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  1. This has been a while in the making. Paper has been manufactured on the Aylesford Newsprint site since 1922, formely under the name of Aylesford Paper Mill and laterly by Aylesford Newsprint. The entire area has a history which revolved around the paper and packaging industry for decades, but this has been in steep decline in the last 20 years or so. The plant at Aylesford was the last remaining part of this industry in this area, but it to has now ceased to be a viable business and has been closed since March 2015. Aylesford Newsprint was a long-established major employer in the area and was the largest paper recycling factory in Europe, manufacturing newsprint for the newspaper industry mainly for the London press. The mill was heavily modernised in the 1990's with millions of pounds spent on a state of the art warehousing system and significant new production equipment which is what you see today. When it closed, the mill employed 230 people and produced more than 400,000 tons of newprint from 500,000 tons of recycled paper every year. So on to our explore. I had been more than aware of this place since it shut, and had be checking it with alarming regularity pretty much since it closed its doors. The site always seemed busy, even at night and security with dogs were very present and as nobody really wants their arse bitten by a dog, least of all me, it makes you a bit more cautious. Recently I took things a bit more seriously and had one attempt at getting on site, but got seen pretty quickly and had to make a quick retriet. Fastforward to the Christmas period and an old exploring friend got in touch who only lives a matter of minutes from the papermill asking had I explored it yet. The answer was of course no, but we shared some information and came up with a plan which we skillfull executed and came away with a sucessful explore in the bag, and possibly one of the most brilliant places I've ever been, it is seriously impressive. So without further ado, I present to you Aylesford news print, the papermaking process from start to finish (sort of) Explored with KentUrbex, cheers for a great night. So Aylesford made it's newsprint from recycled papaer and magazines which is where most papaer collected from households in SE England ended up. It all went into a big warehouse, which looked a bit like this. Best picture I could get as that was the only light on in the whole place, but hey a report's got to start somewhere, right. From there, the paper was loaded onto conveyors and transported to the pulping facility which are essentially two big drums which turned the paper into pulp to start it's processing through the paper making process. So from here, this is where things start to get interesting and the machinery starts to get bigger. And bigger. Oh you have no idea. Welcome to the Fibre Preparation Plant. This is where the pulp is cleaned, screened and brightened in preparation for use on the paper making machines. Underneath this impressive machine is an array of pipes and tanks that feed it. I have no idea really what all these machines actually do, but they are all involved in the screening of the pulp, removing impurities such as ink, staples, glue and other organic matter from the pulp before it is made into paper. some of them are very impressive bits of machinery. So after the pulp has been circulated round the Fibre Preparation plant, it is ready to be made into paper. Aylesford mill has two paper making machines, they're called PM14 and PM13. We did see both, but by the time we got to PM13 which is the smaller of the two, we were pretty tired and my camera battery had died so I didn't get any photos of that one. Howveer PM14 is the one we wanted to see. This thing is MASSIVE. it's 110 metres long, and over 10 metres wide housed in a custom built building. Say hello to PM14 This impressive piece of engineering was capable of producing paper at a rate of 1 mile a minute. Yes, that's correct, the paper moved at 60MPH through the machine, that's INSANE! At the dry end of the machine, the paper was reeled onto massive rolls that were . . . . well just look. The massive rolls of paper were moved from the PM14 machine to the various re-wind machines where the paper was cut and wound onto reels according to the customers specification. They were moved around on rails like this. And then from the re-wind machines it was moved around on these conveyors in the floor - sheer genius, There were all sorts of other machines to do with packaging the reels of paper and transporting them to the warehouse. Possibly one of the best kept, cleanest and neatest engineers stores I have ever seen. The people who worked here clearly had pride in what they were doing, it was so well organised. Coninued. . . .
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