Ahlstrom-Munksjö mill in Rhinelander to idle paper machine
Number of employees affected by ‘temporary’ move unknown
By Eileen Persike
RHINELANDER – Ahlstrom-Munksjö announced that it plans to stop running one of its paper machines in Rhinelander by the end of the year, and idle a rewinder and supercalendar by next summer.
The number of employees affected by what the company calls a temporary move to cease operations on No. 8 paper machine is currently unknown.
“In terms of the actual positions affected, this process really will be continuing through summer of next year,” said Addie Teeters, head of marketing communications and public affairs for Ahlstrom-Munksjö. “When we take a look at the analysis of just one machine, we do it to protect the overall strength of the plant itself.”
She noted the company is working actively with the local union “to make sure people are put in the best spots possible.”
There are currently four paper machines in the Rhinelander plant.
“In a very competitive marketplace, we must continue to provide cost-effective and innovative products, challenging our machine capabilities to generate optimum results,” said Robyn Buss, executive vice president of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s Food Packaging & Technical Solutions business area. “Our robust manufacturing platform is well-positioned for continued success. By utilizing several other machines in our regional system, we will provide our customers with the level of service required to meet their needs.”
No. 8 has a capacity of 14,000 tons per year. All of the grades that are currently being manufactured on that machine are, for the most part, cross-qualified, Teeters said.
“We’re a specialty paper maker, so we have multiple grades running on multiple systems across Wisconsin, so really it’s a matter of where can we run our grades in the most efficient and quality way possible,” she stated.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö employs approximately 500 people at the Rhinelander mill and has 1,800 workers across Wisconsin. The company makes products used in a variety of markets, including building and construction, food packaging, labels, technical and medical products.