E-Newsletter - A Publication of Interstate Resources


Friday, November 28, 2008

Interstate Container Fitchburg Moves to Become Interstate Container Westminster

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/ 
 
Source
: By Richard A. (Dick) Monteiro, Director - INDEVCO Paper Containers Division, OUTBOUND
e-newsletter, 28 November 2008

From Fitchburg to Westminster – 110 days to go...

As an integral part of restructuring the theme of the northeast Interstate Container plants, members of INDEVCO Group
, to establish regional service to customers under one umbrella with two efficient manufacturing and distribution locations, the Fitchburg, MA plant was relocated in its entirety from a 200 year-old textile mill building into a very new industrial campus building Interstate Container Westminster in Westminster, MA.

In order to facilitate the maximum completion of tasks in the minimum amount of time, a very aggressive of schedule was developed – carving out 110 days from the “OK” to proceed – to the final commissioning of all equipment and operations.

Any movement or displacement of manufacturing equipment can have an adverse affect on customers and plant personnel. Moving an entire plant and inflicting little ‘pain’ to our customers and employees was a mandate that underwrote the project planning. Countless meetings and hours were spent on planning and interaction with every level and every employee that would be affected by the relocation. All input and comments were carefully weighed and considered in the development of the final schedule and plan.


In order to be cost-effective and to maintain the participation of employees, each and every employee participated to one extent or another in the process.


A tremendous amount of effort by all of the sales team and the customer service group at both Lowell and Fitchburg made possible the fact that all customers were kept supplied with products as they needed them. Reaction to arising circumstances and finding ways to work-around issues was a key element in not losing any business. Hat’s off to these two sales/service personnel.


Not to mention the contributions by each and every manufacturing and support personnel at Fitchburg – including shipping and transportation departments would be a travesty, since they had to bear the inconvenience of disruption and yet still find a way to run orders and make deliveries.


Because the new building had previously been used as an inventory storage facility, all new utility infrastructure had to be constructed for compressed air, sanitary and non-potable water, electrical, wastewater, and foundations. No small task considering the timeline of 110-days, which included the final design layout, negotiation of contractors, and issuance of construction permits.


The corrugated plant infrastructure


In order to meet the 110-day commitment, a 14hour/7-day a week schedule was adopted. The key to achieving the results was through working closely with local management, customer service and sales, and with the unrelenting effort of Fitchburg’s single maintenance man Austin Fisher.


The corrugated plant in operation



The results should speak for themselves… the former Fitchburg team has a “new” home in Westminster which they can be proud of, and which they can all say ‘they built’!

Bookmark and Share





Saturday, November 1, 2008

Interstate Container Reading Acquires New Bobst Mastercut

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Fall / Winter 2008


Addressing the need of Interstate Container Reading’s customer base for precise die cutting, and recognizing the need to be a “most” efficient producer of flat bed die cuts, Interstate Container- Reading has recently commissioned the first complete Mastercut 2.1 size Platen Die Cutter Line in the USA. There have been two previous die cutters installed, but they were not complete material handling lines by Bobst.

Our INDEVCO Group affiliate, Unipak Nile, had installed a Bobst 2.1 Die Cutter and encouraged by their success with the Bobst equipment, Reading confirmed an order for a full Mastercut machine center.


In order to install the machine within the Reading plant manufacturing area, Project Engineer Mike Vlastos had to relocate three existing converting machines within the plant. This was no small task since Mike was simultaneously moving and reinstalling a Flexo Folder-Gluer to North Brunswick, NJ, and moving and reinstalling the High BoardlineHycorr from Cambridge, MD.

The installation was completed two weeks ahead of schedule, with no shortfalls or deficiencies.

With the addition of the 2.1 size Mastercut, Interstate Container Reading has an impressive array of precision converting and finishing equipment on the east coast. The Mastercut complements the Bobst Pacific F/G with Poly-Joiner that was also recently installed.



INDEVCO Group's area managers have a good knowledge of where their customer base is heading with respect to product needs. They are able to accurately anticipate the mix of equipment needed to sustain the customers' needs.

Moreover, the group's owners and our executive management support the initiatives of the plants.





Bookmark and Share





Monday, October 13, 2008

United Corrstack Constructs Power Plant

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/

Source: By Tony Lucia, Reading Eagle, Pennsylvania, OUTBOUND e-newsletter, 13 October 2008


With energy costs on the upswing, it's no wonder that people are starting to look seriously at ways of providing at least some of their own energy.

That's true of businesses as well. At
United Corrstack, with its plant and headquarters at 720 Laurel St., the issue was conveyed starkly by David F. Stauffer, Vice President and General Manager.

"We would go out of business without an energy solution," Stauffer said. Stauffer said the firm's costs for energy -- natural gas, oil and electricity -- have risen 250 percent since 2000.

Corrstack's solution? A power plant, taking shape on an adjacent tract, which Corrstack purchased from Cambridge-Lee Industries, to the south of its existing property.


Still under construction but set to begin operating early next year, the plant consists of what is called a fluidized bed boiler, which will burn only biomass -- organic materials, such as wood and agricultural waste -- and a steam turbine.

The steam will be used in Corrstack's production -- it is used to dry the product, in a process Stauffer compared to the way steam is used in a steam iron -- as well as to power the turbine and generate electricity.

The firm makes what is known as recycled corrugating medium, which is the paper that other firms corrugate and glue between two kraft liners to form brown paperboard boxes. The word immense hardly does justice to the scale of Corrstack's 192-foot-high project, which Stauffer said will be one of the tallest buildings in the city.

On the east side, which remains open so that supplies can be brought in by crane, workers appear minuscule on the 19 floors of the building as they labor to bring it to completion. The plant's stack towers above it at 220 feet.

