Pulp manufacturing mills are usually located near the wood source, while tissue manufacturing mills are located close to major markets. At the tissue manufacturing mills, the bales of pulp are put into a hydrapulper, which resembles a giant electric mixer. The pulp is mixed with water to form a pulp slurry of individual fibers in water known as stock or furnish.
As the stock moves to the machine, more water is added to make a thinner mixture which is more than 99 percent water. The cellulose fibers are then thoroughly separated in refiners before being formed into a web, or sheet, on the forming section of the creped wadding machine. When the sheet comes off the machine a few seconds later, it is 95 percent fiber and only 5 percent water. Typically, much of the water used in the process is recycled. Water not reused is treated to remove contaminants prior to discharge. Careful controls and monitoring ensure that the water leaving the mill meets or exceeds water quality standards.
A felt belt carries the sheet from the forming section to the drying section. In the drying section, the sheet is pressed onto the steam-heated drying cylinder and then scraped off the cylinder after it has been dried. The sheet is then wound into large rolls.
The large rolls are transferred to a rewinder, where two sheets of wadding (three sheets for Kleenex® Ultra Soft and with Lotion Tissue products) are plied together before being further processed by calendar rollers for additional softness and smoothness. After being cut and rewound, the finished rolls are tested and transferred to storage, ready for converting into Kleenex® Tissue.
In the converting department, numerous rolls are put on the multifolder, where in one continuous process, the tissue is interfolded, cut and put into Kleenex® Tissue cartons which are inserted into shipping containers. The interfolding causes a fresh tissue to pop out of the box as each tissue is removed.
Throughout the manufacturing process, Kimberly-Clark continuously looks for ways to reduce the amount of energy used per unit of production. Each of the company's mills in the United States has energy conservation programs and receives technical support and advice from the corporate energy staff. Kimberly-Clark is also committed to the reduction of waste going to the landfill. Active waste reduction and recycling efforts are in place at each mill.
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