The art of paper making has been traced to China, where the history suggests it was invented in the province of Han Dynasty. Paper was made out of mulberry, hemp waste and fiber. Thus, Chinese were the earliest pioneers for manufacture of paper in its earliest form. However, the technology spread from the Middle East Asia to Europe where the first paper mill was established.
What is Paper?
Paper was derived from the Latin term Papyrus, which was actually a plant and the basic raw material used for its manufacturing.
Modern Paper Manufacturing Techniques:
Use of paper got a huge boost after industrialization and its indispensability in the areas of Education, Academics and related purposes made it one of the prized industry in terms of production. Some of the ways of contemporary paper manufacturing techniques are discussed in this article.
The basic ingredient used for manufacture of paper is wood and production experts involved in the processing of this technique call it as “Softwood”. Now since we know the basic raw materials used for manufacturing of paper, here is the brief overview of its manufacturing process.
The first basic process of paper manufacturing involves ‘chemical pulping’. In this process the lignin (a chemical compound of wood) is separated from cellulose fibers. The papers made from chemical pulping are called wood papers. Further, there are two processes for this the first one is called the Sulfite process practiced before the First World War and which is now outdated. The contemporary pulping process is known as Kraft process. During the pulping process of separating lignin from cellulose fiber, excessive heat is produced as a result of the chemical separation and subsequent reaction. This heat is used by paper mills to run its generators and thus gives ample opportunity for the owners of these mills to be self reliant in generation of power and run paper mills. The diagrammatic picture of the mechanical and chemical processes is duly illustrated above.
Another pulping process adopted for paper manufacturing is the ‘mechanical pulping’. This process uses a technique called TMP or Thermo Mechanical Pulp where huge steam heated refineries are used to convert the pulp to fiber. However this method although economical than the chemical pulping process does not separate the lignin from fiber and the resultant product would be weakened paper, mainly due to its inability to separate to lignin.
Paper Manufacturing – The Quicker way.
Although the methods suggested above are still in practice and still continue to be the basic and ideal methods of initial process of fiber separation, the advent of modern and state of art machinery has greatly reduced manpower and process ambiguities in manufacturing of paper. Another important point to be noted here as discussed in the earlier paragraphs, paper is an indispensable commodity of our daily lives from school note books to bank guarantees paper is an all important commodity. Hence the demand for paper has risen alarmingly, the production techniques not only demand less process orientation but also quick and efficient manufacturing.
Paper is made on Fourdrinier machine and its variations. The machine has four distinct sections such as the Forming Section, Press Section, Drying Section and Calender Section. In this kind of manufacturing of paper the conveyor belt and plastic fabric mesh are used and the different seperation techniques mentioned above create a final paper product.
Finally, the paper goes through a finishing process where smoothness and gloss are imparted to paper. The uncoated paper is given some additional features like adding calcium carbonate or china clay to improve its quality.
Leading Paper Manufacturers across the Globe:
As per information and statistics obtained from Pulp and Paper an International Magazine, the top manufacturers as listed in the magazine are:
1. International Paper ( U.S)
2. Procter & Gamble (U.S)
3. Oji Paper (Japan)
4. SCA (Sweden)
5. Stora Ensa (Finland)
6. Nippon Paper (Japan)
7. UPM (Finland)
8. Kimberly Clark (U.S)
9. Mondi, (South Africa)
10. Smurfit Kappa (Netherlands)
The ranking is based on the net sales achieved by these Companies in the year 2007.
Leading Paper Producing Countries:
Top 10 paper producing countries are listed below:-
Paper manufacturing industry is “environmentally sensitive” considering its energy consumption, water abstraction, waste generation and more importantly raw material depletion. Environmentalists criticize, large scale deforestastion of trees for the manufacturing process of paper and also its related hazards of waste management etc. Use of paper for non productive purposes and un-important routine purposes should be restricted. With advent of electronic communication there is an urgent need to conserve its use for further generations to come.
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