Munksjo Paper S.A : “La Perla” becomes “El Diamante”. 50 years of decor paper experience at Munksjö Paper S.A., Tolosa/Spain.
In September 2014 Munksjo Paper S.A., Tolosa, Spain celebrates its 50th anniversary in decor paper production. 50 years of significant product and market development which was a good reason for Mr. Juan Antonio Navalpotro, Mill Manager at Munksjo Paper S.A., to reflect on the history and strengths of today’s high-tech decor paper production site.
In 1898, an electric power station was built on the site of the mill location in Spain but, the power station fell on hard times and the business went bankrupt. The site remained closed for several years until, in 1920, Mr. Ildefonso Calparsoro founded the mill with one paper machine that was 1.6 meters wide with only 10 dryer cans. At that time, the machine was bought in Navarra and transported by oxen. The first products produced were newsprint paper made with straw pulp. Later, the production switched to graphics papers for printing and writing. In 1959, Calparsoro installed a second paper machine. This was a Yankee Paper Machine allowing for production of thin papers.
First decor paper production
In 1964, the mill was contacted by Formica Corporation and through a close cooperation between both companies, the first decor paper grade was produced on the 21st of September. It was the “Cream FPC-320”. In 1967, after the signing of a technology agreement with Wiggings Teape, Papelera Calparsoro produced all grades of whites and color papers for High Pressure Laminates (HPL) and polyester applications. Overlay papers ranging from 35-50 gr/m2 were also produced during that time. In 1973, the Yankee machine was removed in order to install a new paper machine. This machine, now PM-12, had a width of 2.65 meters and was designed for Low Pressure Laminate (LPL) paper production. In 1983 Calparsoro International was established in the UK with the aim of selling the product in Asia through agents in India, China and Taiwan. In August 1997, a big renovation was carried out on PM-12 to improve quality, increase speed, and expand total capacity. Finally in 2008, the last important modification on PM-12 was performed to enhance smoothness for Print Base Papers (PBP) and to improve flexibility and yield.
In 1988, Munksjo, i.e. PWA at the time, bought Papelera Calparsoro, S.A. The mill is now called Munksjö Paper S.A. Today, 50 years after the first production of decor paper, this Spanish paper mill is part of Munksjö’s Business Area Decor. Mr. Navalpotro proudly says, “I think the once called ‘La Perla’ (the pearl) has become ‘El Diamante’ (the diamond) over the last years, as we have improved strongly in quality, flexibility, energy and water consumption, organization and costs. Furthermore, our production capacity has increased significantly. The mill is in an optimal position to produce high quality HPL, LPL and PBP. The efforts conducted in different areas have been reflected in the certifications obtained which are the ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 50001, EMAS and OHSAS 18001. The Spanish decor paper mill endorses socially and environmentally responsible forestry and holds corresponding certificates”.
Thanks to the investments and improvements done in the recent years, the mill operates at a very high technological level and is one of the most efficient mills in the global decor paper industry. The mill can operate with a high degree of flexibility and is capable of making long production runs and also small sized orders (below 1 ton). Munksjö Paper S.A. offers a full range of colors, including intensive colors with a high content of organic pigments. An additional strength of the Tolosa paper mill is the staff. It’s a very experienced team with an average age of 46 and an average seniority in the company of 22 years. This means a huge added value for the customers, who can rely on a very skilled and motivated team.
“Our policy is based on 3 key principles which are safety, quality and environment”, explains Mr. Navalpotro. “I have personally witnessed many changes in these 50 years, as I will soon be 44 years in the company. I have seen many specification changes and grammage reductions. In the early 70’s it was usual to produce paper grades between 180 and 200 gr/m2 for HPL and 90-100 gr for PBP. As a result of several economic crises during this period of time, some of our customers disappeared and new companies were also born. Color fashion has changed over the time and there has been a big step forward by using environmental friendly dyes and pigments. New technology applied in equipments as well as in measurement and control systems have developed incredibly and have enabled us to produce specific grades which were impossible to imagine 40 years ago.”
Mainly in the last couple of decades, the market shows a clear increasing trend in market growth. The decor market has become more efficient and new products have been developed in close partnership with Munksjo’s customers. An essential component of Munksjö’s strategy is to explore and service new emerging markets. Today, Tolosa is serving key players in the entire world market. “We are inspired by meaningful goals. Our actions we take every day are determined by delivering the right solutions to fulfill our customer’s requirements. We hope to share with you another 50 years to come.” concluded Mr. Navalpotro.
For more information contact Mrs Marion Abeln: