Invention of paper

At the time of independence in 1947, Pakistan had no paper and board manufacturing unit. Over the last 60 years paper and board industry has emerged out of its infancy and is now catering to nearly 70 per cent of the domestic demand. Some mills have also exported various paper/board grades to Mexico, Africa and the Middle East. However, greater effort is required in product standardization to create a regular export market.

Mills in Pakistan produce various grades of paper. Presently, there are over 100 paper and board producing units in organized sector with capacities varying from 10 to 300 tons per day. Estimates for annual production in 2007 are around 750,000 tons of paper and board. These units produce writing and printing paper, packaging board, liner board, C medium, continuous computer reels, tissue and security/banknote paper. However, art papers and newsprint are imported due to zero wood pulp production capacity in Pakistan. Sayid Paper Mills became the first manufacturing unit in 2000 to produce newsprint locally.

Pakistan is also one of the few countries in the world where agricultural waste and Neutral Sodium Sulfite cooking process is used to produce paper and paperboard grades. The fiber is given a combination of treatments with alkali and chlorine. Such methods were used for bleaching as early as 1787, and it is claimed that straw pulp was so made in 1830. It was not until considerably later that any real progress was made, but in the early part of the present century two processes were developed commercially. The Pomilio process later developed into a successful continuous method.

Paper machines are not built standard, but each is constructed to specifications and though each has the same essential parts these vary in design according to the builder. To describe these in detail would be of little interest to the reader. Therefore, it would be very rare to find two machines of exactly the same specifications!