Thursday 18 January 2007

EDANA Outlook 2004 Personal Care Conference People

Rolf Altdorf - PGI Nonwovens and EDANA Chairman, opened this Monte Carlo meeting

Professor Dr Elgar Fleisch, Director of the Institute of Technology Management at the University of St Gallen (Switzerland) indicated how the next generation of computer chips would be capable of communicating wirelessly despite being less than 0.5mm square.
Prof Fleisch admitted the RFID tags could be counterfeited and chips which were harder to fake had to be developed. Viruses would always be a problem.

Krys Malowaniec of Hartmann after his talk on fully synthetic absorbent cores, with Prof Fleisch and Peter Meijer of Fiberweb.

Finn Johnsson, CEO of M├Âlnlycke Health Care AB catalogued the problems of keeping Europe competitive. Its population was living too well and had lost the desire to work and save money.

Peter Williams, P&G’s VP Product Supply CEEMEA reminded us that while his region (Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa) had five times the population of North America, it had a fifth of the income, and suffered from more wars and natural disasters than other regions. So, why should P&G be putting so much effort in such a high risk and volatile area?

Helena Engquist (Consultant) said the ageing baby-boomers were creating a demand for lifestyle products which promised youthfulness, fitness and the ability to remain active into old-age.

Guy Goldstein (recently retired from Georgia Pacific and now a consultant) listed some major failures which succeeded when reintroduced years later. The Kroyer Process for dry papermaking, scrim reinforced tissue, wet-wipes and the P&G "Rely" tampon

Wednesday 17 January 2007

World Fiber Trends

Lana Irish of Invista, the company formed from KoSa and Dupont’s Textiles and Interiors business, provided data to illustrate how future fiber requirements would be met.

World fiber consumption continued to rise...

the growth being driven by population growth and increasing use per capita...

The most populous regions use a fraction of the fiber of the developed economies...

so phenomenal growth can be expected as China and India move to Western levels of fiber consumption.

Polyester is now the most popular fiber in the world and massive expansion plans are underway in China.

For nonwovens, Ms Irish saw sheath/core bicomponent fiber technology aiding
the more efficient use of raw materials by using cores which would not alone
form fibers inside more valuable fiber forming sheaths. There was no
discussion on how oil shortages might affect the scenario.

Tuesday 16 January 2007

Melt-blowing lyocell dopes

Ron Zhao the R&D Director of Biax Fiberfilm Corporation has developed a 15 inch wide melt-blowing head with 12 rows of holes giving 200 holes per inch compared with the 35 holes/inch of conventional heads.
Spinnerette Cross Section

Without a water spray the melt-blown cellulose is over self-bonded and over brittle
Spraying water onto the web improved matters...

...but spraying the filaments before they formed a web was better.

Best of all was to spray water from nozzles in the spinnerette itself, but the resulting full-scale meltblow head would be a complex piece of engineering with thousands of easily damaged "hollow needles" protruding from the face.

Monday 15 January 2007

2005 Visionary Award Nominee: Oral-B Brush Ups

Peter Gladstone of Gillette (USA) argued that between toothbrushing (most effective/least convenient toothcare) and chewing gums (least effective/most convenient) there existed a gap which could be filled by a disposable cleaner worn on a finger.

The oral care opportunity to be filled by Brush-Ups

The cleaning side was a thermal-bonded bulky spunbond laminated to a thin waterproof spunbond. The bulky spunbond was thermally embossed* and impregnated with cleaner and said to remove 60% of the plaque c.f. a toothbrush. The elastic backing allowed the one size to fit snugly over any finger size.

Consumers used Brush-Ups when toothpaste and brush cleaning was impossible

90% said Brush Ups were easy to use "on-the-go"

Market research indicated it would be purchased in addition to current toothcare products and used mainly away from home.

Store Brands Evolve

Gail Zielinski of AC Nielsen has been mining the database to find out who is driving private label sales growth, discovering that upscale families are increasingly switching from brands. Consumers now trust private label quality and will buy even if the cost savings are not so great.

Private label nonwovens are a billion dollar business...

...but sales performance is worse than that of branded products

Private label nonwovens sell at an average discount of 21% over branded products...

...but far fewer households buy them c.f equivalent brands...
...and they buy them less often.

Asked if PL will continue to grow as the economy improves, Ms Zielinski thought it would because PL now sells for more reasons than just price.
Who does PL best? Aldi, Trader Joes, Costco.
Does the Nielsen data include Walmart? No. In diapers, PL needs to catch up with the brands to reverse the loss of share.

INDA Vision New Orleans 2005

Richard Jackson of the Centre for Strategic International Studies gave a stark warning: population ageing will wreck the economy of any nation that fails to
prepare for it.

Fertility in every developed country has fallen below the replacement rate

Life expectancy has been rising rapidly throughout the world

In many fast ageing countries the size of the working population will shrink dramatically

Public pension deficits threaten to devour the savings of the developed world
Retirement spending will leave little room for National Defense

In response to questions, Mr Jackson said that the 30-year demographics are accurate and certain. (If we doubled fertility rates tomorrow, it would be twenty years before the effect on the economy would be felt.) China’s demographics have a huge destabiliser built in: the unusually high ratio of boys to girls (1.17 overall, but 1.5 for second children) resulting from the population control policy. This will create a “daughter-in-law shortage” and hence a shortage of the traditional carers for the elderly.

Wednesday 3 January 2007

Anex Conference and Exhibition - Tokyo - May 2006

Two simultaneous conference sessions overlapped almost totally with the exhibition and were somewhat remote from it, so it was difficult to do both justice.  A printed version of each paper was available at each conference room but only during the time of the presentation and, if Japanese, with only a short abstract in English.  The organisers moderated the sessions and in the interests of timekeeping did not allow questions from the audience.  Unusually for this event, there were no papers giving statistics covering the evolution of the Asian market since the last Anex.

Conference Papers

The papers attended are summarized below.  The Appendix provides speakers summaries, as provided by the Anex organizers, of those missed.


The opening session, Future Directions, had papers from the Japanese Ministry of Trade and Industry – Textiles Division, academia (paper and textile research institutes) and industry (Teijin and Kuraray) but without interpretation or preprints. 

The interpreted keynote session was given by Unicharm’s founder and Chairman, Mr Keiichiro Takahara, and was a personal view of the people-related issues involved in leading and  growing a successful business through 45 years with three prolonged periods of negative growth.