Corrstack's owner, Interstate Resources of Arlington, Va., which is a division of the Lebanese conglomerate INDEVCO Group, created a separate entity, Evergreen Community Power, under which name the power plant will operate, Stauffer said.

Stauffer said the $115 million project is the most costly Interstate Resources has undertaken. In addition to positioning Corrstack as energy independent, Evergreen has other positives. Stauffer said it will create 25 jobs to add to the 75 at Corrstack. Also, it will produce more energy than Corrstack can use: about 25 megawatts total.

"We will be a net exporter of electricity," he said. Because of differences in cost between wholesale and retail prices of electricity, the plan is to sell all of 25 megawatts into the grid, and then buy back the 9 megawatts it will take to operate the plant, Stauffer said.

The plant also will provide enough power to operate another plant which may be constructed on the Evergreen tract.

Called Cedarpak, it would produce kraft paper, which then could be combined with the corrugating medium by customers such as Interstate Container, a sister firm located not far away at Grace and Meade streets, to form boxes and containers. Stauffer said Interstate Container would be a large customer, but not the largest, for the products.

No final decision has been made on whether Cedarpak will be built, he said.

Corrstack and its parent had been exploring energy options for several years, and arrived at the biomass boiler after studying the success of that technology at a Georgia plant owned by Interstate Resources.

"The boiler is thermal- and emissions-efficient," Stauffer said. "For every ton of biomass, we're getting the most out of it thermally and with the lowest amount of emissions and the least amount of particulates.

"The issue of whether it could fi nd suffi cient fuel was solved when it found Processing and Recycling Inc., a Maidencreek Township division of W.D. Zwicky & Son Inc., North Heidelberg Township. The firm had the capability to supply the approximate 900 tons of biomass that will be required daily. About 60 trucks a day, operating between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m., will deliver the fuel to Evergreen.

Corrstack did community outreach on Evergreen, making certain that neighborhood residents were kept in the loop, and worked closely with the city. It also worked with the state Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that it would produce the lowest amount of allowable emissions.

Stauffer said the expansion plans demonstrate Corrstack's commitment to Reading. "They know we're here," he said. "We're not going to build this and leave."


Bookmark and Share





Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Evergreen Community Power Project Continues to Progess

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Fall / Winter 2008


The largest single investment in the history of Interstate Resources continues to progress in Reading, Pennsylvania. Directly behind the United Corrstack (UCI) facility sits the assets and buildings comprising Evergreen Community Power (ECP). The 6-acre plot of real estate has taken on a dramatically different profile since the beginning of construction. In fact, ECP is visible from many perspectives approaching the South section of Reading, adding both a touch of class and anticipation to the current skyline!

As the calendar approaches Christmas 2008, ECP continues the journey toward the completion of avery complex and intense construction period. In October 2008, a major milestone was met with the successful execution of the hydrostatic testing of the boiler. Certain sections of the boiler were filled with water and the overall system was pressurized at one and half times the normal operating pressure - the boiler held pressure on the first attempt


This is a real tribute to the efforts of the entire project team, the boiler supplier, and installation contractors involved in the boiler erection and welding. Speaking of contractors, over 400 crafts men were on the job during the peak construction periods.

Many come with experience in the Power Industry. This group will form the nucleus of talent and skills to achieve the significant energy benefits that ECP has been designed to deliver. Next year will be extremely demanding and challenging—this team will be instrumental in meeting the project objectives.

Looking ahead to 2009, the check out effort will be in full swing once construction comes to a close. Natural gas firing and tuning of the boiler will follow to set the control systems leading to the initial steam turbine testing and set-up. Biomass will be introduced once all of the subsystems are operating properly and the air emissions equipment will guarantee compliance levels.




ECP Boiler STG Building, facing south



Currently, the project has experienced a reduction in the workforce to a level of 250 people, signaling an end to the major bulk construction phase and ushering in the very critical efforts of check out and start up. The boiler building is just shy of 200 feettall – everyone associated with the project is looking forward to the installation of the service elevator to alleviate the multiple trips up and down the stair towers.

In fact, Art McLaughlin, ECP Operations Manager, has been able to cut back on his home exercise routine given the number of floors he scales on a daily basis! An experienced and impressive operating team has been hired from both inside (transferring fromeither ICR or UCI) and outside our organization.


Bookmark and Share





Interstate Container Lowell Supplies Boston Coffee Cake

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/ 

Source: Interstate News, Fall / Winter 2008


Interstate Container Lowell received their first order from Boston Coffee Cake in September 2008, but the process started four years earlier. In 2004, I was watching a local television show called “The Phantom Gourmet". Boston Coffee Cake was featured on the show. During the show, they gave a tour of the bakery and the warehouse, but all I noticed were the pallets of corrugated.

Boston Coffee Cake then became a prospect, but the sales cycle was very slow. By being very persistent for the next four years, we finally earned our chance to quote. What separated Interstate Container Lowell from the incumbent was that we came in with cost saving ideas. This opened the door for us.

The next step was a tour of Interstate Container Lowell and, after they met our management and staff, we received a trial order.
Following this successful trial order, we now had a new account. We were running 100% of their brown boxes. We were now ready to go for high graphics. During the holiday season, Boston Coffee Cake does a very large mail order business. Their gift boxes were labeled, E-flute die-cuts for which we were asked to quote.

Once again, we came in with cost savings by going to direct print rather than labels. The Graphic Designers in our Westminster facility said that we could direct print these on Kemi.

We began working with City Stamp (Die Vendor) and CRI (Ink Vendor), as well as the customer, who was willing to tweak their graphics to make it friendlier to print on corrugated. Proofs and color swatches were submitted and approved. We were awarded the order for the three gift boxes and 14 new regular slotted container’s that are used for their mail order business.


The next step was press approval. During this process, a few more changes were made to the print and new plates were made. Mark Forman, President of Boston Coffee Cake, could not make the next press approval, but said “You know what I’m looking for…I trust you and Interstate Container Lowell.” We now had a partner.

