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A Call for Change MidWest 2005


November 1, 2005
By Pulp & Paper Canada

It was somberly fitting that the announcement of the Red Rock closure came on the second morning of the 59th annual Midwest conference. Although talk centred largely on the 94 people who lost their jo…

It was somberly fitting that the announcement of the Red Rock closure came on the second morning of the 59th annual Midwest conference. Although talk centred largely on the 94 people who lost their jobs with little or no warning, it served to hammer home some of the more abstract ideas discussed in the technical presentations. The high profile president’s panel, comprised of Terry Skiffington (VP of Tembec’s Spruce Falls), Jamie Lim (president and CEO of the Ontario Forest Industries Association, (OFIA), Cecil Makowski, VP of the Ontario region of Communications, Energy and Paperworkers’ Union (CEP), Howard Hampton, leader of the NDP of Ontario, His Worship David Canfield, (Mayor of the city of Kenora) and Bill Thronton, (Assistant Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Natural Resources) discussed the blatant discrepancy between the prices northern Ontario pays for energy compared to its provincial counterparts. “Why would a company bother investing in Ontario?” Howard Hampton questioned. “Why, when that company could just shut down operations here and move to Quebec, or BC, just like Cascades did? You might not be making any money,” he said. “But people are making money off you,” he warned of what he referred to as governmental market manipulation. “In four to five years, I’d venture to say there will be one to two paper machines in northern Ontario if energy prices stay as they are.”

It would be difficult not to argue that the North American pulp and paper industry is suffering through what are its most challenging times. As Jamie Lim of OFIA pointed out, “we are in a crisis like we have never been in before.” However, it is this type of adversity that renders conferences like Midwest such valuable investments of time, travel and money. Conference chairman Ajoy Chatterjee maintains that meetings like Midwest work not only as networking and learning opportunities, but they also serve to reenergize and revitalize industry players. “We provide a top-class service,” he proudly stated. “We help people network, we help them make contacts, we help them match suppliers and products to mills. Yes, the amount of delegates here this year is down from last year (roughly 200 people attended Midwest 2005, compared to last year’s approximate 300). This just means we need to revitalize. We are not going to die. We simply need to bring more attractive things to this conference to entice people to attend.”

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What is particularly notable is that despite the arduous state of the industry, delegates remained admirably positive, constructive and upbeat. “I haven’t heard one negative comment,” Chatterjee confirmed, incredulous. “Not one guy has complained. The support we receive from all the mills is truly remarkable and that’s what keeps us going. We raise the bar every year. We’re well organized, but we’re really well supported too.”

The technical component of the conference was well structured in that papers ranged from the highly focused and methodological, to the somewhat more anthropological, where presentations addressed the topics of forced early retirement and the challenges associated with attracting the younger generation to the pulp and paper industry. Despite the wide array of topics, the sessions all focused on highly salient topics and offered up material and information directly applicable to mill situations. Advances in Kraft Pulping, Papermaking – Learning New Tricks, HR – The Human Factor and Money Issues are only a handful of the sorts of topics addressed.

However, the highlight of the conference was unquestionably the Presidents’ Panel. Delegates packed into the session room eagerly awaiting new insights into the old problem of energy, and it can be assumed that none left disappointed. Each speaker articulated the issue of energy from his or her own background and perspective, and care was taken to be constructive rather than antagonistic to the issue. It was evident that the panel took the conference theme of A Call for Change to heart, as all made a valiant effort to motivate and energize delegates, rather than discourage them with daunting statistics.

“I honestly believe we’re going to make it out of this,” said David Canfield, Mayor of Kenora, a comment that carried particular weight in light of Abitibi’s recent paper machine closure in Kenora. “It’s true that for years the government has been afraid to make decisions because they were afraid of not getting reelected. We don’t have time to wait anymore and I say to hell with getting reelected. Our annual allowable cuts are in decline, our wood costs are above average and we have high electricity costs. These things all affect our cost competitiveness. Decisions need to be made, and it’s been proven that more good things are lost by indecision, than by a wrong decision.”

