Thursday 31 January 2013

INDA Vision Orlando - Day 2

Here are a few snaps from the second day including most of the Visionary Award candidates...

 Rich Chapas describes the Nonwoven scene in India

Rick Jezzi covered nonwovens in South America

Ian Bell deals with nonwovens in the EU and Asia

Tim van Himbergen of Kimberly Clark introduces Poise Panty Fresheners

Sean Riley, Chief Operating Dude of Dude Products introdudes wet wipes for blokes

Keith Platt of Diversitech shows off the 100% PP pleated filter

Nancy Muller of the National Association for Continence Care talks absorbents in the home

Rory Holmes again, this time on Nonwovens in North America 

 Walter Chappas introduces the Winged Fibre mask

Wednesday 30 January 2013

INDA Vision opens in Orlando

INDA's Vision Conference opened today at the Rosen Centre Hotel in Orlando with over 300 delegates in attendance

 Carlos Richer opens the conference with a 3 hour tour-de-force on diaper design

  A delegate from SCA takes issue with a point of detail

 David Rousse the new INDA President welcomes the delegates and presents the State of the Industry address

 Dick Kimberly (ex Kimberly Clark), now President of Kimberly Consulting analyses the effect of the US Presidential election on the industry

 Rob Wallace of Wallace Church anticipates his talk...

(Summaries of these papers will appear in Nonwovens Report International magazine and on this site in due course.)

Tuesday 29 January 2013

EDANA Outlook Barcelona 2012: Summary of Summaries

Summaries of all the papers  given at EDANA's 2012 Outlook Conference in Barcelona have been posted here over the last few weeks, so here is the summary of the key points:

The 11th annual Outlook Conference was the biggest ever with over 450 pre-registered delegates. 

·         The era of Cheap-China is over.  Cost and wage inflation in the industrial regions cannot be corrected by opening up the interior.
·         Chinese diaper consumption and production is surging and a baby-boom is expected.  Exports are increasing.
·         Per Capita spend on diapers in the developed economies will be static or even decline though 2016.
·         Adult Incontinence products are set to grow rapidly and spunbond nonwoven production for their core-wrap, topsheet and backsheet will benefit.
·         Cloth diapers are growing from a tiny base for the wrong reason: babies are keen to get out of them so they’re good for potty training.
·         Super-soft topsheets are available in non-bico form in Asia.
·         Numerous sustainability initiatives are underway and there is a growing belief that sustainability and efficiency are one and the same.
·         EU regulation of nanomaterials appears to be getting bogged down by lack of definition and in product safety and product liability issues.
·         The new EU Biocidal Products Regulations are “a cow to be milked by lawyers”.
·         Eastern Europe and Latin America will see rapid growth in wet-wipes and incontinence products through 2020.

Monday 28 January 2013

Nanomaterials Regulatory Framework: Implementing the new definition

Anna Gergely, Director EHS Regulatory, Steptoe & Johnson LLP (Belgium) said the EU has identified nanotechnology as a Key Enabling Technology with great opportunities is personal care products but the EU Commission has now “locked horns” with the EU Parliament over the details of the regulatory framework.  The EUC feel consumer protection needs to be enhanced by improving the implementation of the current legislation and their 2nd review addressing the risks of nanomaterials is now due.  However in 2009 the EUP called for the review to be complete by end 2011, to include a comprehensive definition of nano and a publicly available database of the different types and uses of nano in the EU, along with labelling recommendations and testing protocols.

Current legislation on Product Safety, Product Liability, Environmental Protection, REACH and CLP is applicable to nano, but being drafted pre-nano is general rather than application specific (i.e. Horizontal).  The product liability legislation issue is important because it would not cover problems which arise from science discovered after product launch.  Vertical or application specific legislation is needed.

REACH covers all chemical substances including nano forms, but there is no specific mention of new nano materials.  A draft nano definition is evolving with

