Date: 3-30-07

HCC Partners with Blue Ridge Paper to Purchase “Midget Paper Machine”

Blue Ridge Paper Products recently donated $5,000 to Haywood Community College to help with the purchase of a “midget paper machine” to be used in the Pulp and Paper Technology program. Bob Williams, Director, Regulatory Affairs for Blue Ridge Paper and Jim Froehlich, Director, Human Resources for Blue Ridge Paper both said that the donation was the next step in a relationship that HCC and Blue Ridge have been cultivating over the past 5 years.

According to W. C. Godfrey, HCC pulp and paper technology instructor, HCC’s partnership with Blue Ridge Paper continues to grow. “They (BRP) have been very helpful in our recruiting efforts by allowing tours of the mill, allowing our classes to have a live lab inside the mill, and letting us use test equipment. One of the main goals of our partnership is the continued development of a technically skilled workforce,” he said. “This “midget machine” will be an excellent addition to the HCC Paper Lab and will help us meet this goal.”

“It is a great partnership for both of us. HCC has been instrumental in the process of helping us recruit talented potential employees,” said Williams.

The “midget machine” is a completely operational pilot paper machine, 10 inches wide, with press section, dryers, size press, calendar stack, beater, controls and white water system.

From a hands-on perspective, the use of the “midget machine” will offer training on the mechanical parts of the machine, will expose students to the safety and environmental aspects of the papermaking process and also could address quality control evaluations of the product and the process. The machine could also be used to conduct simple research and development on a small scale. Previous use of a “midget machine” at other colleges have shown results can be extrapolated to full-scale plant equipment.

The acquisition of this machine will place HCC in unique company. The nearest pilot scale paper machine is located at NC State University in Raleigh.

“HCC is a good training ground for high school students wanting to enter the paper making industry. With this machine, instructors can teach not only the concept and skills needed for papermaking, but will actually be able to provide hands-on experiences of the process,” said Froehlich.

According to Reggie Widemon, HCC Pulp and Paper Technology Instructor, making use of the pilot paper machine will bring perspective students one-step closer to being job ready. “They will now be able to extend beyond static pictures and words and get the feel of what it takes to make a continuous sheet of paper. We are very excited about the acquisition of this remarkable learning tool and are indebted to Blue Ridge Paper’s generous financial contribution and continued support, he said.”

HCC’s Pulp and Paper Technology Program is an associate degree program designed to prepare individuals for careers in pulp and paper manufacturing. The college also offers a diploma option and certificates in paper making, pulping, and power recovery.

For more information about the Pulp and Paper Technology program at HCC, you may contact W.C. Godfrey at 828-565-4271 or Student Services at 828-627-4500.