Green Bay Innovation Group

December 20th, 2023 Newsletter

Read the December 20th, 2023 Green Bay Innovation Group Newsletter here.

GBIG NEWS | 86 Stories and Links on the Internet 12/20/2023


Get links to the latest news, events, stories, and interviews from our 5P news sponsors. Our goal is to remind the decision-makers in Wisconsin of the importance of our industry both historically, and more importantly, into the future.

Read the latest 86 Stories and Links on the Internet below.

Featured Stories



Golden Paper – China





2024 US Economic Outlook: Walk the line

Chase logo

JP Morgan U.S. released its North America economic research. The 2024 Economic Outlook: Walk the Line. The economy easily avoided recession in 2023, but labor market activity has been slowing.

View Full Report Here

New Leaf Paper Acquires Arnold Grummer’s

Appleton, Wis., (Jun. 30, 2023) –
New Leaf Paper, Inc has acquired Arnold Grummer’s LLC. The Wisconsin-based company distributes nationwide as the preferred supplier of hand papermaking kits.

Arnold Grummer’s will remain in Wisconsin, with headquarters moving to New Leaf Paper in Appleton. Oversight of Arnold Grummer’s will move forward with Paul Bradshaw as President and Sabrina Schwietzer as Executive Vice President, both from New Leaf Paper, with transition support from Kim Grummer.

“We’re excited to continue the legacy of the Arnold Grummer’s brand, and to provide quality hand papermaking items. The Grummer family has built a unique set of products for education and artist communities, and have provided valuable contributions to the papermaking industry’s history,” said Paul Bradshaw, CEO of New Leaf Paper. “The mission and vision for the two brands align wonderfully,” continued Bradshaw.

“We look forward to furthering sustainability principles into Grummer’s product line, while continuing focus on high-quality products, outstanding service, and meaningful innovations,” said Sabrina Schwietzer, VP of Marketing and Sales of New Leaf Paper.

According to Kim Grummer, the timing is right. “It’s a perfect time for me to do what’s best for my family and the business. With the transition to New Leaf, I get to ensure that my father’s legacy will continue by helping to support the team in the upcoming months, while ensuring our customers have product access for years to come,” said Grummer.

New Leaf Paper

New Leaf Paper is the leading national supplier of sustainable paper solutions, focusing on developing and supplying products with 100% post-consumer recycled fiber. New Leaf Paper is committed to reducing its environmental footprint and minimizing all resources used in producing printing, writing, retail, publishing, and communication papers.
New Leaf Paper is a B-Corporation and FSC certified. Papers are made in North America, processed chlorine free, and Ancient Forest Friendly certified. For more information visit

Arnold Grummer’s

The Arnold Grummer’s brand started in Arnold’s home in Wisconsin. Arnold’s passion for teaching papermaking, along with his contributions to the paper industry, earned him recognition in the International Paper Industry Hall of Fame. Within the business Arnold, and his daughter Kim, focused on education, innovation, value, and excellent service.

Kim Grummer has continued to create products for school and artist communities, with passion for both the products themselves and the individuals that use them.

Embracing The Digital Revolution In Paper Mills

Explore the significant shift from manual processes to cutting-edge technology as paper mills adapt to the digital era.
Delve into this transformative journey, where we examine key innovations and their impact on efficiency and sustainability in the paper industry.

Riding The Tech-Wave Towards Precision and Sustainability

Paper and pulp mill – Factory, Plant

By embracing the digital transformation that is occurring in paper mills, companies can pivot from outdated manual processes to innovative solutions. Automated systems optimize production, enhance precision, and fortify sustainability practices.
This exciting shift positions the paper industry to be leaders in technological advancement, aligning productivity with environmental responsibility for a more prosperous and eco conscious future.

Crafting A Digital Tomorrow For Paper Mills

When we look into the history of paper production, we see a legacy grounded in craftsmanship. In the past the intricate process of pulping, bleaching, pressing, and drying, demanded deep and detailed craftmanship understanding.

While this artisanal approach was incredible, it led to many challenges. Manual adjustments meant variations in paper consistency which was further complicated by managing machine speeds through potentiometers.

The constant need for vigilance to prevent issues such as tears and jams added to the complications.

Transitioning from tradition to the digital realm allows paper mills to find strategic solutions to these challenges, ushering in a new path toward precision, efficiency, and sustained quality.

