Short or Long Paper Fibers?

I’m not just talking through my hat here. This morning a paper rep visited my office with a mill rep from Arjowiggins. Our meeting was interrupted by a telephone call from a printer who was struggling with a problem. You see, the job we are working on will have to go through a high speed commercial laser printer after printing. It is designed to have a perforated tear-off section below a standard letter. I’ve been handling jobs like this for years, and the laser printers always complain about the perforations. What they want is a perforation that doesn’t penetrate all the way through the sheet. It seems that applying less pressure would solve it, but it doesn’t. Lately I’ve experienced perforations that won’t work at all. When the laser gets hot, the perforations rip. That’s not good.

Wayne, the sales rep from Western Paper asked a poignant question, he said, “What kind of fibers are in the stock you are buying?”

My response was, “Huh?”

He explained that hardwood fibers are shorter and more brittle than softwood fibers. “Most softwood comes from mills in the Northwestern US,” he told me. The longer softwood fibers are more flexible and could keep the perforations from ripping as easily.

We are checking it out. If this solves the problem I’ll owe him.

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