Our journey began in the mixing room where the raw pulp bales are broken down, mixed with water and carefully measured dyes. The mixing is carried out in two separate areas in a range of 25-40 ton tanks. Watching the mixing process in the tanks is mesmerising and has to be seen to be believed. Again great attention is paid to sustainability and the environment with all of the pulp coming from managed forests in both Scandinavia (for Spruce) and Portugal (for Eucalyptus).
Pulling ourselves away from the mixing room Stefan led us to the next stage where the watery slurry is transformed into the paper. Entering through the headbox the slurry is transferred onto the wire which draws out the water until the paper becomes workable. After leaving the wire the fibres run through a series of heated rollers taking on the final weight of the paper and wound onto a large steel spindle.
Leaving the room of paper machines we were confronted by a mass of gigantic paper rolls. As the mill is in production 24 hours a day the change over of various colour papers happens directly on the production line. As the rolls are transferred onto rigid fibre cores from the steel spindles the colour blending between the paper rolls is removed and becomes broke/waste. This broke cannot be sold so is instead recycled to make other paper.
At this stage the paper can either be processed, cut and palletised ready for delivery or processed further to add embossed surface decoration. The embossing is carried out by passing the split rolls between large rollers. After seeing a variety of embossing textures form linen to leather we entered the final stage of production. Controlled with a mix of robotic forklifts and wrapping machines the warehouse is a world a way from the mixing room we entered through. The robots tirelessly organise a spectrum of coloured paper pallets ready for their next journey. Time had flown by and it was time to leave and catch the train back to London, seeing the process first hand we left with a head full of new and exciting ideas and we hope to share some of these with you in the coming months.