Balancing Legacy and Progress in the Future of Paper Production

In today’s competitive landscape, the paper production sector is confronted with a high demand for expediency in addition to precision. As global markets expand, the pressure to deliver quality at unprecedented speed intensifies.

This demand clashes with the challenges of training a new generation of workers in outdated manual systems. Our young workforce is used to digital interfaces which makes adapting to archaic processes time-intensive and likely to lead to additional errors.

Reliance on aging equipment poses the risk of increased downtime and maintenance creating logistical nightmares for parts and sourcing. Digital transformation is crucial for this industry’s future success.

The interesting case study below illustrates how upgrading and updating a paper machine improved speed, flexibility, and safety at this paper production facility.

Case Study: Paper Mill Update

When a seasoned Midwestern paper mill was grappling with the complexities of a 75-year-old machine, Quad Plus stepped in with expertise and problem-solving solutions. Our team conducted an exhaustive analysis that was focused on adapting to contemporary paper demands ranging from construction to crepe.

Our solution involved a comprehensive overhaul, implementing AC coordinated drives, a master controller, and an automated speed regulation system. We improved speed and draw adjustments giving way to sophisticated automation that fostered operational effectiveness.

Enhanced safety measures were integrated through additional I/O, a safety processor, and safety-rated VFDs. The result was a modernized, streamlined mill, poised to sustain excellence in the dynamic landscape of paper production.

To view the entire case study, click the following link: study/paper-mill-upgrade

Navigating Efficiency, Quality and Safety Through Technological Transformation

The transformation of paper mills redefines production with modern technologies. This evolution creates streamlined operations that enhance proficiency. Automated systems ensure product quality and consistency which increases customer trust.

Operational costs are significantly decreased through less downtime and easier maintenance. Safety is prioritized making exposure to hazards minimal to workers.

Embracing digital transformation is the only way to stay competitive in the contemporary industrial landscape.

Future-Ready Evolution for Paper Mills

In the fast-paced world of paper production, going digital isn’t just an option; it’s the only way to stay relevant. Automation and modernization aren’t just trends; they’re the ticket to a future-proof mill. Upgrading and automating your paper mill is the key to not just surviving but thriving in the ever-evolving industrial landscape.

If you’re ready to take the important steps to protect your mill from future challenges contact Jim at or call (920) 515-4155 for modern and effective solutions.

Independent II ‘Experience Packaging Success’ with Domino

Independent II, in Louisville, KY USA, is a privately-owned and operated corrugated manufacturer, providing total packaging solutions to their customers. Independent II designs, manufactures, warehouses, and delivers corrugated and packaging that protect their customers’ products in-transit and sells them on shelves.

President of Independent II, Finn MacDonald

We caught up with Finn MacDonald, president of Independent II, in a brand-new state-of-the-art facility to learn more about how his business is changing and growing with the Domino X630i digital aqueous inkjet corrugated press. Our visit was captured in this VIDEO: Finn MacDonald on ‘The Domino Digital Advantage’

Experience Packaging Success

Finn begins, “Our motto is ‘Experience Packaging Success’. That’s what we’ve brought to our market for close to 60 years now, and the constants are quality, service, and consistency in relationship…all included in the cost of the box. But there’s been some incredible changes. Independent has moved into a brand-new facility. We are now 340,000 square feet under one roof, and really what we’re changing is from a brown box manufacturer to a brand box and a digital box performer. Our vision was relatively simple… diversify from brown box, but do it in a way that would deliver consistent value and quality to our customers. And it was something that was achievable for us to manage every day.”

Everyday digital

“Everyday digital is really the philosophy that drove my vision for getting digital to our company, and into our market. When Domino came out with the X630i single pass aqueous-based digital press, we said ‘that’s it.’ For us, it’s really as simple as sell it, rip it, and print it… it’s that easy. You’ve got a ton of potential, a ton of capacity, and great innovation to make use of. This is the type of press that we can install in the middle of our converting facility. You don’t need a clean room. You don’t need a lot of special air filtration. You don’t need a lot of special concrete build up floor placement. You’ve got arguably the most compact press on the market, so it’s going to get a whole lot done in a very small footprint. So as far as single pass aqueous-based, there aren’t any players who have a machine like this press available.”

“What it brings to our customers is the ability to think about color. Think about variation. Think about changing your message to your need. And that is really something that we think allows everyday digital to be something that our production team can manage on a Domino press. We have two operators who have zero longtime experience in corrugated. What they do have is hustle. They don’t like the frustration of managing work, but they like to show up and get a lot done.”

