Paper towels evolution
April 27, 2012
Almost every year a pandemia fears raise the attention threshold on hands cleaning, and hands cleaning habits.
It is obvious that hands cleaning is quite easy when we are in our own, cozy houses; but the same cannot be said when we are in traveling, or simply sharing some of our spaces in office, schools or other public areas. Tissue industry, as per many other similar situation, helped out creating the paper or tissue towel. Towels are stacked inside containers, conveniently placed close to basin in public services, and the use is as easy as grabbing out the towel from the dispenser. According to serious academic studies, it seems that paper towel can provide high safety level to contamination, compared for instance to hot air dryers. That’s the reason for the growth of the Towel market. Business is obviously coming from Tissue, but also the supply of dispensers should not be neglected. Often, in order to tie users to buy from the same supplier, special dimensions (or folding shape) are used, in order to make difficult or even impossible to refill one particular dispenser with competitor’s towels. So, there’s no surprise to see a number of dispenser, with different material, shape and dimension. This fragmentation in towel size, material, dimension and folding shape is a real potential problem for those who intend to serve the Towel market. No doubts, there was a need for a solution to this problem!
In the old times (even if it is still the same on some of nowadays markets), the dominant substrate for paper towels was a sort of sand paper, made mainly with recycled paper. Also, being a quite new product, there was little or no difference into the towels dimensions. Decoration as embossing was limited to few standard pattern, very alike one to the other. Last, but not least, presentation or shelf appearance of the stack was not an issue at all. Some kraft paper to bundle around the stack, and that was.
Evolving the markets, evolving the products! As regards to substrates, side by side with the old-fashioned brown paper towels, we have premium products made with decent or high quality tissue. It is not uncommon one ply recycled paper towels to be challenged by much softer multi layer laminated-tissue towels, providing higher absorbency and comfort. Other materials appeared on the market are soft but yet very strong like Air-laid towels, which can easily find their place into hospital and health care markets. We mention also the evolution on the surface decoration: two or more ply can be micro embossed and laminated; microembossing design can also be personalized by adding other small brand or logos designs, in order to provide an even better touch and appearance. Also, surface printing can be performed, why waste that big printing area available for advertising messages?
However, the biggest hurdle is represented by the variety of folding shapes and dimensions. Market has evolved also under this respect. Nowadays, there is on the market a big variety of folding shapes- Even if some of them seem to be more popular than others (like the so-called Single Fold, or Two panels fold, and the Multifold, or three-panels fold), still are existing, available and sold into the market, other folding shapes like the so-called “C – Fold”.
What is even worst, is that also with same overall dimensions, towels can be different in folded dimensions! This is not by case, but as we previously explained, is mainly due to the attempt, by the different towel producers, to create towels to fit properly only their “own” dispenser .