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by Kim Phillips, Guest Blogger

My name is Kim Phillips and I am going into my final year at NC State. This summer I did my third rotation for International Paper at their Eastover mill and I worked in the Maintenance Engineering Department. One of the tasks I had this summer was to organize some trips to local facilities for our interns and new engineers. These facilities included the facility in Sumter, SC, which is the sheeting facility for the Eastover and Riverdale mills, the facility in Prosperity, SC, which is an extrusion operation for the Riegelwood and Augusta mills, and we toured the Augusta mill.

UntitledThe Sumter mill is located about 30 minutes from the Eastover paper mill. They receive rolls from Eastover and Georgetown and unwind and cut them into letter (8.5×11), legal (8.5×14), and tabloid (11×17) sized sheets which them go through a wrapping line to be packaged. Sumter currently packages for brands such as Hammermill and Staples. Here’s a picture of(left to right) Elizabeth Montana (Georgia Tech grad December 2012), Meridith Mahlke (University of Dayton intern, plans to graduate in May), and Deanna Evans (Area Process Manager of Chemical Additives for Finished Products) at the Sumter plant.

Meridith & I visited the Prosperity facility on July 12 (Pictured: left to right Kim Phillips and


Meridith Mahlke). The Prosperity facility receives rolls from the Augusta and Riegelwood mills and unwinds them and puts it through an extrusion process. The paper is first flame treated (literally hit with a flame) and then goes through 2 extruders which coat the sheet with a melted thermoplastic resin and presses the sheet and resin in a nip which consists of a large pressure roll and achilled roll which bind the resin to the sheet surface. The sheet is then calendered and wound into another roll to be purchased by other facilities which turn the product into Starbucks coffee cups, KFC chicken buckets, etc. (Pictured: Meridith Mahlke with some of the samples of products made from  Prosperity’s finished product)