Future of Paper Machine Clothing in the US

Posted August 25, 2016 in Pulp and Paper Industry by Elizabeth Tischer

In 1921 Hugh Baker, in The Foundation of the Paper Industry , wrote “Next to food and clothing, the number one item that we manufacture in our civilization is paper. “   Paper is a fundamental factor in civilization.” 

The origins of paper manufacturing are shrouded in mystery. Beginning in China, Egypt, and other areas, the development of paper played very little part in the development of civilization but it certainly played a large part in the spread of it. The founding fathers were in America for more than 100 years before we began to manufacture paper here and having done so, the industry took off like the rockets that would be built a hundred years later.

Paper manufacturing appeared  to many to be on the decline with the onset of so many different electronic methods of communicating, yet, with books and contracts and other documents being mass produced, rumors of the demise of the industry seem to have been exaggerated.

In many cases companies were dialing back on their paper machine clothing and hitching their wagon—as it were, to another star or moving in other directions because they were concerned with profitability. The reality is that paper machine clothing is not going to be leaving us any time soon. It’s also becoming more profitable and easier as time goes by.

Advances in paper machinery and clothing have been renowned. In recent years  those advances have pointed to a very bright future for the paper clothing industry. The contribution of paper machine clothing will rival all other paper machine in performance and in innovation.

The technology that has been developing and growing makes a huge difference in the industry. In addition, the link between the paper and machine clothing is a key element to future success for every industry. Textile technology has been a key. It’s been providing solutions to performance barriers in many arenas. According to  Peter Huber, Rudolf Estermann and Kurt Brandauer, the success of both paper and fabric are interconnected in every way.

“Voith Fabrics and Voith Paper are already testing and evolving new clothing designs that work together with on-machine cleaning equipment to optimize clothing performance throughout its life. By focusing on clean running and simultaneously presenting a finer surface to the paper and board sheet, printing properties from the more difficult-to-print shorter fibers can be improved.”

The speed of board and paper machines as well as other machinery has changed dramatically. For the past  100 plus years, since the beginning of industrial paper making, they have improved dramatically and will continue to do so. This allows us to create things with greater speed and greater efficiency.  Greater widths have also been achieved which means that we can do more, faster and more efficiently than ever before. 

The pulp and paper industry is still strong and still growing.  Does it have a future? Will it continue to grow and evolve? The answer, according to all of those in the know is a resounding yes. Paper machine clothing has a bright future for the companies who are engaged in the industry and helping it to grow.

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