Friday 25 January 2013

Pampers Cruisers Dry Max: High SAP, Low Pulp diapers

Mark Bolyen, Manager, Nonwovens, Marketing Technology Service, Inc. (USA) has looked in detail at Pampers Cruisers Dry Max and described the construction and his test results:
·         It is not a pulpless diaper.  The curly pulp acquisition layer contributes to the total absorbency.
·         It weighs ~34 gms and is 0.76 cms thick.
·         Much of the high performance comes from the permeability of the SAP, and the wicking in the curly pulp layer.
·         Mannequin testing in comparison with other Pampers and Huggies diapers showed:
o    Absorbency before leakage – stomach position – Dry Max came second to Huggies Overnights.
o    Absorbency before leakage – back position – Dry Max came 10th,  Huggies Overnights came 9th.
o    Rewet: Dry Max came 5th.
Other constructions (than Dry Max) which work well at high SAP loadings were tissue/SAP sandwiches with ADL, synthetic fibre/SAP sandwiches with ADL, air-laid SAP composites with ADL, and CoForm cores with ADL.  SAP selection was key: chemistry, X-linking, size, permeability and whether layered or blended all being important construction variables.
For homogeneous blends of pulp and SAP, 37% SAP works best for absorbency; more SAP giving less total absorbency.  Traditional SAP’s work better than high permeability SAPs.

Thursday 24 January 2013

Green Polyethylene from Trioplanex International

Anders Spetz, Managing Director, Trioplanex International AB (Sweden) said PP and PE were the best available polymers for absorbent hygiene products and they can now be made from biomass via ethanol.  Of course it will be 30 years before there will be serious shortages of fossil fuels, but these are now getting increasingly expensive and Trioplanex want to establish products using the best alternatives.  

Bio-PP and Bio-PE are carbon neutral when incinerated and this would be the preferred end-of-life option.  Biodegradable plastics are a problem because they can contaminate the polyolefins and ruin their recycling.  They can also result in increased littering because the biodegradable label makes users more likely to discard them carelessly.  ( Wouldn’t consumers seeing bioplastics labels assume these non-biodegradable plastics are biodegradable and create a similar problem? Ed.) Brazilian ethanol from sugar cane is now the best source of PE but in future biomass ethanol from biorefineries using agricultural or forestry waste or algae will take over.

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Carrefour Commitment on Sustainability

Aurelie Palomba, HPC Quality Manager, Carrefour (France) is targeting zero deforestation of non-farmed wood so Carrefour will only buy products which use no materials from high conservation value forests or species listed by either the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species.  Suppliers must also respect the rights of the forest dwellers.  Problem countries were listed as China, Russia, USA, Canada and Brazil.

Carrefour will avoid any untraceable tropical hardwood furniture, use only recycled paper and packaging and by 2015 will buy no palm oil which is not certified 100% sustainable.  It is working with suppliers to comply with its legal obligations under EU995 which come into effect in March 2013.  Suppliers are expected to “self diagnose” using an on-line questionnaire with 49 sustainability criteria.  Medals will be awarded to the best performers, and an external auditor will visit suppliers to ensure best practices and recommend improvements.  Last year the best tissue products supplier was SCA Hygiene Products because 100% of its wood supplies are FSC or PEFC certified.

Tuesday 22 January 2013

P&G: Parameters in Patent specifications

Veronique Kremer, Associate Director Legal - Innovation, Baby, Feminine & Family Care EMEA, Procter & Gamble (Germany) defined parameter patent claims as those claims requiring special test results to quantify a performance parameter.  These claims are not an easy way to get broad protection and they are generally disliked by examiners unless there is no other way of claiming a new benefit.  New test methods for new benefits will not show up in prior art searches so unusual parameters coupled with unusual test methods can be a prima facie reason for disallowing a patent on the grounds of lack of clarity because no meaningful comparison with prior art can be made.  The situation is better if unambiguous standard tests such as EDANA’s recommended methods are used and the details of the procedure provided in the patent are sufficiently detailed for another skilled person to repeat them.

2 cases were described.  In the first, nonwoven strength claims made without specifying the method resulted in rejection of the patent, and an appeal based on the fact that it was obvious to the skilled person that EDANA methods would be used for a nonwoven was thrown out.  In a similar situation a different patent appeal board granted a similarly unclear patent.  The recommendation – if you must use parameter claims, do your homework and remember that different boards have different views!

Also on Patents:
Krzysztof-Daniel Malowaniec Senior Vice President, Paul Hartmann (Germany) observed that of the 1000 patents per year on absorbent hygienic products, only ~6 per year covered male incontinence.  Nearly all male products cover light incontinence only and patents focus on their geometry and chassis construction.  Pouches, penis bags, tubes, shaped pads, clamps, catheters and condoms all appear in the literature and there appear to be many more products than necessary.  However the ageing of the population and increasing demand from developing countries is likely to change that, and male incontinence could once again become an area for innovation.

Friday 18 January 2013

Suominen-Codi Disinfecting Wipes: Ready for Take Off?