Boston Coffee Cake Brief History
Boston Coffee Cake is a family-owned business that was founded in 1992 with the goal of making the best coffee cake. Their recipes are based on those of their grandmothers and have been passed down for generations. The company started out in a 1600 square foot bakery in Woburn, Massachusetts, making 50 cakes perday.


Today, they are located in a 40,000 square foot bakery located in Ward Hill, Massachusetts, producing over 10,000 cakes per day. They have been featured on “The Phantom Gourmet” and have won numerous awards. They are particularly proud of their award from the American Tasting Institute for “The Best Coffee Cake in America.


Bookmark and Share





Monday, September 8, 2008

Interstate Container Reading Provides Sustainable Solutions

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: OUTBOUND e-newsletter, 8 September 2008


Jeff Coleman of Interstate Resources, Inc. practices boxmanship. Oh sure, there more than a bit of the salesman in him, but what really excites Coleman, the General Manager of Interstate Container Reading, is matching his company’s offerings up with customer needs. That’s boxmanship.

Coleman provided two examples. For a major CPG customer with a wide variety of products, Interstate broke down its box orders into three types: large scale, the item the boxmaker runs a lot of; kanban items, inventories at both plants managed by Interstate; and true specials, items for which Interstate runs small exact quantities. By setting up this tiered system to improve its yield, reduce obsolescent packaging, shrinkage and carrying costs,” we saved our customer almost $120,000 annually on a $1.5 million purchase,” Coleman says. He gives credit for this strategy to Ken Rohleder of The Rohleder Group, which gives advice and training for companies with large, complex packaging spends.

“It may seem counterintuitive that a per unit cost of 5,000 boxes may be less than 25,000 boxes, but it may be more cost effective in a managed system,” Coleman says. When you factor in the fully burdened cost of the packaging (including the cost of obsolescence, shrinkage and “reverse distribution,” many times the smaller quantity, even at a higher purchase price, is lower cost, he explains.

Another customer makes a small sporting goods item that he packages using a homemade partition assembler. By having the customer move from heavyweight C-flute partition pads to lightweight A flute, Interstate was able to impact the bottom line “We told him it will stack as well and will save him money because less fiber will be used,” Coleman remembers. “Six months later. We found out that the assembler he uses had a kicker feed that worked more efficiently with our A-flute alternative. Not only did he save money on the purchase price, but he improved his yield off the assembler by five percent.”


These, Coleman contends, are also sustainability success stories. Rather than looking at sustainability as yet another retailer demand, he sees it as an opportunity for an innovative boxmaker. The glass is more than half full.

“If you can match the package to the product, you can help customers reduce fiber, improve their package to product weight ratio, improve their score in a scorecard like Wal-Mart’s, and save them money,” he noted. “That’s why sustainability has legs. It can improve the financial position of the CPGs we sell to and ‘de-commoditize’ what we do and how we do it.”

A ‘Calling Card’

Innovation requires not only initiative and boxmanship, but also machinery that will enable the converter to stretch its innovative horizons. In late 2007, Interstate Reading installed a Pacific 3.0 folder gluer with a Polyjoiner module. The Polyjoiner is made up of a feeder and an assembling section and enables the simultaneous feeding of up to three blanks. The module offers a number of unique design opportunities.

Less than a year after the machine’s installation, Coleman calls the Pacific “our calling card.” He explains, “We send out videos of what the machine creates as a introduction to our plant’s capabilities.” The response from existing and potential customers? “We have some major customers who seem eager to fill up the new machine and only ask us, ‘What is your daily capacity?’

”Coleman is certain that he’ll soon need additional machine power for this display business. “I’m convinced that we’ll need a second specialty gluer with multi-channel feeding by early next year,” he says. (The plant has two J&L specialty folder gluers, but each has single feeds.)

What he tells present and potential customers about the Pacific with the Polyjoiner module is simple and direct: “This will help you get your product to market cheaper, faster, and it’ll look better when it gets there.”

The Pacific will be an integral part of a new production line planned for Interstate Container Reading. The printer in this line will be a four-color Hycorr flexo folder-gluer that Interstate will soon ship from its Cambridge, Maryland plant and operate at Reading solely as a printing machine. Printed blanks will move from the Hycorr to a new Bobst Mastercut platen die cutter, which will be operational at Reading in the last quarter of 2008.

“I saw the large-format Mastercut in operation in Europe, and I was amazed at what I learned,” Coleman says. “In North America, rotary die cutters are considered the machine of choice for high production die cutting, but with the proper blank sizes, the Mastercut will outproduce any rotary die cutter in the industry.

“In Europe, I discovered that you can run small- to mid-size blanks multiple-up and die cut about 125,000 square feet an hour,” Coleman says. “A rotary die cutter would be hard pressed to do 40,000 square feet an hour for blanks of that size.”

The Mastercut 2.1 platen die cutter, which can cut sheet sizes as large as 82 inches by 51 inches, can handle larger formats sheets and higher speeds with high quality registration than other Bobst platens, it was reported. Interstate will enhance its productivity off the die cutter with Bobst add-ons, such as a Dynaload automatic loader, a Dynabreak blank separator and an automatic Palletizer.


C + A =


In a self-deprecating way, Coleman, a veteran of several decades of selling corrugated, says, “You know, a lot of box salesman might have been C students, but they got A+ in street smarts. It is the street smarts and boxmanship that make the difference.”

After touring the Reading plant, Coleman takes me to Interstate’s design lab. “Here are the real A students,” he says.

The creativity of Interstate’s four-man design team, enhanced by the design possibilities offered by the Polyjoiner, have resulted already in the development of dozens of new display designs. The key is the quick, simple set-ups, Coleman says.

