We recently visited one of our paper manufacturers and had a factory tour following the process of how the paper is converted into the products that we stock and sell.
We know you probably wont have the same opportunity, so here's a basic outline of the process which you may find interesting!
The Mother Rolls
As a converting plant they aren't making the actual paper - that happens at a mill and is a messier process. These 'mother reels' come into the converting plant. These pictures don't really do them justice - they really are monstrous - weighing up to 5 tonnes each and the width of them is well over a person's height. These are then unwound from these large reels and as they are only 1 ply each, if a 2 ply product is being made, 2 rolls will be wound together at point of manufacture, or for 3 ply, 3 mother reels and so on.
The humble toilet roll core starts in a reel and is made on site, into long tubes.
Here's the finished roll on one of the machines:
The product is then wound onto the newly made cores, and the perforations made, and the end glued so it doesn't unwind.
Chopping Into Rolls
A somewhat frightening looking chopping machine cuts the long rolls into the rolls that you are used to buying. 2 Blades give a double cut to give a good clean cut.
The result is that the rough end of the rolls is trimmed to give a clean edge.
The rolls make their journey in towards the wrapping machines to be put into the polythene wrapping that the rolls are supplied in. Automated conveyors carry the rolls....
On the Blue centre feed line, the centre feeds come down the conveyor on their sides, which necessitates the need of up-ending them!
This small clip shows the machine that spends it's day up-ending blue centrefeed rolls! Clever...
Everything's present and correct...
The rolls are collected together to wrap, but before this happens, there is a camera watching the line to ensure that there are the correct number of rolls. If there are any short, the line will stop whilst an operator checks.
It's a wrap
When everything's made, it's time for the rolls to be wrapped. This part of the process puts all the rolls together before putting them putting them inside the polythene packaging covers. The standard toilet roll line runs exceptionally quickly, here's some short clips of both:
Shrink and Label
The shrink wrapping machine heats the packaging around the rolls and the rolls come out the other end looking like you receive them.
The product is labelled and send down to the stacking machine.
Stacking the Pallets
The full packs of centre feeds roll down the production line to the stacking machine. The days of humans packing the paper onto pallets are over on these automated lines - a robot lifts and perfectly stacks the pallets before they are wrapped and put into storage.
We hope you found this interesting. Get in contact if you would like any more details or pricing for any of your paper products.