WMU hosts leaders from pulp and paper industry

Pulp and paper industry leaders at the Agenda 2020 fall meeting

WMU in September hosted leaders and researchers in the pulp and paper industry at the Agenda 2020 fall meeting. The Agenda 2020 Technology Alliance includes companies, government agencies and university partners who work to identify high priority technology challenges for the pulp and paper industry and promotes scientific research and development to address them.

The group meets three times a year to review progress on its initiatives and priorities, said Lon Pschigoda, general manager of WMU Pilot Plants. “We were pleased to host the fall meeting and have an opportunity to showcase our faculty expertise, our many resources, and our ability to partner and collaborate with industry,” he said.

Dean Houssam Toutanji welcomed the group to campus, thanked the many students present for their participation, and provided an overview of the college and the unique capabilities of WMU Pilot Plants. Dr. Kecheng Li, professor and department chair of chemical and paper engineering, moderated a series of presentations by faculty on topics including flexible sensors and electronics, nanomaterials, and highlights in printing and paper research. Participants also had a tour of WMU’s pilot plants.

WMU is a leader in the field of paper coating research and applications. It is the only place in the world where five pilot plants are available for research and development in pulping, recycling, papermaking, coating and printing. The plants conduct proprietary industry research and provide invaluable experience to student employees.

“We appreciate the hospitality of Western Michigan University and the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences,” said David Turpin, executive director of Agenda 2020. “Our members value such opportunities to learn about these capabilities and hear about the research and innovation coming from them. We especially appreciate the chance to meet the promising students we encounter.”