BRUNSWICK, Ga. - Georgia-Pacific plans to build a $500,000 product development laboratory at its Brunswick pulp and paperboard mill, company officials confirmed.
The 2,300-square-foot lab will be used by the company to test a variety of potential products, said Jim Bryja, director of Georgia-Pacific's fluff pulp commercial services.
Fluff pulp is an absorbent material made out of soft wood fibers, and it is primarily used in diapers and feminine hygiene products.
Mr. Bryja said the lab also will be made available to Georgia-Pacific commercial customers who want to evaluate their products made from the company's pulp.
"Fiber requirements for the sanitary products industry are changing rapidly, and we are making this investment to assure Georgia-Pacific a leading role in the fluff pulp industry well beyond the year 2000."
The Brunswick mill is one of the country's largest producers of elemental chlorine-free bleached fluff and marker pulps and paperboards, company and industry officials said.
Last year, the mill produced more than 820,000 tons of pulp and paperboard products, company officials said.
Curtis H. Carter, a company spokesman, said the proposed laboratory already has brought a dozen new jobs into Brunswick. It is not known how many more might result from the project, Mr. Carter said.
"We're exploring options on staffing the laboratory and the marketing department as a result of the project," Mr. Carter said.
Mr. Carter said the laboratory, which will be a state-of-the-art facility, is scheduled to be completed in late April or early May.
Mr. Bryja said the company is transferring its entire fluff pulp marketing department from Atlanta to Brunswick to support its expanded product development capabilities.
"When the lab is completed, we will have on-site the best available talent in both research and development as well as marketing and sales," Mr. Bryja said. "Our staff is well-qualified, have a thorough understanding of international markets and they are dedicated to providing customer service.
Peter Abitz, a nationally known industry expert in developmental work with fluff pulp and absorbent products, will be the lab director, Mr. Bryja said.
Mr. Abitz is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and holds a master's degree in paper science and engineering from State University of New York at Syracuse, Mr. Bryja said.
"We're very excited about the project," Mr. Carter said.