The Paperless Paradox

Many book and paper manufacturers will tell you that paperless devices have been detrimental the manufacturing business.

 And so we reach the “Paperless Paradox”.

While many successful paper manufacturers have been hit hard by the popularization of e-books, kindles, and the iPad they are simultaneously jumping on the paperless train for their own needs.

 The introduction of automated systems reduces the instances of human error and also produces a traceable data trail for later analysis. These paperless systems are often integrated into quality control systems, and can allow for digital monitoring of equipment tolerances, as well as set reminders and notifications when preventative maintenance actions are due. These benefits can’t be ignored.

 And while some paper manufacturers may have initially seen a decrease in demand, in an ironic shift people are slowly leaning back to paper books. In today’s day and age where consumers are looking at their carbon footprint. Some are shocked to see that purchasing an e-reader tends to be less environmentally friendly than it appears. A lot of this has to do with the materials used in manufacturing. On average the manufacturing of an e-reader produces 65 pounds of carbon dioxide and uses 100 kilowatt hours of fossils fuels while in comparison the production of a book produces 7.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide and only uses 2 kilowatt hours of fossils fuels. While these numbers seem staggering at first glance, they exponentially increase over the lifetime of the device as they don’t include the transportation of e-readers from overseas where they are most often made nor the additional use of electricity to power them, nor does it take into account that most e-readers are obsolete after only a 2 year life span.

 In addition to the environmental impact we are also seeing people purchase paper or hardback copies of their favorite or rarest books. The perception is that paper represents quality.

 We may continue to experience the paperless paradox, however trends seem to suggest that paper is here to stay as far as consumer goods and maybe obsolete in the manufacturing process.

 We look forward to the innovative ideas and systems that help to automate the data management in the manufacturing process as well as the continued success of paper material and e-reader products.

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