SPAIN (News release) -- Paper science and engineering students from North Carolina State University saw more than just pulp and paper mills on this year's Paper International Experience (PIE) trip to Domtar's Personal Care operations in Toledo, Spain.
The leap from paper science to personal care was a first for the PIE program and the 32 students who participated, but it's not unusual for Domtar. People, expertise and raw materials flow between our two major businesses, both within North America and across the Atlantic.
The most obvious example of this is fluff pulp, which is manufactured at our U.S. pulp mills and shipped to the Toledo plant for use in absorbent cores. Daniel Richardson, who interned twice at Domtar's pulp and paper mill in Ashdown, Arkansas, before participating in this trip, felt an immediate connection.
"When I was an intern at Domtar, I was able to contribute to improving both the efficiency of the new fluff pulp machine and the quality associated with the product. We worked with employees from the Plymouth Mill to help us improve the process," he says. "And it's neat that pine trees from back home are being used to make products across the world."
Paper Science and Personal Care Go Hand in Hand
One of the Domtar hosts, Jacob Vrooman, is also a transplant. He's a 2013 graduate of the Paper Science and Engineering program at N.C. State, and -- like Richardson -- started as an engineering intern at the Ashdown Mill. Vrooman now works in Spain and is responsible for light incontinence products as part of the Global Design team, demonstrating by example that a career path can take unexpected turns.
For the engineering and paper science students who participated in the trip, the differences between pulp and paper manufacturing and personal care were notable. Participant Audra Chenoweth has worked in a fluff pulp manufacturing facility, but she had never seen a converting facility before. She was impressed with the speed of the machines, and even more so with the complexity required to make and test such a wide range of products, from adult briefs to feminine hygiene pads.