Friday, 09 October 2020 08:12

Global tissue manufacturer Sofidel opens its second greenfield plant in the US

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Sofidel, a leading global manufacturer of tissue paper for hygienic and domestic use, has just announced the formal opening of its second greenfield plant in the United States, signaling a significant expansion by the company in response to consumer demand.

  • State-of-the art, $360 million facility in Oklahoma can produce 120,000 tons of paper annually

The 1.8 million-square-foot production plant is fully operational in Inola, Okla., leveraging one of the United States’ most recently built paper manufacturing facilities, equipped with state-of-the art technology.

The $360 million technologically and environmentally advanced plant is Sofidel’s second greenfield investment in the U.S.. An integrated facility, with its paper mill that transforms pulp into paper and the converting plant that makes the finished product, it can turn out 120,000 tons of tissue annually.

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Powered by its production capacity and safety measures in place, Sofidel has been a vital link this year in the nation’s supply chain, producing tissue for hygienic and domestic use in high demand because of the novel coronavirus.

“The U.S. market is fundamental for the growth of the Sofidel Group and the new plant, enabling an enhanced production capacity and a further improvement of the geographical coverage, strengthens our position and creates the conditions for further growth,” said Luigi Lazzareschi, CEO of the Sofidel Group. “This is an important step, of which we are proud, all the more so in light of the results achieved in the first half of 2020 which improve last year’s already good performances.”

The Oklahoma manufacturing plant, strategically located about 30 miles east of Tulsa, is among the biggest in the state and stands apart from the rest in the industry with its automated machinery. It produces tissue, paper towels, toilet paper and napkins, mostly for large commercial retailers.

Spread over 240 acres within an industrial park, it employs more than 300 people. The site, which has easy access to highways, air, rail and other key infrastructure, allows capacity to be doubled in a second operational phase that would increase the expected job total to 600.

“Our talent and teams are focused on working directly with customers, determined to reduce system waste, ensure sustainability and bring immediate shared value to stakeholders,” said Jose Zarandona, Sofidel America site operations manager. 

The integrated plant features two AHEAD-2.0L paper mill machines, manufactured by Toscotec, and 14 converting lines. Advanced reeling technology that preserves the product’s softness while ensuring uniform sheet separation from start to finish of every roll.

Sustainability and energy efficiency are key components at the facility, including conical refiners to minimize the energy consumed in the fiber-refining process and pumping systems featuring dry seals that allow the use of recycled water.

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In addition, the plant has adapted techniques from the food and beverage industry to improve logistics. An automated system transfers finished goods from the converting lines to the warehouse, using laser guided vehicles (LGVs).

Sofidel began the Inola construction in 2018, a project known as greenfield for having an international company establish a new business, building its operations from the ground up. The company opened its first U.S. greenfield plant in 2018 in Circleville, Ohio.

The Oklahoma plant primarily will serve the south-central and central-western United States, a market where Sofidel has had a presence since 2012 and where it has grown rapidly, year after year. Locally, it has partnered with the Cherokee Nation, Muscogee (Creek) Nation and the Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology to attract and recruit job candidates. 

The Sofidel Group 

The Sofidel Group is one of the leading manufacturers of paper for hygienic and domestic use worldwide. Established in 1966, the Group has subsidiaries in 12 countries – Italy, Spain, the UK, France, Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Poland, Hungary, Greece, Romania and the USA – with more than 6,000 employees, net sales of 1,919 million Euros (2019) and a production capacity of over one million tonnes per year (1,308,000 tonnes in 2019). “Regina”, its most well-known brand, is present on almost all the reference markets. Other brands include: Softis, Le Trèfle, Sopalin, Thirst Pockets, KittenSoft, Nalys, Cosynel, Lycke, Nicky, Papernet. A member of the UN Global Compact and the international WWF Climate Savers programme, the Sofidel Group considers sustainability a strategic factor with regards to growth and is committed to reducing its impact on natural capital and maximising social benefits, setting as objective the creation of shared added value for all stakeholders. Sofidel’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets to 2030 have been approved by the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) as consistent with reductions required to keep warming to well-below 2°C, in line with the goals of the Paris Agreement.            

Sofidel America 

Sofidel America is a subsidiary of the Sofidel Group. It was established in 2012 through the acquisition of the Cellynne tissue company, which was founded in 1988 with one integrated plant in Haines City, Fla., and converting plants in Green Bay, Wis., and another in Henderson, Nev., that was moved to Las Vegas. Besides those three, Sofidel is active in four other states – Inola, Okla.; Hattiesburg, Miss.; Circleville, Ohio; and Horsham, Pa., where the company has its U.S. headquarters. 

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