Vermont Patent of the Month – April 2021

Paper production involves creating pulp from the cellulosic fibers of wood chips, The traditional process chemically or mechanically removes these fibers, bleaches and refines them into a slurry which is then formed and dried on a paper machine. There is a great variety of cellulosic fibers, so the process was developed assuming an even distribution of all fiber types. This means that any attempt to utilize the potential benefit of a specific fiber is limited. Pulmac Systems International, Inc. has designed a method for treating cellulosic fibers in an improved way. Their method would help to separate out fibers for independent processing to be recombined into superior paper products at lower overall costs.

Their method uses a fractionator and vibration analyzer. The fractionator system splits fibers from feed pulp into an original portion and a second portion to be refined. The refinable portion can be further fractionated based on fiber properties. These subsections are then refined as is best done for individual fiber types. The now optimally refined fiber types are rejoined with unrefined original fibers, forming a better slurry. The slurry is then processed by the paper machine as usual. This process makes it easier to customize paper quality, for instance creating printer paper vs tissue paper, ultimately saving time and resources.

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