I frequently like to check out paper manufacturer's websites. Why you ask? Well, they are really a great resource on paper. It's always best to go directly to the source!
I always like to keep up on new type of papers that are being created and every once in awhile stumble upon some great learning tools on their sites. I checked in on Wausau today and found this article about how paper is actually made. I'm pasting the small article here in my blog, but you can go here to find the complete article and connect to Wausau's website.
Each year the United States produces 87 million metric tons of paper. From gift wrap for holiday presents to the newspapers people read daily, nearly all paper is manufactured following these steps:
- Preparation — New trees, lumberyard scraps and recycled paper products must be prepared before the papermaking process can begin. Fresh wood is debarked and cut into smaller pieces. Recycled paper products are treated to remove inks and other contaminants like staples.
- Pulping — Next the wood chips pass through a digester (chemical pulping) or a refiner (mechanical pulping). A digester cooks the wood to separate out the fibers needed to make paper. A refiner grinds the wood mechanically to extract the fibers.
- Screening — The stock fibers are now combined with water, creating a mixture with the consistency of soupy oatmeal. Water is drained away as this mixture travels along a wire mesh belt. The wet fiber mat left behind is then fed into a press.
- Pressing and Drying — Fibers bond as any the last water is squeezed out of the mat. Steam-heated drums complete the drying process. The fiber mat is now paper.
- Sizing and Coating — The uncoated paper is next treated with surface sizing to increase its strength and durability. Coating helps paper hold ink and reproduce sharp, clear printed images.
- Finishing — The paper is cut into smaller rolls or sheets and packed for shipment.
Now you know. Whether it’s used to produce a bestseller or a movie poster, paper actually goes through an intricate manufacturing process of its own.