When pulp prices rose in the mid-1980s, mills looked for ways to economize, and many of them converted to the alkaline process so that they could substitute cheap calcium carbonate for expensive pulp. During the 1991-93 recession, when demand for paper slackened and recycled pulp was starting to compete on the market, alkaline conversions fell off markedly.
Now market pulp prices have risen again, according to a note on p. 3 in the October Papermaker. The market pulp relied upon by Fletcher Paper's Watervliet mill, a specialty papers mill, now costs 80% more than it did at the first of the year. The mill has been closed temporarily, until market conditions warrant resumption. The rise in the price of pulp is an unfortunate development for the Watervliet mill, but in the long run it may be good news for consumers of alkaline paper.
Another result has been that paper prices have risen. Since last April, the price of uncoated offset has risen about 30%; supplies are short; direct mailers are scrambling to get in as many mailings as possible before rates rise next year, which means increased demand; and because of the shrinking U.S. dollar, low-priced imports from Europe, Japan and Brazil have dropped sharply, according to an article in the October Direct, a direct mail magazine. (3B3.7)
ASTM's Institute for Standards Research has issued a research proposal on "the effects of aging on printing and writing papers." Now it is looking for research proposals from organizations willing and able to do the complex research required, and for sources of financial support for the program. A meeting will be held at ASTM Headquarters to outline the program to potential sponsors. For details call Kathleen Riley at ISR, 215/299-5527. (3B1)
Ecusta, a division of P.H. Glatfelter Co., located in Pisgah Forest, North Carolina, was certified under ISO 9002 in August. The ISO 9000 series of quality standards is used in 76 countries around the world.
Elio Passaglia, author of The Characterization of Microenvironments and the Degradation of Archival Records: A Research Program (APA, Oct. 1994, p. 25d), died July 25 at the age of 73. He retired in 1986 from the metallurgy division at the National Bureau of Standards (now NIST), about the time he completed this project. [Information from ASTM Standardization News, Nov. 1994]
The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have signed a cooperative agreement to jointly lead the effort to develop the National Standards Systems Network (NSSN). The NSSN eventually will link the databases of hundreds of U.S. organizations involved in the development, production, distribution and use of technical standards. When operational in five years, the NSSN will provide cataloging, indexing, searching and routing capabilities to end users--allowing access to the entire range of regional, national and international standards. Contact David Cranmer, B115 Polymer Bldg., NIST, Gaithersburg, MD 20899-0001 (301/975-5753). (From ASTM Standardization News, Oct. 1994, p. 6) (1B)
The Finnish Pulp and Paper Research Institute (KCL) had five recycled fiber research projects underway in 1993, which are briefly reported in Pulp & Paper Canada 95:7 (1994), on p. 52. One project concerned the undesirable residues in recycled fiber. It found that paperboards produced from undeinked recycled fiber contain large numbers of micro-organisms and fungi. (2H1.1)
The University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology has several research projects going that relate to paper conservation or paper permanence. One of them concerns the aging of papers containing chemithermomechanical pulp (CTMP): the interaction between discoloration by light and the loss of mechanical strength, interaction of lignified papers with atmospheric pollutants, and methods of measuring the degree of polymerization of lignified pulps.
Another project, on nondestructive testing to monitor physical changes with aging, found that ultrasonic testing methods were little help in monitoring. However, they have not given up: the report in the September Paper Conservation News says, "an alternative microprobe test has given good indications of aging" and is the subject of an ongoing Ph.D. thesis. (3B1.7)
International Paper Co. has shut down its Union Envelope converting plant in Richmond, Virginia, because of market factors. The plant's general manager, Robert N. Turnbull, is quoted in the October Papermaker as saying, "With the growth of communication by fax and E-mail, there's less demand for envelopes. Postal increases also reduce the volume of business mail. There are simply more envelopes out there than the available market can use." (3B3.7)
S.D. Warren, which led the country in producing alkaline fine papers for many decades before neutral sizes were invented, has been a subsidiary of Scott Paper Co. since 1967. Scott, basically a consumer products manufacturer, put Warren on the market over five months ago. Recently a global investment group headed by Sappi, Ltd., South Africa's leading paper and forest products company, signed an agreement of sale for $1.6 billion. The sale is expected to close by mid-December after certain conditions are met.
Sappi is a large and growing company, a producer of coated freesheet paper and dissolving pulp. Warren, with four mills, is the world's largest manufacturer of coated freesheet used in high-quality magazines and annual reports. The purchase is seen as good for both companies. (3B3.7)