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22gsm, 0.03mm! How thin printing paper is made

Thin Printing Paper

Thin Printing Paper

“The sales volume of the Bible each year is ten times that of any other publication.”

Today I’m introducing a new specialty paper – the Thin Printing Paper, which is also called Bible Paper in the printing industry.

This ultra-thin paper is great for big books, like a 2000-page Bible.

Regular paper might make the book over 7 centimeters thick, but with this thin paper, it’s only about 3 centimeters thick. Thinner paper means less pulp is used, which is better for the environment.

Bible Paper

Bible Paper

First, let’s see the typical technical properties of our standard thin printing paper/bible paper.

Items Grammage Thickness
     (single page)
PPI   Opacity     D65 Brightness   MD Tensile Strength
Unit g/m2 μm ——   %     %   KN/m
Standard ISO
——   ISO 2471:2008   ISO 2470:2016 ISO 1924 - 2:2008
Series       white beige bluish white white beige bluish white  
  28±1 34~38 1500±50 ≥72 ≥72 ≥78 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥1.5
  30±1 35~39 1450±50 ≥73 ≥73 ≥80 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥1.5
  35±1 41~45 1250±50 ≥76 ≥76 ≥83 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥1.7
  40±1 46~50 1100±50 ≥80 ≥80 ≥87 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥1.7
  45±1 50~54 1000±50 ≥82 ≥82 ≥89 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥2.0
  50±1 57~61 900±50 ≥84 ≥84 ≥91 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥2.2
  55±1 61~65 850±50 ≥86 ≥86 ≥92 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥2.2
  60±1 66~70 800±50 ≥88 ≥88 ≥93 89±1.5 74±1.5 84±1.5 ≥2.4
* Grammage, opacity can be customized on request.

How this thin printing paper is made?

Think of how light, thin, fragile, and transparent cicada wings are.

A 22-gram lightweight printing paper is just 0.03 millimeters thick. To print on both sides with multiple colors, it needs to be strong and not see-through.

The secret lies in the papermaking process, which involves beating and sheet forming.

Beating breaks down wood material into water evenly, while sheet forming dehydrates and dries the pulp into paper.

Our research team experimented repeatedly, analyzing the paper’s chemistry, elements, and structure using modern instruments. They adjusted formulations until they found the right process.

Difficulty 1:

Due to the product being relatively thin, achieving opacity was quite challenging. We attempted to add a dye to the paper, turning it into a faint blue color. This improved its opacity to some extent.

Afterward, when the product moved to the fully automated production line, it faced some unexpected problems.

Difficulty 2:

Because the machine-made paper is thin and the production speed is fast, the paper often broke while going through the automated rotating wheels, which meant it couldn’t continue through the production process.

After several adjustments to the processes and workshop equipment, and three trial runs, we finally succeeded in mass-producing the final product.

In essence, achieving a breakthrough in key properties of Bible paper is akin to solving the Mundellian problem. We can only achieve a balanced point at last.

Below are the main characteristics we will consider:

  1. Thickness and Opacity: High-quality Bible paper tends to be thin yet opaque, allowing for easy reading without the distraction of text bleed-through.
  1. Durability: The paper should be strong enough to withstand frequent handling without tearing or wearing easily.
  1. Texture: Smooth, non-reflective paper textures are often preferred for ease of reading and reduced glare under different lighting conditions.
  1. Acid-Free and Archival Quality: Quality Bible paper is typically acid-free and made to last for generations without yellowing or deteriorating.
  1. Print Clarity: The clarity of the print on the paper is crucial for readability. High-quality Bible paper should ensure sharp, clear text without smudging or blurring.
  1. Opacity: The opacity of the paper should be high enough to prevent show-through from the text on the other side of the page.
  1. Weight: While Bible paper is generally thin, the weight can still vary. Higher-weight paper tends to feel more substantial and luxurious.
  1. Sustainability: Environmentally conscious consumers may also consider the sustainability of the paper, looking for certifications like FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) indicating responsible forestry practices.

By evaluating these factors, you can perfectly describe the ideal low-weight paper materials for printing.

Cihai Dictionary - thin printing paper

Cihai Dictionary – thin printing paper

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

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Thin Printing Paper
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