Primordially, the pencil was mainly used for writing on utensils. Pencils existed during the times when rocks with a chalky texture and sticks that are charred were used to write on surfaces, animal hides and also walls that built caves. Individuals from different countries employed different techniques in the manufacture pencils to suit their needs. The Romans and Greeks made use of the flat pieces of lead to make some fine drawings on their papyrus products.
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The present-day pencils were developed in 1400. The quality of pencils was developed progressively since the number of people who needed the pencils had also increased. Individuals prefer certain brands of pencils to the others depending on the materials used to manufacture them. This paper aims to examine the entire aspects of a pencil and how they relate to every chapter from the manufacturing aspect to the purchasing of the final product by the ultimate consumer.
Presently, the rigidness of a pencil is usually designated by the numerals or letters it produces. Majority of the manufacturers in different countries use numbers one to four. Basically, number one stands for the softest pencil that ultimately makes the darkest mark. The model number two of pencils is usually acknowledged as the medium soft. This pencil is a relevant option for making normal writings. Some manufacturers are used to grading their models of pencils by letters.
In most cases, the 6B model of pencils is used to refer to the softest while the 9H model is used to refer to the hardest. The softness and hardness of a pencil has a great influence on its purchase. Some people prefer the soft one to the hard one. The notion of attaching a rubber to a pencil has also influenced the choice of most people whenever they are purchasing pencils.
The initial step of most people while manufacturing pencils is the use of a graphite core. This activity is usually done through extrusion. Petroski attested that “the activity involves forcing the mixture of graphite through a die opening of the appropriate size” (15). In most cases, graphite produces the best results when writing.
Additional to conventional pencils, most people prefer other types of pencils. Some people prefer pencils that do not require sharpening while others prefer the automatic pencils. The propelling pencils are usually made with either a metal or plastic case that is held in position by a rod with a metal stud fixed firmly to it. Presently, most people use colored pencils.
In these pencils, a mixture of pigments, dyes and other binders are used in position of the graphite core. Most manufacturers color their pencils with other different unique colors to compete those pencils with dull colors. As a matter of fact, cedar casing pencils made of lead have continuously outsold all of their competitors including the ballpoint pens. As a result, the cedar casing pencils have been manufactured at a recommendable pace of six billion pencils per year in a total of forty nations (Thomson 32).
The most essential raw material in the manufacture pencils is graphite. Most people acknowledge graphite as lead. Generally, a technique called conté that entails the mixing of graphite with clay is used. Most of the graphite that is used in the manufacture of pencils has some small components of chemicals.
This natural graphite is thus impure. It is advisable to use a form of timber that endures incessant sharpening in the production of pencils. The wood should be easy to cut without disintegrating. Among the cedar trees, timber from a California tree has been the best alternative to most of the pencil manufacturers. The California cedar trees have been used for a longer period of time to manufacture pencils. This type of tree has a pleasant smell.
In additional to this, the tree does not distort and it is also readily available. Some pencils are usually designed with erasers, held on with a ferrule. This eraser is either glued or held on the metal prongs. In fact, pencils with erasers have been attested to provide stiff competition to pencils without erasers in the current market. The erasers are designed with rubber and pumice.
The fact that most of the factories make their own graphite for manufacturing pencils has made it possible to regulate its density. Initially, most pencil manufacturers used extracted graphite to make their pencils. This graphite may be mixed with clay depending on the kind of pencil that is being made.
Pencils that are made using more graphite are much softer than the other types of pencils. Pencils that produce darker lines are usually made using more graphite. The amount of graphite used has a great influence on the number of people purchasing the pencils. Most people prefer pencils with darker lines to pencils with lighter lines. Pencils with colors are designed with a mixture of other pigments and clay.
The procedure of processing graphite entails a variety of steps. The processing of graphite into its original state entails two methods. The first one is an extrusion method. In this technique, a mixture of graphite and wax is often passed through a mold. This leads to the formation of strings that resemble spaghetti. The strings are then hacked to defined measurement and then dehydrated in ovens. The second technique entails the pouring of a mixture of graphite and clay into a machine.
