process proved to be very suitable for the eucalypts, not only to make pulp for corrugating paper for the rapidly expanding fibre container market but also, when lower density regrowth eucalypts were used, to give a stronger pulp which could be used in many products to replace the lower yield and more costly eucalypt kraft.[95] The Port Huon mill shipped pulp to APM's Botany, NSW paper mill for which purpose APM developed a novel bulk handling system based on converting the pulp to small cylindrical pellets.[96] A third NSSC eucalypt pulp mill was established in 1967 by SCI at Brooklyn, Victoria.

From its earliest days APM had used wastepaper as a major component in many of the packaging grades which were its main products. Later Wiggins Teape and SCI also started to use it in significant amounts and by 1974 wastepaper represented about 35 per cent of the industry's fibrous raw material, fairly high by world standards. Because of its high short-fibred eucalypt pulp content, however, Australian wastepaper tended to drain slowly in the papermaking process and this often restricted production rate. Accordingly, when a new type of multi-ply paperboard machine (Inverform) with better drainage and speed performance than the conventional machines, was developed in the UK, APM was quick to install one, the third in the world. This started operation at APM's Petrie, Qld. mill in 1961 and enabled the capacity of the mill to be doubled. From their Petrie experience and subsequent research APM came to believe that a better product could be made if the liner ply of the paperboard were formed first on a fourdrinier wire and the subsequent plies then added by the upwards de-watering Inverform stations. APM specified this new and commercially untried configuration for a new small multi-purpose machine to be built at its Spearwood, WA mill. Installed in 1966, this innovation performed well enough to convince APM to order similar but much larger machines for its expanding Fairfield, Vic. and Botany, NSW mills. These were installed in 1967 and 1969 respectively and became APM's main wastepaper-based linerboard machines. APM's research, proceeding in parallel with this development during the 1960s and early 70s, gave rise to a number of improvements over the original Inverform system, particularly in the design of flow boxes and later, in the upward de-watering system. The latter was further developed by Beloit-Walmsley Ltd., UK, the manufacturer of the Inverform, under a licensing agreement with APM and resulted in the Bel-Bond former which is now widely used throughout the world.[97]

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Australian Newsprint Mills Ltd (A.N.M.); Australian Paper Manufacturers Ltd (A.P.M.); Australian Pulp and Paper Mills (A.P.P.M.); Smorgan Consolidated Industries Ltd (S.C.I.); Tasmanian Paper Pty Ltd

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© 1988 Print Edition page 239, Online Edition 2000
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher