Saturday 30 June 2012

Fashion Apparel from P&G?

Michigan native Susan Brennan poses with her Charmin dress after being named the winner of the Eighth Annual Cheap Chic Weddings Toilet Paper Wedding Dress Contest at Ripley's Believe It or Not! Times Square Odditorium on Wednesday, June 27, 2012. (Photo: Business Wire)

Contest host, which operates as a money-saving website for brides-to-be, began the annual contest eight years ago based on the popular bridal shower game. As the contest has increased in popularity from year to year, so has the level of competition.
“The quality of talent that presents itself each year always amazes us,” says Susan Bain, one of the founders of Cheap Chic Weddings. “This year’s entries included several dresses that had intricate details like faux embroidery, ruffles, pleats and even lace effects.”
Charmin is a sponsor of the contest for the second time and provided coupons for contest entrants to help cover the cost of purchasing the rolls of Charmin used in creating each dress, which ranged in amount from 10 rolls to nearly 50 rolls in some cases and featured Charmin Basic, Charmin Ultra Soft and Charmin Ultra Strong designs.

Friday 29 June 2012

Softness and Stretch from Dow Chemicals

Gerd Claasen, Global Application and Technology Leader, Hygiene and Medical for Dow Chemicals (Switzerland) reviewed the routes to the softer and more elastic polymers needed to make softer and more elastic topsheets and backsheets.  The long term target was to allow underwear-style diapers to be made without elastication. 

Adding Dow’s Versify™ modifier to PP used on monocomponent spunbond lines allowed improved softness, drape and extensibility.  Further improvements followed making a bico spunbond with Dow’s Aspun™ polyethylene sheath, but the ultimate in softness came from spinning monocomponent Aspun™ spunbonds.  However Aspun™ nonwovens were a third the strength of PP, had poor abrasion resistance and a very narrow thermal bonding window.  

Improvements to Aspun™ to reduce degradation (chain scission) at high shear are sought.  Asked if there were any prototypes of elastic-free underwear style diapers, Mr Claasen said there weren’t.  The whole value chain had to get together with their best products before a prototype could be made.  He thought this was likely to happen first in adult incontinence where the user benefits directly from the extra comfort and discretion.

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Thursday 28 June 2012

Raw Materials Update from Lenzing

Geoff Collins, Head of Sales, Lenzing Asia (Hong Kong) described how Textiles, Cotton and China were the main factors responsible for the “crisis” affecting the price and availability of man-made cellulosic fibres for nonwovens.  Until the end of 2010 the Cotton A index and Chinese viscose price varied between $1.2 and $2.6/kg with viscose moving in unison with cotton and being roughly 25-50% more expensive.  In early 2011, Cotton A spiked to $5.3/kg due to poor Chinese and Pakistani cotton crops and the resulting increased demand for viscose pushed the viscose price to $4/kg.  Normality returned by August 2011 with both prices fluctuating around gently upward but converging trends line if the spikes were ignored.  By the end of 2011 cotton A and Chinese viscose were both around $2.2/kg.

Lenzing Sales Growth
Since 2000 cellulosics (including cotton) and synthetics had grown at similar rates to give a global per capita cellulosics usage of 4.7kg/year and 7.1kg for synthetics. Now population was above 7bn and growing at 80mn per year.  Furthermore the 11.8kg per capita total was an average with the developed world using above 25 kgs and the rapidly growing economies of China, India and Brazil using less than 8kg.  As wealth and hence the fibre consumption in these countries rose to reach Western levels, Lenzing were projecting the demand for cellulosics to almost double by 2030 and require an extra annual capacity of ~20million tonnes. Cotton production would be constrained by competition with food production and the inability to further increase yield per hectare.  So, man-made cellulosics would have to fill what Mr Collins now called the Sustainable Fibres Gap* and the construction of many more large viscose and lyocell plants could be justified.

*originally The Comfort Gap
see also

(from EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Kelheim Fibers to present new research results at Zellcheming

Once again Kelheim Fibres will attend this year’s ZELLCHEMING general meeting and Expo. Dr. Ingo Bernt, a member of the R&D team of the Bavarian fibre specialist, and Dr. Rene Eckhart from the TU Graz will give a lecture on the results of the latest research into the effects of flat viscose fibres in papers, while other members of Kelheim Fibres are available in hall 2, stand no. 207, for further discussions. There is also the possibility to learn more about Kelheim’s most recent “paper fibre”, the newly developed "Leonardo".

