Improve the productivity of every mill through actionable pulp quality data.
Pulmac Systems has been providing the world pulp and paper industry with the latest contaminant and fiber testing, process monitoring, and diagnostic tools for more than 50 years. Our products now include advanced data analysis and automation of most mill processes.
Foundation (1950 – 1993)
Pulmac has deep roots in the paper industry. After the second world war, Elijah Cowan, a professional engineer with a degree from the University of Toronto, founded E&B Cowan, a highly successful consulting engineering firm in the pulp and paper industry. Located in Montreal, Canada, the firm was involved in the construction and expansion of several mills in the United States and Canada. In 1985 it became the paper division of Montreal Engineering, a major Canadian engineering consulting firm which was later acquired by SNC-Lavalin, a global engineering firm. Elijah established Pulmac in 1950 as a holding company for various patents he held in the papermaking field.
Wavell Cowan, son of Elijah, took over Pulmac in 1965 and transformed it into an instrument company. Inventions, among others, were the Shive Analyzer™ and the Zero-Span Tester™, which are used to this day by papermakers globally. Wavell had obtained a degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the Institute of Paper Chemistry, now part of Georgia Tech. He strongly believed in the power of data to diagnose and resolve process issues and developed instruments that could generate that data; he also had a strong interest in novel, innovative processes that are now being developed by today’s Pulmac. Wavell retired in the late 1990’s and served as Scientific Advisor to the Company. In 2015, TAPPI, the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry, awarded Wavell the Thomas F. Sheerin Sr. Service Award for outstanding service to the industry.
Global Presence (1993 – 2015)
In 1993, Joff Cowan, son of Wavell was appointed President of Pulmac. He had joined the Company 10 years earlier to apprentice with his father. During those years, he participated in the development of the 24 Tests Z-Span™ Tester, the Automated Sheet Former™, the MasterScreen ™ and perfected methodologies to bring these products to market. He drove Pulmac’s global reach strategy by appointing agents and distributors in all parts of the world where paper is made and supporting their efforts in these markets. He established equipment servicing capabilities throughout North America and developed products and procedures to assist mill personnel analyze and manage the data derived from Pulmac instruments. Joff retired from the Company in 2020.
Growth Through Fiber Engineering (2015 – Present)
In 2015, Robert (Bob) White was appointed CEO of Pulmac to develop and lead a growth strategy for the Company. A professional engineer and senior corporate executive experienced in business development, operations, and regulatory affairs at the national and international levels, Bob had recently retired from a 42-year telecommunications career where he oversaw the transformation of the industry from dial telephones to today’s smart-phones, a major transformation that involved new industry players and several new and disruptive technologies. Bob believes that TAPPI provides an unparalleled platform for the development of the paper industry as well as its people. His own participation includes past chair of the PIMA IT Committee, current chair of the new PIMA Future of the Industry Committee and current Vice-Chair of the PIMA Division Council. (PIMA is a division of TAPPI dealing with leadership and strategic issues).
Pulmac’s fiber engineering strategy involves an expansion of our data analytics capabilities through our DataSolve™ product and association with Seeq®, a premium data analytics company. Also, our Automation product using on-line data from Satron® sensors and PulpEye’s® extensive and unique fiber properties measurement capabilities improves the stability of stock prep and other mill processes. These products turn a mill’s production problems into opportunities.
Our patented FiberRouter™ and Glu-Pulp® processes, currently in development mode but expected to come to market in 2023, use fiber characteristics to significantly improve the productivity of the papermaking process. More information will be provided as commercialization of these products happens.
Finally, Pulmac’s goal is to fill important gaps left by process equipment suppliers in the transformation of pulp and paper mills to Industry 4.0. This involves tying customer orders with production performance. To begin our foray into this, we have partnered with flexis, a company which markets a system that optimizes the connection between customer orders and production systems.
The Company has recruited highly talented personnel to execute on the above market offerings (see Management section of this website) and will continue to offer its unique legacy measurement equipment and associated services which have and continue to serve the industry.
Pulmac’s vision is to become an industry thought leader in Industry 4.0 to achieve the sustainability imperative that society demands of industries today. Pulmac’s strategy provides the missing links for making this happen.