The investments mainly center around Coform, K-C’s proprietary technology that largely serves its wipes business. Coform is a direct formed, thermal bonded airlaid technology which was originally developed in the 1970s. K-C’s new lines feature the same common forming technology as existing Coform lines around the world but offer a lower tonnage to adapt to the needs of emerging markets.
K-C’s internal testing has proven that Coform cleans the best of most other nonwovens substrates, particularly compared to spunlace, says a source. This is because of the technology’s low pulp component, which allows the wipe to clean the skin surface with minimal or no abrasion.
K-C’s success in the wipes market is being driven by advances in Huggies diapers in emerging markets and by the increased use of baby diapers throughout the world. In early 2013, K-C exited the Western European diaper market as part of a strategy to focus on more growing markets like Asia, South America and Eastern Europe. The company continues to sell its baby wipe products throughout Europe.
In January, K-C made a move to expand its wipes business outside of baby care with the launch of its Kleenex Facial Care line. This new line includes dual-sided exfoliating cushions that smooth and polish the skin, moist facial cleaning cotton pads, moist eye makeup removers and shine away sheets, which feature double-sided fabric technology that lifts and traps oil without smudging makeup.