In keeping with the energy theme, Gary Whitney of Ontario Power Generation addressed delegates as the conference keynote speaker. His opening remarks acknowledged the affliction energy exerts on the pulp and paper industry, contending, “I know that you are going through some very challenging times, but we are your friend. The pulp and paper and electrical industries at one time, worked hand in hand.” Whitney delineated the striking amount of similarities the two industries share in terms of business environments, from reliance on natural resources, to vulnerability at the hands of those same resources. “In my business, I have many of the same challenges as you,” he said. “And our industry cares very much about the continued success of the pulp and paper industry. So rest assured that everyone at Ontario Power Generation is working hard to keep the lights on, and to keep them shining brightly.”

Best Paper Awards

Winner of the Best Paper Award: DEREK PETERS, of Albany International, for his work entitled, “Improved Papermaking by Using the Next Generation of Triple Layer Forming Fabrics.”

Honourable mentions for the Best Paper Award were:

* JACK PORTER, of Bowater Canadian Forest Products, for his work entitled, “Understanding and Mitigating Total Reduced Sulphur in a Kraft Mill.

* HEATHER SHRAFT of Lakehead University, for her work entitled, “Characterization of Paper Biofilm Bacteria.”

* RON DOKIS, of Bowater Canadian Forest Products, for his work entitled, “Control of Concentrator Condensate Odour at Bowater Thunder Bay Mill.”

* BRIAN PHILIPS, of Lakehead University, for his work entitled, “Compensating Forced Early Retirement.”

MidWest 2005 featured technical papers on very diversified topics, from both the mill, research and supplier sides of the industry. Works presented were as follows:

CHALLENGES OF WOOD YARD

Woodchip Optimization – Dynamic On-Line Woodchip Classification * C.R. THOMPSON and W. DESORMEAU * B&D Solutions, Sudbury, ON

Wood Quality, Short Rotation Plantations and the Pulp Industry * M. KEITCH * Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON

Managing the Fibre Quality Process * J. PIGOTT * Enterprise CodeWorks, Inc. Vancouver, BC

ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES

Understanding and Mitigating Total Reduced Sulphur in a Kraft Mill * J. PORTER and K. MAKI * Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc., Thunder Bay, ON

ISO 17025 and Measurement Uncertainty Defining Confidence in an Analytical Measurement * R. CLARA * Enviro-Test Laboratories, Thunder Bay, ON

Preparation for the Kyoto Commitment in the Pulp and Paper Industry in Canada and the EU * H. MANNISTO * EKONO Inc., Bellevue, WA, U.S.

Control of Concentrator Condensate Odour at Bowater Thunder Bay Mill * R. DOKIS, K. MAKI and J. PORTER * Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc., Thunder Bay, ON

INNOVATIONS IN MAINTENANCE

Electrical Arc Flash Hazards and Mitigation Strategies in a Pulp and Paper Environment * H. HARKONEN and B. SINGEMAN * KMH Engineering Inc., Thunder Bay, ON

Air/Oil Lubrication Innovations in the Pulp and Paper Process * R. WATSON and D. WEBBER * ATS Spartec, Burlington, ON

Bark Fibre Optimization Through Bark Hog Component Recycling * G. GIBSON * Northern Enable, North Bay, ON

ADVANCES IN KRAFT PULPING

The Production of White Birch Kraft Pulp at Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc. * A.M. HERON, M. STRANGES and DAVE PAROTT * Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc., Thunder Bay, ON

An Automatic Liquor Gun Cleaning System * TAVARES and PHIL MCALLISTER * Diamond Power International, Lancaster, OH, U.S.

A Model for Maximizing Value Creation in Pulp and Paper Mills * G. WEIGEL and P. WATSON * Paprican, Vancouver, BC

DEMONSTRATION

Learn Flew Technique on Papermachine Rope Splicing — Hands-On Demonstration * NORBECK * William Kenyon Inc., Piscata Way, NJ, U.S.

