Specialty cellulose
Research and development

Innovation is business as usual

Our R&D center – called Tembec Innovation – has a dedicated team of scientists, engineers and technicians working closely with our customers and our production facilities.

Product optimization and development

Tembec Innovation is a team of innovators, focused on applied R&D, rather than a team of inventors, focused on pure research. Our ten-person team provides technical service to customers worldwide, and technical support for our biorefineries in France and Canada.

Ongoing grade optimization focuses on improving our existing products, both in terms of quality and cost. Testing is constant – in our lab, in our production facilities, and at customer production facilities.

New product development can be in response to a customer request for a specific performance characteristic. Or it can flow from our analysis of the marketplace, designed to spot emerging trends and needs in the industries we serve.

Tembec Innovation is based in Gradignan, near Bordeaux, France, an easy drive to our Tartas operation. Close enough to be convenient for tests and support, but distant enough to be totally focused on innovation rather than production. The location is also near major public and private research institutes, which facilitates our work with their researchers.

Chemists and engineers, working with chemists and engineers

In both product optimization and new product development, Tembec chemists and engineers:

  • Work closely with our customers’ chemists and engineers, to understand how we can tailor our products for a specific application.
  • Work alongside the engineers at our production facilities, to transform what we have learned with customers, and in our lab, into workable products.

Specific areas of focus include high viscosity, low viscosity and high purity grades. Applied research on purification and bleaching in the laboratory, and pilot-scale reactors, helps us find new ways to make even better products.

Our practical know-how allows us to spearhead mutually beneficial joint product research and development initiatives with customers. 

Technical customer service and technical manufacturing support

As the name suggests, specialty cellulose demands specialized customer savvy and technical knowledge. This includes insight into the specifics of each customer’s manufacturing process. Our technical customer service team is essential in this process, working closely with our customers, and our production facilities, to deliver solutions.

The essence of technical customer service is understanding the chemistry of our customers’ products, so we can produce specialty cellulose with the appropriate chemical characteristics. The flip side of that is technical support for our two manufacturing facilities, informed by a deep understanding of customer needs.

And our team truly partners with customers. For example, the certification process with new customers can take up to two years, with a significant investment of time from both sides of the table.