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Pulp & Paper

Despite Rumors, Paper & Pulp Mills Continue to Produce More Than Ever

In a report released last year, the Maine Pulp & Paper Association reported that the demise of the pulp & paper industry has been exaggerated. In fact, despite the overall downturn in the national economy, and the resultant consolidations among the paper plants, the facts are that the paper & pulp industry in Maine will be here for the long haul. Based on the 8,000 people in Maine directly employed in the mills and their half a billion dollars in wages, and the five to seven jobs created per direct worker in the mills among loggers, transporters, retailers, etc., the total economic impact is second to none in the state.

The paper industry is actually producing as much paper each year today as it ever has. The increased efficiencies in production have contributed to a decline in the number of workers, but not in the amount of output. We still need to write a message on our post-it notes, don’t we? Only the state of Wisconsin produces more total paper & pulp output per year. The paper industry produces more than four percent of Maine’s gross domestic product. The contribution of the industry is disproportionately high in the rural portions of the state.

Maine Paper Industry

Consolidation has changed the face of Maine’s paper industry, but at this time, 10 companies operate a total of 13 pulp and paper mills in Maine, according to the MPPA report released last year. The products produced include pulp, bond, newsprint, tissue, coated paper, specialty paper, painter’s tape and many other specialized papers. The other New England states, particularly New Hampshire, have several paper mills that continue to operate too, despite consolidations and takeovers that have marked some recent disruptions in the industry.

The Hope Group has been providing hydraulic, pneumatic and instrumentation products and systems to the Maine paper & pulp companies for decades. Today, the emphasis is on retrofitting and rebuilding machinery to meet stricter production, environmental and “green” requirements in the mills. The need to do more with less translates into system design that permits increased productivity at reduced cost in materials and labor.

While the paper & pulp industry realigns itself to the new global marketplace, the fact that they continue to produce the same amount of product today as they did ten or 20 years ago, means that the mills will require maintenance, upgrades, rebuilds and retrofits that The Hope Group is ideally suited to implement.


Pulp & Paper Industry

The New England pulp & paper industry, particularly in Northern Maine, has been a traditional market for hydraulic power units, lubrication systems, hose assemblies, filtration and instrumentation throughout the plants. With the change in the market over the recent decade, there has been a shift to re-builds and re-fits among the remaining paper plants with an emphasis on increasing efficiency and lowering operating costs. New requirements bring new responses from the hydraulic sales engineers and fabricators at The Hope Group.

Products from Timber

The bulk of New England timber is used for the manufacture of paper, from pulp, as well as fiberboard and hardboard. Paper is made from a mass of softened fibers (pulp) that are formed into a mat, pressed and dried. Fiberboard is made of cellulose fibers, which are bonded together with an adhesive. Hardboard is stronger than fiberboard and it is derived from pulp that has been pressed together under extremely high pressure.

Paper for Newsprint

Newsprint is a low-cost, non-archival paper mostly used for newspapers and advertising material. The newsprint is made by a mechanical milling process, without the chemical processes that are often used to remove lignin from the pulp for other types of paper. Traditionally, newsprint has been made from fibers extracted from various softwood species of trees, including spruce, fir, balsam and pine.

About Cardboard Boxes

Cardboard is a general term that includes specific varieties of paper such as card stock, corrugated fiberboard, and paperboard. The first reported use of cardboard as a shipping container occurred in England around 1871. The first manufacture of cardboard in the US occurred in 1895. It quickly replaced wooden crates and wooden boxes as the preferred packaging material.