Marines Lagemaat, Manager QRS, Suominen Codi Wipes (The Netherlands) said that before 2009 their were no claims for disinfection on wipes packs, but the H1N1 scare had changed that. Cleansing with disinfection was a definite market need, but the Biocidal Products Directive stood in the way. So Codi teamed up with Lonza, a life sciences company from Switzerland who came up with 3 Lonzagard concentrates usable in wipes. The efficacy (log reduction) of each concentrate was evaluated using 3, 5, 7, 9% concentrations on the wipe, and cleaning efficiency determined by cleaning mirrors contaminated with dried-on milk powder. Effective 100% PET wipes emerged from all 3 concentrates and one product was chosen for hard-surface market testing. Claims were:
  •        Cleans and disinfects in one step
  •         Non-corrosive and free from quats , aldehydes, alcohol.
  •        Kills 99.9999% of bacteria and effective against yeasts and viruses
  •        Non-chlorine base.
Consumer testing suggested a volatile market, and the absence of H1N1 in 2011 meant little interest in the disinfection claim. In fact disinfection was disliked in the baby market. In the Industrial and Institutional market where the cleaning industry is well established and large chemical companies dominate, wipes have to be introduced as the standard tool for cleaning small surfaces. The medical market feels no need to change.
In response to questions, the test methods used are the same as those for liquid disinfectants. The liquid is squeezed out after use and if still active it’s OK. Measuring surface residues would perhaps be better and maybe new methods are needed. Both EPA and ASTM have relevant protocols.

Tuesday 15 January 2013

Lenzing Promote Tencel for Home Furnishings

[Translate to english:] For the first time, TENCEL® fibers are being used in upholstery fabrics
For the first time, TENCEL® fibers are being used in upholstery fabrics
At Heimtextil in Frankfurt from 9 to 12 of January 2013, Lenzing is presenting a new textile concept for the TENCEL® fiber: “Botanic Lounge” expands upon the “Botanic Bed” concept.
For the first time, TENCEL® fibers are being used in upholstery fabrics. Thus conventional upholstery fabric fibers face botanic competition. The use of TENCEL® in sofas represents an additional component in the Botanic Home concept. Following bed wear and carpets, TENCEL® is now taking living rooms by storm. The properties of TENCEL® are also shown off to perfection in this application. The sheen and color of the upholstery fabrics of TENCEL® are distinct and persuasive. The silkiness and intensive colors of these upholstery fabrics are breathtaking.
However, it is not just the beautiful appearance of upholstery fabrics of TENCEL® that is so important. They offer important functional benefits as well. You can thoroughly relax on the couch without annoying electrical charging. When material surfaces rub against each other, electrostatic charging occurs. To what extent the textiles become charged depends on the moisture level of the materials. Higher moisture levels prevent charging. With TENCEL®, the moisture level is approximately 13% while polyester has a fiber moisture level of only 1%. It is clear which upholstery material is more relaxing.
Another advantage of TENCEL® in upholstery fabrics is that the slip covers can be laundered at home. Due to the fiber’s good dimensional stability and high abrasion resistance, the easy care properties are very good. Removable covers can be washed in the washing machine without any difficulty and are therefore always hygienic and clean.
“With TENCEL® in upholstery fabrics, we have gone one step further with our ‘Botanic Living’ concept. As a result of the increasing use of TENCEL® in interiors, the room climate can be considerably improved,” says Susanne Jary, marketing manager for home textiles. “The higher the amount of botanic fibers used, the better the interior environment. Our team is also working on wall paints with TENCEL® powder. Botanic living with TENCEL® will soon be a reality,” Jary promises.
For questions, please contact: 
Mag. Christina Kreuzwieser
Head of Global Marketing Communication
Business Unit Textile Fibers
Telephone: +43 (0) 7672 701-2331

New Biocidal Products Regulations

Peter Kugel LL.M, Attorney at Law, Kugel Legal - European Chemical Law Attorneys (Belgium) opened, in the spirit of this session, by describing the BPR as a(nother) cow that could be milked by lawyers.  The new BPR, published in June, would come into effect in September next year.  The new points to note were:

  •          Treated articles with a primarily biocidal function will be considered as biocides if the biocide is intended to control harmful organisms outside the article.
  •          If the biocide is purely internal and intended to protect the article alone then it does not come under the regulations.
  •        If products are borderline i.e. fall within the scope of the regulations but are intended for use for purposes not covered by the regulations then the regulations should apply.
  •          For dual use biocides, e.g. insect repellent suncreams, the law is unclear but such products may have to comply with the regulations.
Wet wipes for medical and personal care applications are likely to be outside the scope of the regulations but wet-wipes for disinfecting surfaces would be within.  Diapers or femcare products treated for odour-control purposes could be inside the scope and Mr Kugel recommended a case-by-case consideration.  If a claim is made on the pack about biocidal activity the labelling obligations are triggered, but these too are currently unclear!

