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Cipp: Innovative Vision for Integration of Education, Research and Services

According to Patrice Mangin, the CIPP general director, the emergence of CIPP (unofficially translated as the Integrated Pulp and Paper Centre) brought about many questions. "Indeed," he stated, "CIPP...


March 1, 2006
By Pulp & Paper Canada

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According to Patrice Mangin, the CIPP general director, the emergence of CIPP (unofficially translated as the Integrated Pulp and Paper Centre) brought about many questions. “Indeed,” he stated, “CIPP might still be the best kept secret in the paper industry.

“The vision for CIPP is to become a world reference for the pulp and paper industry,” said Stphan Rousseau, vice president of paperboard products at Kruger’s Trois-Rivires, QC, mill. “Its first key mission should be to answer the most urgent and compelling industry demands by providing the educated manpower industry will require in years to come. A parallel mission related to the university link should be fundamental research – performed with the proper tools and equipment – to enable industry to develop value-added products and niche markets.”

In order to supply the services and the formation required to face such challenging demands, both the industry and the government decided to create a new pilot pulp and paper education centre with laboratory facilities in Trois-Rivires. The sole consideration of CIPP’s objectives indicates that the answer sought is based on the development of a true vision around three key objectives:

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* To favour the development of the Canadian pulp and paper industry

* To form highly qualified staff at the university, college and paper mill levels

* To optimize today’s papermaking processes towards added-value, added quality papers.

The search for innovative answers to the nagging questions facing the industry is the key reason for creating the CIPP and building the facilities. The choice for Trois-Rivires as a site is linked to the long history of pulp and paper production in the area, with two paper mills in the city itself and three others within 150 km. The city’s educational infrastructure already provides specialized pulp and paper programs and the interaction between industry and education has always been quite dynamic, smooth, and efficient. When governments required Canadian universities to clearly identify their core competence, UQTR answered that it envisioned one of its future “centres of excellence” would be pulp and paper.

UQTR and CEGEP of Trois-Rivires are contributing $25 million to the CIPP project. The industry, through local representatives (GL&V, Abitibi-Consolidated, Smurfit-Stone), is contributing over $8 million, which translates to about 10% of the global envelope. The Canadian federal government and the Quebec provincial government are contributing $23.5 million each for a grand total over $80 million. Thus, choosing Trois-Rivires and UQTR campus for CIPP facilities appeared quite logical, Pierre Mangin contends.

Pierre Glinas, senior VP at GL&V, is a convinced early supporter: “Since the first day, GL&V believed that the CIPP would become an incredible asset to the Canadian pulp and paper industry. Developing closer partnerships between education, research, the OEMs, and the pulp and paper producers under the same roof will leverage the capacity of the industry to remain competitive in this challenging world.”

STAFF INTEGRATION

CIPP is first a joint venture that integrates the Centre de Recherche en Ptes et Papiers (CRPP) of UQTR, the Centre Spcialis en Ptes et Papiers of Trois-Rivires CEGEP, the pulp and paper education Department of CEGEP, and the continuous education/training represented by TECHNI.CA.

As the CIPP workforce originates from four entities and three different cultures, the challenge is to integrate roughly 55 people into an enthusiastic, efficient team.

“Integrated is not a mere word,” said Mangin. “It is a key question that should be properly addressed and answered to ensure CIPP a good start and a promising future. Indeed, besides the construction project per se, achieving a true integration of staff, equipment, education, and research programs is CIPP’s most critical challenge.”

EDUCATIONAL INTEGRATION

Supplying all levels of education from collegial (DEC) to post-graduate (PhD), to continuous training within CIPP constitutes a bold but significant answer to the industry manpower challenge.

“CIPP is designed with the vision of becoming the international reference for pulp and paper education,” says Claude Daneault, director of CRPP/UQTR. “It can provide the industry with the most needed qualified personnel, at every level, with a well-founded reputation of excellence in training, education, and preparedness.”