“Consumer product companies have spent millions of dollars in point-of-purchase displays, and 50 percent of them never get set up in the store,” he adds. Why? Often the set-up is too complicated, particularly for a workforce that is pressed for time and often transient, Coleman says.

“The assembly needs to be simple and fast,” explains Josh Kalwat, Lead Graphic and Structural Designer at the plant. As if to prove his point, Kalwat and his team time his set-up on a variety of power wings, “weekenders,” PDQs, and box-in-boxes, all developed after less than a year with the Polyjoiner. All take five seconds or less to pop into place.

“Design discoveries don’t come daily, but they do come often,” Kalwat says of his group’s offerings. “We’re getting a better understanding of how the Polyjoiner works. The gluing makes it all possible.”


As the design team increases its knowledge of the folder gluer’s capabilities, it’s gaining recognition as the “go-to” source for design possibilities by both Interstate’s sales staff and the plant’s customers. “Sometimes customers aren’t sure what design will get them what they need. It’s great to hear them turn to us and say, ‘Take it and run with it,’ ” Kalwat adds.

Take the Interstate team’s box in box design. For one manufacturer, Interstate was able to provide a display that could be packed right at the end of the customer’s production line, instead of off-line. As a result, Coleman says, the customer was able to eliminate one worker on each of its three shifts.

Thanks to the Polyjoiner, another customer was able to discontinue its use of a middleman to pack out its displays. “This led to a big cost savings,” Coleman says.

“And it also had implications for the product’s sustainability scorecard,” he quickly adds. “By eliminating the middleman, our customer was able to reduce the product’s carbon footprint.”

Sustainability of products, packaging, and manufacturing processes has gained enormous exposure in recent years. Interest in the issue on the part of retailers and their vendors is not likely to wane any time soon, Coleman believes. Interstate Reading is ready to help. “Sustainability isn’t a fad. it makes too much sense,” Coleman says.

Off The Fossil Fuel ‘Treadmill’

The box plant is only part of a remarkably closed loop recycling system that enhances the sustainability of Interstate Reading’s manufacturing process. The plant gets most of its medium from Interstate Resources Inc.’s United Corrstack mill only a mile away.

By year’s end, the loop will be tightened even more when the 435 tons-per-day mill starts up its cogeneration facility, which will produce steam and electricity from wood construction debris, old railroad ties and telephone poles, and other wood debris to power not only the mill and the box plant, but also to the area electric grid of PJM. As much as half of the 25 megawatts of elecricity the new plant will generate will go back into the regional grid.

“When this project is completed, we won’t be on the fossil fuel treadmill any longer,” said United Corrstak’s General Manager Dave Stauffer. He added that the boiler, which produces 300,000 lbs. of steam an hour, will be able to power a second containerboard machine on the site, a project which is on the initial stage of consideration by Interstate Resources. A second machine would force United Corrstak to dip into the regional electrical grid once again, but also still provide a competitive advantage through very low cost steam.

United Corrstak’s $115 million power house construction project was started in June of 2007, will be completed at the end of this year, and fully operational in the first quarter of 2009. A circulating fluidized bed boiler from Austrian Energy and Environmental and a Siemens steam turbine-generator will replace the package boiler that currently powers United Corrstack’s 15-year-old machine.

The mill uses about 92% OCC for its furnish, with the remainder mixed paper. It collects the 500 tons of OCC it uses daily from brokers, manufacturers and municipal recycling programs, as well as DLK from brokers and its own box plants. When they deliver finished boxes or displays to area customers, Interstate Reading’s trucks backhaul OCC to the mill.


Bookmark and Share





Monday, September 1, 2008

RB Lumber Company Invests in Sawmill Assets

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Fall / Winter 2008


When RB Lumber purchased the sawmill assets and began lumber production, we knew the key to being successful was the Hew-Saw. The Hew-Saw is the piece of equipment that converts cut-to-length logs from the merchandiser into lumber.The saw, which was new in 1999, was purchased by RBL in 2006.
As we began operations in the Spring of 2007, it became apparent that the saw was functional, but, with a manufacturer’s rebuild and the addition of a laser scanner and computer controls, we could improve performance.The sawmill converts, on average, approximately 6,000 to 7,000 logs per day into lumber, or one loge very 5.5 seconds.

Before the upgrade and modificationsto the Hew-Saw, this operation was being done manually by one operator. This operator was responsible for visually inspecting every log on the conveyor and choosing which saw set to use to cutthe log, based on criteria that management supplied as to the desirable lumber to produce.

This was very time consuming and, as the day went on, very mentally taxing on the operator to perform this operation over 6,000 times in one day.Over the last year, RB Lumber has been upgrading the Hew-Saw to improve productivity and automate saw sets.

Besides having the manufacturer perform a running rebuild over the course of several months, a laser scanner and optimizer were added to the saw. This allowed the computer to scan every log and choose the optimum cut to make based on criteria supplied by management.

This has allowed RBL to maximize yield and quality from every log. We have reduced overtime in the sawmill from 2-4 hours daily due to the increased thru put, and we are able to better control quality and product mix based on market conditions.

During these current tough economic times, this conversion has been extremely important to reduce costs, as well as to control product mix by optimizing sales revenue while anticipating customer needs.

Bookmark and Share





Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Evergreen Community Power Addresses Environmentally Responsible Energy Solutions

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Summer 2008

Life at 7th and South Streets in Reading, Pennsylvania, these days is anything but “normal.” On a 6-acre plot of ground nestled behind United Corrstack (UCI), one can watch the transformation take place on a daily basis. Neighbors, Reading residents, commuters – all can see the structure that is changing the Southern landscape of the City.

Evergreen Community Power (ECP) project is alive and well, and positioned to make a long standing impact on the region.





What is “Evergreen Community Power?”

A steam boiler, a power plant, a recycling facility, an alternative to landfills, a “state-of the-art” alternative energy solution – all the above and then some.

