A Publication on World Pulp, Paper & Allied Industry

April-June'2001 - Vol. 5 Issue 3


International Symposium 2001

A Timeless Medium

by G. Viswanathan*

The cold, blustery weather of Montreal does not discourage more than 10 000 visitors from regularly attending the PaperWeek International annual event year after year. The 87th Annual Meeting of the Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada (PAPTAC) and the EXFOR™ trade show held between January 29 and February 1, 2001, provided yet another successful meeting place to display world-class technology exchange opportunities and showcase equipment and services. Delegates, visitors and exhibitors came from mills, supplier companies, research institutions and universities across Canada and from countries world-wide to gather in Montreal for this event. The programme included open forums, presentation of technical papers on the latest trends and technological advancements and research activities from recycling and pulping to paper machine technology and printing. PAPTAC reported that, for the first time, it held an open forum for young people who are set to graduate from colleges and universities. Its chief aim was to introduce the industry to a next-generation of researchers, scientists and paper-makers.

Also taking place at the same time were the annual meetings of the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association (CPPA), which has subsequently been re-named Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), and the Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC). This year’s total attendance, including delegates to the technical presentations, visitors to EXFOR trade show and exhibitors, was 11 353. This article provides some coverage in brief of the various events that took place during PaperWeek 2001, starting with the open forums. This year’s theme was "Paper: A Timeless Medium".

The annual gathering kicked off with the formerly named CPPA and its State of the Industry open forum. The Canadian industry had recorded shipments of 31.5 million tonnes in 2000 — a 2.1-per-cent increase from the previous year. Pierre Monahan, past chairman of CPPA and president CEO of Montreal-based Alliance Forest Products Inc., indicated that the annual return of 9 per cent in the invested capital is insufficient given the cyclical nature of the industry. In a good year companies ought to expect a return of 20 per cent to offset lean years, Mr. Monahan pointed out. 

GL&V Booth at EXFOR 2001

The open forum provided some initial statistics on the industry'sperformance during 2000. Stronger economic conditions in the first two quarters in North America and Europe resulted in volume increases of 10 per cent and 3 per cent, respectively, only to be offset by a 4.8-per-cent decline in over-all shipments in the fourth quarter, reported Pulp and Paper Products Council (PPPC). The forecast for 2001 also predicts a decline in over-all shipments. The industry taxes being high, there will be intensive lobbying at the federal government level, said Lise Lachapelle, president and CEO of CPPA. Ms. Lachapelle added that the current tax scheme undermines any natural competitive advantage Canada might have in the forest-products sector.


Recovered (or recycled) paper consumption is likely to increase in the coming years, as Asian countries play a major role. Peter Cardellichio, Boston representative from Asian Pulp and Paper Service, had quite an optimistic view in this regard. Asia’s recovered paper consumption has risen by 20 million tonnes in the last decade, and will continue to be a dominant factor as China, South Korea, Taiwan and Indonesia take a fair share of imports with resources coming from United States and Europe. Montreal-based Abitibi Consolidated Inc., the world’s largest newspaper producer, has as much interest in recovered paper’s (i.e., old newsprint, or ONP) collector system as anyone, said another guest speaker, Michael Sullivan, Houston representative of Abitibi organization. 

A Display of Fibron 3000

The major focus still appears to be on the collection programme. According to Association des industries forestieres du Quebec (AIFQ), the immediate goal is to find the means and sources to share the short supply, and the long-term goal is to improve the collection system in such a way as to provide a reliable fibre supply to industry. On a side note to this forum but on a similar subject, ONP consumption will grow among major recovered paper grades, noted the American Forest and Paper Association (AFPA)

Its recent capacity survey concluded that through 2003, the use of ONP is likely to increase at an average annual rate of 3.5 per cent. This trend explains, in part, one of the largest North American recycled newsprint projects currently under construction at the Alliance Forest Products mill in Coosa Pines, Alabama, in the southern U.S. The new recycling centre is expected to become operational in the first quarter of 2002. Then, it will produce fibre that is 100 per cent derived from recovered paper. (Detailed engineering is being done by Montreal-based ABGS Inc.)

