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The Precipitated Calcium Carbonate (PCC) Advantage for Uncoated Mechanical (Groundwood) Papers

The PCC Advantage
Specialty Minerals manufactures precipitated calcium carbonate (PCC) in a variety of crystal shapes and particle sizes to cost-effectively address the different needs of uncoated groundwood papermakers. Our precipitated calcium carbonate process generates consistent products with narrow particle size distributions that can be custom-tailored to meet specific end-user requirements. The result is a series of PCC fillers that provide excellent machine runnability at various usage levels: from 2 percent to 20 percent of the basis weight of newsprint, lightweight coated (LWC) and specialty papers; and 10 percent to 30+ percent of the basis weight of supercalender (SC) papers. 

Incorporating Specialty Minerals’ precipitated calcium carbonate provides a tool for quality enhancement and cost reduction with the following advantages:

  • Paper Grade Quality - Increased opacity, brightness, sheet gloss, bulk and printability with reduced show-through and print-through.
  • Paper Mill Economics - Lower cost from reduced bleaching chemicals, premium pigment usage and steam utilization, with low abrasion and improved pitch control.
  • Paper Machine Optimization - Comprehensive technical service, engineering assistance and commercial support to facilitate operator training, trial monitoring and conversion - assuring a smooth transition to Specialty Minerals precipitated calcium carbonate.


PCC Provides Quality Improvement in all Mechanical Papers
With additions of PCC, producers of supercalendered (SC) papers can realize significant quality improvements in sheet gloss, show-through and mottle even at high filler levels. Precipitated calcium carbonate filled papers give rotogravure printers significant improvement in missing dot performance due to the paper’s smoothness, bulk and compressibility. 

In newsprint, PCC adds brightness and opacity with reduced print-through and strike-through to provide print quality improvements. Precipitated calcium carbonate advantages allow papermakers to keep pace with advancing printing technology and the growing use of full color graphics in order to compete more effectively with other forms of media. In specialty and directory mechanical papers, PCC helps papermakers maintain bulk while reducing premium pigment usage. Many paper mills can reduce bleaching costs as well. 

SMI Offers a Broad Range of PCC Products

Albacar® PCC is our standard high performance precipitated calcium carbonate for producers of newsprint, directory and other wood containing specialty papers. Improved sheet brightness, opacity, print-through and bulk are key property advantages enhanced by this product. Used alone, or in combination with other mineral fillers, usage level is typically in the range of 2% to 20% depending on paper grade objectives.  Albacar® PCC can also be used in supercalendered (SC) papers to provide similar sheet enhancements.

New PCC products and application technologies are under continual development at Specialty Minerals to help provide mechanical paper producers with new and innovative tools to meet the demands of a changing marketplace. For example, our AT® PCC process allows manufacturers of mechanical papers to operate under neutral or slightly acid pH conditions while still retaining the advantages of precipitated calcium carbonate.