Monday, 31 May 2004

PLMA Show: Amsterdam – 25th and 26th May 2004

Key Points:

  • Increased activity in wipes with many new converters showing me-too products and the established converters broadening their ranges.
  • Biodegradability appears to be a growing marketing angle with several ranges using the Novamont Mater-Bi films.
  • 100% cotton products, especially organic cotton are more in evidence in premium wipes and tissues.
  • Flushability claims are more frequent, but no signs of a real breakthrough.

A and A and A ( Germany)

introduced a cleaning sponge in the shape of an arrow, the arrowhead being good for cleaning into corners.

Amirose ( UK)

had facial “cool cucumber” and “vitamin C orange” circular nonwoven pads printed and fragranced to resemble the fruit slices, in 10-pack resealable sachets. They also had a full-face self-heating green tea mask which “In just 60 seconds opens the pores and acts deeply, eliminating impurities. The green tea helps absorb the sebum.” Similar technology was available as sunburn-relief pads, headache-relief, sports-injury swelling reducers. They also had conventional wet-wipes, impregnated dry “daily facials” and soap impregnated dry hand-cleaners for use after public toilet use. They were also promoting tubs of pre-wetted SAP gel as “Happy Plants” moisturisers for plants: “maintains plants in perfect health for 30 days without watering or fertilising”. (This won this years PLMA 1 st award in the non-food category.)

Bosmat ( Israel)

had flushable moist toilet tissues for kids, and flushable toilet cleaning wipes* on display. The latter were too large for “flushable by size” and were said to use a dispersible binder.

Cardificio Italiano Spa ( Italy)

showed a range of 100% biodegradable femcare using Novamont’s Mater-Bi for the film backsheet and perforated film topsheet around a preformed core. Gesuino Ogliari (MD) admitted this was not commercial and said I should email to get further information.

DIVA International Srl ( Italy)

had received the best new product award at the 2003 show for their “Daily Comfort” microwavable bathing towels for institutional use* and this year had introduced a retail-brand version*, “Daily Hygiene”, currently going into Italian supermarkets with expansions into Germany and France next. Unlike the USA’s market-leading product from Sage, the heavy wipe weight was not achieved by needling but by lamination of what looked like 3 layers of commodity 55gsm viscose/PET wet-wipe substrate. They also had the “Fria” range of 100% cotton facial “tissues” based on hydroentangled lightweight cotton webs*.

Dr Schumacher GmbH ( Germany)

had anatomically shaped facial masks impregnated with hydrogel and whatever else you needed for cosmetic sales. Anti-ageing, anti-wrinkle and refreshing were amongst the claims. Their toilet cleaning wipes are “biodegradable and can be disposed of through the WC”.

Dynamic Wipes Industries ( Israel)

were showing flushable bathroom cleaning wipes and a wide range of mitts, some with film liners so that the hand remained dry in wet cleaning. They supplied mitts in packs both wet and dry, but refused to provide samples.

Eyüp Sabri Tuncer ( Turkey)

had “Cool Care™” hot or cold towels in a 24 count rectangular tub with ring-pull top*. After removing the metallic closure the user was asked to add 400mls of hot or cold water, replace the plastic seal-top and leave for a minute for the fluid to distribute. They appeared to be designed for restaurant or airline use.

Fippi Spa ( Italy), Hyga GmbH ( Germany) and Dam-bi Produktion AB ( Sweden)

were collaborating on diaper developments and this autumn would be introducing the first (after P&G and K-C) ultrathin diaper using 50/50 pulp/SAP cores. This would be based on retro-fitting an existing diaper machine. They were likely to introduce a biodegradable product but said it would not be based on Mater-bi. They also claimed a new development in tampons but could not discuss it at this stage.,,

Fischer Pharmaceuticals ( Germany)

had Tea-Tree wipes on display using AHA and Q10 additives. Among the newer presentations were dog-paw wipes and dog-bathing towels.

Flash BV ( Holland)

had a wide range of floor and kitchen wipes on display apparently oriented to commercial rather than home use. One interesting version was a roll of wipes, about 40 cms wide, sold dry but dispensed from a horizontal cylinder which wetted them out prior to use.

Innovate BV ( Holland)

had an attractive cardboard cube pack* for wet wipes – not unlike the prettily-printed cubes of facial tissues. These contained two flowpacks of 20cms square wet wipes – 35 wipes per pack. These were about to be launched by a pharmacy-chain in the UK – not Boots. They were priced at a premium. Innovate were collaborating with a nonwoven producer to develop a 100% cotton version.