The machine is usually acknowledged as a billet press. This is followed by placing of a plug on top of the billet press. According to Thomson a metal ram is “lifted from the base to blend the mixture into a tough solid cylinder called a billet” (12). The billet is ultimately eradicated from the apex of the machine and placed in an extrusion press. The extrusion press then forces the billet through a mold. The amount of graphite determines the ultimate quality of a pencil.
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In the process of making wood casings for the pencils, a number of square slats are formed. The manufacturer will then cut grooves from the slats. Thomson gives the “next step as the process of inserting graphite sticks into the grooves on one of the slats” (12). The second slat with unfilled grooves is stuck on the apex of the graphite filled slot.
Pencils having the appropriate sizes are cut out of the sandwich. The manufacturer will then affix an eraser and a metal ferrule on the pencil. After cutting the pencils into the right sizes, the pencils core is passed across a conveyer belt. The cores are then collected in troughs where they are stored before inserting pencil woods on them. This process is significant in a variety of ways.
A cedar tree is the most appropriate wood for manufacturing pencils. The cedar trees are in most cases availed at the factory. This wood is usually dehydrated, stained and waxed to put a stop to warping. After this, the logs are sawed into thin strips acknowledged as slats. The slats are approximately 7.25 inches long, 25 inches thick and 2.75 inches wide.
The measurement of the slats can also be stated as 18.4cm long, 635cm thick and 6.98cm wide. The slats are kept in a feeder where they are released, one by one, on the conveyer belt. The conveyer belt will then move the slats along at a steady rate.
This is followed by smoothening of the slats to give them an even surface. Borgeson denotes that “the slats are passed below a cutter head that is capable of making parallel semi-circular grooves along the length of a single side of every one of the slat” (23). These grooves are usually one half as deep as the thickness of graphite. As the process continues along the conveyer belt, part of the slats is encrusted with a layer of glue. The parts of graphite that were cut are placed in the grooves of the slats.
The slats that are not coated with glue are to be placed on a separate conveyer belt. The slats should not have graphite within their grooves. The belt carries the slats to a device that picks and twirls them over. Consequently, the slats are laid on the conveyer belt with their grooves in a downward position.
The belts come together and the slats that are not glued are put on those slats with not only paste but also graphite. This forms a sandwich. This is followed by the removal of sandwiches from the belt. The sandwiches are then placed in a metal clamp where they are compressed by a hydraulic press. They are then left-clamped together until the glue is dried out. The moment the pencils are died out, the end points of the pencil are trimmed to get rid of excess glue.
The subsequent step is shaping of the pencils. This process is done when the sandwiches have turned out to be pencils. In the process, the sandwich is put on a conveyer belt and then passed through two sets of cutters. One of the cutters is situated at the apex while the second one is placed under the belt. Regarding the cutter at the apex of the conveyor belt, the sandwiches are cut at approximately the top half.
As for the cutter that is situated beneath the belt, the sandwiches are cut at approximately the bottom half. This results in a separation of finished pencils from the unfinished pencils. Most of the manufactured pencils are hexagonal in shape. This is designed to help in the keeping of the pencils from rolling-off surfaces. As matter of fact, one sandwich capitulates in a total of either six or nine hexagonal pencils.
The final procedure of manufacturing a pencil entails a number of procedures. Subsequently to hacking the pencils, the manufacturer makes use of a sander to enhance the smoothness of its facades. Before dehydrating the pencils, the manufacturers must spread varnish on the facades of the pencils. Varnishing machines are used for application of varnish. In this process, the pencils are submerged in a vat of varnish.
The submerged pencils are taken in a disk that helps in eliminating surplus varnish. Subsequently to drying, the pencils are passed through the varnishing process repeatedly until the most wanted color is attained. Lastly, the manufacturer applies a finishing coat on the surfaces of the pencils. This process will have an impact on the final appearance of the pencil.
