Ranking Tissue Softness: Less Subjective than it Used to - Industrial Physics Ranking Tissue Softness: Less Subjective than it Used to - Industrial Physics

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Ranking Tissue Softness: Less Subjective than it Used to

Tissue softness and optical properties such as brightness and color share similar characteristics. 

Many years ago, most considered the best tool for evaluating optical properties to be the human eye. Modern tools like the spectrophotometer today help us quantify what the human eye perceives. For tissue, the human hand has long been considered the best tool for determining tissue softness. 

The difficult reality is that any subjective evaluation creates uncertainty and uncertainty leads to variation. Variation is the enemy of consistency and quality.

Simply put, the Emtec Tissue Softness Analyser (TSA) is a tool that quantifies the otherwise subjective hand feel or “softness” evaluation of tissue.





Many aspects of tissue production have long been considered “art” rather than science. The subjective nature of hand feel is a perfect example. Anyone can rank order tissue samples in order of perceived softness, but can you get a group of people (especially papermakers) to agree? The Emtec Tissue Softness Analyser (TSA) quantifies different components associated with “hand feel” or softness perception into a single numerical value that can be used as an indication of “tissue softness.”


Why is the TSA beneficial?

1. The TSA is fast and easy to use. Anyone can learn to use the TSA to determine a measurement value indicative of tissue softness. That measure is the tissue softness index.

2. With quantified measurements, process parameters such as crepe or furnish can be optimized to improve softness.

3. With a measurement tool, benchmarking becomes easier. The attached graph illustrates benchmark results for several different retail brands of bath tissue.

4. With the TSA, customer feedback or feedback from “Hand Feel” panels can be quantified, and from that feedback, product specifications are improved.


With meaningful product specifications, I have historically seen more stable production. Stability and consistency are hallmarks of higher quality. If you want to improve the quality of your tissue products, try the Emtec TSA or consider sending in samples of your current tissue. You can see at any point in time, quickly how your current tissue compares to your competitors.