Our Production Processes

Industrial Management

In 2017, Fibria produced 5.6 million tons of pulp at its three plants in Aracruz (Espírito Santo state), Jacareí (São Paulo state), and Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state). This volume also takes into account the Veracel (Bahia state) production of 1.1 million tons, half of which (551,000 tons) belongs to Fibria. Veracel is a joint venture between Fibria and Stora Enso.

In August, the second line of the Três Lagoas plant began operation. The investment of BRL 7.3 billion turns this plant into the world’s largest pulp mill and increased Fibria’s total production capacity from 5.3 million tons/year to 7.25 million tons/year.

Since the beginning of the project, in May 2015, the project – called “Horizonte 2” – has stood out for the anticipated delivery of the second line below the initial budget. This performance was a result of detailed and careful planning, strong discipline in execution, and the close relationship with suppliers and service providers, which allowed us to overcome the unforeseen difficulties inherent to a project of this size without negative impacts on costs or schedule.

Likewise, we carried out the Horizonte 2 project with high safety indices – zero fatalities, and accident rates below the best international standards – and no record of labor disputes. We can also affirm that initiatives developed by Fibria, in partnership with the community, local entities and authorities, have minimized the negative social and environmental impacts caused by large construction works. More than that, they leave a positive legacy for Três Lagoas and its surroundings.

Better than expected

When it entered into operations on August 23, 2017, the second line of Três Lagoas was three weeks ahead of the announced schedule (which already meant progress in company benchmarks and the pulp industry). Since then, the new mill has been meeting all initial performance forecasts – the so-called learning curve of a new facility – with indices of production, quality, chemical consumption, and energy generation higher than expected.

At the end of 2017, pulp production in the new Três Lagoas line had already reached

88% of the goal

expected to be reached by May 2018.

This initial performance above the curve resulted in a volume produced of

559,000 tons,

17% higher than the production estimated for 2017.

To achieve this performance, some conditions were crucial. For example, the final commissioning phase, when the newly installed equipment and machines are put into operation and tested for perfect integration, was entirely carried out without skipping stages as a result of any past delays.

In addition, professionals with great experience and knowledge were brought to Três Lagoas, adding their experience to the teams formed for the new operation. This mix between employees from Aracruz (Espírito Santo state) and Jacareí (São Paulo state) and the senior partners of the suppliers reinforced both the training of the newly hired team and the technical development of the people called in from the other units. Thus, the venture has become a company-wide project, not just of a single unit.

Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state).
Photo: Marcio Schimming

Catching up, with no loss

Even the most careful planning and disciplined execution is subject to certain unforeseeable events. The second line of Três Lagoas contributed with some examples. In one of them, a plate-fin heat exchanger – a piece of equipment of approximately 80 tons, an integral part of Evaporation – dropped as it was being hoisted and had to be replaced. When the new equipment was ordered from the manufacturer in Hungary, it was necessary to bring it over by plane and redesign its assembly sequence, without compromising the final schedule. In addition, exhausting meetings and negotiations were carried out for the outcome to be positive.

In another case, the installation of the recovery boiler for the new line – central equipment in a pulp mill – began to delay and threaten the project’s start date. In order to find solutions and solve the problem, Fibria, the supplier, and the company responsible for the assembly revised the plan, reinforced the monitoring and management teams, and began holding daily meetings to monitor the activities. The delay was reversed after months of intense work, where each advance was measured in great detail.

BACK ON TRACK

The year 2017 was marked not only by the start of operations of the new pulp line, but also by the recovery of the stability of the industrial operations at the three Fibria units. This index, which indicates a plant’s ability to maintain a steady performance pace without peaks and valleys in production volumes, had suffered a small drop. In 2017, a substantial rise was recorded, signaling a return to the levels of operational stability historically maintained by the company.

Such stability helps to achieve production goals within estimated costs, favor lower emission of pollutants, and reduce operational and safety risks. In order to reach a positive operational stability result in 2017, members of the staff were relocated among the three plants and their various teams. In addition, the leadership intensified the follow-up of the field operations, as a way of keeping alive Fibria’s commitment to operational excellence.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY AND WASTE

Using less fuel is great for both the company and the planet. Generating less waste is in line with Fibria’s long-term goal of reducing by 91% the disposal of solid waste in industrial or third-party landfills by 2025. One project alone, which began in October 2017 at the Jacareí unit in São Paulo, allows for both reductions: drying biological sludge, a waste stream from the pulp production process, and using the resulting dry sludge as fuel in the unit’s biomass boiler, for the company’s generation of its own electricity.

It is estimated that the project will have the capacity to convert nearly 4,200 tons of biological sludge – which will no longer be sent to an outsourced landfill – into 800 tons of dry sludge every month, which will be burned in the biomass boiler. The gain is two-fold. The high cost – around BRL 390,000 per month – is eliminated, as well as the environmental impact of the landfill and emissions of methane, another greenhouse gas, much more powerful than CO2, while the unit gains a new source of fuel, with an investment of BRL 25 million.

The biological sludge dryer installed in the Jacareí unit is the largest of its kind in the world and the first to be used in the pulp and paper industry in Brazil; two similar pieces of equipment are in use in Europe at municipal effluent treatment facilities.

In Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso do Sul state), a similar strategy has a different execution. Nearly 2,500 t/month of the biological sludge generated in the treatment of effluents from the production lines are also used as fuel in the biomass boiler. At this plant, however, the waste does not need to be dried beforehand: since it is a next generation boiler, sludge can be burned in its original state, with a higher water content.