In short there are more questions than answers so an EDANA Guidance Booklet is being prepared to provide illumination in these dark times.

Monday 14 January 2013

Bostik: The Role of Materials Suppliers in Sustainability

Christophe Morel-Fourrier, Global Technical Marketing Manager, Bostik (France) said sustainability has now evolved from “how do we become greener” to “how do we use resources more efficiently”.  It is driven by skyrocketing raw material prices, shortages in supply, and extraordinary growth in the emerging economies.  In fact sustainable development can now be integrated into the business model to increase the top-line (innovative products), increase the bottom-line (better efficiency) and to manage supply risks.

For Bostik, 94% of impacts arise with the raw materials, 3.5% from their production process and 2.5% from transportation.  So it is clear that moving from oil-based to bio-based materials will be key to improvement, with bio-based equivalents of today’s synthetic polymers being a staging post on the way to using natural materials.  With adhesives being a minor part of diaper construction, add-on reduction appears to be the main strategy for reducing impact.  Their new Zerocreep™ adhesive offers the possibility of a 50% reduction in the amount needed with additional savings in the energy needed to keep the melt hot.  Transportation impacts can be minimised by delivering the adhesive free of packaging,  in 20 tonne tankers, molten and ready for use.

Saturday 12 January 2013

Unilever: Innovation for Sustainability through Partnerships

Graham Cross, Director of Commercial Alliances (Global), Unilever (The Netherlands) said his company had pledged to double in size ($40 to $80 bn) while reducing their environmental impact and to achieve this they would need open innovation partnerships with a variety of other companies. 

  •          Closed innovation:  developing your own new ideas in-house for your own  sole use. 
  •          Open  innovation:  developing internally or externally sourced ideas for use inside or outside your existing product range. 
  •          Co-Creation:  your ideas for my business or my ideas for your business.  A truly open partnership.
  •          Since 1995 Unilever had strengthened the business through mergers and acquisitions to the extent that 40% of the 1995 brands had been disposed of and 40% of today’s brands were new acquisitions since 1995.
  •          Unilever’s direct environmental impact was only 3% of the impact of the total value chain of all their products.
  •          Since 1995 they had cut CO2 from energy generation by 41%, water use by 65% and waste products by 73%.
  •          There was a disconnect between consumers beliefs about sustainability and the action they take in the supermarket. 
    •    “My actions won’t make any difference to the huge problems faced by the world”
    •     48% won’t pay a premium for sustainability
    •     Most are uncertain about what is good and what is bad
    •     Only 9-16% of consumers trust the claims made by retailers/manufacturers, but 50% trust NGO’s
  •          Sustainability marketing has to be personalised as in the OMO Turkey campaign.

Friday 11 January 2013

SCA Hygiene Create value with Sustainability

Susan Iliefski-Janols, Environment & Product Safety, SCA Hygiene Products (Sweden) regards sustainability as an integral part of SCA’s business which adds value: 

  •          Their Tenaflex range LCA shows 54% of impacts come from the raw materials, 28% from end-of-life and 19% from production, packaging and transport. 
  •          They now integrate LCA with safety and cost aspects in a Life Cycle Management program.
  •          40% of energy used is renewable and they are now building a wind-farm in Northern Sweden to increase this proportion.
  •          They have a new priority: to redesign and reimagine products for improved sustainability...
  •          ...and a new target: to convert only renewable resources with only renewable energy.
Examples of progress include a Tork napkin dispenser for food service which prevents more than one being taken at a time, reducing consumption by 25%, and a reusable belt for a Tena incontinence diaper which improves carbon footprint by 25%.  Between 2008 and 2011 they have reduced the carbon footprint of open diapers by 19% and of pant diapers by 8%.

Asked how this 19% CF reduction had been obtained Ms Iliefski-Janols said it was a series of small contributions from raw materials changes and design changes.  Was the reusable belt for Tena liked by consumers?  Yes – this approach had definite potential.

