The good news is that paper and board will not disappear - even in the graphic sector where many traditional end uses are in decline. However, manufacturers and the industry need to promote and innovate truly new products to ensure their value is recognised and to broaden and strengthen their communication with end users. The creation, evolution and ultimate exploitation of any new product follows a well-trodden path of appropriate technical and market research and development, followed by commercialisation. Product development in the majority of the paper industry sectors has followed a path of evolution rather than revolution that has led to an extensive range of improved paper grades and products.
A variety of factors has however come together and is exerting a major influence on the future requirements and characteristics of paper products. All companies involved in paper manufacture will need to continually monitor and respond to the changin demands brought about by such influencing factors. Increasingly such responses may need to be revolutionary rather than evolutionary to ensure continued survival.
Five considerations that will influence future paper products are:
- Digital is 'normal'.... but print is 'special'
- Packaging: the next big thing
- Today's commodity could be tomorrow's speciality
- Paper isn't just paper anymore
- Product opportunities are everywhere - take inspiration and ideas from 'outside the box'.
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