The use of biological sludge as fuel will provide a major boost toward Fibria’s long-term goal. To this end, we are working to reduce the generation of 60.7 kg of waste per ton of pulp produced (base year 2011) to 5 kg of waste per ton of pulp produced by 2025, by reducing disposal of solid waste in its own industrial landfill or in those of third parties in all industrial units.

The benefits of these initiatives are:

  • Reduction of impacts and risks from industrial landfills;
  • Increased eco-efficiency in the company’s production processes;
  • Reduction of costs to eliminate waste and replace supplies.

Solid industrial waste reused

In 2017, we recycled 7,400 tons of lime sludge more than in 2016. We also developed a customer in the area of ceramics, who began to purchase our lime sludge.

Additionally, we generated an additional 4,800 tons of sand in the boilers in 2017. This waste was fully recycled, generating an increase in the volume of recycling when compared with 2016.

Another number that complements the increase in recycling, compared with 2016 has to do with the sales of rejects (white and brown). These are fibrous rejects that in a given moment are originated in the process, one in the sieves of the digester (brown reject) and the other in the drying process while passing through the fiber filter (white reject). These fibers are sold to paper mills to be used to produce less refined paper. Last year, we sold 753 tons more than in 2016.

All factors considered, Fibria has an energy matrix based on renewable natural resources: 95% of energy consumed comes from wood and black liquor (a by-product of pulp production) and 4% to 5% comes from natural gas, less carbon-intensive than oil. These figures result in an energy matrix that ranges from 93% to 95% of renewable natural resources. An Energy Efficiency Committee generates the company’s portfolio of projects of gains in energy efficiency and manages learning and the sharing of best practices between the units.

OTHER PROGRAMS

(of waste reduction and/or energy efficiency)

+ at Jacareí: improvements in the processes and operation of two recovery boilers, one biomass boiler and three steam turbines, with a gain of 7.5 megawatts/hour in energy efficiency; this program is being replicated, where technically feasible, in Aracruz and Três Lagoas.

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX (EPI)

All available data on Fibria’s environmental performance are expressed through the EPI – a tool that takes into account 70 measurement and control parameters, such as water and waste, broken down into three categories: management, control, and prevention.

At Fibria, the variation of the EPI is part of the variable remuneration criteria of the entire managerial and operational level of the company’s industrial area – still an uncommon step in other mills and industrial sectors. The consolidated EPI in 2017 was 95.1% and considers the environmental efficiency of the three industrial units.

INDICATORS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE INDEX*

Aracruz Jacareí Três Lagoas Total
2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017 2015 2016 2017
Overall EPI 94.5 93.2 93.9 95.4 94.3 96.1 95.5 95.8 96.1 94.2 95.1
Management 98.9 97.9 96.8 94.6 93.6 96.8 96.9 93.7 96.9 95.8 96.8
Prevention 92.5 94.6 92.5 96.8 96.8 100.0 98.0 93.7 93.7 94.9 94.5
Control 92.0 73.6 92.5 93.6 92.5 91.4 93.7 98.0 96.9 84.7 93.8

*Values in the table were rounded.

PULP LOGISTICS

The start of operations of the second line of Três Lagoas (Mato Grosso Do Sul State) created major challenges in 2017 for the operation of Fibria’s pulp logistics, which organizes the handling, storage, and transportation of the finished product between the mills and the ports of shipment for export. A comparative study concluded that the Port of Santos was the best alternative as an outbound port for the pulp from the new line. However, the more than 900 kilometers between Três Lagoas and the port in São Paulo posed a particular challenge not only because of the distance but also because of the communities that would be affected throughout the path.

The solution combines road and railway modes. The pulp produced at the new mill is loaded onto trucks and transported to the Intermodal Terminal of Aparecida do Taboado, 170 kilometers from Três Lagoas, on the border between Mato Grosso do Sul and São Paulo states. From there, the pulp is
loaded onto railcars and comes, by wide gauge railroad, to the Port of Santos, from where it is loaded on ships and exported.

In Santos, beginning 2018, Fibria will use the Macuco Terminal (T32) to handle its pulp cargo. Fibria gained the right to operate it at the end of 2015 by winning the public auction held by the National Water Transportation Agency (Antaq). The concession agreement is valid until 2040 (renewable for another 25 years). Completely rebuilt by Fibria in two years, the terminal was delivered at the end of 2017 and entered into operation in march 2018, when the vessel Saga Horizon departed to Europe with 5,500 tons of pulp.

Pulp in Portocel, Aracruz (Espírito Santo state)
Photo: Marcio Schimming

The entry of T32 into Fibria’s export logistics chain will alleviate the company’s operations. Due to the advance in the work, the second line of Três Lagoas was completed before the planned logistics solution was fully implemented. This was due to reasons beyond Fibria’s control, due to the delay in the delivery of the new terminal in Santos to the company for the beginning of the construction.

This circumstantial problem was reinforced by the initial performance above the curve of the new production line in Mato Grosso do Sul state- which delivers more pulp volume than expected in the planning process – and was solved by contingency measures until T32 began operation.

OTHER HIGHLIGHTS

(logistics solutions in 2017)

+ exclusive vessels: in order to meet the need to handle increase in production, five new ships with a capacity of approximately 55,000 tons each were contracted for the exclusive use of Fibria. The vessels are being built and, starting in 2019, they will be ready to transport our products around the world.

+ in Três Lagoas: a noticeable improvement in the outflow of the production of line 1 of the mill, carried out through another road/rail corridor to the port of Santos (metric gauge – narrower than the international metric on the railroad section). Transported volumes increased from 55,000 tons/month to up to 77,000 tons/month

+ in Jacareí: increase in the volume of production delivered to the Brazilian market by road transport, combined with the good use of opportunities in the railway mode in the domestic market.