ST has facilities in Oconto Falls, Wisconsin, Franklin Virginia and Duluth, Minnesota. The company operates five tissue machines and produces bath tissue, paper towels, and napkin parent rolls primarily for the Away-from-Home segment of the North American tissue market. Sharad Tak and his son Sahil entered the tissue market in 2007 with the purchase of the Oconto Falls mill. Investments in the mill’s team members and assets have expanded the mill’s customer base and improved its production capabilities to create a successful tissue mill. Today, the Oconto Falls mill and greater Northeast Wisconsin community benefits by the funding of numerous local charities and scholarship support to positively impact of lives of people. A TRUE SUCCESS STORY FOR THE WISCONSIN PAPER INDUSTRY!
We want to thank Ron Thiry the COO of ST Paper, LLC for providing a tour of the new Duluth facility. Our guests included Marty Ochs – GBIG, Peter Bekx from American Custom Converting, James W. Fuller formerly with Appvion and Alex Jerabek with Baum Machine, Inc.
Sharad Tak acquired the paper mill from Verso Corporation in May of 2021 and immediately embarked on a project to install a new Andritz tissue machine to convert the Duluth facility from production of supercalendered printing grades into a manufacturer of recycled-paper tissue and napkins. The new tissue machine is 210 inches wide and will run at 6,500 feet per minute running lightweight tissue grades and washroom towel grades utilizing virgin and recycled pulp fiber or any blends of those combinations.
75 people are currently employed at the Duluth Mill and are prepared to operate on a 24 hour per day, 365 days per year basis. The first reel of tissue was produced on January 20, 2023. Within a day of running, first quality tissue was being produced with several truckloads already shipped to customers and positive feedback being received.
The Duluth project is the second example of ST’s vision to utilize infrastructure and assets of closed mills to successfully convert them into tissue production facilities. The first project in Franklin, VA involved the purchase of a mill site that had been closed by International Paper. The first fine paper machine was converted into the widest tissue machine in the United States in 2013. In 2018, the second machine was converted into tissue production. This investment approach reduces the capital requirement to add capacity into the tissue market but more importantly utilizing the skills of the employees that would otherwise be displaced by the shuttered mill.