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)

No comments: