In a word - EVERYTHING.
It makes ice cream creamier, tablets easier to swallow; it thickens paint and makes your bath towels soft and absorbent. Cellulose touches practically everything and every market and for those reasons, GP Cellulose decided to creatively destroy and innovate.
“Our business was built and has grown over the years by primarily serving customers with our standard kraft pulps for paper making and fluff pulps for disposable hygiene products,” said Pat Boushka, president of GP Cellulose. “But at some point you have to take calculated risks in order to discover new products and solutions, expand your customer base, and generate long-term business growth.”
As a division, the Cellulose group invested in some low-cost experiments and found that they were able to repurpose some of the existing production capabilities at the Leaf River Mill for softwood kraft pulp. This provided opportunities for the facility to create a new product and target four new markets - pharmaceuticals, textile, molding compounds and food and beverage.
CelluFlex™, GP Cellulose’s new specialty pulp product is available in a wide range of applications to offer customers just the right purity, brightness, whiteness or viscosity (thickness) to meet their specific business needs.
In addition to ensuring that the facility was capable of producing the product, customer acceptance was essential to success. “It is important to demonstrate to our customers that GP Cellulose has the right level of knowledge and quality standards to meet the needs of these higher value and more demanding segments,” said Munir Abdallah, vice president - sales and marketing, GP Cellulose.
Customer acceptance continues to increase and the business is looking forward to future growth in international markets. “We are excited about the growth opportunities in emerging markets like China, Indonesia and India. Population and income levels continue to increase in these markets and as income grows so does the demand for products that include CelluFlex. Fortunately for us, now GP can be there to meet those needs.”