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Papermaking Basics
 

Papermaking Basics

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There are hundreds of text and cover papers, but most digital printers rely on a few favorites—usually choosing white and smooth papers. But there are a host of fine paper qualities that can make or ...

There are hundreds of text and cover papers, but most digital printers rely on a few favorites—usually choosing white and smooth papers. But there are a host of fine paper qualities that can make or break a job on press. The more you understand these, the better able you are to make the right choice.

This presentation is like a virtual mill tour. It’s intended to help you understand these critical digital paper qualities combined with enough “did you know” content to make you a hit at your next trivia competition.

Brought to you by Mohawk MakeReady, this presentation can be used by your printing business for internal training initiatives or customer presentations.

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  • There are hundreds of text and cover papers, but most digital printers rely on a few favorites—usually choosing white and smooth papers. But there are a host of fine paper qualities that can make or break a job on press. The more you understand these, the better able you are to make the right choice. This presentation is like a virtual mill tour. It’s intended to help you understand these critical digital paper qualities combined with enough “did you know” content to make you a hit at your next trivia competition. Brought to you by Mohawk MakeReady, this presentation can be used by your printing business for internal training initiatives or customer presentations.
  • Let’s start with a bit of a history lesson and some basics about papermaking. The word “paper” is derived from the word papyrus, a grasslike aquatic plant. About 4,000 years ago, the Ancient Egyptians pounded the papyrus leaves flat and used them as paper. The Romans also used the papyrus stems in their papermaking process: slicing, soaking, and then pressing them under heavy rocks. The juice of the plant acted like glue, bonding the stem strips together. The sheet was then hammered flat and dried in the sun. The use of water and heat is still used in today’s papermaking process, but now, paper is made up of an amazing number of ingredients.
  • Some of the most common ingredients used in the manufacture of paper are listed here. These ingredients are mixed according to a “recipe” which determines the end products’ character and ultimate use. Paper making is equal parts engineering, chemistry and craft. All the ways you expect a paper to perform in your digital press link directly to how the paper is made—and what it is made of.
  • What about trees? Trees are one of our great renewable resources; there are actually more trees in America today than there were 70 years ago. We divide the types of trees used in making paper into two categories: hardwood species and softwood species. Hardwood trees such as oaks and maples have wood with very short fibers. Paper made from these species is weaker than that made from softwoods, but its surface is smoother, and therefore better to write and print on. Softwood trees such as pine and spruce have wood with long fibers. Paper made from this type of wood is much stronger, but usually the finish is a bit rougher. This paper is ideal for making products like shipping containers that require superior strength. At Mohawk, we blend both types of wood to manufacture the ideal paper for our customers’ end use application.
  • It’s time to start talking pulp. To begin the papermaking process, recovered tree fibers are shredded and mixed with water to make pulp. The pulp is washed, refined and cleaned, then turned to slush in a beater. This slush is of a consistency resembling a porridge or oatmeal, however we recommend not eating it! Color dyes, coatings and other additives are mixed in, and the pulp is pumped onto a large moving screen or wire. You might have heard Mohawk referred to as a “non-integrated mill.” This means that we do not manufacture our own pulp. When we buy pulp, it has already been purified and formed into thick sheets. We buy a variety of hardwood and softwood pulps, as well as postconsumer waste fiber for recycled products, because each of our papers requires its own special mix of fiber to give it the strength, formation and surface properties you need to look great on press.
  • As the pulp is sprayed onto the wire, water begins to drain out the bottom of the wire. This water is collected so that it can be reused over and over again. Meanwhile, the pulp fibers are caught on the top side of the wire, and begin to bond together in a very thin mat. The fiber mat remaining on the wire is then squeezed between felt-covered press rollers to absorb more of the water. When this process, called the wet end, is over, the pulp/water mixture on the wire is still about 60% water. But now it's time for the  dry end.
  • In the dry end, huge metal cylinders are heated by filling them with steam. The wet paper passes through these hot cylinders over and over. Heating and drying the wet sheet seals the fibers closer and closer together, turning them gradually from pulp into paper. Mohawk digital papers are specifically engineered with a pre-determined moisture content for performance on digital presses which yields maximum image quality and consistent throughput .
  • At the end of the drying process, coatings and special surface treatments are sometimes added. Coatings, often made of fine clay or other pigments, add gloss, smoothness and make it ready to accept toner and ink. Surface treatments are high-tech processes designed to optimize print performance. Mohawk’s propriety processes for digital printing, including i-Tone, Inxwell, and Digital Imaging Surface help the adhesion process, whether your digital printing equipment uses dry toner or HP ElectroInk. .  
  • There are numerous ways to spot quality paper. When you look at a piece of paper, one of the first things you notice is the surface? Is it textured or smooth, gloss or dull? This is all determined in the papermaking process through calendaring (running the paper through smooth rollers to polish the surface), embossing or pressing a finish in to the wet web of paper on the paper machine. Certainly the way the paper feels on your fingertips—or, its “hand”—is another. Hand is not only important from a tactile perspective but it affects how the pages turn and how panels in a brochure fold out. A third way is side-to-side consistency. Finished paper has two sides: the “wire” side—the side which came in contact with the wires on the papermaking machine, and the “felt” side, which touches the machine fabric or felt. Better papers have good side-to-side consistency and will print colors evenly on both the wire and felt sides.  
  • In the process of manufacturing high quality digital paper, there are numerous additional considerations such as formation, opacity, brightness and finish or smoothness. Hold your paper up to a light source. It should appear uniform in texture. Then lay the paper on top of a printed page. This will tell you how much show through, or how opaque, the paper is. Select your level of brightness depending on your client’s end usage. Four color process images “pop” on bright white papers. But for pieces with a great deal of copy, a more natural shade of white is preferable to minimize eyestrain.
  • Environmental concerns are top of mind among today’s papermakers. Mohawk has long been a leader in reducing the environmental impact of paper making and paper usage. It was the first paper company to use emission-free renewable windpower. And, it has continuously raised the standards for recycled paper and realigned its production processes to earn accreditation from various environmental organizations. In fact, Mohawk has a handy tool you can use to input the type of paper you are using for a job and calculate the positive environmental impact for your customer. You can download our environmental calculator by visiting www.mohawkpaper.com/environmentalcalculator
  • Over the years, Mohawk has blended traditional craftsmanship with state-of-the-art papermaking technology and a view toward the future. Today, Mohawk has over 300 items in its digital portfolio and is well known for our dedication to innovation and quality, and our commitment to the environment. With ongoing capital investment and a corporate culture focused on rapidly evolving customer needs, Mohawk is the most technologically advanced papermaker in its field. Mohawk MakeReady Tip: See our series of articles and videos to get more in-depth information on digital papers. “ Offset vs. Digital Sheets: How They’re Different” http://www.mohawkpaper.com/makeready/2011/09/07/offset-vs-digital-sheets-how-they%E2%80%99re-different/ “ Why Choose a Digital Sheet” http://www.mohawkpaper.com/makeready/2011/09/07/why-choose-a-digital-sheet/ “ Digital DNA” http://www.mohawkpaper.com/makeready/2011/09/08/digital-dna/
  • Digital printing is changing…and fast. That’s why we created Mohawk MakeReady. A go-to place for guidance, insights and tools to keep you prepared for what’s next. There’s a reason we named this service MakeReady … a little irony, too. Taking a familiar industry term in a new direction, Mohawk MakeReady offers ways for you to make more efficient use of your time, material, people and entrepreneurial energy. To grow your digital printing business, you need to be prepared — with actionable information and tools — so your team can implement best business practices, craft effective sales strategies, and create opportunities to use and promote new high-value products. That’s what you’ll find here: an ever-expanding site , rich with content built on the experiences of digital printers like you. As a leading manufacturer of digital substrates, Mohawk brings you practical wisdom gained from our experience in sales, marketing, production, and operations. With how-to articles on marketing your business, videos on topics like precision sheeting, and PowerPoint presentations showcasing how to identify sales opportunities. All strategies you can put to work today. Talk to us. Let us know what’s on your mind. Mohawk MakeReady. Dedicated to making you ready for the exciting future ahead.

