The envelope is such a commonplace part of our lives that few stop to think about the steps required to transform raw materials into the white, paper envelopes we know and love. To help lend some clarity to the subject, here is a rough outline of how envelopes are created:
There are a few exceptions, but for the large part envelopes seen in most situations will use bleached white paper stock. Getting the paper from a tree is no easy task.
1. Wood blocks and scraps are ground into chips
2. The paper pulp used by most products like envelopes is created by a chemical process. Wood chips are soaked in a highly alkaline solution made from sodium hydroxide and sodium sulfate. This mixture of chips and alkalis are heated to 320–356 °F and subjected to pressures of 116 PSI for 90 to 120 minutes
3. The pulp is typically bleached with oxidizing chemicals to remove the brown pigment lignin, which is washed away with an alkali solution
4. Fillers are added to increase the strength and reduce the absorbency of the final product
5. Water is added to the pulp to create an even mixture
6. The pulp mixture is pumped onto a fine mesh screen where it gradually drips through to form a wet sheet
7. Water is extracted from the sheet using suction, felt belts and hot rollers
8. The dry paper is rolled down to form a flat sheet of an even thickness that is spun into large rolls
These rolls are the final raw material for bleached paper products. They can weigh between 100 and 300 lbs.
From Paper to Envelopes
Once the paper has been created, it can be shipped to a manufacturing facility where it will be processed further into envelopes. This is the part where Letter Jacket takes over. We produce nearly all of our paper envelope products in-house to ensure the highest level of quality and consistency. We also only buy paper stock from the best suppliers so our clients can enjoy a quality product.
Once the rollers are received in our manufacturing facility:
1. The roller is fed into a cutting machine that creates sheets of uniform size and stacks them into neat piles
2. These stacks of sheets must be cut using very sharp blades to form “blanks.” Blanks are unfolded envelopes, which are a diamond shape. Every cut is precisely made to generate the least amount of waste.
3. A fabricating machine will further process the envelopes, applying glue and then folding them into the proper shape. Weaker adhesive for sealing the envelope is also applied for later use. Cuts are made to create windows in the envelopes as needed, and plastic material is glued to the windows depending on the product.
4. Custom printing will occur usually before step 3, if needed. All of our envelope making blanks can be customized inside or out to create unique designs or reproduce graphics with the highest precision.
5. Completed envelopes are fed into a packaging system and packed into boxes for delivery to our clients
6. Products are inspected intermittently for quality control during key parts of the process
Because we oversee the envelope’s journey from large rolls of paper to final product, we have the utmost control over how the envelope will turn out. Custom designs, printed text, graphics, creative security linings and even unique envelope shapes are all possible thanks to our attention.
Visit our testimonials page to see how our quality control process and custom designing efforts have resulted in great products and very happy clients.