Frövi/Rockhammar Mill: Medieval Roots and Modern Advancements

Frövi Mill is not just an industrial facility – it is a time capsule carrying the history of industrial development and innovation for the region. This journey began in medieval times and continues to shape the development of the Örebro region and Sweden’s industrial landscape. Frövi Mill is a dynamic and driving force that holds a global position as a leading manufacturer of packaging and liquid board today and in the future.

Frövifors bruk 1910

Gustav Vasa builds ”Fröwij Hammare”

The story of Frövi/Rockhammar Mill begins at the upper waterfall of Frövi river where King Gustav Vasa erected “Fröwij Hammer” in 1558 – a hydro powered trip hammer that marked the beginning of the mills’ first era. With the Frövi river and Lake Väringen as sources of power and the forest as abundant raw material, iron production became the essence of Frövi Mill.

The Path to Paper Production

In 1889, the mill entered its second era. It was a time when many small hydro powered iron ore mills were closed, but Frövi Mill adapted and survived through the introduction of modern technology. A new golden age emerged, now as a pulp and paper mill. The first paper machine, PM2, was installed in 1889, and over the following years, paper production steadily grew. Between 1901 and 1911, PM1, PM3, and PM4 were added. In 1916, Frövi Mill transitioned to producing sulfate pulp for the manufacturing of wrapping paper.

Rockhammar operated as a wood pulp mill and sawmill between 1895 and the 1970s, installing a porous board line, refined pulp production, TMP production, and CTMP production. In 1995, Rockhammar celebrated 100 years as a mechanical pulp manufacturer.

Workers in the sheet hall, 1936. Source/källa: Frövifors pappersbruksmuseum.
Bjarne is about to change a roll.

Evolution of Carton Manufacturing

In 1981, Frövi Mill marked the beginning of its third era. An investment of 850 million SEK enabled the construction of a high-tech carton mill while phasing out the old paper mill. Europe’s largest carton machine at that time, KM5, was inaugurated in May 1981, and its impressive dimensions – 853 feet or 260 meters long and a machine hall that accommodates the Eiffel Tower with room to spare – reflect the technological advancements made.

Since Billerud’s (formerly Korsnäs) takeover in 2006, Frövi Mill has continued to evolve as a world-leading manufacturer of packaging and liquid board. In 2009, Rockhammar, located near Frövi Mill, was also acquired. It currently produces unbleached and bleached CTMP (chemi-thermo-mechanical pulp) delivered in baled form to Frövi.

Sustainability and Community Contributions

Since the year 2000, heat from paper production has been utilized to supply hot water to the communities of Lindesberg, Frövi, and Vedevåg for urban heating. In a recently completed investment of 2.6 billion SEK, a new recovery boiler has been introduced at Frövi Mill. Powered by fossil-free bio-oil, this boiler will not only reduce air emissions but also play a vital role in the chemical recycling process.

A parallel sustainability project, in collaboration with WA3RM, aims to recycle waste heat to support the operation of a tomato greenhouse and fish farming in Frövi.