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Gerry Ring, chair of the paper science and engineering department at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point (UWSP), has been named a 2007 WiSys Innovation Scholar for his paper pulp pre-processor invention.
A faculty member in the UWSP College of Natural Resources since 1986, Ring became a full professor in 1997, and was named chair of the department in 2006 by Dean Christine Thomas.
Ring’s paper pulp pre-processor may one day lead to streamlining papermaking for not only Wisconsin papermakers but possibly throughout the papermaking industry worldwide. According to Ring, he has developed a way to measure and control the mixing of pulp into a paper machine. “Providing a more uniform paper composition will ultimately ensure a more perfect piece of paper,” said Ring. “Keeping the right ratio of the different fiber lengths is important for virtually all paper properties. In papermaking, we’re beginning to understand that fitting fiber material together is an important thing.”
Ring’s system for the first time allows two or more pulp streams to be mixed together so that the final mixed fiber-length distribution will always remain constant. According to Ring, papermakers will be able to minimize the use of expensive virgin pulps and maximize the use of less expensive but more variable recycled pulp.
The WiSys Technology Foundation, Inc. was founded in 2000 to support research and educational programs on the campuses of the UW System.
With strong ties to the papermaking industry, Ring was elected in 2005 to the national board of directors of the Technical Association of the Pulp and Paper Industry (TAPPI), the world’s largest professional association serving the paper, pulp and converting industries. In 2003 he was named to TAPPI’s operating committee.
Ring oversees a program that utilizes the only paper machine designed specifically for teaching purposes in the United States. The unique laboratory facility is a significant enhancement to the learning experience for UWSP paper science undergraduates, and contributes to the department’s high job placement for graduates (nearly 100 percent). Geographically, 50 percent of UWSP paper science alumni work in Wisconsin while the other half work in locations across the country. Several graduates of the program are now in senior management positions within the industry.
He was named a Wisconsin Teaching Fellow in 1992 and has been listed three times in Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers. Author of the award-winning “Paper Quest” videotapes on various paper properties, he also has been awarded three patents on super absorbent technology. In 2003 he wrote the foreword and was the lead editor for “Colloid Chemistry of Papermaking Materials,” an in-depth study of the aspects of colloid chemistry that are key components in papermaking.
In addition to being a board member of TAPPI, Ring also was a member of the American Chemical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Paper Industry Management Association. He spent five years with Kimberly-Clark prior to joining the faculty. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the State University of New York at Albany, and master’s and doctorate degrees from the Institute of Paper Chemistry in Appleton.