With PM3 Progroup will be operating one of the world’s largest and most modern paper factories

Following a record-breaking construction and assembly time of just 18 months, Progroup’s new high-tech paper factory PM3 in Sandersdorf-Brehna is starting to operate. At the heart of the factory is one of the world’s most modern and high-performance paper machines for manufacturing environmentally friendly and high-quality containerboard. The plant has an annual capacity of 750,000 tonnes. Progroup is thus increasing its production of containerboard from 1.1 million tonnes to a total of around 1.85 million tonnes annually. The company has been pursuing a Green Hightech strategy since it was founded. Progroup only ever uses recovered paper as the raw material for making paper. 

“As a family company, we very much think about the generations to come. The new paper machine is designed so that it will continue to produce containerboard in a sustainable and energy-efficient way for the next 50 to 60 years. This is why we are investing 100 million euros in sustainability measures alone. It means that, when it comes to environmental protection and energy efficiency, the new factory sets the benchmark for the future in the paper industry,” says Maximilian Heindl, Chief Development Officer and member of the Board of Progroup. 

Sustainable production thanks to world’s largest recovered paper drum and biological kidney 

Around 860,000 tonnes of recovered paper per year will be processed at PM3 to create containerboard. The raw material is treated in a state-of-the-art drum pulper and drum screen. With an overall installed length of 78 metres, this recovered paper drum is the largest of its type in the world. The special design of the drum means that it is particularly good at conserving resources. 

To preserve the precious resource of water, Progroup has integrated a new type of circulating water treatment plant. It works like a biological kidney by treating the process water which is used and returning it to the closed circulation system for paper production. Progroup thus reduces the amount of fresh water used by 80 per cent. This is equivalent to 3,750,000 cubic metres of water per year. During this process, recovered paper impurities are biologically degraded and converted into biogas. This means that the plant overall consumes ten per cent less fossil resources. For the consistent implementation of the sustainability measures, the paper factory was awarded the “Eco-Management and Audit Scheme” (EMAS) certificate from the European Union during the construction phase in January 2020.

Left to right: Jürgen Heindl (founder and Chief Executive Officer of Progroup AG), Dr. Reiner Haseloff (Premier of the State of Saxony-Anhalt), Maximilian Heindl (Chief Development Officer and member of the Board of Progroup AG), Prof. Armin Willingmann (Minister for the Economy, Science and Digitalisation of the German state of Saxony-Anhalt)