Kelheim Fibres continues to pursue the strategy of expanding its activities in the paper making industry. Kelheim’s speciality fibres have been used in papers for several decades, but recently numerous new developments have led to a multitude of new possible applications in this sector. In addition to interesting functionalities Kelheim’s viscose fibres offer two particular benefits: they are easy to incorporate in the papermaking process – as they are manufactured from cellulose, the same raw material used for paper – and they are an environmentally friendly alternative to other additives, as they consist of 100% renewable resources and are completely biodegradable. 

(KF Press Release)

Monday 25 June 2012

Medical and Hygiene Products in India

  Samir Gupta, MD Business Coordination House (India)  reported 8.6% GDP growth for India in 2010-11 and within this the industrial sector was growing at 8.1%.  Urbanisation of the 1.2 billion inhabitants has increased to 30% and is expected to reach 41% by 2021.  Population growth is higher than China’s and on current trends India’s population will overtake China’s by 2035.  While average income is low (€725/year) there are 176 million people in the Middle and Rich classes and this group is expected to reach 300 million by 2016.  The resultant opportunities for nonwovens are amazing:
Organized retail outlet turnover has doubled in the last 2 years to US$40bn and will grow at 35-40% CAGR to reach $200bn by 2017.  After food products (43% of FMCG) , Personal Care (22%) is the largest FMCG sector.  Others to note are Fabric Care (12%), Hair Care (8%), and Baby Care (2%).  Some PC sectors are now growing at 40% CAGR.

India emerging as next business destination
Increasing health consciousness, top class private hospital chains and increasing medical tourism are driving growth in the Medical sector...

Sunday 24 June 2012

From Diapers to Underwear

Jorg Harren, R and D Director, Evonik Industries (Germany) quoted John Starr 2010 data to show that 65% of the available diaper market is now in the developing world.
  • 47bn diapers/yr are used in Western Europe, North America and Japan, this representing 94% penetration.
  • 51bn d/yr in the Middle East, South/Central America and other Asia/Pacific represents 41% penetration.
  • 38bn d/yr in Central and Eastern Europe, Africa, China, India and Rest of Asia, represents only 9% penetration.

Global diaper market growth averaged 4.4% but MENA (where most countries birth-rate is above the global average of 2.5) averaged 6.4%. Growth in Developed markets was just 0.8%/year compared with 4.7% in developing markets and 8.1% in underdeveloped markets. 

The evolution towards ultrathin, underwear-style diapers which had been occurring since the 1980’s was possible because superabsorbents had been developed to do more than just absorb.  Removal of fluff pulp needed permeable SAPs but these allowed improvements in the sustainability of the diaper.  Diapers weighed 40gms at 35/65 SAP/Fluff and this came down to 31gms at 70/30 SAP/Fluff.  The 31gm diaper cost 75% of the older 40gm diaper based on the SAP/Fluff exchange alone.  Potential changes in other raw materials (ADL, core wrap etc) were not included.  Additional savings would accrue from less hammer-mill energy, less packaging and lower transport/storage costs. 

Evonik will be starting up an 80000t/y SAP plant in Al Jubail in Q4 2013.
Asked about the importance of ADL and topsheet in the performance of ultrathin diapers, Mr Harren said innovation would be needed in these areas as the move to fluffless diapers progressed.

(From EDANA Middle East Symposium  - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012)

Thursday 21 June 2012

Hygiene Products for MENA

Mohammed Minawi, General Manager - Research for IPSOS (Jordan) presented data from a consumer survey commissioned by EDANA specifically for this conference.  1500 females in the 18-45 age group from the top 2 or 3 cities in each of 5 MENA countries (Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Morocco)  were subjects for “Qualitative Consumer Immersions” in 3 sectors - Diapers, Fem-Care and Wipes.)
“Consumer and Industry Alignment” was gauged from answers to the questions:
“Do I care about the brand names in this sector”
Brand names proved very important for Diapers and Femcare, less so for Wipes, but even wipes ranked well above facial and toilet tissues. Diaper brands were most important in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, followed by Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon in that order.  However even Lebanon’s average score was above the average for all brands.
Fem-Care brands were most important in Egypt, followed by KSA, Jordan, Morocco and Lebanon.  Here Lebanon was below the average for all brands. Wet-wipe brands were most important in KSA, followed by Egypt, Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon.  Here Jordan and Lebanon were below the all-brands average.

“Do I actively seek information about these products”
Diaper engagement was best in Egypt, Femcare engagement was best in KSA, and Wipes engagement was best in KSA followed by Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Morocco. Overall, consumers were judged insufficiently engaged to seek information, but Femcare scored highest followed by diapers and wipes.

Brand selection is mainly based on Quality across all sectors.  For diapers, 45.6% of the consumers had never tried more than one brand and the brand was the main factor in choosing.  For Fem-Care, 47.6% had never tried more than one brand.  Product length, thickness and absorption came ahead of the brand name.

