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Douglas Wahren

Ladies and gentlemen, the first class of inductees to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame in Appleton, Wisconsin was inducted more than two decades ago in 1995, and today, more than 139 papermaking innovators and legends have been enshrined. This month, we profile the late Douglas Wahren, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2017.

Wahren was born in Norrköping, Sweden on March 12, 1934. He received his Masters (1956) and Ph.D. (1964) in Mechanical Engineering, both from the Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden.

After graduation, he worked with many prestigious institutions including Beloit Corporation, U.S.A (1964); STFI, Stockholm, Sweden (1969-73); AB Karlstad Mekaniska and Werkstad, (KMW), Sweden (1974-79); Institute of Paper Chemistry, Appleton, Wisconsin, U.S.A (1979-87); STORA Tech., Sweden1987-96); and in 1996 founded his own consulting firm "The Profit Professor" (1996). Douglas Wahren was a man full of ideas.

Wahren's excellent work on three-dimensional fiber networks has led to the development of modern hydraulic paper machine head boxes. His research has led to a greater understanding of sheet formation from "fiber dispersion" to "Floc dispersion" and has been the basis for many subsequent wet-end innovations such as high consistency forming.

Wahren's research has led to other notable achievements such IMPULSE DRYING (1970), a process involving more intense drying rather than trying to further the size of the dryer section. STFI's Impulse technology program was inaugurated by the King of Sweden, Carl XVI Gustaf with Wahren as the guest of honor.

Wahren's SSVL Project report with James Davis (1981) is an excellent resource for the closed paper mill concept for saving energy and water. Wahren holds seventeen (17) patents, and has published three (3) books and at least fourteen technical papers. He married his childhood friend, Inger, in 1957.

Wahren caught polio in 1949 at the age of fifteen, was unconscious for six weeks and found himself paralyzed from the neck down. His treatment with penicillin, strenuous physical therapy, positive outlook and sheer determination helped him get better.

Wahren died on December 27, 2011 in Täby, Sweden where his wife still resides.

Steve Roush is Vice President, Publisher and Editor and in charge of the International Desk at Paperitalo Publications. Many thanks go to the Paper Industry International Hall of Fame, Inc., for biographical information on Hall of Fame inductees.

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