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How thrillers begin at Holmen Hallsta

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How thrillers begin at Holmen Hallsta

May 23, 2011 - 01:00
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BRUSSELS, May 23, 2011 (RISI) -Readers choose books to escape, to learn, to improve their careers, to open doors to new opportunities in life. Books are a way to avoid boredom on airplanes, trains and metros. But what about the book paper itself? Can the smoothness of the sheet, the clarity of the typography and images add to the value of the book experience?

Says Per Arne Andersson, production manager of Holmen Hallsta's PM 12, "The way paper feels on the eyes, and to the touch, contributes to a reader's experience. In addition, our success depends on the way our sheets run through printing presses on a continuous basis. Publishers won't continue to prefer Holmen Book papers, unless we satisfy their demands for quality at a fair price."

According to Tommy Wiksand, sales and development director, Holmen Paper, "Our target is to become market leader in quality. From the customer point of view this means dimensional stability, precise shade and caliper. Another key factor is having ample stock close to customers, especially for books that take off as bestsellers."

Since 2008, Holmen Hallsta’s PM 12 has been a major player in the book marketplace. It’s the largest book paper machine in the world

How smooth? Which brightness? What feel?

Since 2008, when the conversion from newsprint to book paper took place, PM 12 has produced over thirty book grades, covering a wide grammage range (from 52 g/m2to 80 g/m2), and delivering cream and white.

Adds Andersson, "Our customers won't tolerate even slight variations in shade or thickness or a lack of smoothness. As we all know, the author is central to the concept of a page turner, but quality book paper is central to the feel and look of those pages turning."

Holmen Hallsta reviews samples from customers on a regular basis, and in some cases, every second week. Says Andersson, "We have a dialog with our customers about all aspects of sheet performance, even issues that are outside of our scope. Measuring paper quality in the mill doesn't assure our customers that we produce a good book. Traditional ways of measuring quality are not enough."

He continues, "That's why we regularly collect books and evaluate the quality of our sheet in the finished form. Based upon observations from printed books, we have made changes in the production and seen good results. We have actually modified our approach to retention chemistry to adapt grades, and our processes, to improve quality and efficiency.

"Our silica nanoparticle system, Compozil, is an important tool for keeping all chemistry on the machine working in a proper way. By minimizing variation, we have more liberties to adjust grades, based on our own objectives."

According to Mats Harzdorf (left), technician at PM 12, “Stability at the wet end produces consistent high bulk and stiffness, conveying a sense of quality and stability to the reader.” Eka’s Rebecka Andersson (center) and Roland Johansson, PM 12 technician

To be continued ... Part II can be readhere.

Martin Koepenickhas written about the pulp and paper industry for more than 25 years, visiting mills around the world:mkoepen@gmail.com