Away-from-home (AFH) products have become one of the most widely used commodities in the world. It’s estimated that nearly one-third of the tissue market — about 21 million tons of tissue paper every year1 — is currently designated specifically to AFH. Global demand — led by North America and Europe, and fastest-growing in Asia-Pacific countries2 — is rapidly pushing the numbers higher, especially in facial tissue and toilet tissue. The increase in these AFH products, in particular, is partially attributed to changes in consumer behaviors since an uptick in disposable income is providing more opportunities for travel, hotel stays, and dining out.3
Converting paper to tissue or toweling is an adhesive-intensive process. It requires a total of four adhesives: one used during core winding, a second during pickup/transfer, a third for ply bonding lamination and a fourth seals the tail. With greater emphasis being placed on sustainability throughout the paper industry as a whole, this reliance on adhesives has come under recent scrutiny.
Manual tasks within the unwinding process put many tissue converters at a disadvantage. Operators are responsible for the preparation and transition of parent reels between paper machines and the converting line, which is physically demanding and often time-consuming. Further, these functions increase the likelihood of damage to the tissue and greatly jeopardize operator safety — all substantial risks for tissue converters.
With the advent of Industry 4.0 and smart technologies, solutions to these challenges are now available and Fabio Perini’s new Moonlight unwinder virtually eliminates off-line human intervention during unwinding through forward-thinking automation: