The presence of PAM in the paper making process means that a much greater ratio of the solids in the paper furnish are retained in the paper sheet (on the wire) instead of passing through it. This results in cleaner systems, better machine runnability, decreased overall chemical usage, lower furnish costs, and thus a more energy efficient production process. The use of PAM also allows for increased closure of the water circuit in the paper machine which lowers the total fresh water consumption. PAM also ensures that the removal of water from the paper slurry during the sheet formation is more rapid. Naturally, this improves the drying process and allows for energy savings in terms of decreased vacuums, reduced steam usage and increased machine speed.
All of the benefits achieved by using PAM in papermaking contribute to a more sustainable production process. More importantly, the use of PAM can also increase the strength of the paper. This is a necessity in order to allow the use of recycled fibers for papermaking. This also permits the increase in filler content which lowers the demand on virgin fibres in addition to giving improved optical properties.
As the paper industry is striving to reduce fresh water consumption, the mills are increasing their system closure. This means that anionic interferences accumulate in the system which has a negative influence on the paper strength. By introducing PAM as a strength additive the sustainability targets can be met.