Spokane Valley-based Atlas Systems LLC, which custom designs bulk-material storage and retrieval systems, has landed a project to develop a wood-waste storage system at a Port Angeles, Wash., mill operated by Nippon Paper Industries USA Co.
In all, contracts involved with that project could have a total value of up to $2 million for Atlas Systems, says Bryan Vanhoff, the company's manager and a co-owner.
The Nippon mill, which makes paper for telephone directories in North America and Australia, has received approval from the city of Port Angeles to build a $71 million biomass boiler and steam turbine-generator to provide energy for the milland excess power that could be sold to electrical utilities. That system would replace a boiler built in the 1950s that's fueled by oil and biomass, or wood waste.
Atlas Systems' portion of the new project involves designing and overseeing the fabrication of the biomass storage bin and the mechanical retrieval system. That system will retrieve the wood waste from the storage silo and place it on a conveyer system that will deliver it to the boiler, Vanhoff says.
"We signed the first contract October 2010; what we'll end up with are multiple contracts," he says.
The Atlas Systems-designed storage bin at the Nippon mill will hold 320,000 cubic feet, or 8 million pounds, of wood waste, he says. The storage system will be situated on a foundation that's 97 feet in diameter; the bin structure will be 91 feet tall. The retrieval equipment will be able to move 130,000 pounds of wood waste per hour, he adds.
Vanhoff says other companies will be involved in erecting the bin system on-site, and that the contracted work hasn't yet gone to bid. He adds that Atlas Systems expects to have subsequent contracts in the third or fourth quarters of 2011 to provide on-site supervision during the installation, which is expected to begin in July. Atlas also will provide continued technical support and field services for the Nippon project, Vanhoff says.
Vanhoff and his family bought the assets of Atlas Systems, which started in 1959, in 1998. Since the 1990s, the company mainly has serviced or upgraded systems that were installed decades ago for existing customers, Vanhoff says. The company, located at 6416 E. Main between Thierman Avenue and Interstate 90, has about 15 clients it works with regularly, including paper mills, saw mills, and others in the forest-service industry.
He says the company hopes to land more contracts for new systems like the one it's designing for the Nippon project.
"This is our first full-blown project, the first complete system (newly installed) since we became an LLC," he says.
The company planned to display its storage system model this week at an International Biomass Conference & Expo in St. Louis.
Atlas Systems employs three people full time and one part time, Vanhoff says. In addition to Vanhoff, the company's other owners are family members who include Vanhoff's father, Gary Vanhoff; mother Theo Vanhoff; his brothers Randy Vanhoff, Barry Vanhoff, Rob Vanhoff and Rick Vanhoff; and sister Kellie Breslin.
Vanhoff says that some of the fabrication work for the Nippon mill's Atlas Systems project will be done by Spokane subcontractors Tri-State Metal Fab Inc. and Briggs Machine & Fabrication Inc.
Other components will be constructed by companies on the Olympic Peninsula, he says.
The state Department of Ecology says the Nippon mill in Port Angeles is able to produce about 160,000 tons of telephone directory paper a year.
The mill says about 75 to 80 percent of the pulp used is from mechanically refined fiber, and about 20 percent is from the de-inking pulping system used to recycle residential wastepaper and old telephone books.
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