Glatfelter Plant Papermaking Process

Glatfelter Plant Papermaking Process

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On Thursday March 20, the processes class visited Glatfelter plant located in Chillicothe, Ohio. Glatfelter is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of specialty paper and engineering products. The company was started by Philip Glatfelter in 1864 and has expanded to annual revenue of 1.19 billion dollars. The company headquarters is located in York, Pennsylvania with papermaking plants and wood yard located throughout the United States. Glatfelter also has international operations in Germany, France, United Kingdom, Canada and the Philippines. The Chillicothe plant is a pulp and papermaking plant. Essentially it is two plants in one since pulp and papermaking are sometimes separated.
The papermaking process begins with pulp. Pulp is cellulosic fibrous material extracted from cellulosic fiber from wood. Glatfelter uses the Kraft Process to make both hardwood and softwood pulps. Hardwood pulps are taken from oaks, beeches, poplars, birches and eucalyptus tress. They have short fibre of average length of 1 millimeter. The primary purpose of hardwoods is for the paper to achieve bulkiness, smoothness and opacity. Softwood on the other hand is taken from pine and spruce with long fibre averaging 3 millimeters, it provides addition strength to paper. Both softwood and hardwood are produce independently of each other and are mixed end at desire ratio in the paper plant. The process starts from wood chips. Trees are chipped to make wood chips from half an inch to an inch long and up to two fifth inches thick. The chips are feed into a digester, which with cooking liquor would create a chemical reaction, which delignificate the wood. The cooking liquor is composed of white and black liquor. White liquor is composed of mainly sodium hy...

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...recycle used chemicals to be reused. The pulp plant would not generate any revenue without the recaust system. In the paper plant the problem is the supply of pulp. Glatfelter has mention shortage of pulp and purchase pulp from outside sources, which would be considered more expensive than producing it. The paper machine is running continuously and shutdown is avoided at all cost as shut down means the plant would be losing money at a rate of $12000 per hour.
Papermaking will be an industry that always will exist. There is no better replacement for paper. Some may argue that digital technology will eventually make paper useless but as technology gets more advances something has to remain non-digital. Paper provides a legacy in writing, digital data can be delete and paper can burn but paper has and will continue to survive just as it had survived for a long time.

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