As part of the entrepreneurship program, students from TIPS visited the Pariyur Amman paper mill started in the year 2007 by Mr. K.M. Shanmugaperuamal. This mill is known for the manufacturing of exclusive kraft paper of superior quality.
Probably half of the fiber used for paper today comes from wood that has been purposely harvested. The remaining material comes from wood fiber from saw mills, recycled newspaper, some vegetable matter, and recycled cloth.
In the mechanical process, logs are first tumbled in drums to remove the bark. The logs are then sent to grinders, which break the wood down into pulp which is filtered. In the chemical process, wood chips from de-barked logs are cooked in a chemical solution. The chips are fed into the digester, and then boiled at high pressure in a solution of sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfide. The chips dissolve into pulp in the solution. Next the pulp is sent through filters. Bleach may be added at this stage, or colorings. The pulp is sent to the paper plant.
The pulp is then subjected to the effect of machine beaters. These additives will influence the opacity and other qualities of the final product. Sizings are also added at this point. Sizing affects the way the paper will react with various inks. A paper that will receive a printed design, such as gift wrapping, requires a particular formula of sizing that will make the paper accept the printing properly.
In order to finally turn the pulp into paper, the pulp is fed or pumped into giant, automated machines and squeezed through a series of rollers, while suction devices below the belt drain off water.
Finally, the dried paper is wound onto large reels, where it will be further processed depending on its ultimate use. Paper is smoothed and compacted.
It was interesting to note the processes involved in the making of paper. Something that we use in our daily lives, but without any idea of all that goes into it, surely this was an informative trip.