PACWEST Conference 2014

_groupThe PACWEST Technical Conference symbolizes the interdependence of those who develop technology in the pulp and paper industry and the many suppliers of related materials and equipment. It provides an opportunity to network with peers, industry leaders and technical experts while enhancing professional development. Through the numerous sessions, short courses, roundtable discussions and the popular trade fair, participants learn about new technologies, process improvement and the latest challenges and successes of the industry. This year’s theme was Improving Mill Results – Keys for Success and the Pulp and Paper Centre had a large presence with over 20 delegates attending the events in Jasper, AB.

In an inaugural Student Presentation session, six UBC students and researchers presented their technical papers and presentations to a large audience on the morning of May 30th, 2014. Who better to showcase innovative research than the young scholars that will, if not already, elevate technologies and applications in the pulp and paper sector? With 20 minutes to present followed by a Q&A, the session was chaired by Kyle Wells of West Fraser.

A. Nikbakht, M. Shanb Ghazani, E. Zaman, Kyle Wells (Session Chair), T. Mithrush, Y. Sharma.  Not pictured: R. Khan.  Photo: Anna Jamroz

A. Nikbakht, M. Shanb Ghazani, E. Zaman, Kyle Wells (Session Chair), T. Mithrush, Y. Sharma. Not pictured: R. Khan. Photo: Anna Jamroz

Dr. Ruhul Khan, Visiting Scientist was first to present his research in hopes of preventing more than 1.3 billion tonnes/yr of food produced for human consumption that is currently going to waste. With a focus on the 2nd largest sector in business, that is, the packaging industry with a $500B worldwide market, he took the audience through applications of biodegradable packaging material and the direct effects it can have not only on the industry, but also on disease, food poisoning and increasing shelf life. ABSTRACT.

Troy Mithrush recently received his Masters in Mechanical Engineering at UBC and presented some cutting edge research. To date, not much is known about what goes on inside the refiner, so the focus of Troy’s research will improve the understanding of fluid flow inside LC refiners. With his work, it is the first time that we are able to quantify and visualize the flow of particles in the refiner and establish at least five common particle behaviours. ABSTRACT.

Abbas Nikbakht is currently a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering at UBC with interests in pulp suspension flow, rheology of pulp and micro fibres, turbulent drag reduction and producing micro fibres using the LC refiner. His talk focused on the flow characteristics of wood pulp suspensions in a pipe and the various applications of this important work including the Trans-Alaska pipeline and the flow system of fire-hoses. ABSTRACT.

Mohammad Shanb Ghazani is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Pulp and Paper Centre working on a PhD project to make and analyze a continuous particle fractionator device. His talk reviewed the two industrial methods to fractionate particles and fibers: pressure screen and hydrocylone. However, the continuous device that Mohammad is working on will apply an external force to the particle which is flowing in fluid, and it will then be possible to sort particles based on physical properties. ABSTRACT.

Yash Sharma joined us from UBC Okanagan and presented a very entertaining talk not only due to the topic, but the various video’s and 3D images of his work. Yash is a MASc candidate in Mechanical Engineering working on imaging and 3D image analysis of NBSK based paper products. In order to study the effect of the LC refining process on the microstructure and strength of paper, he divided his work into two parts: Imaging and 3D modelling. With his novel technique, he is now able to calculate many properties like bulk, paper diversity, length of fibres, coarseness and fibre contact area, to name just a few. ABSTRACT.

Ehsan Zaman was the session’s final presenter. He is currently a PhD candidate in Mechanical Engineering focusing on CFD modelling of flow field and particle separation in hydrocyclones as well as numerical simulation of dewatering process using the Eulerian-Eulerian approach. His objectives are to determine the optimal operation and design parameters for separation of vessel elements and to determine if concentrated vessel element fractions are appropriate feed material for NCC production. He is working on developing a CFD model using single phase Newtonian fluid and studies the motion of spherical particles in the solved flow field. ABSTRACT.

Along with the six presenters, PPC had an additional three researchers showcase their posters throughout the week.

Sima at Pacwest 2014

Sima at Pacwest 2014

“Surface distribution of fines in paper” by Fatehjit Singh

“Effect of Chemical Additives on Z – Direction Filler Distribution in Paper” by Sima Motiee

“Prototype Automated Converter for Creating Complex 3D paper folds (origami)” by Ata Sina

Prior to the start of the conference, the Energy Reduction in Mechanical Pulping program held its Steering Committee meeting. The program is now in its 8th year with funding from Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) along with a consortium of 16 industrial partners and a collaboration with four universities (UBC, BCIT, UVic and UofT). The program’s goal is to reduce energy and greenhouse gas emissions of one of BC’s largest industries by 50 per cent before 2020. Seven principal investigators provided updates on the current status of their projects that are supported by the program, along with various presentations from the industrial partners and postdoctoral research fellow, Yu Sun, on her PhD work “Specific energy reduction of TMP by interstage Ozone treatment combined with selective refining”. It was a very successful day full of innovative research and ideas that will surely help the program achieve its goal.
To find out how you can get involved in the program, please contact Professor James Olson at

PAPTAC and Paper Advance provided official news coverage of the conference. To read more, visit:

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