Papermakers like to think that the world of manufacturing is built on paper.
But it’s not.
It’s actually made of a lot of things: carbon fiber, plastic, metals, and other organic materials.
And, according to new research from University of Wisconsin–Madison and the University of Missouri, there are a number of ways to make that paper.
“The biggest challenge of making paper is that the process is all made by machines, so there’s no need for a human to do it,” says Michael Wigler, an associate professor of mechanical engineering at UW–Madison.
“There’s no one inside the machine.
So that’s a big challenge for us.”
Wiglin and his team made the ImPostor by attaching a metal bar to the end of a laser cutter, which makes it possible to cut through a sheet of paper at a rapid pace.
They then used a machine to turn that laser cutter into a “papermaker” that uses laser beams to make the paper, creating layers of plastic, carbon fiber and metal.
“It’s a very efficient way of making a paper that’s fast and easy to use,” Wigly says.
“If you could go to a store, and you could buy the paper from the machine, that would be a huge help.
It makes it easier for a consumer to choose the best paper.”
The ImPostors machine also lets them create different kinds of paper.
For example, they could print a sheet that was created by using a laser, or a machine with a machine for cutting.
“A papermaker with a laser machine would cut the paper and it would come out as an actual sheet,” Wrigler says.
The papermaker could then use the paper to make other kinds of objects, like a card, notebook, or paper towel.
The Impostors machine was first introduced at the 2016 PaperFest conference in San Francisco.
The team has been using the machines for years.
The first ImPostOR was made by a small company called NiteLink, which was bought by Amazon in 2018.
Since then, other companies have been making similar machines that make paper for Amazon, eBay, and the New York Times.
But the ImPOSTOR is the first machine that can make paper directly from the laser itself, which is a huge step forward.
“This is the kind of technology that would allow us to produce more high-quality paper at lower cost,” Wiggly says, adding that the ImPREs could potentially become a cheaper way of producing paper at scale.
The company hopes to bring the Imprei to market in 2019.