The Future of the Paper Open Forum: There were mixed views on this issue. Are we headed for a paperless world? Has high technology and in particular the Internet done considerable damage to the paper industry? Is there less consumption of paper around the world? Have our imports and exports reduced considerably from where they were 10 or 12 years ago? These were some of the key questions going through the minds of the delegates attending this forum. Derrick de Kerckhove, director of the McLuhan Program at the University of Toronto, held an optimistic view. Dr. de Kerckhove said that as the technology continued to evolve there was room for both paper and electronic-based text. However, Jean Lanoix, director of integrative strategy at Montreal-based DMR Consulting, said that there are signs that we are moving more and more towards a paperless office. Mr. Lanoix added that once people get used to controlling the flow of information there would be no returning to traditional ways. With the development of electronic books (or E-books), the consumers of information will have a choice to select between a book and computer screen. Mr. Lanoix cited Dell Computer’s completely paperless ordering system for desktop and laptop computers. Frank Dottori, president and CEO of Tembec Inc. and session moderator expressed a compromising view. Mr. Dottori predicted that demand for paper should keep growing each year, but at low single-digit levels.


Canada can boast about its vast forestlands, which comprises 10 per cent of the world’s forests. "There are advantages [to] being big and there are also disadvantages given the ecological diversity", said Yvan Hardy, the assistant deputy minister of Canadian Forest Service and Natural Resources Canada. Canada is the most regulated country in the world with regard to forestry practices, Dr. Hardy added. Third-party certification continues to rise and it is expected that Canada will have 92 million hectares of certified forestlands by 2003. At the end of 2000, about 31 per cent or 37 million hectares of Canada’s active forestlands were certified by one of Canada’s four major standards. 

The display of "The Eagle" at CAN-AM booth

According to Hardy, certification is a principal element on the federal government’s agenda. Certification spread to North America only recently. There are still conflicts between environmentalists and the forest industry, which needs to be more ecologically responsible to alleviate differences, one of the speakers stated.

Other Open Forums included those on packaging, communication, building blocks for environmental sustainability and market pulp.



Several technical sessions were held in a span of three days. All the technical sessions were sponsored by PAPTAC standing committees. The topics ranged from recycling to pulping and bleaching technologies to paper- and board-making and printing technologies. As well, there were sessions on mechanical, electrical/instrumentation engineering and maintenance, and one afternoon was devoted to steam power and mill-wide approaches to energy efficiency. Since there were many technical papers presented, too numerous to mention, this section highlights only a few of them. However, you can obtain copies of technical papers from the Pulp and Paper Technical Association of Canada by visiting its Web site (www.paptac.ca).

The Recycling sessions lasted almost a day. One of the papers presented compared recycled market pulp to virgin hardwood-based pulp, "Can a deinked pulp outperform virgin hardwood pulp or BCTMP?" In the paper, the authors state that mills producing market-deinked pulp have had a reputation for mediocre quality. The market demands a better quality pulp, said Loreen Ferguson, technical director of American Fiber Resources (AFR). According to the paper, some mills have fixed the problems (although there are some continuing ones), and are able to produce market pulp that is indistinguishable from virgin pulp. The results compare the recycled pulp to virgin wood-based pulp such as eucalyptus, birch, northern woods, mixed hardwoods and hardwood BCTMP. The physical properties (burst, tear, tensile, smoothness, etc.) and optical properties (brightness, opacity, dirt count, etc.) are equal to, and in some cases better than, pulp derived from virgin hardwood.

Again on recycling technology, the paper "Effect of Initial pH on the Release of Dissolved, Colloidal and Suspended Solids During Repulping of ONP and OMG" (whose authors are F. Brouillette and C. Daneault of University of Quebec’s pulp and paper research centre, and Gilles Dorris of Paprican) conclude that the amount of DCS released from ONP and OMG during repulping increases significantly when the pH of the water in contact with paper is greater than 11.5. Therefore, a reduction of the initial repulper pH below 11.5 is highly beneficial because it reduces the carryover of DCS to the paper machine, which is known to be very harmful to paper machine operation, and accordingly to end product quality.