The manufacturers will again sent the produced pencils into a conveyor belt through the help of shaping machines. This process is aimed at the removal of the surplus varnish. In most cases, the varnish accumulates at the end points of the manufactured pencil. The process is of great significance as it helps an individual to achieve an equivalent length of the pencils. This is followed by the attachment of an eraser at one end of the pencil.
The eraser is held on to the pencil by the help of a round metallic case acknowledged as a ferrule. The metal case is first of all attached to the pencil with the help of either glue or a small metallic prong. The eraser is then placed in the ferrule that clamps it on the pencil. Among the ultimate procedures is the warming of steel pigments that will stamp logos on pencils (Petroski 16).
Due to the stiff competition that has been experienced in the current market, the manufacturers have been forced to produce colored pencils in order to attract more customers. Colored pencils are usually produced in nearly the same way as black writing pencils. The only difference is that, in places of graphite, the cores of colored pencils contain colors. The initial step is to add gum and clay to act as bonding agents.
The manufacturer will then be required to soak the mixture of gum and clay in wax. This is aimed at making the pencils to be smooth. Subsequently to the production of a pencil, its surface is coated with a color. The painting of the pencils has a positive impact on the attitude of the ultimate user of the pencil.
Besides the manufacturing processes, the pencils are usually passed through a number of quality control measures. Due to the fact that the manufacturers have to move along the conveyor belt in the manufacturing stage, the pencils are comprehensively inspected before distributing them to the masses. The members of staff are often instructed to get rid of pencils that appear dysfunctional.
A selected number of pencils are then sharpened and then tested the moment the process has been completed. Some issues may be experienced in the process of manufacturing pencils. Among the common issues, the glue of the sandwich may at times be difficult to adhere. The problem is usually experienced when the sandwich is being cut. Most people will prefer to purchase pencils that have been proven to be of good quality.
After manufacturing the pencils, they are packaged for transportation. Most pencils are usually designed with various colors, over sized ferrules and an eraser. Most manufacturers have tried as much as possible to maintain the original colors of their pencils. This is aimed at quick identification of the pencils by the ultimate consumers.
There are a lot of differences in the types of packaging boxes. This is due to the fact that all marketing teams have evaluated the costs and efficiency of advertising their products. This has in turn impacted the design components and materials.
The disparities in the pencil packaging designs have been noticed by individuals from all parts of the world. Presently, a lot of pencil manufacturing corporations have been developed. This has increased competition among several pencil manufacturing companies. Fischler attests in his book that the “design of packaging was given an extreme consideration in the companies’ efforts to not only attract but also retain consumers” (24).
This has been implemented in the present market where pencils are highly appreciated by nearly everyone. Pencils have turned out to be considerably expensive to most of the pencil users. Some people use pencils for their personal matters while a certain group of individuals use the pencils for professional purposes on a daily basis.
Borgeson elucidates that “the skill and effort put forth by artists prior to the desktop publishing revolution was manifestly noticeable in their work, which imbued a deeper sense of thought and consideration” (34). Even in the presence of the technologies to design the computer based drawings, pencils have still strived to be an alternative for most of the consumers.
As a matter of fact, pencils are cheap and easy to use. It is however difficult to design a drawing using computer technologies. Packaging of pencils was implemented some times after the introduction of pencils. The conventional packaging boxes were designed with logos of companies that manufactured them. This helped the consumers to make a quick identification of the type of pencils that they need.
In most cases, the manufacturers pack a dozen of pencils in a box before distributing them. In an effort to help the consumers to identify the type of pencils they want, the company’s logo is usually placed on one of the sides of the box. Certain companies such as the Blackwing festoon the boxes with blue and white strips. The strips are accompanied with the corporation’s logo, printed in white on a black field. At the bottom of the incredible pencil is a bright red eraser that is held on by a ferrule.
The manufacturers usually pint catalog numbers on the sides of the pencils. Most consumers consider these catalogue numbers before purchasing the product. Competitive pencils within the market are usually acknowledged by the pencil’s catalog number. The packaging boxes should be a bit longer than the length of the pencil. The packaging boxes are usually designed to accommodate the length of the ferrule.