Before it was “fashionable” to be“green,” Evergreen Community Power was launched as a“flag ship” project for the company to demonstrate
INDEVCO/Interstate Resources (IRI) commitment to serving the community by addressing environmentally responsible energy solutions, recycling, and creating non-fossil fuel based sustainable electric power generation. This concept was initiated in 2003, debated, developed further through 2005, and then fully committed to as a business investment in 2006.

ECP will be the first Circulating Fluidized Bed (CFB) Boiler supplied by an Austrian company (
Austrian Energy and Environment) in North America. It is designed to produce over 300,000 pounds/hour of high pressure steam and generate up to 30 megawatts of electric energy –all without the use of any fossil fuel.


Why would a privately owned company take on such a project?

The answer is simple – growth, stability and predictability. United Corrstack, a 100% recycled mini-mill, requires large quantities of steam and power to produce over 435 tons/day of corrugated medium. All of its energy presently comes from fossil fuel (natural gas or oil), as well as purchased power. Filling up your automobile or your oil tank at home is a grim reminder these days of how energy costs have escalated.

If United Corrstack did nothing to address its energy costs, it would be a recipe for disaster and a clear “going-out-of-business” fate. But the owners had the foresight to become less dependent on fossil fuel and to provide a sustainable energy solution; they have made a significant commitment to ensure the longevity of the business in Reading for its employees and the community by being forward thinkers, willing to invest for the long term.


What will be the fuel for Evergreen Community Power?

This question holds one of the “keys to success” for the project. Before any dirt was turned on the site, ECP needed an air permit in hand. This was obtained in June of 2007. In this permit, the project had to define likely fuels and get approval from the State of Pennsylvania to meet air emissions, which was no small task.


Due to the CFB technology and state-of-the art emission control systems, the fuel options for ECP are broad and provide flexibility and cost-saving opportunities. For example, the boiler is permitted to burn wood waste, pallets, creosoted wood, rail road ties, utility poles, construction and demolition sorted wood, tire derived fuel, plastics, carpet and paper mill sludge as well as selective food residual waste streams. All of the fuel will be processed off-site and delivered to ECP for short term storage and delivery to the boiler.

What’s the current status of the project?

Construction activity is progressing rapidly on multiple fronts. The photo provides a snap shot of the construction status. The following are highlights of the current status:

• During the June UCI annual outage, the electricaltie-in was completed with Met-Ed/First Energy, the regional electrical utility.

• The 30 MW Siemens Steam Turbine-Generator is inplace, with ancillary equipment fabrication under way.

• The boiler fabrication continues with the water wall panels being fitted, refractory application, and air pollution control equipment being added in the back-end of the process.

• The fuel storage reclaim system has just been installedand construction will begin soon on the fuelstorage silo.

• At this point, all major contracts have been executed and work is in progress in all areas. A total of 225 contractors are now actively working at the site.

• All salaried members of the ECP operating team have been hired and are now on site. Several members of the existing Interstate-Reading organizations will soon migrate to the new ECP organization. Four Lead Shift Operators have been hired and will join the operationin August. The balance of the operations and maintenance personnel will be hired in the near future.

• The operations team is working with the project team to develop plant controls, operating systems, procedures and training systems.

The next key milestone will be the hydrostatic testing of the boiler, scheduled for the third quarter of this year. Final check out and initial operation are currently anticipated by year-end. Though very complex, the project is exciting. The execution of the check out and start up efforts is critical for the ongoing performance of the plant.

We look forward to a fourth-quarter start for our new business.

Anticipate, Anticipate, Anticipate - one of the core tenets of the culture of the company. ECP embodies the meaning of “anticipate” by identifying global energy changes, assessing business risk, and moving forward deliberately. The long term success of this project will impact all areas of the IRI business units in a very positive way. All employees can be proud of working for an organization that is taking a leadership position in pursuing sustainable initiatives and moving toward future energy independence.



Evergreen Community Power is a member of Interstate Resources, Inc. and both are members of INDEVCO Group.

Bookmark and Share





Interstate Container Fitchburg Moves to Westminster

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Summer 2008


During the past three months, the Fitchburg sheet plant facility has been moving to a new location in Westminster,approximately five miles west of the present site. Since the acquisition of Interstate Container Fitchburg (ICF) in May 2003, Interstate Container has been leasing space to house the Fitchburg plant in a 190,000 square foot facility on three floors at 245 River Street in Fitchburg.

ICF is now relocating to 125,000 square feet of leased space at100 Simplex Drive in Westminster. It will occupy part of a 685,000 square foot Westminster building, which was constructed for the former Digital Equipment Corp.and formerly served as space for Simples-Grinnell LP,a Tyco International Ltd. Company. The move began in May and should be completed no later than October1, 2008.

This relocation provides an excellent opportunity to expand and grow our business at the new site and also to provide a fresh new image to the marketplace. In conjunction with the move, we are consolidating our sales and marketing approach to the market under the new name of “Interstate Container New England,”with two operating facilities - one in Lowell and one in Westminster. This new name will provide an opportunity to re-launch the two plants with one fresh new sales and marketing concept that we can take to new and existing accounts.

We expect to expand our business and grow with graphics, specialty products, and geographic and market segmentation diversification initiatives, supported by a strong marketing and lead generation program.

In order to support the new “Interstate Container New England” concept, we are consolidating the design teams from both Fitchburg and Lowell. The teams will be relocated together at a new “Interstate Container New England” design center in Westminster.

The real advantage of the relocation is to move the Fitchburg facility from a three-floor older textile factory to a single level modern manufacturing facility. This will allow us to be much more efficient in our manufacturing processes. It also provides the advantage of providing sufficient office space for plant management, as well as the design department.

