Peter Hallberg, Business Area Manager at Citec Sweden.

A new dawn for pulp and paper

The paper industry is currently experiencing a recovery and upswing. Citec too is actively working in this area with engineering and information management services.

The paper industry has been on a rollercoaster ride for the last few years. Before the turn of the millennium the sector was overheated, only to subsequently go into freefall as the demand for paper shrank due to digitalisation. Now all the graphs are pointing upwards again, and large investments are being made in both Finland and Sweden.

“If you had asked anyone five years ago if they thought there would ever be another investment into a paper processing line in Sweden, everyone would have said no. Things have changed very quickly”, Business Area Manager Peter Hallberg points out.

General operating models for technology consultants.
General operating models for technology consultants.

Hallberg has worked in the industry for 20 years. In September 2015 he started working for Citec Sweden with the brief to develop Citec’s offering to the pulp and paper industry.

One reason for the strong current upswing is due to the so-called bio-economy trend, which means that wood is being used in new innovative ways. Another reason is that the demand for paper packaging is increasing.

“A normal car requires 200kg of paper before delivery in the form of manuals and different packaging. The demand for liquid containers is also increasing, mostly due to fewer products being canned”, Hallberg explains.

One might think that it does not require much to manufacture paper packaging, but according to Hallberg, it is as complicated to make a liquid container as it is to build a smart phone. The fact that paper containers are in demand is especially beneficial for the Nordic countries since the long fibres found in our coniferous trees are perfect for that purpose.

“Paper packaging needs to be strong, and to become strong the fibres need to develop slowly. The types of wood found around the equator grow faster, but are more suited to tissue paper.”

The combined investments in the paper industry in Sweden will total roughly 1.5 billion euros by 2020. Peter Hallberg’s mission is to ensure that Citec gets a little share of that pie.

“My task is to build a team who can serve the paper industry. Today we can offer small facility conversion projects and project management. In the future we will be able to offer, for example, installations and operationalisation.”

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