Sappi supports Research and Development facilities on three continents. Globally, over 25 percent of our R&D spend is dedicated to our “Exciter” program, which focuses on the development of breakthrough technology platforms. The bulk of R&D spend in the US is dedicated to product development and innovation efforts.
Scientists at our Westbrook Technology Center bring a diverse set of skills and a unique depth of knowledge to the organization. Chemists, engineers and physicists along with polymer, environmental and materials scientists are housed together in a facility with two pilot-scale coating plants and extensive analytical and testing equipment. Supporting the Release Papers, Packaging and Coated Papers business units, their work spans a broad spectrum of near- and long-term projects. They develop and implement new products, optimize current product quality, and improve product cost in support of our three manufacturing sites; all critical activities to sustaining Sappi's financial success.
R&D for pulping is centered in Southern Africa; and, with the conversion of our pulp mill in Cloquet, we expanded technical support for the pulp business by adding Specialised Cellulose quality testing lab facilities and staff at the mill.
In addition to our Technology Center, each mill has technical staff (primarily engineers) that focus on continuous improvement related to productivity gains, product enhancements, and resource conservation (energy, water and materials).
Sappi's long history of innovation runs deep with many industry technical–firsts originating from our Technology Center. Past and present employees of the Technology Center are the proud inventors of over 250 patents that have helped Sappi and the customers we serve maintain a competitive edge for years.