Furthermore, this new space will allow us to create a showroom where customers can view products and interact with the design and sales teams to help sell our value-added product offerings.


The new Westminster and Lowell facilities will work closely together to provide diversified graphics and specialty products to the marketplace in a seamless manner. Both customer service departments and the consolidated design team will have the opportunity to schedule business to run at which ever facility is best for the customer and most profitable for the combined group.




Bookmark and Share





Interstate Container Lowell Helps Seaman Paper with Wal-Mart

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Summer 2008


Interstate Resources' production team has successfully produced its first large-volume run using three-colorsoy inks. There were a few stops and starts along the way, but the results have been well worth it. Seaman Paper faces tremendous pressure from imports as they try to satisfy their customer, Wal-Mart, with cost-competitive products.

We were able to help Seaman gain "I can’t understand why people are frightened of new ideas. I’m frightened of the old ones.”, John Cagea competitive edge through the use of soy inks, speaking directly to Wal-Mart’s “GREEN” initiative. This has also helped us with seasonal business, even though we are not yet an approved Wal-Mart corrugated supplier. The important process of gaining this approval from Wal-Mart is well underway.




Bookmark and Share





Interstate Resources Organizes 2008 Controllers’ Conference

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Summer 2008


The 2008 Controllers’ Conference was held 23-25 June at the Abraham Lincoln, a Wyndham Historic Hotel, in Reading, PA. The theme of the opening comments by Pierre Khattar of Interstate Resources was “Alignment in Turbulent Markets.” He facilitated a discussion on current results and the challenges of the coming year.

The meeting agenda also included Inventory Management, Control and Profitability, and Product Cost analysis. Paul Zimmerman introduced additional topics relevant to profitability, cash flow, and control of company assets. Sandra Bridges led a discussion on the Management Letter Comments from
PricewaterhouseCoopers
.



Chad Brown facilitated a review of the benefits gained from the recent peer reviews, and Larry Haraschak and Michelle Heathershaw presented their observations on the methods and timing of Intercompany cross-charges.

Jim Morgan joined the group to discuss the strategic direction of Interstate Resources and the growth opportunities that are being pursued. The group also toured the Evergreen Community Power facility currently under construction.




Bookmark and Share





Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Interstate Resources Employees & Customers Attend Safety Training

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/

Source: Interstate News, Summer 2008


One of America’s leading safety experts and trainers, Joe Teeples, led two training sessions for Interstate Resources, each three and a half days long. The first one was in Interstate Container Reading, Pennsylvania, and, the next week, he repeated the session in Interstate Container Cambridge, Maryland.

All participants, including personnel from Interstate Resources customers at both sessions, were certified at the end for completing the Occupational Safety & Health Administration OSHA 30-hour Training, a standard that OSHA sets for safety leaders in private industry.

Joe Teeples, principal of “We’re Into Safety, Inc.,” has been teaching safety courses for 20 years and authored the standard text used in OSHA training. He developed his training skills by leading the training of OSHA Compliance Officers for the government, as well as training military safety officers. His style includes ensuring that all of the regulations “make sense” to companies. During the training, he pointed out that every regulation came into existence as a direct result of actual deaths and injuries.

Illustrating real life examples with photos, film clips,charts, statistics, and other teaching tools, Joe gave the participants a new understanding of improving safety on the job. Particularly impressive was Joe’s ability to answer specific questions with videos that were exactly on the point. His computer contains tens of thousands of photos and videos. He also directed the participants to websites for more information.

Joe Teeples will be invited back in coming years to repeat the sessions in other locations of the company. Contact Dan Sassi to schedule training.


Customer Service Interstate Resources Style
Offering customers the opportunity to attend world-class safety training is not the only way Interstate Resources adds unique customer service. Frequently, the company learns, generally through our Sales and Customer Service activities, of special needs that customers have that we can help with.

For example, our production and quality managers frequently visit our customers to help solve problems. Their assistance extends to any area in which we have expertise. Other examples include providing health care benefits information and advice, labor contract bargaining strategies, and human resource (HR) consulting. In recent months, customers of our paper mills and box plants have received consulting from us in all of the areas above.

Bookmark and Share





Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Interstate Resources Gathers in Memory of Georges Frem

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: OUTBOUND E-newsletter, 29 April 2008


Family and friends celebrate the second memorial mass in Reading, Pennsylvania.


On 27 April 2008, Interstate Resources Inc. (IRI) organized a family mass to remember Georges Frem, founder of INDEVCO Group, at St. Catherine’s Church in Reading. Sixty Interstate family and friends from Pennsylvania and Virginia attended the mass, conducted in English, Arabic and Aramaic.



Fr. Paul Mouawad, rector of St. Charbel Church in Philadelphia, celebrated the mass with his choir and organist. Charles Feghali and Pierre Fares served the mass.


Karim Frem, son of Chafic Frem, and Hilary Nykwest, daughter of Larry Nykwest, Technical Customer Service Manager at IRI, read the scriptures. Timmy and Danny Faust, children of Rick Faust, Fulfillment Manager at United Corrstack, were the acolytes.




After the mass, the congregation shared a Lebanese meal together at a nearby restaurant owned by a former Interstate member.




Bookmark and Share





Monday, April 28, 2008

Interstate Container Lowell Seeks to Extend Green Initiative for U.S. Department of Defense

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: OUTBOUND e-newsletter, 28 April 2008


Interstate Container Lowell (ICL) applies for second phase of sustainability project for the redesign of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) packaging for the U.S. Army.


Interstate Container Lowell has been invited by the U.S. Army to submit a budget for continued work and grant money for the redesign of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) packaging. Should the Lowell, Massachusetts-based corrugated manufacturer be selected to receive an additional $60,000 grant, the second phase of the project could include production trials and airdrops to evaluate product integrity.

From 2006 to the present, ICL has engaged in the sustainability project for the U.S. Army, one of the largest customers in the United States.


