From forests to finishing, learning how paper is made can assist you in learning to select the most appropriate paper for your project.
Step 1: Logs to Chips > Chips to Fiber
Logs to Chips - the woodroom
Truckloads of logs are transferred to the woodroom's slasher deck where large rotary saws cut the logs into eight-foot lengths. The logs are tumbled through a large rotating debarking drum and are washed on their way to the chipper. Here, rotating blades cut them into uniform-sized chips which are screened and conveyed to outside storage piles.
Chips to Fiber - the digester
Chips are steam heated to aid chemical saturation. A chemical cooking solution is applied under pressure to impregnate the chips before they enter the digester. Here, high pressure and temperature help the cooking chemicals dissolve the wood's lignin, the natural glue holding wood fibers together. The brown fiber is separated from the spent chemical/lignin solution. The fiber is transferred to the bleach plant and the remaining solution goes into a recovery/recycling process. A series of chemical bleaching and washing processes converts the brown stock to a pure white pulp fiber.
Step 2: Papermaking > Drainage > Dryer
Papermaking - mixing things up
Hardwood and softwood pulps are supplied separately either from fiber lines or by repulping baled pulp. These pulps are mixed together with other paper making chemicals and minerals. A diluted mixture of the resulting paper stock, called the furnish, is then spread by the head box onto a rotating plastic mesh (the wire) on the paper machine. To manufacture recycled paper, recycled pulp is blended with our own hardwood and softwood pulp at the bale pulper.
Drainage - a pressing process
Papermaking involves removal of almost all of the water from the paper furnish. Some water drains by gravity while a vacuum pulls even more through the bottom wire. Where the top and bottom wires come together, water is forced out by a squeezing action. The paper machine also has roll presses that squeeze water out of the sheet.
Most of the remaining moisture is evaporated in the main dryer section where the sheet is held against a series of steam-heated cylinders. Then, the sheet proceeds through a size press where a starch solution is applied to seal both sides of the sheet before it passes through an after-dryer section.
Step 3: Winder > Sheeter
Traveling at speeds up to 40 MPH the 26 foot wide dry sheet passes through a calendar stack that controls its thickness and smoothness-and is collected on a large reel in jumbo rolls that weigh up to 40 tons. On the winder, the rolls are slit to desired widths and wound on pre-cut cores, ready to be shipped to customers or moved to a paper sheeter.
The cut size sheeter converts the rolls of paper into consumer-sized sheets ("8.5 x 11" regular or three hole punched, 8.5" x 14" and 11" x 17"). Our Folio sheeters process large sized sheets. Cutting the roll stock into sheet sizes ranging up to 84" x 62" for use by commercial printers.