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Science Technology

New Definition of 'Laser Paper' 8

Judebert writes: "Berkeley Lab engineers have developed a laser system to measure the elasticity of paper as it whizzes by at 65 mph on a conveyor belt. The benefit is environmental and business savings: paper makers don't have to downgrade a whole roll of paper or use extra pulp (with all the nasty side-effects) to achieve desired paper qualities."
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New Definition of 'Laser Paper'

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  • Resultant paper (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This isn't going to improve paper quality in the least. All it does is allow manufacturers more precise control over how much pulp is actually necessary to meet Federal guidelines.

    Perhaps European parents find this kind of story interesting...
  • by smoondog ( 85133 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @05:52PM (#3094304)
    One acre of forest: $25,000

    Three lumberjacks and a Mill worker: $125,000/year

    Machine for Laser Identifying Paper Quality: $250,000

    Wiping your ass with the finest toilet paper ever made: priceless
  • by morcheeba ( 260908 ) on Friday March 01, 2002 @11:23PM (#3096133) Journal
    I applied for a job at a company that did a similar thing for rolled steel... the feedback from the device would adjust the rollers so that a consistant thickness was achieved. I didn't take the job, but it's funny to think of how dangerous it could have been:

    1. The sensor is radiation-based... it takes a significant amount of radiation to penetrate the steel (radiation exposure badges required)
    2. The metal is thin and sharp, not to mention large and heavy.
    3. It's moving at very high speed.
    4. for some reason I never found out, it's covered in a thin layer of acid.

    An acid-covered-high-speed-knife soaking in radiation. Could get painful. But the device worked really well, I'm told. Glad to see it used with paper, where you can't take rejects and recycle them to back to the same quality.
  • How paper mills work (Score:3, Informative)

    by meridoc ( 134765 ) on Saturday March 02, 2002 @01:45PM (#3098094)
    at Kimberly-Clark (maker of Kleenex, Cottonelle, Scott, etc.) one summer, as an intern.

    When creating "new and improved" products, paper makers use all sorts of tests to measure the properties of the paper (like shear, bending stiffness, softness tests, and so on). These tests are done on small samples first (created in a laboratory!). If the product passes inspection, it is then taken to a trial mill (like the one used in this article), which is a relatively small machine. If the product holds up through that test, it is then finally taken to the actual mills for production.

    The tests done in the full-sized mills (since the product is, ideally, already formulated correctly through all the primary steps), are to check quality.

    I don't see how this will save money or trees; it may catch the errors (big holes in the sheet, too thin/thick, not strong enough) earlier, but the already-generated paper cannot be used again in that mill (it has to go to a mill that is equipped for recycling). Granted, a whole roll won't have to be thrown out, but the time in changing the rolls will still cost production time and money.

  • Uhh.. We could just use hemp paper. More efficient use of land, resources... Cheaper to produce... Less noxious chemicals and toxic leftovers to be disposed of...

    Nah.. Let's just try harder to get this paper pulp thing working... Blech

"Let every man teach his son, teach his daughter, that labor is honorable." -- Robert G. Ingersoll