Thursday 10 January 2013

Lenzing & Nanocarbons Activated Carbons for Energy Storage Systems

Lenzing AG and NanoCarbons LLC, Fort Lauderdale (Florida, USA), will cooperate in the future to develop and explore the use of new activated carbons in electrode technology. This technology is based on a combination of Lenzing’s TENCEL® fibers and the technology provided by NanoCarbons LLC. After extensive research Lenzing constructed a new pilot production facility to take the technology forward.

The jointly developed carbons should deliver optimal performance in the area of energy storage. It is believed that these new carbons will accelerate the development of the already rapid growth in uses of electrical devices such as double layer capacitors (also known as ultra capacitors or super capacitors). These high performance capacitors are being increasingly used in hybrid vehicles as well as with stop-start systems, uninterruptable power supplies and wind turbine blade orientation.
“For Lenzing, the development of new, special applications in the technical segment comprises an important extension of the use of our fibers”, says Peter Untersperger, Chief Executive Officer of the Lenzing Group in commenting on the new partnership. “The strongly growing market for energy storage devices is a promising market niche for us. With our TENCEL® fibers we will certainly witness the development of a series of additional, highly interesting technical applications in the coming years.”
Friedrich Weninger, COO of the Lenzing Group with management responsibility for research and development, adds: “We are continuing to invest in new areas of research to increase the range and reach of our product portfolio, both in-house and through external cooperation. The new carbons optimally complement our existing business with separator materials for the energy storage devices. We strongly believe in the future growth of this market. We are offering our customers a sustainable product with consistent quality to allow the industry to develop further.”
Rud Istvan, CEO of NanoCarbons LLC, comments: “I strongly believe that this development will allow the double layer capacitor market to make a significant advancement. With the combination of Lenzing’s technical understanding and infrastructure and Nanocarbons’ technology, we can expect an acceleration in the market uses and exploitation of double layer capacitors, from new automotive stop-start systems to uninterruptable power supplies. This could be a breakthrough for electrode technology that will reap dividends for the designers of electrical components and the drivers of vehicles alike.”
For more information please contact:
Angelika Guldt
Head of Corporate Communications
Phone: +43 (0) 7672 701-2713

See also

Wednesday 9 January 2013

Methodologies for Measuring Sustainability

Koen Boone, Managing Director Europe, The Sustainability Consortium (TSC) was considering how LCA methods could be linked with other measurements to get a handle on the social impact of products.  There were 3 main components:
  •          The category dossier: a collection of evidence on the supply chain, to identify environmental and social hotspots and opportunities for improvement.
  •          The category sustainability profile: a “Synthesis of product sustainability knowledge and improvement opportunities”(?)
  •          Key Performance Indicators: Measuring and tracking product category sustainability.
    Rather than use a manual process involving multiple questionnaires between TSC, retailers and their suppliers, TSC has created a Pilot Reporting Platform to which it uploads the questions allowing both retailers and manufacturers to make single responses directly.  Only the most important issues need to be measured and this amounts to 10-20 KPIs per product.

Cotton has already been completed.  Disposables are due to be done by the end of October 2012, and fibres by Feb 2013.

What’s different about TSC?  It’s global, covers all sustainability issues for all consumer products, is academic, mainstream, concentrates on issues that matter, and is linked to businesses with  a combined turnover of $1.5 trillion.  And to get involved, Tier 1 membership will only cost you $100,000/year.

Tuesday 8 January 2013

The EU Ecolabel Criteria for Sanitary Products

Mauro Cordella, Scientific Officer, European Commission, JRC-IPTS, Seville (Spain) described the EC 66/2010 ecolabel regulation as an instrument to promote the most environmentally friendly 10-20% of products in a category. The EC would analyse products for their environmental impact, review results with the stakeholders and develop criteria for labelling.  The LCA methods used would include PEF, Envirodec and BPX 30-323.

The EU absorbent hygiene products category consumed about 1.7 million tonnes of material and was worth €11bn in 2011. 90% of products were produced and consumed in the EU27 and baby diapers were the biggest product.  The EC aim was to identify “hot-spots” in the diaper LCA and hence options for reducing their impact.  So far it appeared that the raw materials used for diapers were the main impact contributors but end-of-life impacts were important also, with weight reduction and diversion from landfill being key improvements to be sought.  Controlled materials such as adhesives, dyes/inks and fragrances are under investigation.

