The process of making copy paper! From the ground to your office!
You’ve heard that copy paper comes from trees, but have you thought about how copy paper is actually made?
The process of making copy paper was invented in China and use to be made one sheet at a time. After two centuries of improvements and refinements, modern paper making has become apart of the high tech industry.
There are several steps during the process of turning trees into copy paper:
Did you know that the trees that are processed into copy paper are specifically grown and harvested just for that purpose? Well, the first step is to plant millions of new seedlings every year to keep up with tomorrow’s demand.
After replenishing the land with seeds for future growth, the next step includes sending the logs through a debarker, where the bark is removed. The bare naked logs are then sent into chippers, where spinning blades cut the wood into 1″ pieces.
Here, the process continues with the wood chips getting prepared to be pressure-cooked with a mixture of water and chemicals. Used copy paper is another important source of paper fiber. Thanks to recycling programs in many communities, 40% of all paper used in America are recovered for recycling and reuse. The recovered paper is eventually shredded and mixed in with water.
Pulp Preparation Chamber
The next step is called, the “Pulp Preparation,” stage and involves the pulp being washed, refined, cleaned and sometimes bleached. Afterwards, the batch is turned to slush in the beater and any additional ingredients such as color dyes, coatings and other additives are mixed in. The mixture of pulp slush is then pumped onto a moving wire screen, where it proceeds to it’s finishing stage.
As the pulp travels down the screen, water is drained away and recycled. The resulting crude paper sheet is squeezed between large rollers to remove most of the remaining water and ensure smoothness and uniform thickness. The semi-dry web is then run through heated dryer rollers to remove the remaining water.
The wastewater is carefully cleaned and purified before its release or reuse. Fiber particles and chemicals are filtered out and burned to provide additional power for the mill. Facilitators carefully inspect for quality issues such as uniformity of color and surface, water resistance, and ink holding ability.
After inspection, the finished copy paper is then wound into large rolls. These rolls typically weight close to 25 tons and can be 30 feet wide! A slitter then cuts the paper into smaller, more manageable rolls. The paper is now ready for use!
Paper making is one of the most capital-intensive industries in the nation, investing over $100,000 in equipment for each employee. The largest paper making machines are over 32 feet wide, 550 feet long and can produce over 1,000 miles of paper a day.