What is ...Number 22
What is ...a "Mill making"?
|Twin wire paper machine|
|Bales of pulp on conveyor|
|Pulp being mixed in hyropulper|
It is useful to have an appreciation of the manufacturing process as explained above as it can be hard to identify with this industrial procedure in the ‘digital’ world in which we live today.
Mill makings of standard products.
|Mill at Mogi Guaçu in Brazil|
In the case of these mills which manufacture few products, a mill will usually customise making to a special size (and sometimes a special weight) and that basically is about it! So why is this useful? Well, here are a couple of examples:
Example 1: The project you are designing for requires 50,000 sheets of 150gsm, SRA1 (640x900mm), but the paper you have selected only comes in 720x1020mm (B1). The stock (in B1) weighs 5510kgs. If you were able to get a mill making in SRA1 it would weigh 4320kgs, thereby saving over 1 tonne of paper! All paper products are sold by weight so this would represent a considerable saving.
Example 2: The project you are designing has a tight budget. You want to use a 170gsm paper but it is too much for the budget. The next standard weight down is 150gsm which you consider too light. The project requires 250,000 sheets of SRA1 paper. That quantity of 170gsm weighs 24.4 tonnes. If you had 160gsm (non standard weight) made for you as a "mill making" it weighs 23 tonnes saving 1.4 tonnes of paper. Good for the budget and the environment.
|Measuring Thickness in Microns|
|A scale that measures the weight of paper.|
For example the weight tolerance for papers is plus or minus 5%, therefore if you ordered a paper that was 150gsm, it could be made as high as 157gsm or as low as 142gsm. BUT REMEMBER THE TARGET IS 150gsm! It must be understood and appreciated that all manufactured products, be it steel, glass, plastic etc. are all manufactured to such tolerances.
Special note: Problems often occur when a product is made and is at one end of a tolerance and then a subsequent making is at the opposite spectrum i.e. The EXTREMES of the tolerance. Following the example given above, if you received your 150gsm paper and it was actually 157gsm, you would accept and judge the feel of the paper on what you had received. If some time later, you received another making of 150gsm which measured 142gsm you would quite rightly complain as the difference would be marked. However now this has been explained, I hope you can see the logic - although it is hard to appreciate at the time when there is a situation where you have never come across the issue of manufacturing tolerances before.
Quantity tolerance. As I mentioned above, a paper machine is not something that can be simply turned on and off and does not work to precise quantity. As a result all orders are made to a quantity "manufacturing tolerance". This means that when you order a quantity of paper, there is an allowance for it to be so many % over or under the ordered quantity, so this needs to be taken into account when ordering. Example: If you order 5 tonnes of 720x1020mm 135gsm that is a dead quantity of 50,000 sheets but if the tolerance is +/- 5% (for example) you would get up to 53,000 or as few as 47,500 sheets. This means you need to allow enough money to pay for the 53,000 sheets and make contingency in case the making comes up 2500 sheets short!
Mill makings of Bespoke products.
Firstly it is important to realise that to have a paper made to your own specification is a question of commitment.
As mentioned earlier, a paper mill is a large manufacturing plant. The minimum quantity required to order a bespoke paper will depend on the size of paper mill/machine and type/quality of paper to be made. It is unlikely that a paper mill will make less than 1000kilos (1 tonne) of paper and many mills will have minimum quantities of 5 tonnes, 10 tonnes or more.
There is relatively little in papermaking that has not been made before! Therefore creating your own paper around an existing specification by "tweaking" it will ensure that you get the paper that you want. It also gives the client the opportunity of looking at previously made papers which are close to the specification to be ordered thereby giving a certain degree of confidence that what the client is ordering can be produced correctly! One of the biggest stumbling blocks to ordering a bespoke paper is that it isn’t possible to see an exact sample before ordering. Generally a client can be shown samples on which placing an order depends. If there is a bespoke shade, a laboratory sample (about 5cm square) made using pulp and dies is produced, if there is a texture, a previous sample can be shown and smoothness/roughness can also be demonstrated by previous examples.
Common things to be specified are the shade, substance (gsm), caliper (thickness), texture, smoothness, porosity, opacity, strength (burst) plus other criteria such as recycled/FSC content and whether inclusions and fibres are to be added etc. Other considerations are the end use, how it is being printed, sheet size etc..
An order can only be processed on the basis that the customer is happy with this representation but it must also be noted that paper is mechanical process made using natural fibres and water, therefore it a curious mix of skill, art and science and can never be exact.
Sample Approval: If you approve the sample/representation, you will be required to agree to the samples supplied and the order will be placed on that basis.
...and now for the advert!
Fenner Paper has over 30 years experience in dealing with bespoke manufactured papers for Annual Reports, specialist packaging (luxury boxes), and other items such as security papers, watermark papers and even ammunition paper! We work with you to build the specification for the required material and select the right manufacturer to work with ...if you want to give it a try, just get in touch!