The design of the packaging box can also help in beautifying the consumer’s office. This is the main reason as to why most people prefer purchasing pencils that are in a well designed packaging box to pencils that are in a poorly designed box. Consequently, pencils in well designed boxes will commercially defeat those ones in poorly designed boxes. Individuals will be glad to display things that they always desire to look at. Similar graphic designs to the ones in the pencils are always filled on the sides of the boxes including the top side.
The pencil corporations have modified hands at various instances, with related changes in the members of staff that deal with product design. The changes in the packaging of the pencils have been done specifically to suit the needs of the consumers and also to compete the weak products in the market.
In this case, the boxes that hold the pencils are similar to a tube. These kinds of boxes were developed to give room for a better accommodation of the shapes of the pencils. These boxes were specially designed to accommodate the blackwing pencils. On these boxes, the company logo was removed from the front. These boxes are relegated to a flap to facilitate an effortless identification when the logos are stacked. This design is widely used to accommodate most of the contemporary pencils.
Another form that is similar to this box design is the dot motif. The only difference is that this design is a rectangle in shape. Sometimes, the austerity of the sans serif typography is implemented by the half tone photograph of the original pencil. Most manufacturers prefer this layout while the other manufacturers prefer the other layouts. Most of the pencil box designs are usually inherited from other experts who existed some long years ago.
However, an invention from one of the members of staff is highly appreciated. As a matter of fact, the members of staff are advised to participate maximally in the process of designing the various forms of pencil boxes. Most of the techniques are usually inherited from the tenure manufacturing processes. This practice is very important as it influences the choice of the purchaser to either purchase the product or leave for another decorated product.
The knowledge of pencil packaging is usually affected by the level of experience of the designers. The packaging of pencils is usually asserted as part of the pencil manufacturing process. In this way, it is finally acknowledged as part of the experience that is related to the usage of any exact brand.
Because of this, there is need for some additional thought and care as this could bring forth some glorious days. This should be implemented even at the centre of a computer based design. This will have an impact on the ultimate user as he/she will have to think twice before making a decision of throwing the pencil boxes into a trash. Therefore, this process is of great significance.
There are various types of distribution that can be used to avail the manufactured products to the consumers. There are three types of distribution. The forms of distribution include intensive distribution, selective distribution and exclusive distribution. In our case, an intensive type of distribution is used to avail the manufactured pencils to the ultimate users.
According to Fischler, “in intensive distribution, the product is sold to as many appropriate retailers or wholesalers as possible” (22). Apart from the pencils, there are other industrial products that may require intensive distribution. Fischler further states that these may include “pencils, paperclips, transparent tape, file folders, typing paper, transparency masters, screws, and nails” (Fischler 22).
In this type of distribution, the purchase of this product is not restricted to a certain group of individuals. The manufacturers do not have an opportunity of selecting their wholesalers or retailers. The pencil manufacturers are highly emancipated due to the fact that they don’t have to focus on potentially profitable accounts.
Additional to this, the producers of pencils do not have to come up with strong working relationships for their products to be appropriately merchandised. Even in cases of special services from the support team, the manufacturers are not allowed to limit the distribution of pencils to specific retailers.
Shops that offer wholesale pencils have a large selection for not only adults but also youngsters. Pencils in most wholesale shops are usually bought to act as great marketing gifts for learning institutions and non profit corporate bodies. Most of the pencil consumers prefer wholesale shops to any other shopping centers.
This is due to the fact that wholesale providers sale their pencils in large quantities which cheap in the long run. Purchasing of pencils in small quantities is cheap but expensive in the long run. Most of the consumers get their products directly from the greatest pencil dispensers within the industry.
Individuals can also get pencils from local shops and canteens. These local shops and stalls are acknowledged as retail shops. The retailers may decide to buy the pencils from either wholesalers or the manufacturing industries. In real sense, purchasing the products from the production industries is cheaper than purchasing the products from the wholesale shops.