RESOURCE INTEGRATION

From chips to paper rolls, CIPP offers an extensive repertoire of types of processes, technologies, and related technology from suppliers. It is then clear that one integration challenge was to design the control hardware/software in such a way that efficient operation could be made possible for the various purposes of education, research, and services to the industry.

All the existing equipment from CRPP/UQTR and CSPP/CEGEP former laboratories has been relocated to the new CIPP laboratories. Furthermore, laboratory testing facilities are being significantly augmented by additional new equipment purchased through funding by the Canadian Foundation for Innovation in partnership with McGill University/Paprican, and additional funding from the Quebec provincial government, and industry (approx. $5 million). Some of the major hardware/software and suppliers include: paper machine drives (ABB), motor starters (Schneider), paper machine QCS (Honeywell), coater scanners (Honeywell), coater PLC (Rockwell), and pilot plant DCS (Emerson Process Management).

Graduate courses will focus on yet another level of sophistication supporting the various processes and process integration. As an example, an advanced control course – to be designed – would provide direct use of advanced control strategies native to the DCS in support of the theories taught. The introduction of a new line of graduate courses in the field is already being discussed. Altogether, the comprehensive education spectrum and program, from technical to Ph.D., will directly benefit from the new control hardware/software technologies being implemented at the centre.

For research purposes, as CIPP instrumentation design comprises three engineering workstations, professors and graduated students will have full access to process configuration, have the resources to modify it to extract data, build models, find optimal operating conditions, and the control strategies to such conditions.

Advanced control strategies like model predictive control and adaptive control are inherent to the DCS installed at CIPP. Although generally associated with research applications, such advanced control schemes represent new features of interest to provide services to the industry. There are two main reasons to support such a statement. First, a working demonstration of advanced control, performed in a pilot plant that closely duplicates industry operating conditions, may convince the rather conservative paper industry of the real benefits provided by implementing such control. Secondly, an optimized process control brings about improved mill operation. In a context where the industry will require the CIPP pilot plant to run in a wide range of operating conditions with narrow specifications, efficient control and operation of the pilot plant will be a key issue for future CIPP success.

Finally, critical concerns for any customer contracting with CIPP such as confidentiality, network security, and remote access playback, are addressed in the proposed integrated design.

Laperrire explains the concept by saying, “CIPP pilot facilities are designed so the wide breadth of existing and new infrastructures are fully integrated in order to exploit the infrastructure as a global entity rather than a random juxtaposition of sophisticated but isolated entities. To this extent CIPP will also provide leadership and useful services to the industry.”

According to Rousseau, “Furthermore
CIPP should offer — and publicize — various services that the industry needs to have performed but which are not core-business. Papermakers would then sub-contract to CIPP services of no direct added-value to them.”

RESEARCH PROGRAMS INTEGRATION

Another significant CIPP facet is research, as both UQTR and CEGEP have a long history of high quality and impact research. Although CIPP will provide full support for traditional research areas where UQTR and CEGEP are already well established, the centre will use the momentum of its first years to develop new research fields of crucial importance to the industry.

Pulp and paper being multi-disciplinary, the following seven traditional research themes will serve as a base for improving CIPP usefulness and services to the industry:

* Mechanical pulping theme includes projects specifically oriented towards technological advancement, and the demonstration of the utilization of hardwood species presently underused or unused by the industry. It answers part of the new Quebec government’s 20% restriction in fibre resource availability. It includes research on deinking of wastepaper and on the improvement of the quality of pulps subsequently produced. Current research includes: high-yield mechanical pulps, reducing refining energy in thermo-mechanical pulping, properties of mechanical pulps, and chip quality management.

* Bleaching research deals with the fundamentals of chemical reactions during bleaching with topics such as: bleaching of mechanical, chemical, deinked pulps, and colour reversion.

* Papermaking research focuses on both fundamental and practical aspects of papermaking with activities directed towards improving paper quality through an improved understanding of retention of fines and fillers, drainage efficiency of pulp suspensions, and paper formation. Focus is on value-added grades with such topics as: wood-containing paper manufacturing under neutral conditions, dry and wet strength agents, use of zeolites in value-added papers, and chemical modification of ligno-cellulosic material.