Longer term, the EC would commit to impact improvement targets (reduction by X% in Y years) and setting thresholds defining the maximum allowed impact of a product.

Monday 7 January 2013

Consumer Product Environmental Footprints

Sylvain Chevassus, Policy Officer on Sustainable Consumption and Production, Ministry for Sustainable Development (France) described how France intends to make sustainable consumption more credible, accessible and visible through the “Grenelle” legislation.  This covers the consumers right to be informed of the environmental impact of a product, and a 1-year experiment using LCA data at the consumer level is underway.  ADEME (Agence de l'Environnement et de la Maîtrise de l'Energie) and AFNOR (Association Française de Normalisation) are providing the multi-stakeholder technical platform which reaches agreement with data-holders on the use of the LCAs.  In total 670 organisations and more than 1000 experts are providing the inputs to an environmental impact database which will ultimately be publicly available.
A wide range of companies is taking part in the experiment and of the 230 volunteers, 168 have been selected and these include Nestle, Coca Cola, Pepsico, Colgate Palmolive, P&G, Unilever and J&J.  Product labelling shows CO2 emission equivalent in grams equated to the distance a car can travel with the same level of emissions.  Water consumption is likewise indicated by “seconds in the shower” and the effect on ecosystems is shown by the area of “biodiversité fragilisée” in square meters.

Working Group 4H deals with hygiene products.  For diapers the functional unit is “Nappies per day per child” and the indicators are carbon footprint, depletion of non-renewable resources and waste at end-of-life.  EDANA is collaborating with WG4H to prepare draft Product Category Rules for both disposables and washable nappies.  Extension of the process to include inco and femcare is being considered.

An Environmental Impact Index equating to the daily impact of one EU consumer could become a unit of measure with products labelled with the percentage of this daily impact their use implies.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Disposable diaper design update

Carlos Richer, Principal/CEO, Richer Investments (Mexico) compared diaper machines by region and said output had reached 850 diapers/min/machine in the mature markets, 500 d/m/m in China and other developing markets and 300 d/m/m in Africa, India and other underdeveloped markets.  SAP usage was ~760,000 tonnes (used in 60bn diapers) in mature markets, 560,000 tonnes (used in 62bn diapers) in emerging markets and ~45,000 tonnes (used in 5.6bn diapers) in underdeveloped markets.  Developing markets clearly use more pulp (~1m tonnes) than emerging markets (~0.5 million tonnes).  Other trends gleaned from the blizzard of facts which emerged:
  •          Once the uneconomic diaper producers (lines making less than 200 diapers/minute) die off the USA will have 102 lines.
  •          More adult incontinence products are using perforated film topsheets.
  •          Trends in diaper design from “full chassis” to “I-shaped” and “KC Hybrid” will reduce the amount of nonwoven used per diaper in the emerging markets.  Full chassis with breathable sides will be an intermediate design. 
  •          KC designs vary by region. P&G is consistent around the world.
  •          KC Slip-on, a hybrid between diaper and pant, uses extruded elastomerics rather than Lycra.  It has improved capacity and retention, customer approval feedback giving 72% Excellent, 13% Neutral and 15% Negative ratings, the latter being for skin marks from the elastic.  It has had a static 3% share for the last 6 months so maybe not a success.
  •          The top 10 diapers use spunbond core wrap.  All inco diapers use tissue so there’s a big opportunity for spunbond in inco-corewrap.
  •          Nonwoven use in inco is 5x that of diapers on a per diaper basis so here’s another big opportunity for spunbond.
  •          Acquisition layer weight varies from 130 gsm on Huggies down to 40 gsm on Pampers Baby Dry.
  •          100% SAP cores are no longer the coming thing in mature markets.  They looked good when pulp was expensive but with SAP prices rising they won’t be economic.  Furthermore mothers are concerned about the risk of rash from the “chemicals”.
  •          Bio-SAP would make sense only in Brazil at present.  It’s too expensive elsewhere.
  •          SAP use will rise in the developing markets but only to about 40% of the core.
  •          Thinner products are needed and are harder to make.  Maybe pre-formed thin cores will allow the smaller producers to enter the sector.
  •          Super-soft topsheets are available in non-bico form in Asia.  Probably polyethylene fibres.  The main problem of polymer change is its effect on diaper conversion efficiency.  Price of the resin is not a big issue.
  •          Cloth diapers are increasing share from a tiny base for the wrong reasons.  Disposables are clearly better for baby, but it’s easier to potty-train from cloth diapers because the babies are keen to get out  adult incontinence products are using a perforated film topsheet.

