Paper manufacturers are always looking for products and innovations with a better environmental profile which also make their processes more cost efficient. One of the latest breakthroughs – in an area known as surface sizing – has been achieved by our Pulp and Paper Chemicals business, Eka Chemicals.
Paper sizing is a process designed to reduce paper’s ability, when dry, to absorb water both as moisture and liquid. So in other words, it improves the water resistance of paper. Two methods are commonly used (surface and internal sizing).
The main difference is that internal sizing – added to fibers at the wet end of the process – gives paper with evenly distributed chemicals an “effect”. Whereas surface sizing chemicals are added to dry paper to give an effect directly related to improving the surface of the paper. Internal sizing is widely used in a large variety of papers, while surface sizing is added during the production of higher grade papers. One effect of surface sizing chemicals is to ensure that printing ink stays on the surface and dries there, rather than being absorbed into the paper itself.
Eka Chemicals’ success means it has seen what was once a side business grow into a core discipline in a reasonably short space of time. Much of this expansion is down to the successful product Eka SP 50, a polymeric surface sizing product which has helped to gain many new customers. The major benefits for the paper makers include greater cost efficiency, partly because Eka SP 50 can be used at lower dosages.