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The Industrial Wipes Market



more effective, less expensive, more flexible: nonwoven wipes are revolutionizing the industrial markets



Published October 19, 2009
Related Searches: Wipes Industrial Wipes nonwovens felt

The Industrial Wipes Market

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more effective, less expensive, more flexible: nonwoven wipes are revolutionizing the industrial markets

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by Karen McIntyre

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rnWith many of their key market areas under pressure, makers of wipes and wipers for the industrial market—including manufacturing environments, the food service industry, hospitality and industrial specialty areas—have felt the effects of the economic downturn, perhaps even more sharply than their counterparts in the consumer goods markets. The goods news, however, is that most will say that the bottom has been felt and orders are picking up as customers look to replenish their inventories.
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rnAccording to INDA estimates, the industrial and institutional wipes market in North America is valued at about $2.4 billion this year, up from $2.3 billion in 2008. Nonwovens represent about half of this market; other materials feeding industrial wipes include disposable rags and laundered industrial shop towels and wipes. Nonwovens tend to fare better in the fast food service industry while laundered products are stronger in fine dining establishments, according to INDA’s Ian Butler.
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rnMeanwhile, in manufacturing environments, disposable wipes dominate although there is still some use of repurposed rags and premoistened nonwovens wipes are starting to gain momentum as customers are starting to require more task-specific materials.
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rnAccording to Chris Iuzzolino, brand manager of wipes for New Pig, a manufacturer of sorbent materials, wipes and rags to the industrial arena, interest in single-use wipers has grown tremendously during his 15 years on the job. “When I started with New Pig, we had only a handful of options and even then they were mostly national brand products,” he said. “ Since then we have expanded into our PIG branded wipers and the national branded products have also expanded. In our current catalogue we have 12-15 pages of wipers to meet our customers’ needs. “
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rnThis expansion has largely been driven by customer demand and from understanding our customers’ unmet needs, but the company is also proactive when it comes to brainstorming product ideas. One of the ways they do this, said Mr. Iuzzolino, is visiting big box retailers and grocery stores to see what’s new on the consumer side of the wiping and packaging business. “There is a lot of crossover between the two businesses and people do not realize that. “We are constantly getting better at realizing this ourselves.”
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rnChris Plotz, of ITW Dymon has also witnessed a trend toward specialization in recent years. By nature a specialty chemical formulator, ITW Dymon manufactures 22 specific wipe products for the industrial market.“Many products that had dual uses have been either regulated into multiple products or have grown so specialized that products’ specific characteristics have provided new opportunities,” Mr. Plotz said, adding that these changes are being driven by specific needs. “Regulations and ease of use are also specific change agents.”