The Alkaline Paper Advocate

Volume 3, Number 4
Oct 1990

A Visit to a Hungarian Paper Mill

by Ellen McCrady

In Szolnok, a small town an hour or two by train from Budapest, there is a paper mill, me of ten mills in Hungary, that law been making alkaline paper since 1984. I was in Hungary for the Conference on Book and Paper Conservation, so I made a side trip to the Szolnok mill on September 10 after the conference, and was able to spend the afternoon with Märia Gröf, head of the Export Trade Department. She translated for me when I interviewed Päl Kovälcsik, the mill manager, and gave me a great deal of information herself. They gave me a mill tour of the new addition housing their big machine, which was down for routine maintenance.

This mill was the first in Hungary to make alkaline paper. It was only six months after they made the decision until they were making alkaline paper. Some of their personnel went to West Germany to learn, and a supplier, a Hercules subsidiary, helped. There was no problem with resistance to new ways of doing things; they knew about alkaline papermaking, and were ready to do it.

They had trials on their four small machines in the older part of the mill (which I did not see), but most of their production is on their new 4.5 meter Valmet twinwire machine, which usually runs at 700 meters per minute. It is 96 meters long, from the headbox to the winder. The stock temperature is 42°C in winter and 48°C in the summer. Their press section, which I understand they are very pleased with, has two suction rolls and one (two? my notes are not clear) granite roll. The whole operation has an Accu-Ray computerized control system.

Their white water system is nearly completely closed. They calculate that it takes only 20-25 m3 of water to make one ton of paper. They have no problem with retention. Annual capacity is 55,000 tons (225 tons/day). Most of their fiber is imported, from Russia and Poland, I think they said, and they do not use recycled fiber except for mill broke.

As filler they use UPGCC (60%. of which is < 2 microns). If I recall correctly, they have a fairly high filler loading.

I asked for a handful of their paper to take back with me. It is uncoated, and similar to the paper this newsletter is printed on, only not quite as opaque. The Szolnok papers must be high quality, because the mill sells to Xerox and Scientific American, but it is also expensive because too many management decisions and operations still have to go through Budapest. Central economic control has been gradually loosening for years, however, and Hungary is not in the economic crisis faced by so many other eastern European countries.

I asked what paper industry literature they saw, and they said Pulp & Paper International, Tappi Journal, and offprints of domestic and foreign literature, furnished on request by the publisher of a Hungarian-language abstracting service. I made a note to send them this Newsletter after I got back to the States.

The name of the mill in Hungarian is Szolnoki Papírgyár (pronounced SOLnokee paPEERjar, if I am not mistaken). "Gyar" means "mill." The address is H-5004 Szolnok Pf. 12, Hungary. Phone: (56) 33-311 and 30-723. Fax: 30-323. (Those telephone members actually belong to Märia Gröf.)

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