There's plenty to be excited about within the pages of this issue -- the team of Pulp & Paper Canada certainly was, as we were putting together the articles for March. It's the buzz of new potential evident at the beginning of this year that engendered the optimism. The beginning of 2007 has some interesting developments on the horizon...
First came the official news about FPInnovations. Although the process had started much earlier, this consolidation of Paprican, FERIC and Forintek is now the world's largest private forest products research institute in the world and, as such, will serve to prepare the Canadian forest industry for international competition. With natural charm and directness, Dr. Ian de la Roche, the new CEO and president, embodies the drive and vision necessary to lead FPInnovations. I had the opportunity to interview him at his Montreal office in Paprican and gather his views to share with our readers. Read about his perspectives on the role of this organization, starting on page 25.
During PaperWeek International, the Minister of Natural Resources, Gary Lunn, gave more details on the funding of $127.5 million to address long-term competitiveness in the forest industry. It was welcome information and will certainly have an impact on the industry by promoting innovation, as well as investment, expanding market opportunities and developing a national forest pest strategy. More details are available in our Industry Trends, page 10.
At the same time, the corridors of the Palais des congrs in Montreal, where PaperWeek was being held, were busy between sessions as presentations on various subjects, from research tax credits to papermaking engineering, were taken in eagerly by researchers, academics and mill staff. The most popular, by numbers, for sure were the biorefining sessions. How can one hear about all the research and advances in biorefining from biomass, and not have hope for this rapidly evolving and positive development of our troubled industry? So much of the exchange of research information and networking took place at PaperWeek that it would be difficult to describe it all but, for a more simple overview, see our PaperWeek section, starting on page 12.
Throughout any investments and innovations in our industry, the importance of standards, as in the ISO Standards, is important in order to meet customers' requirements, while meeting performance and appearance attributes. Maurice Douek, the manager of the Analytical Services and Standards Program at Paprican and current Chair of the Canadian Advisory Committee to ISO/TC6, explains the role of the National Standards to our industry. Learn more about the role Canada is playing in this field on page 22.
Just before publication, we heard about the two new projects that were announced at the end of February. Kruger's anouncement was for a $200 million investment at its Trois-Rivires mill to build a de-inking plant with an annual capacity of 342,000 metric tonnes. This project is set to position Kruger as the North American leader in the manufacture of publication papers with a high recycled fibre content.
SFK Pulp announced that it had obtained $6 million in financial assistance to modernize its Saint-Flicien Mill, through, among other things, the upgrading of its brown pulp washing technology.
Although there is a brief outline of the projects within these pages, more details will be gathered to share with our readers in the near future.
At the same time, technology continues to improve. Two articles about bearings and roll covers point out the recent progress in the overall expertise and performance in those areas. New technologies have helped solve old problems in the realm of bearings through bearing fatigue life formulas, page 28. Cost reduction and cost containment are the focus of the article on roll covers on page 32.
Despite all the challenges, or maybe sometimes because of them, we continue to move ahead.