Freesheet versus Groundwood Production

Identifying the differences between pulping processes and understanding the environmental benefits of freesheet production.

Kraft Manufacturing and Freesheet Papers

Kraft Manufacturing and Freesheet Papers

Although the pulp manufacturing processes vary greatly and produce different grades of product, each method has its own unique uses and environmental attributes.

What is the freesheet process?
In the manufacturing of freesheet paper, Glatfelter employs a Kraft pulping process. Widely used throughout the industry, this chemical pulping process can pulp almost every available wood species. It produces a strong white pulp needed for operation on today’s high-speed paper machines and for performance on high-speed presses and converting equipment. The fibers are longer, stronger and cleaner, which produces paper that is brighter, more durable and much more permanent than groundwood stocks.

What are the manufacturing advantages?
Over 90% of the tree is used during the papermaking process. Greater efficiency, reuse of materials, cleaner production and conservation of fossil fuels through biomass electricity and the ability to develop products using recycled fibers are some of the benefits.

What are examples of freesheet products?
Freesheet Products
Bleached Kraft is most commonly used for fine freesheet printing and writing papers and applications requiring archival quality stock.
Learn more about the Kraft production process.

Mechanical Manufacturing and Groundwood Papers

What is the mechanical or groundwood process?
Mechanical pulp manufacturing, also known as groundwood, is a process that mechanically grinds the raw wood product into pulp. The grinding process uses a large amount of energy, and unlike the Kraft process, does not remove lignin from the pulp. This causes the paper to "yellow", become brittle and deteriorate.

What are the manufacturing advantages?
Groundwood papers are ideally suited for less permanent applications and are not conducive for printing fine quality papers. Yellowing, fading and breakdown of the finished product occurs within months of production due to the lignin in the pulp. As a result, libraries and schools that house precious literature and legal documents printed on groundwood paper risk deterioration. It is worth noting that chemically pulped fibers are added to many groundwood stocks for extra strength.

What are examples of mechanical pulp products?
Mechanical Pulp Products
Products that use groundwood paper include newsprint, pizza boxes and cardboard.

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