The Domino Difference

“Working with Domino made that jump really easy. You’re not jumping alone, you’re with a partner. They have a slogan that says there’s a ‘Domino difference’, and I’ll tell you that it’s absolutely true. It is a relationship that is honest. It’s built on being humble. And there’s a lot of trust involved. So, when you think about the investment in digital, I would say don’t think about an incremental jump. I would say have a bold vision, take a big step, trust Domino to help get you forward faster… with more color, and more pop, and more fun than any other option you got out there.”
To learn more about the Domino X630i corrugated press, please visit: Domino X630i

Domino is a leading manufacturer and distributor of digital printing and product identification solutions. Celebrating its 45th year in business, Domino is a global organization with world headquarters in the UK, and North America headquarters in Gurnee, IL. Domino has 25 subsidiaries, representation in over 120 countries, and over 3,000 employees worldwide. For more information on Domino digital printing, please visit

What’s New With Zeta

On the Shop Floor

Collaborative Robots

Our shop floor has been a revolving door of collaborative robots getting integrated as Hermes Mobile Cobot Solutions.


Our latest conveyor projects included a CDLR conveyor used for transferring a steel pallet.

Zeta’s Commercial on FOX11

This month we started broadcasting a commercial on FOX11 in the mornings and evenings.

Paper, Pulp and Converting Industry Summary

Wisconsin Paper & Pulp Industry Update

In the 1970’s, the Paper and Pulp Industries employed close to 30,000 people in Wisconsin. Back then, paper mills had integrated pulp mills, plus certain in-house converting capabilities. Wisconsin had 20 paper and pulp facilities close down.

Marty Oaks

Now, in late 2023, the state has 8,194 employed in these industries. There are just a couple of paper companies with pulp production, plus some converting capabilities. Currently, most of the pulp comes from other states, Canada, and foreign companies. A considerable number of paper mills outsource their converting needs, or they simply provide mill rolls to converting companies.

Converters: 1. Cut rolls at the paper mill’s request; 2. For their own sales offerings; 3. Or conduct value-added steps for contracted customers.

According to a 2018 industry report, Wisconsin’s Pulp, Paper, and Converting Industries employed 30,262 workers, with sales of $18 billion. The report states that Wisconsin has twenty-four paper companies with thirty-four locations. Our GBIG research identified twenty-two paper companies with twenty-nine locations (See Attachment B). In addition, we have witnessed a number of paper mills being closed.

Based upon the Wisconsin industry report, paper and pulp mills generated $6.5 billion in output per year. Based upon a report from Stastista, the total annual revenue of paper and pulp mills in the USA is $38.2 billion in 2023. The 2018 report stated: The paper and pulp industry in Wisconsin employed 8,459 with 5,581 in Brown County.

Current Paper & Pulp: The Green Bay Innovation Group (GBIG) is conducting a comprehensive report making direct contact with the paper and pulp industries. We have determined that 8,194 people are employed in paper and pulp manufacturing companies in Wisconsin.

Paper Converting: Based upon the same report, paper converters employ approximately 19,265 people in Wisconsin. After reviewing the report, our analysis shows a substantial number of companies are not really converters for inclusion among paper products listings as direct converting “partners.” The report was based upon NAICS statistics which included everyone involved in converting. A case in point: label companies were included because they have converting capabilities.

If we simply identify true paper converters supporting the paper industry who take jumbo rolls, slit, rewind, provide sheeted products, and carry out other related services, we find fewer than 20. Part of the difference in estimates is due to varying definitions.

Our research has identified a much larger number of converters that provide value-added materials: 1. As outsourced by paper companies; or 2. As value-added steps by converters for their customers; or 3. They convert final finished products.

In addition, Wisconsin has a large number of converters who work with flexible films, labels, nonwovens, and non-paper substrates that are not naturally part of paper and pulp statistics.

We have defined converting as receiving raw materials on mill rolls and transforming them into value-added or finished products.

A Deeper Dive into Paper Stats

  • The average number of employees in a paper mill is 207.4 employees based upon IBISWORLD statistics.
  • A report from IBISWORLD cites the number of paper mills in the US as (129) as updated in late September 2023.
  • Based upon the IBIS World report, paper mill employees in the US is 43,556 in 2023. A report from Stastista states that the paper industry in the United States employed 48,364 people as of 2022. With this comparison, the number in the US is between 43,556 and 48,364.

