Palm Paper

Highlighting best practice as a representative in The Parliamentary Review

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Palm Paper is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

David Procter, managing
director, production, and Simon
Morris, managing director, sales
View of the 45,000 tonnes fully
automated paper storage warehouse
Established in 2009, Palm Paper is the UK subsidiary of the
German-based, privately owned Papierfabrik Palm. They
produce a wide range of high-quality graphical paper,
newsprint and improved newsprint for local, national and
international customers and newspapers. Based in King’s Lynn,
Norfolk, Palm Paper has developed its own separate identity
which has been embraced by their new workforce. Managing
director of production David Procter discusses how their first ten
years in King’s Lynn have proven successful, and explains how
they plan to continue adapting in the future.
In 2007, our CEO Dr Wolfgang Palm took the decision to install a new paper
machine in King’s Lynn, Norfolk. This project was a £400 million investment, and
remains the largest single development in the UK paper industry over the past
20 years. The Lynn PM7 project was managed by a small team of specialists from
the Palm Group in Germany, with the construction and installation work being
provided by local and European contractors, all working together to bring, what
was at the time, the world’s second largest paper construction project, in ahead
Since this first venture outside of Germany, further UK and central European
acquisitions have continued to see the Palm Group grow. Raw material supply for
the King’s Lynn paper mill was assured in February 2010 when Palm Paper acquired
the former Cheshire Recycling Company following the closure of the Bridgewater
paper mill in Cheshire.
»Managing director,
production: David Procter
»Managing director, sales:
Simon Morris
»Established in 2009
»Based in King’s Lynn, Norfolk
»Services: Manufacture of
high-quality paper for local,
national and international
customers and newspapers
»No. of employees: 170
»The world’s largest and widest
newsprint machine with a
width of 10.63 metres and a
capacity of 400,000 tonnes
newsprint per annum
»UK subsidiary of the largest
privately-owned paper
manufacturer in Germany
Palm Paper
Highlighting best practice
Waste paper being
loaded onto the pulper
in the feed conveyor at
the start of the process
Jumbo reels of paper weighing 125 tonnes
waiting for final conversion to paper rolls Paper Machine 7 (PM7)
Palm have been
able to diversify
their products
by developing
new and
innovative grades
of paper
Palm paper
The company retains its own identity
as a separate business, but as part of
the Palm Group it was rebranded as
Palm Recycling. It has also moved from
its original location in Cheshire to the
King’s Lynn Paper Mill, enhancing the
close working relationship between
the two companies. Despite this rapid
growth in size, the original family
values, culture and ethics remain
unchanged from 1872.
At the time of the planning in 2008,
UK paper consumption was round 2.2
million tonnes. Today it is less than
1 million tonnes. This reduction in
consumption has sadly seen the closure
of some of the older, less efficient UK
paper mills and required the existing
mills to re-evaluate their operations
and diversify their products. Palm have
been able diversify their products by
developing new and innovative grades
of paper, enhancing their portfolio
of products and ensuring their order
books remain full each year.
The success of these new and
improved grades has surprised
even Palm Paper, with their unique
properties, strength and versatility
being in high demand from both
existing and new customers in the UK,
Europe and now internationally.
Developing our staff and
Palm Paper continues to build on
its strong customer-focused service,
while striving for excellence and
product development. As with any
successful organisation, technology
and efficiency only performs as well
as the staff who operate and maintain
the equipment. As a new industry
entering West Norfolk, the local area
had no specialised skills required to
run and maintain a modern state-of-
the-art paper mill. In order to ensure
the right people were recruited,
trained and developed, Palm Paper
management personally conducted
over 1,000 interviews from 3,500
CVs received. The 160 successful staff
then began an intense nine-month
training programme, targeting the
newsprint paper-making process,
which needed to be complete prior to
A nine-month specialised paper
technology training course was
designed and delivered by the College
of West Anglia and The Paper Centre
at Gernsbach in Germany, the centre
of excellence for the paper industry
in central Europe. These theoretical
studies, delivered by the educational
facilities, were then put into practice
in two-week blocks at the German
paper mills, with experienced German
staff, 26 of whom would eventually
join their UK colleagues in King’s Lynn
for two to three years, mentoring and
developing local staff’s knowledge and
operational experience. This training
ethos has continued and, today, this
original training programme has been
developed further and is now a full,
internationally accredited three-year
apprenticeship scheme, which has
been attended by our existing staff,
who are now being joined by other
Paper Mills staff throughout the UK.
In addition to the apprenticeship
scheme, Palm has continued to heavily
invest in its staff’s career and personal
development. This has involved
sponsoring higher academic studies,
engineering HNDs, OUdegrees, master
degree courses and the introduction
of the Palm Academy initiative. The
Palm Academy is taking graduates and
talented staff from across the group
and over a period of three years is
developing their management skills
and business understanding, ensuring
a new generation of paper-makers and
managers of the future.
Looking forward
The year 2017 saw the start of
construction work on the mill’s own
£55 million combined heat and power
plant (CHP), which will generate
enough power and steam for the
mill and supply surplus power to the
national grid.
Commissioning of the new CHP
started in January 2018 and power and
steam production in February 2018.
In 2017, the mill marked another
milestone in its history, by producing
the 3,000,000th tonne of paper.
Palm Paper prides itself on exceeding
its customers’ expectations. Product
development, product delivery and
product evolution will be key to Palm
Paper continuing to exceed those
expectations for the next ten years as
it has done for the first ten years. Not
many people know the name Palm
Paper but if somebody has touched
a newspaper then they have touched
In addition
scheme, Palm
has continued
to heavily invest
in its staff’s
career and
Palm Paper employees
gather to commemorate
the 3,000,000th tonne
of paper produced since
mill start-up 2009

This article was sponsored by Palm Paper. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it.