5 advantages of mechanical pulp

Table of Contents

Mechanical pulp offers high brightness with a natural 65 ISO level, yields up to 95% from wood, requires less chemical use, speeds production significantly, and reduces costs by minimizing chemical and waste management expenses.

Brightness and Color

The first factor that distinguishes mechanical from other pulps is the superior natural brightness. This is due to the specific chemical production process in which wood fibers are pounded, while most of the paper’s lignin is retained, giving it its natural whiteness. The production of chemical pulping, on the other hand, by design involves lignin removal which affects the final product’s natural brightness.

The main benefit of machine pulp pulp is color durability. Many newspapers and cheap books are printed on this type of pulping because the initial high purity or brightness results in relatively easy-to-read and more attractive to the human eye to books where paper machines consist of machine wood pulp. The brightness of the paper produced can go up to 65 on the ISO scale, which in turn is significantly brighter compared to the brightness of goods that is usually 45 made of unbleached chemical pulping.

This feature makes the production of this type of cladding in paper shops exclusively for products whose attractiveness is of paramount importance and for paper goods whose gleams are not intended to be durable, such as magazines, advertising supplements, and similar. If the publisher or printer does not need to maintain the product’s gleam, the machine pulp can be the best choice from a cost point of view when a large number of copies are produced, which means that the chemical pulp is noticeably lighter in color.

Although mechanical pulp has a tendency, due to lignin exposure to oxygen and sun, to turn yellow over time, its initial brightness gives a very important advertising advantage to the branch in that. Publishers and printers can make clean, clean-looking products without having to take the bleaching steps necessary for chemical pulping, and without added costs.

Yield

In the question of yield, it must be noted that mechanically produced pulp reaches rates of up to 95%, while for chemical pulping methods, the yield is approximately 45-50% due to the fact that most of the lignin and hemicellulose is dissolved and not transformed into pulp as to serve as a part of the product. For this very reason, the mechanical methods are much more efficient because they waste fewer materials from the initial wood log.

The high yield of mechanically produced pulp enables the manufacturers to produce more paper with a smaller volume of wood. Yields are particularly relevant in the context of industries involving production in huge volumes where the respective raw material costs are a deciding factor in the industry. In a pulp-and-paper industry, the majority of newsprint and other paper grades for education and market demands is produced mechanically because of the importance to the cost aspect. Hereby, it is considerably cheaper and can nonetheless be produced in high-volume rates.

In conjunction with the previously mentioned aspect of constant heavy traffic on the demand side, these industries are supplied not only with a vast cost advantage but due to their purchase volumes, they also have the advantage of most supplies to hold the respective minimum prices. Consequently, industries that produce vast quantities of printed matter benefit from the price advantages of such paper.

In the case of pulp and paper production, the use of mechanically produced pulp is thus limited to papers that do not require a longer time span of stability and would be reduced. Everyday papers and especially those produced for use in schools are products of elemental importance for pulp made by mechanical means. As such, products manufactured by these industries and requiring large amounts of paper gain advantages from modern manufactory techniques with their goals in sustainability. Hereby, wood is used in its entirety for manufacturing paper reduces the waste material, using all possibilities in an environmentally friendly way.

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Energy Efficiency

Mechanical pulping, in its core essence, refers to a process that requires a great deal of mechanical energy to grind wood into fibers. Simultaneously, mechanical pulping bypasses or avoids the use of several types of chemical processing employed by other pulpings. Owing to this aspect, mechanical pulping can be rightly deemed more energy-efficient regarding chemical use. In other words, even if seems like an oxymoron, on the whole, mechanical pulping is characterized by a number of positive impacts in terms of energy efficiency due to the absence of chemical cooking and recovery processes, which are especially power-consuming in chemical processing.

To illustrate, in a usual mechanical pulping process like grinding, the predominant source of energy is electricity used by the grinders. Whereas, a popular and widely chemical method of processing, kraft pulping, which employs electricity, too, still, obviously requires far more steam and chemical energy to process, cook the wood, and recover used chemicals. In particular, the final molecular or chemical recovery processes in kraft pulping or similar massively used chemicals consume more than three times the same energy per ton of pulp compared to the pulping.

As a result, we arrive at the conclusion that the use of even small-scale mechanical pulping can help reduce the necessity of using fossil fuels to a considerable degree; reduce the aggregate amount of energy consumed; and hence decrease one’s contribution to carbon emissions, which is especially valuable for paper mills in regions with costly power or a high degree of environmental regulation. The reduced amount of energy used to produce specific units of a pulp also means quicker production. A number of newspapers and other paper consuming companies value speed, making potential owners of paper mills happier with a mechanical process that takes a bit more initial power and saves energy requirements.

Cost-Effectiveness

Mechanical pulp is typically considered cost-effective because of both very high yields and the simplicity of the process. In mechanical pulping, wood is ground mechanically to produce fibers, with nearly all of the wood being used and becoming pulp, resulting in a yield of 95% or even more. These tightly connected features are essential to cost-effectiveness because the yield can be directly translated into lower raw material costs per ton of pulp.

In other words, a mill that switches from chemical to mechanical pulping would need to order less wood for the same amount of paper, substantially reducing the raw material cost. For instance, a paper mill that achieves MC yields of 50%, assuming wood prices at $100/ton, would save $100 on each ton of pulp produced. As such, the more paper products a mill produces, the more money can be potentially saved. Importantly, there is also a significant cost savings on expensive chemicals and waste disposal fees. In terms of mechanical paring, MC does not require specific chemicals to break down the wood and separate fibers, which also means no costs for handling or disposing of the process chemicals. There is also a mass of other cost savings, such as equipment depreciation and maintenance.

In terms of operational costs, both MC and SGW are indeed heavy on energy consumption but balanced out by minimal expenditures on chemicals and waste. For this reason, mechanical pulping is typically seen as more cost-effective in low-energy cost markets where environmental restrictions and waste disposal and handling costs are higher than average. Undoubtedly, it is these cost characteristics that make mechanical pulps a relevant substitute to chemical pulps in those markets where the final product does not require the strength produced by the latter but price is a significant factor.

Production Speed

The first advantage of mechanical pulping is the high rates at which it is produced. Such method is very important in some industries, including newsprint and other commercial printing. The processing and conversion of wood into fibers is very quick so that it can be done in a matter of hours, according to some studies. On the other hand, chemical pulp mills cook the wood chips in chemical solutions at elevated temperatures, taking about four hours.

Therefore, the work of chemical mills is delayed by higher cooking and washing intervals of the chips. As a result, companies producing various paper items and using mechanical processing have an opportunity to tailor the paper to their demand sooner. For example, there is a high demand for producing advertising materials before the holiday season. Hence, although being predictable, some flyer distribution companies will benefit from the ability to address such demands on a shorter notice and pay less than if the order was placed at a chemical mill.

In addition, mechanical mills may increase their production speeds and volumes at any moment and with any intensity caused by market circumstances. It is beneficial for newsprint and any commercial printing companies that may work on large strategies simultaneously or may deal with other firms at high production rates at one point of time.

Secondly, lower time for processing and shorter storage of raw materials into inventory helps save costs. Mechanics in lumber mills will always know the work rate of machinery and

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