The Wisconsin Industry 2018 report shows that the paper industry employment includes the Forestry Industry. Forestry employment is a separate category from paper. Additionally, we are witnessing the forest, logging and upstream industries supporting paper and pulp declining over 30-40%, and we expect the trend to continue with a major impact on employment. Unfortunately, there are very few pulp mills in Wisconsin producing virgin pulp and it is having a significant impact on the logging and forestry industries. There is still a need for virgin fiber to produce a wide variety of products. We have seen many companies using recycled pulp.

Past reporting in the Wisconsin Paper Industry cites the paper, pulp and converting industries having 30,262 workers.

COMING NEXT: For another perspective, the Green Bay Innovation team will be breaking out converting as a separate sector to show each facet of the overall paper and converting Industries.

Paper Industry Is Changing

Wisconsin is no longer a major player supplying printing papers, with no production of coated groundwood papers, coated free sheets, and the state is a minor player in uncoated free sheets. Printers, converters, and packagers are buying most of their papers outside of Wisconsin and turning to Europe, Asia, Indonesia, and South America.


Verso shut down the Wisconsin Rapids Paper and Pulp Mill, and current owner Billerud has no apparent intention of ever reopening to produce printing paper for the USA markets. At the present time, the majority of Wisconsin paper and pulp mills are foreign owned. Therefore, buyers are being forced to purchase paper from foreign paper mills, and foreign paper companies are determining the future of the Wisconsin paper and pulp industry.

  • We speculate that the state of Wisconsin paper, pulp, printing, packaging, converting and all the other supporting industries will have to consider the supply chain future. They will need to determine whether Wisconsin values in-state production of paper for the strong downstream industries.
  • Industry players will have to assess their related futures. With current geopolitical events, Wisconsin companies are at serious risk, being able to secure paper to support their businesses. Wisconsin has all the resources to support paper and pulp manufacturing. If Covid did not demonstrate a lesson about Supply Chain stresses, current geopolitical issues are now a big stressor for our paper and related industries. This industry is critical to the State of Wisconsin, with all the manufacturing dependent on it for regional and national security and prosperity.
View Marty’s full overview

Look for the Upcoming Summary on Converting

Paper Industry in Wisconsin and What Happened to It

Appvion logo

We see the CCP and State supported Paper Companies pouring in Billions of Dollars buying up US and Canadian Paper Mills. Chinese and Indonesian companies are investing into mega-mills betting that China can control the Paper and Pulp Industry worldwide with low-cost paper. Simply the State of Wisconsin needs to re-focus its support and investment in the paper industry. If not, we will see China buying up our Converting, Printing, Packaging and Manufacturing Companies too! Wisconsin needs to be the leader in re-shoring our Paper Industry back to the USA! We have ALL the ASSETS to do it!
Wisconsin has seen well over 20 Paper and Pulp Mills shut down!

  • Appvion – Appleton – No longer producing paper.
  • Appleton Coated – Appleton – Out of business.
  • Badger Paper Mills – Bankrupted and reorganized BPM, Inc.
  • Billerud – Verso mill in Wisconsin Rapids shutdown
  • Clearwater Paper Company – Neenah – Closed
  • Flambeau Paper Company – Park Falls – Closed
  • George Whiting Paper Company – Menasha – Closed
  • Georgia-Pacific – Day Street in Green Bay Closed
  • Georgia-Pacific – Oshkosh – Shutdown
  • Gilbert Paper Company – Closed
  • Glatfelter Mill – Neenah – Closed
  • Kimberly-Clark – Neenah – Moved Headquarters to Texas
  • Neenah Paper Company – Moved headquarters to Georgia.
  • Nekoosa Edwards Paper – Nekoosa operating as Paper Excellence
  • New Page – Kimberly files for bankruptcy
  • Niagara Paper Company – shutdown
  • Port Edwards Paper Company – Port Edwards – Shutdown
  • River side Paper Company – Appleton – Shutdown
  • Ward Paper Mill – International Paper – Merrill – Shutdown
  • Wausau Paper Company – Wausau – Shutdown
  • Whiting Paper – Menasha – Shutdown

December 13th, 2023 Newsletter

Read the December 13th, 2023 Green Bay Innovation Group Newsletter here.

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