* Surface treatment and printing research includes areas such as coating, lamination, and the improvement of the quality of paper and paperboard surfaces for printing. Some aspects of coating research are done with CIC (Centre International du Couchage, one PhD student originates from CIC management staff). Printing research will be performed in a network mode including Paprican, GATF (Graphic Arts Technical Foundation) in Pittsburgh, ICGQ (Institut des Commu-nications Graphiques du Qubec), and EFPG (Grenoble, France). Research topics include: the properties of mineral suspensions in paper coating, ink holding capacity of nanostructured porous material, paper structure, and printing modeling, etc.

* By-products research main objective is to promote the use of lignin residues and the manufacture of composites with thermoplastic polymers and wood fibres. The main research topic is related to composites.

* Environment research will focus on both the development of new wastewater treatment technologies, on the characterization of residues, and the use of biotechnologies to reduce environmental impact. An industry research chair is being recruited to strengthen the area. Ongoing and/or former research dealt with: adaptation, development, and emerging technologies for new wastewater treatments, wastewater colour removal, and other organic pollutants, converting pulp and paper mill solid wastes into value-added products, sludge odour control, applications of folic acid in secondary treatment, and life cycle assessment of solid waste. The new program development will be the responsibility of the new chair.

* Process integration and the optimization area includes all research activities aimed at an optimum increased use of modeling and simulation to better apprehend phenomena governing pulp and paper process behaviour. Optimization of models and process controls at best operating points is integrated in the theme with topics such as: advanced modeling techniques (PLS, PCA, neural nets, fuzzy logic, genetic algorithms), simulation models, data reconciliation, energy optimization, model predictive control, and molecular simulation.

In addition to the above traditional research, CIPP will create the necessary conditions to develop key research in nano-technologies, biotechnology, and printing focusing on MEMS, simulation, modelling, fluids, vibrations, synthetic and annual plant fibres, and derivative waste water treatments. CIPP will benefit from the programs developed around four new research chairs:

* value-added paper grades, professor Claude Daneault (Canada/NSERC, 2002)

* printing and graphic communications, professor Patrice Mangin (Quebecor, 2005)

* polymers (CIBA, 2005), professor Franois Brouillette

* environment and biotechnology (UQTR foundation, 2006), under recruitment.

Mangin describes his motto with the following words. “Excellence in R&D is about people, about people and science, about the meeting of people and science, about how the meeting of people and science brings out the best in science and in people, as only people do succeed in achieving excellence in science. CIPP will provide the right meeting place and environment at the right time.”

“We have presented to CIPP future partners, students, and customers a birds-eye view of the new facilities. Integration is indeed a major factor to the success of CIPP as a major venture based on original foresight. Obviously CIPP complements and integrates itself in an existing landscape of well established research. As Canadian pulp and paper research organizations still appear insufficiently networked, too often operating as separate, sometimes competing entities, CIPP plans to be at the starting point, a kind of seed that the industry could utilize to promote an increased efficient networking among providers of Canadian (and eventually worldwide due to globalization) pulp and paper -and related industries- education, research, and services. The pulp and paper industry is at a turning point, CIPP vision is to be at the axis a significant contributor to industry transformation.”

As Mangin says, “It is also foreseen that CIPP should become a key contributor to improve the pulp and paper industry image among the younger generations.”

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The authors would like to thank all contributing partners that made CIPP a reality. Canadian Economic Development, Ministre des Ressources Naturelles et de la Faune du Qubec, Universit du Qubec Trois-Rivires, Collge d’enseignement Gnral et Professionnel de Trois-Rivires, industry partners, namely GL&V, Abitibi-Consolidated Inc., Domtar, Smurfit-Stone, Voith-Sulzer, and additional subventions for equipment from Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Programme d’Aide au Financement d’Infrastructure.

Patrice Mangin, General Director

Luc Laperrire, Director for Graduate Studies

Claude Daneault, Director of CRPP/UQTR.


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