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Production in a Factory - A Paper Mill

Raw Materials

Paper mills generally use wood from bamboo, eucalyptus and subabul trees. Subabul wood is most widely used now. Besides wood, a number of chemicals like common salt and caustic soda are also used in the different stages of paper-making. Scrap paper is also recycled in paper mills. More than half of the electricity requirement is met through the factory's own power generators. Besides electricity, the mill requires a large quantity of clean water throughout the year.

Paper mill in India
Paper mills and Disappearance of Bamboo

Paper mills engage contractors to supply bamboo and other raw material.Due to excessive cutting in the past, there are no bamboos trees available in forests near the paper mills now.Hence, these mills are looking for alternative raw materials like subabul, trees which are grown in villages.

Paper mills disappearance of Bambo
Process of Paper-making

This paper mill has separate sections for each stage which uses different machines and raw materials. The stages are as follows:

Paper-making process
  • (i) Chipping: large pieces of wood are cut into small chips with the help of large machines. They can cut a lorry load of wood into chips in about 30 minutes.The big chips are again cut into smaller chips. Work goes in this way throughout the day.
  • (ii) Making of wood pulp: Through this process, the wood chips are turned into a pulp of thin fibres (like cotton fibres). The liquid pulp is then whitened using chemicals. It then becomes creamy.
  • (iii) Spreading the pulp: The liquid pulp is spread on thin screens over a cylinder.The pulp dries up as the water drains out and evaporates due to heat. Once this is done, the pulp is forwarded through the conveyer belt.
  • (iv) Pressing, drying and rolling: The drying pulp is pressed by rollers to smoothen it. When the pulp dries up completely, we get a sheet of paper which is then rolled up.
  • (v) Cutting: The paper is cut in the cutting machines according to the size required. Paper is made into rolls and sheets as well. It is then packed and sent to godowns.
Work in Batches

When a lorry load of wood is brought into the factory, the entire quantity of wood is given a batch number. This batch is then sent to different sections one after the other. Raw material of one batch would be processed together at each stage.It also allows the managers to trace any mistake in the product by checking what went wrong with a particular batch.

Work in batches
Working Hours and Shifts

They are 'A', 'B' and 'C' shifts. In each shift, about 800-900 workers are at work. A Shift: 6 AM to 2 PM B Shift: 2 PM to 10 PM C Shift: 10 PM to 6 AM (Night Shift) Night shift workers get a special allowance.There is also a general shift for the administrative staff which is from 9.30 am to 5 pm.

Selling the Paper

This paper mill has marketing depots in different cities. It also sells paper to other countries such as Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, Malaysia, Singapore, Nigeria and South Africa. The paper is sold through these depots.

Selling the paper
Working in Paper Mill

A factory employs a large number of workers of different kinds - some work on machines, some help them, some take care of electrical fittings, some help in transporting the materials etc. Some of them are highly qualified engineers while others may have education from ITI and polytechnic colleges. Still others may be illiterate doing manual work like cleaning. A factory also employs people on different terms and conditions.The women who work in this factory usually clean the floors and paste lables on the paper packets.Workers who are employed on and off are called 'Casual Workers'.

Working in papermill
Who Owns the Paper Mill?

This mill does not have a single owner. Some people got together to form a company which owns this mill. These people invested large amounts of money and also borrowed money from the banks.to set up this factory. They appoint the managers, other administrative staff and regular employees.

Who owns the Paper Mill?
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