Papermaking Basics Papermaking Basics Presentation Transcript

  • The qualities that can make or break your job on press. November 2011
  • Interesting paper fact: The word "paper" comes from the name of the papyrus plant that grew wild along the Nile River in Egypt about 4,000 years ago. Ancient Egyptians used to pound the leaves flat and use them to write on.
  • Common ingredients of Paper Pulp Cotton Postconsumer waste fiber Broke (Mill waste fiber) Water Calcium Carbonate Coating Sizing Dyes and Colorings Optical Brighteners Fillers
  • Important forest information 1.5 Billion seedlings are planted each year. More than 4 million new trees planted each year. Just like corn, grain and other crops, trees are a renewable resource. Source: www.tappi.org
  • Pulping: Has a porridge consistency at start, but we recommend not eating it.
  • The Papermaking Machine
  • Drying the paper In the dry end, huge metal cylinders are heated by filling them with steam. The wet paper passes through these hot rollers. Heating and drying the wet sheet seals the fibers closer and closer together, turning them gradually from pulp into paper.
  • Coatings and Surface Treatments After the initial drying, coatings or special surface treatments can be added – such as Mohawk’s proprietary i-Tone, Inxwell, and Digital Imaging Surface.
  • Pulp becomes Paper When you look at a piece of paper, can you find any difference in thickness in that single sheet? Probably not, thanks to a part of the paper machine called the  calender  - big, heavy cast iron rollers that press the drying paper smooth and uniform in thickness. A bit more drying, then rolled onto a big spool or reel, the pulp - a miraculous mat of fibers from trees - has become paper, ready for a thousand uses.
  • Notable Qualities of Paper • Formation: the uniformity and distribution of fibers within a sheet • Opacity: the measurement of light passing through • Brightness: the percentage of light reflected • Surface: finish or smoothness affects ink holdout
  • Interesting Paper fact: Every day, U.S. papermakers recycle enough paper to fill a 15-mile-long train of boxcars.
  • Mohawk’s family of papers With over 300 items in the Mohawk Digital portfolio, Mohawk offers the largest portfolio of products in the paper industry which are specifically engineered for digital printing. For more info click: Offset vs. Digital Sheets (Article) Why Choose a Digital Sheet? (Video) Digital DNA (PowerPoint)
  • Mohawk MakeReady provides practical tools and actionable information for digital printers like you. We can help… Visit: www.MohawkMakeReady.com to browse content, request a meeting, or join the community.