In 2006, ICL was invited to bid on and won a $60,000 Department of Defense (DOD) grant to modify the current packaging design of Meals Ready to Eat (MREs) for the U.S. Army. MREs are self-contained meals, individual rations that provide all nutritional needs for soldiers.




The objectives were to have:

- Less overall fiber than the current design
- Equal compression strength
- The ability to decompose in the field

Since 9/11, approximately 3-6 million MRE ration cases are produced per year for the U.S. Army alone. The current packaging incorporates a solid fiber body and a corrugated insert.


The solid fiber body is made from three wet strength laminated liners (two 90# liners & one 69# liner), while the corrugated B flute insert is made with 55# liners and a 26# medium.

The total weight for such a package is 393#/1000 sq. ft. These packages were originally designed for “burst or Mullen” strength after World War II, but the true functionality is box compression
.

After meeting with representatives from the U.S. Army Research Facility in Natick, MA, ICL was awarded the grant to conduct research and field testing.

The team, including Larry Nykwest, Contract Signature / Project Manager, Keith Gray, Design Manager, and Terry Moore, Sales Manager, met quarterly and made incredible progress with the following results:

Result #1: Up to 31.9% Reduction in Cost

Given the proposed design’s reduction in fiber and square footage, ICL estimates a total cost reduction of 28 to 31.9%.

Result #2: 61% Less Fiber & Greater Box Compression Strength

Corrugated boxes designed by Gray, containing linerboard grades suggested by the Technical Manager, have 61% less fiber and greater box compression strength than the current MRE ration boxes. The corrugated insert in the current MRE box was eliminated.


Result #3: Durable ‘Non-Wet Strength’ Liners

Through various wax replacement coating trials, ICL has demonstrated that boxes can be produced with ‘non-wet strength’ liners that hold up in a variety of conditions.

Result #4: Ability to Decompose in the Field

Testing conducted at the University of Kansas has shown that all ICL prototype boxes and respective coatings have the ability to break down and decompose in the field.

The ICL team, which has since grown to include Richard Geyer, Sales, Pete Bugas and Jim Krahn, Interstate Container Cambridge Representatives, has demonstrated its value and partnership with DOD in their sustainability effort.

ICL, member of the international INDEVCO Group, will learn in May 2008 whether DOD has approved its budget submission


Submitted by

Larry Nykwest
Project Manager / Technical Customer Service Manager
Interstate Container Lowell
240 Industrial Avenue East
Lowell, MA 01852 USA

Tel: 800-234-9496
Fax: 978-458-4475

E-mail: larry.nykwest@interstatecontainer.com

Bookmark and Share





Thursday, April 10, 2008

Interstate Resources' Green Initiative for the Department of Defense

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Spring 2008


In the past few years, customers have shown that they are becoming more and more engaged with efforts involving sustainability and “Green Initiatives.” In 2006, through the efforts of Keith Gray (ICL Design Manager) and Terry Moore (ICL SalesManager), Interstate began a “Sustainability” project for one of the largest customers in the United States - The U.S. Army.

Interstate was invited to bid on a Department of Defense (DOD) project for the U.S. Army, to modify the current packaging design of Meals Ready to Eat (MRE). The objectives were:

• To have less overall fiber than the current design


• To have equal compression strength

• To have the ability to decompose in the field


Since 9/11, approximately 3-6 million MRE ration cases are produced per year for the U.S. Army alone. This current packaging incorporates a solid fiber body and a corrugated insert. The solid fiber body is made from three wet strength laminated liners (two 90# liners & one 69# liner), while the Corrugated B Flute insert is made with 55# liners and a 26# medium. The total weight for such a package is 393#/1000 sq. ft. These packages were originally designed for “burst or Mullen” strength after World War II, but the true functionality is box compression
.

Needless to say, after meeting with representatives from the U.S. Army Research facility in Natick, MA, Interstate was awarded the grant to do research and field testing. A team was formed that included Keith Gray, Terry Moore, and me.

While the task at hand appeared quite daunting, we
have made incredible progress with the following results:

• Most importantly, the corrugated boxes (designed by Keith Gray), containing liner-board grades suggested by the Technical manager, not only have greater box compression strength than the current MRE ration boxes, but have 61% less fiber!

• Through various wax replacement coating trials,Interstate has demonstrated that boxes can be made with “non-wet strength” liners that can hold up in a variety of conditions.

• Ultimately, testing conducted at the University of Kansas has shown that all the prototype boxes and respective coatings have the ability to breakdown and decompose in the field.

Thus far, Interstate has more than demonstrated its value and partnership with the DOD with regard to their sustainability effort. The U.S. Army has again requested that we submit a budget for additional work and grant money for 2008. We anticipate that this will entail actual production trials and airdrops where product integrity will be evaluated.



Bookmark and Share





Newport Timber Takes the Step Towards Sustainable Forest Initiative Standard

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/

Source: Interstate News, Spring 2008


Newport Timber is in the process of taking the step from active Sustainable Forest Initiative (SFI) Program Participant to third party certification to the SFI Standard. Independent third party certification to the SFI Standard provides verified assurance that a Program Participant’s practices in the field meet the SFI Standard requirements.

Newport Timber has retained a consultant, Scott Berg of R.S.Berg and Associates, to provide training and template documents necessary for review by an auditor. Training was conducted for Newport Timber employees on February 5.


Implementation of processes and systems to document compliance has begun. Plans are to select an auditor and achieve third party certification by the end of the third quarter of 2008.


Bookmark and Share





RB Lumber Assumes Newport Timber's Chipmill Operations

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Spring 2008


RB Lumber LLC assumed operation of the Newport Timber chipmill on 21 August 2006. Currently, the chipmill operates 24 hours per day/six days per week, producing 14-15,000 tons of wood chips per week. This is more than 80% of the Interstate Paper weekly chip needs.

