Ghost: the technology behind embossing premiumization and digitization

Historically, embossing served one of two functions for tissue products: volume characteristics or aesthetics. Competition within the industry soon put paper integrity in jeopardy. This inspired innovations from Fabio Perini and Valmet sister company Engraving Solutions, such as 4D and PIXEL technologies that minimize the destructive impact of embossing while preserving desirable paper properties.

Tissue industry and market trends continue to evolve. As successful as tissue manufacturers are using current embossing technologies from Fabio Perini and Engraving Solutions, progress begets progress. New digital and customized solutions that fit emerging market needs and simplify new product development processes are coming to the forefront.

Chief among them is Ghost, an Engraving Solutions embossing technology that emphasizes premiumization and digitization to ensure the shortest time-to-market and shelving of new, higher-end tissue products. 

An industry first

In an industry first, the Ghost roll combines two different micro-embossing techniques — chemical and mechanical — to collectively leverage the benefits of each one. The result is high-yield, bulky and soft tissue products with refined embossing that don’t require numerous plies.

The name itself speaks to how the specially-shaped points and softened engraving profiles are reminiscent of those of a “ghost sheet.” Consequently, Ghost is less aggressive in paper cutting during embossing and a nominal amount of paper strength is lost, which makes it ideal for toilet paper, kitchen towels, and away from home (AFH) products.

Putting Ghost to the test

One of our best customers, who firstly tried Ghost through extensive pilot line and field testing, provided key feedback about the embossing technology, including specific data that illustrates how Ghost returned impressive line efficiencies on both 2- and 3-ply BRT products.

The results

“We ran tests on one of our lines with a 486 embosser, on both 2- and 3-ply premium range BRT products,” explained the Customer’s spokesperson “2-ply was with 23 gsm and 17 gsm with the Ghost roll embossing the 17 gsm ply. The 3-ply was with 17 gsm. We expected to see higher speed, higher diameter, and bulk in the finished roll and also a firmer roll.”

Customer’s expectations were met — and exceeded. Ghost directly contributed to:

  • Faster line speed (from 500 m/min to 600 m/min in some cases), and higher bulk
  • More robust roll diameters
  • Firmer logs that were easier to package

Ghost embossing technology influenced the Customer’s test line efficiencies and proved out one of Ghost’s main advantages — faster production. Customer results reflect an increase in productivity by approximately 20%. Further, the 30-40% reduction in pressure on rubber rolls prolongs consumption, meaning less maintenance and related downtime. 

Enhanced quality and user experience

The customer correlates these results with product quality. “The product improved immensely as the higher bulk also increased roll firmness,” he commented. “Further, the bulk out of the embosser is not lost as it goes through the rewinder. Embossing strength is maintained, and it is not flattened off going through the nips.”

The combination also lends itself to an important element in the user experience — hand feel. Customer testing feedback indicated that using Ghost, there is no loss of hand feel on the top ply of 3-ply products. The same holds true for 2-ply products when double-height embossed patterns with micro is used. The micro from the lower roll on the top sheet is not felt.

The results of Ghost testing are convincing. So much so, in fact, our customer is committed to using the technology on all BRT products and purchased Ghost rolls for all of their lines. That’s a ringing endorsement for how Ghost embossing technology helps tissue converters work efficiently so tissue manufacturers can bring higher quality, more profitable products to market faster. Contact the Engraving Solutions team to learn more.

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