How is Paper Made?


We’ve explained the story about how cardboard is made so we thought it would be interesting to go back one step and describe the process about how paper is made.

  1. Paper starts from timber, which comes from well managed forests (to ensure sustainable growth). Tree types used in the making of paper include spruce, pine, fir, larch, hemlock, eucalyptus, aspen and birch. The best parts of these trees are usually reserved for the construction industry and the remaining elements are used for paper production. The bark is removed from the trees and the stripped logs are then chipped.
  2. There are then two pulping options – chemical or mechanical.
  3. Chemical pulping involves the chips being heated along with chemicals to make a pulp.
  4. Mechanical pulping is where the debarked logs are forced between rotating steel discs to tear the wood apart.
  5. At this stage the pulp is usually about 1% fibres and 99% water.
  6. Pulp is also produced from recycled paper waste and this can be mixed into the pulp (depending on the paper type being made). This will need to be de-inked first to avoid producing a dull grey paper.
  7. The pulp is fed onto a long mesh conveyor belt and the water drains through the mesh leaving the fibres on the top of the mesh. Due to the length of this conveyor (over 30 metres long), by the time the pulp reaches the end, it has formed a sheet of paper, albeit a moist and weak sheet of paper at this stage.
  8. The sheet then passes through a number of heavy rollers to remove further moisture.
  9. Still wet, the sheet now passes through 50 or 60 steam-heated drying cylinders to ensure the paper is completely dry.
  10. Some papers require coating to improve its opacity, lightness, surface smoothness, lustre and colour-absorption ability.  In these cases, a layer will then be applied to the paper. This coating can consist of pigments, extenders, binders and chemicals.  If you use litho printed boxes or packaging for example, these always have a coated outer paper to ensure an excellent print surface.
  11. The paper is now ready to be use or converted into another product, like cardboard. WHAT_IS_CARDBOARD_MADE_FROM

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