E-Newsletter - A Publication of Interstate Resources

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."

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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.

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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.

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