Domtar and FCM Products Build Ashdown Mill’s Future Together

Drive shaft guard for vacuum pump

FCM built this drive shaft guard for the vacuum pump used on the A-1 fluff pulp project at Domtar Corporation’s Ashdown mill. (Photo by FCM Products Inc.)

Domtar’s Ashdown Mill has been up and running since 1968, manufacturing uncoated free sheet papers used in homes and offices around the world. But change is in the air, and FCM is delighted to have a part in revolutionizing the industry.

When the mill first opened in 1968, it only had one paper machine. A second was soon added in 1975, and then a third in 1979. In 2001, the mill became part of Domtar, Inc., but much went unchanged for more than a decade.

Coupling Guard

Coupling Guard (Photo by FCM Products Inc.)

The tides turned, however, beginning in December 2014. According to Manager of Communications and Government Relations Tammy Waters, “Domtar Corporation announced a $160 million capital project to convert a paper machine at the Ashdown, Arkansas mill to a high quality fluff pulp line used in absorbent applications such as baby diapers, feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products.”

The existing paper machine was officially shut down on March 31, and Waters said the planned conversion is scheduled to be online by the third quarter of 2016.

Since that time, both mill staff and outside contractors like FCM Products, Inc. have worked hard to make this renaissance transpire as seamlessly as possible. During that time, FCM built platforms, stairs, machinery guards, machine parts, a large south and north separator water collection tank, and anything else the mill might need for the project.

When this transition began, Domtar brought in a new construction supervisor. When he and Pat Fink, FCM’s owner, met, it quickly became apparent just how hard they would be working together. “You are now my new best friend,” the supervisor said. “I am going to be calling on you for everything that I don’t have for this machine.”

Aluminum Belt Guard for the Dryer Hood Exhaust Fan

Aluminum Belt Guard (Photo by FCM Products Inc.)

FCM’s partnership with Domtar has worked out beautifully. Not only has FCM built everything mentioned above, but the company even helped the mill find items that Fink’s crew couldn’t construct. In those cases, Fink found other trustworthy partners to get the job done and keep the project moving forward in a timely manner.

“You’ve been a lifesaver and helped us out with so many different problems,” the construction supervisor told Fink. From one end of the new machine to the other, FCM’s fingerprints are all over this project. “We even made templates that the anchor bolts go through for the machine to sit on,” Fink said.

So in the years to come, as the mill starts to churn out an estimated 516,000 metric tons of cellulose fibers from the new fluff pulp line, FCM can quite literally say that Domtar’s pulp relies heavily on a product they built.

Chute for CLO2 Washer Vat

FCM built this chute for the CLO2 pulp washer vat at Domtar Corporation’s Ashdown mill using AL-6XN. (Photo by FCM Products, Inc.)