MAKING PAPER IN 2005

Advanced Press Fabrics Technology for Improved Machine Efficiency & Paper Quality * L. GAUVIN * Albany International Canada Inc., Cowansville, QC

FlyMaster — A New Generation Fly Roll for Multinip Calendars * R. LEBLANC * Metso Paper, Montreal, QC

Surface Foam and Entrained Air — A Papermaker’s Nightmare * G. MUDALY * Buckman Laboratories of Canada, Montreal, QC

PAPERMAKING — LEARNING NEW TRICKS

Improved Papermaking by Using the Next Generation of Triple Layer Forming Fabrics * D. PETERS * Albany International, Perth, ON

Good Planning — The Key to Successful Evaluations * S. MIZRA * Buckman Laboratories International Inc., Memphis TN, U.S.

Characterization of Paper Biofilm Bacteria * H. SCHRAFT, K.R. SREEKUMARI, L. DAVEY, A. CHEN and K.T. LEUNG * Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON * N. LOW, University of Saskatchewan, Regina, SK * L. TRUESTRUP-HANSEN and A. PAULSON * Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS * D. PINK, St. Francis Xavier University, NS

New Polymers for the Treatment of Coated Broke in the Manufacture of Coated Fine Papers * M. MCALLISTER and G. SAVOIE * BASK Canada * M. LEDUE * BASF Aktingesellshaft, Germany

THE HUMAN FACTOR

Compensating Forced Early Retirement * B. WRIGHT and B. PHILIPS * Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON

Mediation Coaching * R. COGHLAN * Thunder Bay, ON

Will Generation NeXt StaY? * D. FARRELL * Bowater Canadian Forest Products Inc., Thunder Bay, ON

REDUCING THE COST OF KRAFT

Siloxane Defoamers: The Key to Profitable Pulping * G. MUDALY * Buckman Laboratories International, Montreal, QC

Control of Causticizing Process Results in Energy Savings and De-Bottlenecking in the Lontar Papyrus Mill * S.J. FA and I. KURNIAWAN * Lontar Papyrus Pulp and Paper Industry, Jambi South Sumatra * P. KEINANEN and A. ROWAT * Metso Automation, Norcross, GA, U.S.

Optimizing Machine Efficiency Through Fibre Quality Management * HAGEDORN and J.A. ORCCOTOMA * Paprican, Pointe Claire, QC * P. SCHULER, B. SNOW and J. JARVINEN * Tolko Manitoba Kraft Paper, The Pas, MB

MONEY ISSUES

Energy in Northwestern Ontario * L. HEBERT * Genotran Consulting Inc., Thunder Bay, ON

Financial and Monetary Impact of the Midas Plague * B. WRIGHT * Lakehead University, Thunder Bay, ON

Energy Management System for PWGSC * B. AHMAD * ABB Inc., Burlington, ON

MODERN WATER TREATMENT

Digester Scale Inhibitors — Selection Criteria and Risk Minimization * D. HARTWICK * Buckman Laboratories of Canada, Ottawa, ON

Increasing Boiler Reliability and Availability with High Technology Ignitors * M. SEGUIN * ALSTOM Canada, Ottawa, ON

OPTIMIZING MECHANICAL PULPING

Optimal Refining, Mill Experience Combining Refiner Segment Development and Advanced Control * J. BOWIE and K. COLE * Metso Paper, Montreal, QC

Turbine Plate Development at Spruce Falls * R. FOSTOKJIAN * Tembec Inc., Spruce Falls Operations, Kapuskasing, ON

Latest Development in TMP Production * JP BOUSQUET * Metso Paper, Norcross, GA, U.S.

THE FUTURE OF PROCESS CONTROL

Modern Techniques for Measuring Coat Weight * D. LAND and M. MATYLA * Metso Automation, Richmond Hill, ON

Measure Sooner, Control Better * R. MACHATTIE * Honeywell Process Solutions, Mississauga, ON

Advanced in On-Line and Laboratory Fibre Properties Measurement * P. FRITZKE and D. LAND * Metso Automation, Richmond Hill, ON


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