For Wipes, 50.6% of users had never tried more than one brand. The fragrance was a key factor in selection...

Wednesday 20 June 2012

EDANA Middle East Symposium - Dubai - 14th and 15th Feb 2012


40 companies displayed their products in the Exhibition and over 275 delegates from 151 countries attended this, the third EDANA Middle East Conference and the second to be held in the Jumeirah Beach resort in a hot and sunny Dubai February.  While only about half the delegates appeared to be in the conference at any one time, it was the exhibition rather than the baking beach that appeared to be the main alternative attraction.

EU and MENA Nonwovens

Pierre Wiertz, General Manager EDANA (Belgium) presented Jaques Prigneaux’s paper on trends in the nonwovens market based on detailed replies from 82 members:

In 2010, EU27 tonnage recovered to 1.785 million. Area produced, which did not decline in 2009, moved on to 54.2bn sq metres and if 2010 is compared with 2008, total tonnage was up by about 3.5%.  Notably, wet-laid and dry-lay spunlace did not regain the losses of 2008-9.  Apparel and Home nonwovens failed to recover to 2008 levels, and Hygiene only just made it into positive territory.  Medical showed the strongest recovery.
162,000 tonnes of staple-fibre nonwovens and 136,000 tonnes of spunmelt nonwovens were produced in MENA in 2010, this being expected to rise...

Friday 15 June 2012

Snapshots from Chicago - WoW 2012

Rory Homes, President INDA, opens WOW 2012 and provides the latest statistics on the Industrial Wipes Market

Jessica Franken, Director of Government Affairs INDA reviews 27 years of lobbying to get the EPA to level the playing field between disposable wipes and laundered shop towels.  The end is in sight.

Ian Bell, Head of Tissue, Hygiene and Home Care Research, Euromonitor International describes the EU Wipe market trends and predicts how these might trigger further growth in the US Wipes market

A full report on these and all the other speeches at WOW will appear here and in Nonwovens Report International Magazine in due course.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

INDA Conference WOWed the Wipes Industry

Annual World of Wipes (WOW)® Conference in Chicago focused on global wipes issues and opportunities, along with the presentation of World of Wipes Innovation Award™
CARY, N.C. — June 12, 2012 — Executives from all links in the wipes supply chain gathered earlier this month in Chicago, Illinois for the 2012 World of Wipes (WOW) International Conference, organized by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.
In addition to three full days of education seminars and networking at the Hotel InterContinental from June 5-7, WOW 2012 featured the presentation of the prestigious World of Wipes Innovation Award, which is given annually to encourage innovative processes and products anywhere along the wipes’ value chain. The 2012 World of Wipes Innovation Award was awarded to Sani Professional® for its Table Turners® No-Rinse Sanitizing Wipes.
Among the other highlights of the 2012 WOW Conference:

Monday 11 June 2012

INDA's World of Wipes Innovation Award 2012 goes to...

Sani Professional Brand Table Turners

Triple Take™ Dispenser
Table Turners No-Rinse Sanitizing Wipes were developed in tandem with a unique carrying and dispensing system, the Triple Take™Dispenser, that holds the wipes, provides portability of use and hands-free disposal of used wipes.

More information can be found at and a full report of this meeting in Chicago last week will appear here and in Nonwovens Report International in due course.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Ingeo™ Biopolymer Becomes Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM

  Safety to human and environmental health, design for future use cycles, and sustainable manufacturing processes among certification criteria

            MINNETONKA, Minn., May 24, 2012 — NatureWorks’ Ingeo biopolymer, made from plants, not oil, is the first product of its kind to become Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM Silver by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.
            Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM is a multi-attribute program that assesses products for safety to human and environmental health, design for future use cycles, and sustainable manufacturing processes. The program provides guidelines to help businesses implement the Cradle to Cradle® framework, which focuses on using safe materials that can be disassembled and reused as technical nutrients or composted as biological nutrients.

Monday 4 June 2012

INDA's Fifth World of Wipes gets underway

Four finalists have been selected to compete for the World of Wipes Innovation Award competition being held as part of the annual World of Wipes (WOW) Conference, set for June 5-7 at the Hotel InterContinental in Chicago, Illinois.

The annual WOW Conference, organized by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, is devoted solely to wipes, with a concentration on substrates, active ingredients, packaging, market metrics, industry challenges and market opportunities, particularly in Asia and Europe. The World of Wipes Innovation Award recognizes and rewards the industry members who bring new and value-added processes and products to the wipes market.
The four finalists, chosen from products nominated by the industry, are: