Our daily lives are supported by various paper products such as newsprint for newspapers, corrugated cardboard for packaging, and tissue for sanitary paper. Harima Chemicals is developing chemicals that confer particular properties to these papers, such as internal sizing agents, surface sizing agents, acrylamide based dry strength agents and surface coating agents. In particular, the raw material for internal sizing agents is tall oil rosin, and we only have tall oil distillation plant to produce tall oil rosin in Japan. We are also actively developing products that address environmental issues, for example, the need to reduce waste and make effective use of the pulp and water resources in the pulp and paper industry.
Clarification of expression mechanisms
It is important to study the mechanisms of how chemicals express their functions in the development of new products and the improvement of our commercial products. For example, we are trying to develop chemicals with higher performance through basic research on how chemicals anchor themselves to pulp fibers and how this anchoring affects the function of these chemicals. The pictures below show the microscopic structure of paper with an internal sizing agent. The small spherical particles (emulsion particles) are the internal sizing agents. It has been found that the particles are coagulated in paper with a low sizing degree (left) and that they are uniformly distributed in paper with a high sizing degree.
Increasing the functionality of chemicals
It is becoming very important to improve the functionality of paper in order to accommodate the higher speed of paper machines, the increase in recycled pulp usage, the demand for improved printing properties, and the spread of inkjet printers. Therefore, we are developing chemicals that impart a high degree of functionality to paper products. For example, the pictures below show how printing properties, such as feathering and bleeding, can be controlled by coating with a surface sizing agent.
(*) Feathering refers to the lateral spreading of ink along pulp fibers, while bleeding refers to the blurring of ink at the boundaries between different colors.
Environmental improvement chemical
We are developing chemicals that can not only improve the functionality of paper but also help papermaking businesses using recycled pulp more effectively and achieving zero emissions. Our environmental improvement chemical, 'HARIUP AC,' improves the filler retention for deinked pulp based on the concept of reducing the amount of ash generated in effluent processing at paper companies.
(*) Inorganic substances such as calcium carbonate are added to paper to improve its quality. When using recycled pulp, this calcium carbonate turns into ash during the dewatering process (effluent processing sludge ash), which accounts for about half the amount of waste material produced by papermaking companies.