Invention Turns Shredded Office Paper Into Toilet Rolls
Whilst we're not planning on having one of these toilet paper making machines in our office anytime soon, we still think it's a novel invention and worth a mention here on the Expert Skip Hire blog page.
It may not be apparent from the picture, but this rather clever device turns used office paper into "ready to use" lavatory rolls.
In many large offices around the world, used sheets of A4 or other sized office stationery are either thrown straight into the bin, or shredded first and then collected for recycling. Not so if you have this machine in the workplace...
The manufacturer is a Japanese company called Oriental and the machine is called "White Goat". I think the most succinct way of describing it is - "It shreds the paper, which is then dissolved in water, thinned out, dried and wound into toilet rolls."
Some time ago, an article appeared on the National Geographic website claiming that somewhere in the region of 27,000 trees are felled and used to make toilet paper every single day around the globe. This is an astonishingly high number, but perhaps the arrival of the White Goat may at least help to reduce this figure.
Inside the White Goat Machine (below)
Whilst this toilet paper making machine may seem a bit bizarre, the numbers soon start to stack up when you consider how this loo roll producing behemoth can save around 60 trees in just one year if used regularly in a typical city office - One toilet roll can be produced in a mere 30 minutes and it only takes 40 sheets of A4 paper to do this.
The Japanese inventor, Kimihiro Nozawa, is the head of research at Oriental, a company that already makes an assortment of paper-shredding machines. He decided to turn his attention to making more than just recycled paper, and the White Goat is the product of his innovation.
White Goat Price Tag
As you can imagine, the machine doesn't come cheap (around $125,000) and isn't practicle for a typical home as it's 1.8 metres high and weighs more than half a ton (around 600kg).On the plus side, it's relatively efficient as it only uses the same amount of electricity as a home air conditioning unit.
According to this video, it took the inventor 15 years to develop the machine after he first had the idea.
How does it make toilet paper?
First the paper is dropped into water, and spun until it breaks apart. The resulting liquid is then spread out into a thin sheet and then dried. Once it's dry, it's wound into toilet paper rolls. When asked why he decided to make the machine, the inventor said "Most shredded paper is simply incinerated but this costs money and emits CO2 in the process. I thought, there must a better way".
He still has the first machine he made as a prototype and it turns out that it's a washing machine! The reason for this is that it was necessary to experiment on a smaller scale to find out the most efficient ratio of water to paper, and to establish how long the resulting pulp needed to be mixed for.
Perfecting the design
A major challenge during the development process was keeping the machine as small and compact as possible. Nozawa initially contacted a company that made paper making machines but the design they came up with was a humongous 20 metres in length! Knowing that this was completely impractical, he decided to shelve his lavatory roll making dreams. After some time, the idea was still nagging away at him so he decided to see if he could make a better and smaller toilet paper making machine himself.
Help from a professor
He consulted Kikuo Nezu, a professor in the Mechanical Engineering department at Gunma University who says "When I first heard the idea, it amazed me; it was an environmentally friendly concept, and his determination to make a smaller machine was also very moving to me". With help from professor Nezu, Nozawa figured out how to make a smaller toilet roll making machine by adjusting the proportion of water and paper. Together, they made the first prototype which Nozawa still has, and this can be seen in the video above.
4 years after making the first prototype, Nozawa completed the current design which now only needs paper, water and 100 volts of electricity. He holds 4 patents on the design in Japan and buyers from other countries around the world have been expressing an interest in his design.
He says "I was able to shrink the size of the machine by simplifying the paper making process, for example, I took out the bleaching process and I recirculated the water. People told me I was crazy, that it wouldn't work, but I pulled it off. For me, manufacturing means making your dreams a reality - by believing in yourself.
We see large amounts of paper put in the skips we hire out on a daily basis and perhaps one of these days, this clever toilet paper making machine will be small enough for people to have one in the home or small office.