Kimberly-Clark Europe

continues to supply supermarkets with own-brand products alongside the K-C brands and claims this helps them gain shelf space for the brands. New for this show were facial tissues with aroma-therapy claims, new embossing patterns on tissue and some 5-ply tissue products. However they claimed three-ply tissues made with their through-air drying performed similarly. Their tampons featured a “unique twist and tear opening system” and their diapers were using the elastic fastners. Stand staff were aware of Cottonelle but would not comment on its current status adding “you can deduce from the lack of publicity that it is not a roaring success”!

Kovas Co Ltd ( Korea)

showed pre-moistened (with Hydrogel) masks and pads, the latter printed and fraganced to simulate slices of cucumber (“soothing”), orange (“revitalising”), kiwi fruit (“replenishing”) and lemon (“rejuvenating”). The masks contained “Facial Essence” for whitening, moisturising, stress relief, and curing acne.

Lavino Kapur Cottons PVT Ltd ( India)

claim to be the major supplier of bleached cotton pads to the Japanese nonwovens industry, this business being based on two 1meter wide hydroentanglement lines installed in their Indian bleachery. One of these lines is card/parallel lay and the other based on Rando webs. Their Chairman, Inderit Kapur says they are now installing a Rieter Perfojet line specifically to process 100% cotton into 40-60 gsm wet-wipe substrate using 60 bar water pressure. The product is not for the Indian market and all of it will be exported.

Liauw Pastry Production BV ( Holland)

in addition to teabags designed to allow tea-making in espresso coffee machines, were promoting tea-bags specially formulated for use as eye-pads*, and large tea-bags* for use in the bath, these being branded Te Tao Chinese Herbal Therapy.

Linette Ltd ( Cyprus)

claimed to have started “Nannys” diaper production in 1984 in response to P&G’s introduction of Pampers. They now have 45% of the Cyprus market based on production plants in Cyprus and Greece which export all over Europe. They attributed their success to promotion and marketing activities which were not done by P&G. For instance in addition to visiting new mothers in the maternity wards and presenting free diapers, they follow up with home visits at intervals coinciding with the need to move the baby into the next largest product. They give each mother a “baby book” in which to record baby’s progress and run a Baby Club which brings mothers together with doctors and paediatricians for information exchange and seminars. New for this show were biodegradable disposal bags for diapers. Amand Chrysaphi, their young export manager was particularly proud of the fact that they now supply the New Zealand market.

Minky Homecare ( UK)

showed a wide range of wipes including dry dusters coated with beeswax for floor use (green) and furniture dusting (yellow)*. They were in packs of two and claim to be washable and reusable up to 20 times.

Mykal ( UK)

added red-wine, wax and silk clean-up kits to their De-Solv-It range of stain removing products. These contained the special liquid and wipes separately in the pack, unlike their general purpose stain removers* which are moist but require the addition of a little more water for best results.

Nice-Pak International ( UK)

were no longer concentrating on baby wipes and showed a very wide range of household, institutional and industrial cleaning wipes. Packs of Miowipes claimed biodegradability ( and Earthlets wipes were both flushable and biodegradable ( These looked like lightly-bonded viscose probably using the hydrodisentanglement route to dispersion. The “Keep it Handy” range of cleaning cloths can be seen at For furniture cleaning, the wipes were impregnated with beeswax.

Noam Urim Enterprises ( Israel)

promoted their Soap’n Wipe range of bulky polyester needlefelts impregnated with soaps* for use in hotels, restaurants and hospitals. They were introducing a larger version for car cleaning. The soap was added during their needling operation. Their first commercial success had been in patient bathing wipes for care homes. Dr Fischer was a major custormer. The wipes, sold dry, had to be wetted with hot water prior to use. (While simple and cheap to make this looked interesting because of the high bulk of the product, its ability to take high compression, and the pleasing texture when wetted. Made with even coarser polyester they could be loofah-like. Ed). They were developing 2-sided (one abrasive) versions for retail use in washing up and furniture cleaning. Other wipes on display were laminates* of what looked like a light coarse spunbond to the usual viscose/PET needlefelt wipe base. Their antimicrobial wipes used a blend of Acordis Amicor Plus® fibres, and were said to be non-toxic and safe for prolonged skin contact, and for use around food.

Novamont Spa ( Italy)

had taken a stand for the first time in view of the growing interest in their biodegradable “Mater-Bi” thermoplastic starch resin. The product was commercial in numerous packaging applications (blown film) and in topsheets and backsheets for femcare and, so far, just backsheets for diapers. Being naturally hydrophilic the films are breathable and antistatic. (There was no reference in any of the literature to the polycaprolactone content of the resin, which used to be about 50% of the total weight. Ed.)

