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TAPPSA Southern Region uses regional symposium to grow area

Over the course of 2010, the TAPPSA Southern Region has injected an inspiring amount of enthusiasm and time into rebuilding TAPPSA as a household name in the Western Cape - both in its paper mills and general industry. This was most evident at the Southern Region symposium, where the broad energy-saving theme of “Count your kilowatts” enabled the attendance of a wide range of industries and in doing so created a larger platform from which to showcase not only TAPPSA but the paper industry at large.

As Regional Chairman Jonathan Hermanus explained in his opening address, the generic perspective of the symposium was motivated by a need to assist the whole process chain, not just paper-products. “Being out of the economic hub of Gauteng, we need to look at our technical association in a different light – as a means to branch out and support each other, with no big industry around to do so,” Jonathan explained. “We believe that if we grow as TAPPSA, we grow each other, we grow our industries and ultimately we grow our area.”

This collective outlook certainly hit home, as over 70 delegates attended the Symposium on 23 September at the Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Town – despite miserable weather and a number of delayed flights into Cape Town. Delegates were treated to a wide range of speakers whose technology and ideas are very pertinent to the paper industry and beyond.

Henry Coppens of Sappi delivered the key-note speech, on an issue “probably more important than what Barack Obama and the Prime Minister of England have to say” (in his own words). Coppens was referring to the importance of paper and other forestry products as a carbon sink and an essential means with which to “clean up carbon” – a process, Coppens added, which South African forestry plantations have been specially designed to execute 6 to 10 times more efficiently than the whole of the tropics.

“If it were not for the forestry industry world-wide operating over 150 years, the greenhouse gas level in the atmosphere would be 5% higher than it is at present,” he explained. Facts like this had the audience spellbound throughout Coppens’ enthusiastic presentation, leaving delegates with a far more positive conception of the paper industry and – for those directly association with the industry - a renewed pride in what they do.

In their quest to do things slightly differently, the TAPPSA Southern Region included another highlight in the programme: Robin Smith, a chemical engineering student working at Sappi Cape Kraft. His presentation gave an interesting perspective of someone in the bottom of the industry, just beginning to work their way up, and there was much reminiscing from the more established engineers in the audience.

Please note that this is only the abstract of the published technical paper. For the complete paper, please become a subscriber to the TAPPSA Journal.

Back to November 10 Issue