The choice of a retailer to purchase from either a wholesale shop or an industry will depend on his/her convenience. The ultimate purchasers of the pencils may get them in either retail shops or wholesale shops (Poulin 14).
Most of the extensive purchasers of pencils are schools. Pencils are used in schools to make writings and drawings on papers. Learners in lower classes use pencils to write in books at all times while upper class scholars use pencils for making drawings of various diagrams and flow charts that they come across. In addition to this, kids in pre-unit classes use colored pencils to sketch some letters given to them by their tutors.
Pencils have a wide range of uses once delivered to the ultimate consumers. Pencils can be used to ease a newly bought key into a padlock. Individuals who have just had a new key that does not seem to fit into their padlock can use a pencil to repair the key. One may do this by rubbing a pencil across the teeth of the key.
The graphite powder on the pencil usually helps the key to unlock the door. Most female individuals use the pencils as hair accessories. Pencils can help in the provision of haul ups to coiled locks. If two pencils are crossed to form an X, ones hair bun can not only be stabilized but also decorated.
Pencils can also be used to beautify the enclosures of a photograph. In order to this, one has to garb the enclosures of a photo with pencils. This is done by dressing up the frames with pencils. Gluing of two sharpened pencils along the lengths of the frame may beautify the appearance of a frame.
Whetting and fixing of two pencils on the enclosure’s width will produce similar outcomes. Some individuals can purchase a pencil for repelling moths with the help of the pencil shavings. This should be done by emptying the electric pencil sharpeners into a small sack of cloth. When the cedar shavings are placed in ones closet, they can help in signaling the moths to run away.
Pencils can be used to lubricate a sticky zipper. Individuals with zippers that have refused budge should take their pencils and end their disappointments. This should be done by running the pencil leads along the tooth of the zipper to release the zipper. After this, an individual will be able to zip and unzip their zippers safely.
A certain group of individuals usually purchase pencils for staking of small germinating plants. Pencils can act as stakes for germinating plants. This is usually enhanced by the pencils’ small size and the use of a small fabric.
The manufacturing process of a pencil entails a variety of significant aspects on the free market economy. A pencil can be used to give an explanation of how a free market economy works. This explanation bases on the hypothesis that states that nobody on earth knows the procedures of making a pencil.
This is due to the fact that people from different parts of the world manufacture pencils using different components and ingredients. As a matter of fact, most of the wood for manufacturing pencils comes from the United States of America; graphite comes from the southern part of the US while rubber comes from Malaysia.
In spite of the fact that these groups of people do not have a similar language that they speak, they are capable of cooperating peacefully to manufacture a pencil. Additional to this, these groups of individuals emerge from very diverse backgrounds. The interaction between these people is voluntary. Even though it does not have a central control, all parties involved are capable of benefiting (Nickels, J. McHugh and S. McHugh 20).
In conclusion, all aspects entailed in the manufacturing process of pencils are related to the acquisition of the ultimate product by the final consumer. The process of manufacturing pencils entails the use of naturally occurring resources such as wood, graphite, water, clay among others. The manufacturing process also requires the use of manpower and electricity. It is therefore advisable to avoid wasting pencils. Wastage of pencils is just like wasting the environmental resources and the peoples’ efforts involved in the process.
Borgeson, Bet. Colored Pencil for the Serious Beginner: Basic Lessons in Becoming a Good Artist, New York: Watson-Guptill, 1998. Print.
Fischler, George. Fountain Pens and Pencils, Atglen, PA: Schiffer Publishing, 1990.Print.
Nickels, William, James, McHugh and Susan, McHugh. Understanding Business, Boston: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2008. Print.
Petroski, Henry. The Pencil: A History of Design and Circumstance, New York: Knopf, 1992. Print.
Poulin, Benard. The Complete Colored Pencil Book, Cotati, CA: North Light Books, 2011. Print.
Thomson, Ruth. Making Pencils, Euston, London: Franklin Watts, 1987. Print.