Paper-Pak ( Sweden)

has extended the “Attends” range into the light incontinence sector with a mini-pad* for use in underwear using elastic gathers to create a boat shape in use.

Quest Personal Care Products ( UK)

had dispersible-flushable toilet wipes on display but said there was not a big demand for it yet. They were doing it because the “majors” were doing it. Among the usual range of wipes, was a Leather-Guard wipe for upholstery cleaning.

Rockline Industries Ltd ( UK)

had amongst the familiar wide range of wipes a “Kandoo” clone called “Cheeky Monkey – Small Person Wipes” with a 99p price tag for 60 sheets. Adult wet-wipes dispensed from what looked like a plastic version of a Coca-Cola can appeared novel. Asked if they had anything biodegradable, flushable other than by size, or 100% cotton they said not. With regard to 100% cotton, they would like to use it but found that the roll-goods they could buy were low in quality and impossible to run at anything like normal productivity on their conversion lines.

Spring Srl ( Italy)

had a range of nonwoven kitchen towels and tablecloths made from hydroentangled 70% cotton/30% Polyester and promoted as washable*. Their Blitser electrostatic dust capture mitt* appeared made from the hydroentangled polypropylene reinforced with polypropylene scrim as used in the early Swiffers.

Stenago Srl ( Italy)

were showing certified organic grown and harvested cotton wipes said to be on sale in Tesco UK. The cotton, from Tanzania and India had been checked through production and harvesting and certified as organic by the Italian Soil Association (AIAB?) and ICEA. The nonwoven is made by the new Hebi-Orsa plant in Egypt and its commercialisation follows a 2-3 year development program. The ”Organic Soft” wipes* sold at about 3 times the price of the commodity viscose/PET versions, but they were said to be attracting a lot of interest in the baby care, femcare and bodycare wipes categories.

Tyco Healthcare ( UK)

had a stand concentrating on their “Lily” range of light incontinence products, said to be growing at 25% per year through outlets such as Boots and Carrefour. They were about to launch an ultra-mini Staydry pad through Boots commencing May 28 th. Interestingly, they found that when people began to buy light-inco products (instead of femcare) they chose Mini products which were probably too small. However once the barrier of actually buying an inco product had been crossed, they rapidly moved to larger products to get even better protection. Odour control is more important than in femcare, and stronger formulations are used. (Tyco used to make a “Baby Booster” pad for adding to disposables for night-time use but withdrew it on the basis that diapers were now so good that these were not required. It has now been relaunched following a storm of protests from “grannies who buy them for their grandchildren”) Staff on the stand were aware of the pulpless diaper using acetate tow and superabsorbents and were trying to get them for test in the European market. They had been told that it was not fully commercial yet in the USA.

Valor Brands Europe ( Spain)

showed “Little Swimmer” diapers* using a pre-formed core, and also their “Affective” range of incontinence products. They claimed to be developing a biodegradable diaper in collaboration with the Swedish companies Polar Gruppen ( and Cell Comb AB. They were already supplying the “Nature Boy and Girl” range of diapers on sale in Mothercare and Sainsbury’s in the UK. The product was not yet fully biodegradable, but they were getting there. The backsheet and probably topsheet used the Novamont Mater-bi thermoplastic starch polymer.

Wellness Innovation Project (WIP, Italy)

had a small stand attracting a lot of interest promoting the virtues of organic cotton by drawing attention to the poor environmental credentials of commodity cotton. (“It’s less environmentally friendly than polyester production”) They were showing concept femcare products based on 100% organic cotton core containing Lysac SAP on a Mater-bi back, and covered with a PLA topsheet. They also had one “100% Tencel” dry-wipe on display and said that Tencel was another environmentally friendly product with the same values as organic cotton. They were working on a 70% Tencel and 30% PLA version for a baby-wipe. Their organic cotton wipes were certified 100% organic and were produced from peroxide bleached African and Indian cottons supplied by Remei AG - bioRe®, and hydroentangled by Fama Jersey. Generally their products would cost 3-5 times the commodity equivalent, but there was a niche market for such environmentally sensitive materials., the show catalog gives their web address as and a brochure gives it as

Zema ( Italy)

showed a sticky door mat system* designed to remove dust and bacteria carried into and moved around homes. This was said to have been in use for years in hospitals and high-tech industries. The slab of 15 prettily printed sheets is stuck to the floor in a doorway and the surface adhesive removes “everything” from the sole of the shoes. When the top layer is dirty it is pealed off and discarded.

Zendac Group ( Holland)

displayed a “Floratex” Turbo-clean mop which could take either wet or dry wipes. These wipes* were a laminate of apertured spun-laced (apparently all long fibres) and latex bonded airlaid pulp.