Saturday 5 January 2013

Global Hygiene Markets. What now? Where now? Where next?

Alice Diepenbrock, Head of Country Research, Euromonitor International (United Kingdom) pointed out that Tissue and Hygiene, the sector including  most absorbent hygiene products, amounted to only 3.2% of the average EU non-freshfood spend.  Globally this sector is relatively recession proof, but not in the developed markets where year-on-year growth has been below 2% since 2008, but is now recovering.  

By contrast, the developing markets have been growing at >10% consistently since 1998.  For diapers and femcare, 90% of the growth since 2002 has come from the developing regions, and it is only adult incontinence which is doing better in the developed regions.

Inputs to AHP  manufacturing all rose substantially in 2011, but retail prices have been stable since 2006, and innovations by the brands such as “glow in the dark”, national flags and football themed diapers have been popular this year.  KC’s Depend for Men inco-pants have been launched and price-led innovations such as Giga packs of diapers and wipes are doing well. Maybe surprisingly, private label products have lost share. 

GDP/Capita is increasing rapidly in the developing regions. By 2020 the Middle East and Africa will be at the level ($3500) where diaper sales take off and Eastern Europe and Latin America should see rapid growth in wetwipes ($8000) and incontinence products ($10000).  Asia Pacific passed the diaper take-off threshold in 2010. 

So, half the diaper market growth through 2016 will come from China, while in the west, the per capita spend on diapers will be at best static and may even decline slightly.  Two thirds of the femcare market growth will come from Asia Pacific while declines in the per capita spend will occur in Australasia, North America and Western Europe.  The incontinence market will grow strongly in Latin America, North America and Western Europe this being GDP driven rather than demographics-driven, with the exception of Japan.

Supermarkets are gaining share over the traditional outlets in developing regions and this allows the Private Label sector to develop.  PL is targeting 40% of the Aditya Birla business in India and a similar proportion in Russian supermarkets.  Internet sales are growing rapidly in developed regions with incontinence products doing best.  $200m worth of diapers are now sold on line annually in the USA and has acquired for $580m.
Japan spends $600 per year on diapers compared with the USA’s $331.  This appears to be because in Japan the more expensive pants (formerly known as training pants) are used from the age of 6 months.

Friday 4 January 2013

Disposable Hygiene Products Market in China

Cao Zhenlei, Chairman, China National Household Paper Industry Association (China) provided the latest data for 2011:
  •          Disposable diaper consumption rose 22% over 2010 and there was a large increase in exports.
  •          Total disposable hygiene product (DHP) sales in China were 46 bn yuan, up 16% on 2010.  Of this 26bn was in femcare and 18bn in diapers, the rest incontinence products.
  •          The femcare market was 87% disposable, and used 58 billion pads in 2010.
  •          The diaper market was 40% disposable and used 18bn pieces.
  •          The wet-wipes market value fell in value by 9.3% but increased in volume by 9.2% over 2010.
  •          Exports of DHP were 307,000 tonnes up 17% on 2010. 
  •          98,000 tonnes of wet wipes were exported, up 36% on 2010
  •          The industry as a whole is consolidating:  15 femcare producers now make 77% of the sales revenue and 10 diaper producers account for 83% of sales.
  •         P&G is the leading producer with a 17.4% share followed by Hengan (15.9%), Uni-Charm (14.9%), Chiaus (6.8%) and KC (6.6%)
  •          600,000 tonnes of woodpulp were used in DHP, 546,000 tonnes being imported.  SAP usage was 170,000 tonnes and increasing as more converters chose to use the local production.
  •          404,000 tonnes of SAP were produced in China in 2011.   
    For the future, Femcare is mature, will continue to grow but competition will be fiercer and RM prices higher so profits will fall.  A baby-boom is expected this year as only-child couples are allowed to have 2 children.  The diaper industry will continue to grow rapidly but consolidation will eliminate the backward.  Adult incontinence is embryonic so has great development potential and will grow rapidly as the enormous elderly population now living alone need professional care.  Wet wipes will grow as living standards improve and biodegradability/flushability issues will be important.

Asked about waste disposal, Mr Cao said it’s now mainly landfill but other options will become important within 5 years.

