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How is tissue paper made?

Soft tissue paper comes in varying thicknesses and textures but is primarily manufactured for facial tissue, toilet tissue, paper towels, serviettes and sometimes packing tissue.

  • The first step in the process of making soft tissue paper is creating paper pulp, which can be generated from wood fibre or recycled materials. Trees are logged and cut into chips which are then ground into fine flakes.
  • Tissue paper manufacturers create their pulp by stirring together these retted (soaked and pulled apart) fine flakes in a mixing tank with a large quantity of water. The type of tree fibre and how much water is mixed in depends on the particular product being made.
  • While the wood pulp is in the mixing tank, the manufacturer adds any components that may be needed to soften, strengthen or colour the paper.
  • Once the pulp is ready, it is poured over fast moving belts (these can be 2-6 metres wide) made from highly porous materials that are driven on huge drums heated by steam. The pouring of pulp has to be even and consistent across the width of the belt/drum. All the water escapes through the pores leaving just the fibres on the belt in the form of a delicate fabric.
  • The tissue is transferred on to a massive heated roller called a Yankee. The Yankee roller is very hot and the fabric is dried almost instantly. The tissue paper is then transferred to a core to form a jumbo roll. You can adjust the draw speed of the jumbo roll to get a thicker or thinner tissue. The jumbo rolls are put onto the converting machine.
  • When making multi ply toilet tissue, the plies of tissue are usually split and each ply is passed through a different embossing roller. Embossing softens the toilet tissue and creates a decorative pattern. The tissue plies are brought back together then held together with glue or pressure embossing, the tissue is then perforated by blade, (this enables the sheets to be easily pulled apart). The tissue is then wound around a cardboard tube to create a long toilet roll the length of 23 to 25 individual toilet rolls, which are called logs.
  • The logs have a line of glue applied to hold the end of the tissue closed. Many different roll sizes and sheet counts are produced on the winding machines. The logs are stored in an accumulator ready to be cut to length.
  • The log is fed into a saw and cut by a large rotating blade into individual rolls that you have at home today. The rolls are then conveyed to wrapping machines then stacked onto pallets ready for sale.

Today we manufacture CottonSofts Toilet tissue (printed and plain), the ‘value for money’ KiwiSoft brand and our luxury Paseo range.

How are paper towels made?

The tissue paper for towel is made in a similar manner to the tissue paper produced for toilet tissue. The towel tissue is thicker and heavier with conditioners added to give strength when the paper is wet.

Paper towels are available 2 ply, 3 ply and 4 ply varieties. The plies are embossed with a synchronised pattern and bonded together using lamination adhesive to add strength.

Converting jumbo rolls to toilet rolls in the Cottonsoft factory
The jumbo roll being transferred to the converting machine.
The jumbo roll is positioned at the beginning of the converting line.
The toilet tissue paper is drawn off the jumbo roll by the winding machine.
The tissue is wound around a cardboard tube to create a long toilet roll the length of 23 to 25 individual toilet rolls. These are called logs.
The logs are stored on an accumulator, ready to be cut to length.
The log is fed into a saw and cut by a large rotating blade into individual rolls.
  • The first step in the process of making soft tissue paper is creating paper pulp, which can be generated from wood fibre or recycled materials. Trees are logged and cut into chips which are then ground into fine flakes.
  • Tissue paper manufacturers create their pulp by stirring together these retted (soaked and pulled apart) fine flakes in a mixing tank with a large quantity of water. The type of tree fibre and how much water is mixed in depends on the particular product being made.