Norske Skog launches light weight stock

Norske Skog will officially launch its new catalogue and magazine paper, Vantage, today.

The announcement comes after the conversion of one of two newsprint machines at the Boyer Mill in Tasmania to produce Light Weight Coated (LWC) paper. The project, which took 18 months at a cost of $85 million, will enable the newly converted machine to produce 140,000 tonnes of LWC a year.

Customers including News Corp and Fairfax will be given a tour of the facility today, with an official opening scheduled for June 11.

“Vantage is the only locally produced LWC on the market and has already run successfully on a number of major printing presses,” said Norske Skog regional president, Andrew Leighton, who described the new grade as “world class”.

“It is a new and exciting product incorporating the latest advancements in paper making and coating technology.”

The launch has been eagerly awaited by local news publishers.

Fairfax Media printing chief Bob Lockley said it gave the company the opportunity to purchase these grades locally, rather than import them.  “It’s nice to hopefully be able to utilise products that are produced in Australia.”

Other key advantages were shorter lead times and lower holding costs, Mr Lockley said.

Both Fairfax and News Corp have long histories of partnership with Norske Skog, with the paper supplier securing renewed contracts with both publishers this year. Fairfax’s contract expires in 2020.

Mr Lockley said today’s event would be “a first-hand look at the operation.”

Mr Leighton congratulated the team at Boyer for “their painstaking work in converting an existing machine through the addition of state of the art new equipment.”

New coating, drying and calendaring equipment was added in the conversion process, along with the installation of a new winder and extensive building works, upgrades to existing equipment and process changes “to ensure the final product meets the high quality specifications and printing performance demanded by the Australian market.”

The project had been strongly supported by paper machinery supplier Metso, new on-site coating filler supplier Omya, design engineering partners Beca Amec and numerous local Tasmanian contractors and suppliers, Mr Leighton said.

According to Andrew McKean, Norkse Skog vice president sales, marketing and logistics, the Vantage project generated solid interest and support from local printers, publishers and retailers across Australia

“Having locally produced LWC means our customers will benefit from shorter lead times which in turn means lower inventory, less delays and greater flexibility,” he said.

“They can also deal direct with people who operate in the same time zone and they can access support as required from our skilled technical support team.

“Vantage is a great product in its own right and when combined with all the local benefits we believe it’s going to be a real winner.”

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