Here’s some Rhodia trivia: Rhodia paper is printed on only one machine – the No. 6 in the Etival-Clairefontaine mill. This mill is located in the Vosges region in France.
We didn’t know that until one day when we started to get a few emails from Rhodia users saying the paper was different. That prompted some calls to France to find out what was going on. We got a few more emails saying the grid lines seemed different and the paper felt different. Since we take pride in the uniform quality of the paper, we really got alarmed. At that point the CEO of Clairefontaine stepped in and investigated. Since he is an engineer, he’s very familiar with all the machines, printing and paper-making equipment and so was able to give us an answer very quickly.
Here’s what happened: for a few weeks, Rhodia paper had been printed on the No. 5 machine while the No. 6 was being cleaned and serviced.
To a non-engineer like myself, it didn’t make any sense–how could paper feel different from one machine to another? It was explained to me that machines, like people, have their own personalities and quirks. So does the No. 6. After years of service, tinkering, and individual adjustments, each machine “meets” or “kisses” the paper differently. So what people felt was the imprint of the No. 5 machine instead of the No. 6. The paper itself was exactly the same, but the printing and production transformed it (my words) differently.
At the end it was decided that Rhodia paper would only be printed on the No. 6.