The Lightweight Papermachine

James R. Thompson, Executive Editor

A few weeks ago, over on Nip Impressions, I suggested the industry might want to consider the simple goal of reducing the weight of a papermachine by 50% by 2025. Perhaps you read the columns on this. We seemed to have sparked an interest—a number of people wrote with enthusiasm about this idea.

If you did not see it, my suggestion was framed in the idea that if we adopted a simple-to-state goal like this, it allows individuals and companies to pursue it in any way they see fit, but has the promise of great improvements for our industry. It is something like John Kennedy’s goal to go to the Moon—a simple goal with vast detailed challenges. The learnings from the Moon trips are still benefiting us greatly today.

The lightweight paper machine will have multiplicative benefits in building design, foundations, energy savings, and so forth. All of these benefits should improve paper and paperboard’s competitiveness against other materials. Towards this end, Paperitalo Publications has set up a free and open forum for anyone wanting to participate in this idea. It is located at It is wide open and we plan to keep it that way.

There are plenty of precompetitive ideas that machinery manufacturers and operators can talk about to move the idea forward. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity.

I cited President Kennedy above. President Reagan said, “You can accomplish much if you don't care who gets the credit.” That is precisely the idea here. Revitalizing the pulp and paper industry has been wrapped up in personal aggrandizement, fear of litigation, and personal dreams of untold wealth, and has thus far failed — it is time to move forward simply because this is a great industry which provides much good to the world.