Thursday 3 January 2013

Innovation in the age of Globalisation

Vijay Vaitheeswaran, China Business Editor, The Economist (China) explained how the new rules of innovation can transform businesses, propel nations to greatness and tame the world’s most wicked problems.  He listed the problems as the crisis of capitalism; terrorism; climate change; resource depletion and the resulting wars; urbanisation; globalisation, and the pandemics which will arise from globalisation.  The problems were not the result of overpopulation and it was of course the population which would provide the solutions.  Improving education of women would reduce the size of future families, and the increasing creativity which follows improved education would provide the answers to the problems. Clearly it would be the emerging economies, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa that would be most likely to invent ways out of the problems.

Resources were not really running out.  The Earth is a closed system and rubbish can be recycled.  Food production was going to be the problem 70 years ago but the Green Revolution in the US and Europe solved that one.  A green revolution is now happening in Africa and India, so all we have to do is to organise to allow markets to be developed and work freely.  Conservation is important but the word has a moral tone and should be avoided: we’re talking the need to use resources more efficiently so increasingly democratic and disruptive innovations will make the necessary improvements happen.  Here Mr Vaitheeswaran was defining innovation not as R&D driven technological invention but simply as fresh thinking which creates value.  By way of example he mentioned Peak Oil – in this case the peaking of whale oil supplies needed for lighting in the 19th century.  Innovative use of gas and the oil which leaked from the ground in Pennsylvania, and the industries built on this innovation, avoided the expected collapse of civilisation.

Socially important innovation must be properly rewarded – and rewarded more substantially than financial innovations. Profitable industries have arisen in

Wednesday 2 January 2013

Nonwovens from recycled fibres and PLA

Bernd Gulich of the Sächsisches Textilforschungsinstitut e.V. (STFI – Germany) has been collaborating with Oerlikon Neumag to develop air laid nonwovens made from recycled short fibre material.  After air-laying with 20% bico and thermal bonding:-
  •         Waste paper gives a cardboard like material.
  •          Wool dust from felting is around 5mm long can be used for insulation and oil absorbents
  •          Shredded tyre cord from tyre recycling has been converted into oil absorbents.
  •          Shredded textile glass fibre makes insulation nonwovens.
  •          Dried grass (not hay) makes mouldable boards for automotive use.
  •          Nettle, poplar, coconut, kapok, hemp and of course cotton linters all make usable nonwovens or boards.
  •          Basalt fibres make insulation boards.
  •          Metal fibre sheets are under development.
  •          Leather waste with only 5-10% bico is air laid, hydroentangled and thermally embossed to look and feel like real leather.  This process is now running on a commercial scale in the UK.
Roshan Paul of Leitat Technological Center, Terrassa (Spain) was blending 5% cellulose powders into PLA during extrusion but provided no data on the performance of the resulting biodegradable plastic.  He had also prepared masterbatches of thermochromic dyes with PLA to make fibres for fire-protection clothing but admitted that the clothing gave no indication of skin temperature.  (Funding was provided by the EU 7th Framework.)

Tuesday 1 January 2013

Light- and FIR- emitting fibres

Delphine Chevalier of Brochier Technologies, Villeurbanne (France) described light-emitting textiles made by Jaquard weaving 0.25 to 1mm optical fibre monofils with normal textile fibre yarns to create an infinite variety of patterns or words.  The cladding is removed from one side of the optical yarn in finishing so that light can escape wherever illumination is required.  The ends of the optical yarns are then bundled and connected to LED’s.  All-optical fabrics can give even illumination over large flat or curved areas from a textile less than a millimetre thick and weighing less than 500 gsm.  Environment and health applications e.g. air and water purification follow from the use of UV LEDs, and IR LEDs lead to safety and sensor applications.  Blue-light emitting bedsheets can be used for phototherapy, especially for babies with jaundice, the treatment of skin diseases and for winter depression.

Gabriel Gorescu of Rhodia Fibras, St. André (Brazil) said  Rhodia, a member of Solvay Group, has the technology for producing melt spun polyamide microfiber embedded with special bioceramic materials.  These “Emana” PA66 fabrics with excellent texture show a high level of FIR emissivity when warmed by the body and thus give significant skin health improvements in clinical (cosmetic) trials.

On the sport field, besides the improvement of body thermoregulation already known as a FIR yarn benefit, this yarn has shown significant benefits during aerobic running exercise and during repetitive eccentric muscle movements.  In other words, Mr Gorescu was claiming “Emana” fabrics enabled athletes to run faster when they are tired and body-builders to work harder without damaging muscles. “Emana” also heals wounds.