In the new technology presentations, the sessions were divided into six different categories: paper machine, paper machine clothing, pulp and stock preparation, water treatment, maintenance and measurement and controls. E. Rooney of Fibron Machine Corp. made a presentation on "A new Family of Vacuum Conveyor Threading Technology". D. Maltais and F. Crepeau of Johnson Diagnosys Inc. provided a paper on "The Diagnostic Tool for Optimization of the Press and Dryer Sections — Case Studies on Energy Savings". According to this paper, the diagnostic tool acts as an in-house expert, which monitors, analyses and optimises critical paper machine performance. For example, in one of the mills studied, mill personnel were advised of excessive steam loss and its root cause and were then given recommendations for corrective action, resulting in cost savings.

In the Millwide Approaches to Energy Efficiency session, there was a paper on "Water and Energy Savings at a Kraft Paperboard Mill Using Process Integration" by L. Savulescu, B. Poulin, A. Hammache and S. Bedard of CANMET, Natural Resources Canada. The paper gives results on the effect of heat-recovery projects. According to the paper, introducing a heat-recovery system allows mills to achieve reductions in operating cost and lower CO2 emissions and generate steam savings, with the added result that the payback associated with these projects is good.

EXFOR 2001: EXFOR™ celebrated its 43rd anniversary at the trade show. There were 478 exhibitors displaying their products and their latest technological advancements. More than 100 companies were present for the first time, so that visitors were able to learn about new products and services. ActivExpo inc. put the trade show together.

A popular attraction was the world’s smallest paper machine, "The Eagle", an early 1900 vintage displayed by CAN-AM Machinery. This booth always attracts a large crowd.

Here are some notable examples of what exhibitors were showing at EXFOR 2001:

Kaverner Pulping AB, fibre line division, officially released its new Compact Press™ to the pulping industry. The new press covers capacities between 500 and 3000 tonnes a day, securing single-line solutions for small and large fibre line projects. It is also designed for wide range of inlet consistencies. The press provides high loading (tonnes/m2), thanks to the unique compact design, making it an excellent choice for retrofits.

ABB highlighted "Industrial IT solutions". The information technology (IT) solutions are organized into customer-focussed suites. These suites are then organized according to individual needs. An example of industrial IT solution might be a single replacement actuator or a completely integrated automation system seamlessly linked with business process software. As well, combining wet-end controls, paper measurements, drives, supply chain automation, software and service technologies brings a customer a complete industrial IT solution.

The Hi-Spec Solutions Business of Honeywell introduced operations management (OM) for pulp — a new software solution for improved pulp mill performance and profitability. The OM software sets priorities for process units in a pulp mill; and, it then monitors, calculates and highlights manufacturing performance.

Fibron, a division of Voith, introduced Fibron 3000, a state-of-the-art threading system with a full range of input/output options. It also provides system automation and control including performance logging and remote troubleshooting. One of the main features is that the system can adapt to various machine speeds — from the slowest machine speed to highest machine speed operating today. As well, Fibron 3000 is suitable for all paper and board grades and can be installed at all locations on the machine, from press to reel.

In addition, some large suppliers of equipment and technology took the opportunity to announce recent major acquisitions and marketing agreements.

GL&V Black Clawson-Kennedy, a subsidiary of GL&V, Montreal, Canada, signed a marketing agreement with The Industrial Control (IC) business of Honeywell to supply their new BTF consistency profile control technology for head boxes. (visit GL&V’s web site: www.glv.com)

DuPont Chemical Solutions Enterprise and Hercules Pulp and Paper Division have announced a distribution agreement to sell potassium monopersulphate to the global pulp and paper industry for recovering and repulping paper containing wet strength resins. The product will be marketed as Kybreak® 500 repulping agent. This is totally chlorine free and does not produce AOX or other chlorinated organic compounds, interfere with wet-end chemistry, degrade fibre or darken mechanical pulp.


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