In this week’s industry spotlight, we are going to be taking a closer look at the pulp and paper industry. Here at Hammer Haag, we have been fabricating integral steel components and machines for our pulp and paper clients for years and have learned so much about their intriguing industry along the way.
What is pulp and paper?
The pulp and paper industry is comprised of companies that use wood as raw material and produce, pulp, paper, cardboard, and other cellulose-based products. Get a package from Amazon today? Pulp and paper. Print out a legal document? Pulp and paper. Clean up a mess with a disposable towel? You guessed it… pulp and paper.
A new roll for pulp and paper
For many years, the primary output of the pulp and paper industry was graphic paper – also known as communication paper – and this was further broken up into the subordinate varieties of printing and writing papers as well as newsprint. But unless you have been living under a rock – and my sincerest commiserations if you have been – you know that the rapid emergence of new electronic technologies have drastically reduced the need for graphic papers. We are not sending handwritten love notes anymore; magazines and newspapers are switching to a 100% digital format at a rapid rate; most people take notes on their phones these days. Considering all of that, no one could blame you if you were to assume that the pulp and paper industry has been slowly dwindling down to nothing along with its former champion product, but that is where you would be wrong.
As the market for communication papers has steadily decreased, the adjacent market for packaging materials has been stably on the rise. Don’t believe me? Then look inside of your recycling bin and count the Amazon boxes nestled therein. Amazon alone averages north of 400 million packages being delivered every day and with the continued growth of this e-commerce giant – and its “competitors” – this average is likely to continue growing over the next few years.
The future of this industry
Pulp and paper as a whole has shown to be a notably adaptable industry over the last century. As markets and tastes change the pulp and paper manufacturers change right along with it. With the boom of package papers projected to continue, and the ever-present need for industrial and consumer cellulose-based products, it is looking like the future is bright in the pulp and paper industry.