Differences between single-ply and double-ply paper

Differences between single-ply and double-ply paper

Differenze tra carta monovelo e doppio velo

The differences between single-ply and double-ply paper go beyond the number of layers in the master roll to be processed or in the finished product. These differences often correspond to distinct features, peculiarities, and functions.

The use of highly absorbent paper is increasingly common both in household settings and workplaces. This concept covers various aspects of daily life, from paper towels to disposable napkins – these accessories have become essential in our everyday lives.

Single-ply paper: production and characteristics

Single-ply paper, as its name suggests, consists of a single layer of tissue that undergoes specific processing before becoming a finished product. The paper pulp is the initial form in which it arrives at paper mills, and it is a mixture rich in moisture. Through a continuous machine that performs all processes without pauses, the pulp is spread to undergo the wet creping process and subsequently drying.
The creping process, which gives the paper fibers a slightly uneven and non-smooth texture, increases its absorbent surface and better traps moisture and dirt. Performing wet creping while the paper pulp is still moist, in the early stages of processing, allows it to be more efficient once finished

Many companies tend to perform creping at the end of processing, damaging the overall product’s short and long-term strength.
Drying, using state-of-the-art machinery with inverter technology, is the phase that sets the shape of the paper and defines its actual strength. In the subsequent stages, through paper converting, the paper is ready to be cut to the size requested by the customer and then packaged and shipped. Single-ply paper can also be made from recycled paper, catering to an environmentally conscious market.

Double-ply paper: production and characteristics

For double-ply paper, also known as tissue, the same raw material is used, but it undergoes a modification in the final process because it involves a larger quantity of paper pulp to complete. 

This product feels particularly soft to the touch but is less resistant than the first and certainly heavier. Double-ply paper also has numerous uses in daily life, although it must be made from pure cellulose and go through the recycling chain.

Differences between single-ply and double-ply paper

To the touch, single-ply paper will be decidedly rougher than the double-ply counterpart because it undergoes a simpler and more linear processing that allows it to retain characteristics closer to the natural appearance. Even visually, it will be noticeable how single-ply paper is coarser in its creping.
Double-ply paper, on the other hand, is softer and more linear to the touch, making it more suitable for direct contact with human skin. 

Absorbency is another crucial characteristic to consider: single-ply paper has a significantly high level of absorbency, while double-ply loses this capacity due to its structure focused on softness.

How are single-ply and double-ply paper commercialized?

Both products leave the production factory in very large rolls, called jumbo rolls, which only reach the paper converting stage in a subsequent phase. Here, based on customer needs, shapes, colors, and sheet numbers are processed for commercialization. 

Paper converting is responsible for transforming semi-finished products into actual products, packaging them, and shipping when necessary. Each customer company has different requirements depending on how the paper is used internally. For instance, if the paper is used for cleaning industrial machinery, sturdy and large sheets are needed. If it is intended for household use, the sheets must be smaller, space-saving, and efficient.
It’s important to remember that in the paper production chain, before it becomes a finished product, several stages involve environmentally conscious companies making significant contributions. For example, the transport of large rolls like jumbo rolls must be done judiciously, using the entire space on available vehicles to minimize fuel emissions for minimal cargo. Additionally, the continuous and practically endless development of cutting-edge technologies, like the continuous machine mentioned earlier, ensures constant production to limit electricity consumption, as opposed to having multiple machines at various stages.

What paper products are available in the market?

In addition to jumbo rolls, considered semi-finished products because they need to be sectioned according to needs due to their considerable size, Cartindustria Ligure and Cartiera San Giorgio offer various commercializable products:

  • C-fold Paper Towels: available in pure cellulose or mixed cellulose in the two-ply version; or in pure cellulose, mixed cellulose, white recycled, natural, or colored in the single-ply version.
  • V-fold Paper Towels: single-ply in pure cellulose, mixed cellulose, or recycled; double-ply in pure cellulose or mixed cellulose. These products are essential in company bathroom dispensers, saving electrical energy involved in air dryers.
  • Z-fold Paper Towels: double-ply in pure cellulose or mixed cellulose; single-ply also available in recycled paper. These products, besides being an excellent alternative for public dispensers, are widely used in domestic settings.
  • W-fold Paper Towels: single-ply in pure cellulose, mixed cellulose, recycled white, natural, and colored; two-ply in pure cellulose or mixed cellulose.
  • Paper Rolls: single-ply in pure cellulose, mixed cellulose, or recycled in various colors; double-ply in pure cellulose or mixed cellulose. Among the most widespread and famous for their high absorbency, these are used both in households, as they can come into contact with food, and in industrial settings.
  • V-shaped Toilet Paper: exclusively available in double-ply to ensure the softest possible touch, as it is a product that comes into contact with the skin.

Single-ply and double-ply: which paper is better?

The answer to this question that arises at this point is simple: the better paper between single-ply and double-ply is the one that best meets the buyer’s needs

In simple terms, based on the intended use of the paper, one model over the other will be more efficient. Consider toilet paper discussed earlier; knowing that single-ply is coarser and less soft, it would be pointless to produce it in this form as the end customer’s response would be decidedly negative. The situation is different when deciding to go through the production chain of the same toilet paper with double-ply paper; softness to the touch becomes its strength due to skin contact. A kitchen roll that needs to be used for cleaning metal surfaces, on the other hand, must not be soft and, above all, must not lack in strength. In this case, even single-ply paper can be sufficient and, in the long run, allows for savings on purchases with more appropriate consumption. 

Therefore, special attention must be paid to the choice between single-ply and double-ply paper because, as we have seen together, they have different characteristics and, consequently, different functions. 

Each type of product requires the right material, serving a specific purpose and utility that engages the end customer, who will be the sole judge of the entire work done.


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