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The extension of production capacity at the Norske Skog Paper Mill in Albury, New South Wales, Australia, makes great demands on logistics solutions

In July, Norske Skog, one of the world leading manufacturers of newsprint paper, took delivery of two Kalmar DCE75-6HE forklift trucks at its paper mill in Albury, New South Wales, Australia. The trucks, all made to the same specifications, have a lifting capacity of 3,600kgs and are fitted with the Kalmar hydrostatic drive system and a Legacy Twinhead vacuum suction lift attachment.

Norske Skog made the order when plans to increase production of 50,000 tonnes were put into operation. Presently the mill produces 215,000 tonnes of newsprint annually, a figure that is expected to rise by 20% when the extension is completed. This increase caused Norske Skog to reconsider its logistics operations at the mill and led to the acquisition of the forklift trucks.

Peter Tolsher, a warehouse operator at the mill in Albury, comments on Norske Skog design specifications:

"We were looking for real ‘work horses’- machines that would be able to cope in a tough handling environment, while at the same time providing excellent working conditions, such as a superior driver environment encompassing good visibility.

"The work is intense, with approx. 640 tonnes of paper being moved in and out each day, so it is of the utmost importance that the drivers’ working conditions are of an optimum standard to ensure that a good and safe job is carried out."

The newsprint paper is made up of 40% recycled fibre and 60% plantation pine. It is essential that the rolls are handled very carefully and without being damaged. Norske Skog and Kalmar solution was to equip the forklifts with Legacy Twinhead vacuum suction lift attachments, which have been designed to avoid clamp damage to the paper rolls. The attachment, able to lift two paper rolls weighing approximately 1,500kg simultaneously, is to be positioned on the standing rolls, while the vacuum is built to suck and lift the rolls for further transportation in the warehouse. Both incorporate an automatic vertical mast function, which holds the rolls in a vertical position. This minimises the risk of damage to the end of the rolls when placing them on the floor, onto truck flats or when they are stacked.

The forklifts operate a Perkins diesel engine with particle filter to adhere to environmental standards and the Spirit Delta cabin has an EEC standard air conditioning system, to suit Australian climate conditions. To achieve the best driving performance the forklifts are equipped with Kalmar patented electronic monitoring program, KCS.

Before the trucks were shipped to Australia, Mr Tolsher visited the Kalmar factory in Ljungby, Sweden, with fellow warehouse operator Wayne Bryce to perform a thorough final check and test drive:

"We were more than satisfied with the comfort and accessibility of the forklifts. Kalmar adapts its machines to meet client requirements making each product individual and unique.

"The factory visit proved to be vital. It was necessary to fully understand all the advanced functions and details of the machines before being able to operate them at full capacity. It gave us the possibility to learn, check and test all the functions and initiate any final adjustments that were necessary. It is an excellent advantage to have everything integrated and in full working order when the forklifts are delivered."

Bryan Murphy, Warehouse Team Leader, Norske Skog and Kalmar Forklift Sales Manager, Prem Nath, considered the existing and future logistical needs of the mill to provide a legitimate forklift specification. Only when Mr Nath was fully satisfied that he was able to meet the customer wishes did he present the solution:

"Our objective is to make life easier for the customer. They are experts in their own profession – in their customers’ eyes they are producers and distributors of high-quality newsprint. With this in mind it was my job to find the optimum materials handling solution to suit their operation.

"Kalmar has a lot of experience in the paper handling industry and is able to meet the exact requirements of the customer, while meeting their budget. We provide them with the best outcome for each dollar spent."

Norske Skog in Australasia

Norske Skog has three paper mills in Australasia: the Albury and the Boyer mills in Australia and the Tasman in New Zealand. Together, these paper mills have an annual capacity of more than 880,000 tonnes of newsprint and related grades of paper, with sales worth around one billion Australian dollars.
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