Paper machine in East Millinocket mill should restart Friday after repairs

Posted July 18, 2013, at 5:28 p.m.
Last modified July 19, 2013, at 4:37 a.m.

EAST MILLINOCKET, Maine — Great Northern Paper Co. LLC officials expect the No. 6 paper machine to be back online by Friday morning after what they termed a minor breakdown earlier this week.

Workers were installing several new brackets that hold the giant roll of paper at the dry end of the machine, which is named “Katahdin,” on Thursday afternoon, company CEO Richard Cyr said.

“Katahdin” is about the size of a football field and spins fresh paper onto huge rolls as part of the manufacturing process.

A break in one of the fabric guides that help feed paper onto the giant roll forced the shutdown early Tuesday afternoon. Then a worker noticed that several of the old brackets holding the roll in place were fractured. As new brackets were fabricated, company leaders had workers provide routine maintenance on the giant machine, Cyr said.

Cyr estimated that the repair job would cost $15,000 to $20,000. Workers lost two production days during which about 800 tons of newsprint, book paper or newspaper insert paper are typically made, he said.

Cyr noted that shipments would be delayed a day or two by the mishap, but everything soon should be back on schedule.

“I am told we will be making paper by 5 a.m. Friday,” he said.

As the town’s largest employer, the mill has 257 workers and two paper machines.