Due to the unavailability of purchased chips on the open market, the percentage of chips furnished by the chipmill has increased 30% over the last 8 years. As Interstate Paper increases production, the chipmill will be required to keep pace.

The chipmill, which was built in the late 1990’s, was designed to run 9-10,000 tons per week. It is currently producing 50% more tons at essentially the same cost per ton without any significant improvements to the mill since conception.


Although chip production has significantly increased, we continue to require a high standard of chip quality. Newport Timber maintains an independent contractor on-site to take chip samples of both internally made and externally purchased chips.

If chip quality falls below standard, Newport Timber requires that RB Lumber shut down and fix the chipmill in order to make chips of the required quality, the same requirement expected from our former contractors and external chip sources.

Our goal at the chipmill is to produce the highest quality chips at the lowest possible cost.



Bookmark and Share





Interstate Container Reading Installs Bobst Pacific Polyjoiner

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Spring 2008

Author: Ron McInnis, Operations Manager


Interstate Container Reading (ICR) installed a new Bobst polyjoiner specialty gluer during October of 2007. This is only the third machine of its kind sold in North America. Its flexibility allows for the production of value-added products, such as two-part display boxes, boxes with partitions, box-in-boxes, as well as conventional boxes.

The polyjoiner module has the latest technology, utilizing a unique robot which enables the simultaneous feeding of 2 to 3 blanks.

The plant has successfully run its first commercial order of 80,000 boxes for mead products with delivery in February 2008. This new technology will aid us in enjoying many new customers and orders in the coming year.




Bookmark and Share





Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra Holds Christmas Concert in Memory of Georges Frem

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/  

Source: Interstate News, Spring 2008


The Lebanese National Symphony Orchestra presented a Christmas concert in memory of Georges Frem at the St. Joseph Church of the Jesuit University of Beirut. This concert was held as a tribute to Georges Frem as the man who strongly believed in the artistic mission of the Lebanese Conservatoire.

To achieve his life long dreams, he founded a philanthropic foundation now known as the Georges N. Frem Foundation.


Among many of its initiatives contributing to economic, educational, rural development and promoting a democratic and pluralistic society, comes the initiative of upholding the culture of peace through one of God’s most precious gifts, music,….


“If you don’t think every day is a good day, just try missing one.” - Cavett Robert


Bookmark and Share





Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Easternpak Receives YUM! Supplier Award

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/

Source: Interstate News, Spring 2008



The supplier of corrugated pizza boxes to “Pizza Hut” in the Middle East, our sister company from INDEVCO Group, Easternpak Ltd., recently brought home an outstanding supplier award from YUM! Restaurants International annual Supply Chain Management Conference.

The event, held at
Hyatt Regency Sharm El Sheikh Resort in Egypt, gathered executives of companies that supply YUM! properties in the Middle East. Conference topics aligned suppliers from across the region to YUM!’s brand visions, technical innovations, supply chain system, quality assurance, and food safety.

Fayssal Frem, Regional General Manager of
INDEVCO Paper Containers Division, and Pierre Akl, General Manager of Easternpak, attended the two-day event on 11-12 February 2008.YUM! approved Easternpak as a supplier of corrugated and fast food packaging for the Middle East North Africa Pakistan (MENAPAK) region in February 2007.

(L-R): Pierre Akl, Easternpak; Jeremy Coulbeck, YUM!,
Fayssal Frem, INDEVCO Paper & Containers Division

Bookmark and Share





Friday, February 1, 2008

Interstate Container Fitchburg Moves to Become Interstate Container Westminster

Interstate Resources News homepage: http://news.interstateresources.com/ 

Source: Interstate News, Fall / Winter 2008


Interstate Container Fitchburg, MA, plant was relocated in its entirety from a 200-year-old textile mill building into a very new industrial campus building in Westminster, MA. The move began on June 9th and, with the last of the equipment moved into Westminster from Fitchburg, it was completed on August 11th.

In order to facilitate the maximum completion of tasks in the minimum amount of time, a very aggressive schedule was developed – carving out 110 days from the “OK” to proceed – to the final commissioning of all equipment and operations.

Any movement or displacement of manufacturing equipment can have an adverse affect on customers and plant personnel. Moving an entire plant and inflicting little ‘pain’ to our customers and employees was a mandate that underwrote the project planning.

Countless meetings and hours were spent on planning and interaction with every level and every employee that would be affected by the relocation. All input and comments were carefully weighed and considered in the development of the final schedule and plan.

In order to be cost-effective and to maintain the participation of employees, each and every employee participated to one extent or another in the process. A tremendous effort by all of the sales team and the customer service group at both Lowell and Fitchburg made it possible to keep all customers supplied with products as they needed them.


Reaction to arising circumstances and finding ways to work-around issues was a key element in not losing any business. Hats off to the sales/service personnel!

To not mention the contributions by each and every manufacturing and support personnel at Fitchburg– including the Shipping and Transportation Departments - would be a travesty, since they had to bear the inconveniences of disruption and still find a way to run orders and make deliveries.

Because the new building previously had been used as an inventory storage facility, new utility infrastructures had to be constructed for compressed air, sanitary and non-potable water,electrical, waste water, and foundations. This was no small task considering the timeline of 110-days, which included the final design layout, negotiation of contractors, and issuance of construction permits.

In order to meet the 110-day commitment, a14-hour/7-day a week schedule was adopted. The key to achieving the results was working closely with local management, customer service and sales, and the unrelenting effort of Fitchburg’s single maintenance man, Austin Fisher.

The results speak for themselves… the former Fitchburg team has a “new” home in Westminster, Interstate Container Westminster, that they can be proud of, and which they can all say that they built!



Removing Bost D/C from Fitchburg building



New foundations





Finished plant in operation



Bookmark and Share