The use of nonwovens in consumer products continues to deliver awesome innovations. The wide range of products chosen as finalists for 2010 Visionary Awards, an annual competition recognizing nonwoven’s role in consumer goods are proof that this trend is placing nonwovens in some new categories. This year’s finalists include a 3-in-1 laundry sheet, a streak free cleaning cloth, a revolutionary feminine hygiene pad design, a regenerated cotton wipe and a disposable strapless respirator mask. These products will be voted upon by attendees of the 2009 Vision Conference, slated for January 20-22 in New Orleans, LA and sponsored by INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.
Advanced Cleaning Technologies
Picture this: A consumer applies water to a cleaning cloth, wrings the water out and goes from cleaning a corian counter to a window to a stainless steel appliance to a flat plasma TV screen to a car windshield, without leaving streaks behind.
Advanced Cleaning Technologies, Plain City, OH has turned this scenario into reality with the Ultimate Cloth. The product uses a patented endless filament technology process, which the company dubs MiraFiber.
Advanced Cleaning Technologies claims that Ultimate Cloth removes film, oil, grease, dirt, fingerprints, soap scum, hairspray, dog nose prints, tar, bugs, brake dust and more from a variety of surfaces. “There are microfiber cleaning cloths, but this cloth utilizes patented endless filament technology which has produced a cleaning cloth that takes all the microfibers to a whole new level in a one-step process. It pulls whatever is on your surfaces and traps it into the fibers of the cloth,” said company administrator Susan Stewart.
Ultimate Cloth is non-linting, and it cleans a multitude of delicate and tough surfaces including glass, mirrors, windows, Corian, granite, marble, windshields, computer screens and stainless steel.
The product uses water instead of chemicals and the surfaces dry on their own.
“This technology is tough and tender. It’s safe for all the delicate surfaces of homes and vehicles such as flat panel plasma TV screens, but it’s great for even tough surfaces such as motorcycle windscreens and boat windscreens. You don’t get chemical streaks or water spots and you don’t have to use five different cleaners for five different surfaces,” said Ms. Stewart.
The endless filaments in the product’s structure create millions of tiny internal spaces which act like little scoops. “When Ultimate Cloth is wet it acts as a lubricant for the cloth technology to do what it does. When water is applied to the Ultimate Cloth, it feels very smooth like a wet suede or light chamois. It doesn’t get misshapen over time like a lot of microfibers. You can cut it in half and there will be no fraying,” said Ms. Stewart.
Ultimate Cloth can be washed by hand with dishwashing soap or in a washing machine and can withstand bleach for disinfecting purposes. Ultimate Cloth is available in three different sizes: 14 x 16 inches (standard), 16 x 20 inches (The Ultimate Badboy) and a smaller size, called The Opti-Cloth, intended for eyeglasses, sunglasses and camera lenses, which is available in a three-count package.
Fitseal Disposable Respirator Mask
Superior Felt & Filtration
What do you get when you partner a needlepunch felt manufacturer with an R&D/manufacturer?
If you are Superior Felt & Filtration, Ingleside, IL and Wein Products, Los Angeles, CA, you get Fitseal, a revolutionary disposable strapless respirator mask.
Superior Felt & Filtration’s president Joseph Leineberg said the creation of Fitseal was a team effort that included Stan Weinberg, owner of Wein Products, and Superior Felt & Filtration’s Tom Leineberg, CFO, and Frank Porto, CEO.
Fitseal uses a proprietary blend of nonwoven materials that consist of a needlepunched felt and a meltblown material composite. “We have an adhesive mechanism that sticks to the face. It’s a respirator without straps. It has a medical grade adhesive that has the ability to stick to your face and does not cause damage to the skin,” said Joseph Leineberg.
Claiming that Fitseal is the first strapless mask available, Mr. Leineberg noted it took four years to win NIOSH approval. “I think this will be the wave of the future. People are learning more about leakage and masks and our mask does not leak. In the last 100 years this is one of the most instrumental change in the respirator industry.”
Explaining that the mask is a needlepunched felt using an electrostatically charged filtration media, Mr. Leineberg said that this technology allows the mask to capture particles while still having breathability. “Ours is the lowest resistant disposable respirator on the market. It is very easy to breathe through, you can talk while wearing it, and it doesn’t slide off your face,” he said.
Fitseal is an eighth of an inch thick. “It contours to ones face, exactly to any nooks and crannies your face may have. It fits any size face with virtually no fit testing required,” said Mr. Leineberg.
Fitseal is targeted for general consumer use, prevention in pandemic situations and military and hospital applications. Fitseal is currently sold in the U.S and the majority of its exports go to Japan. “Japan is by far the biggest market for respirator use. It’s a very popular item there. As far as high end products, there’s a market for that. We’re the highest end at this point. The mask sells for $5 to $6. It will definitely protect from the H1N1 virus and other communicable diseases,” said Mr. Leineberg, adding, “It is one of the most comfortable respirators on the market today.”
Always Infinity Feminine Protection Pad
Procter & Gamble
So long ordinary feminine pads. Hello, Always Infinity.
This salutation comes from Procter & Gamble, which launched the Infinity feminine protection pad in the fall of 2008. Created from a soft nonwoven top layer and an absorbent core dubbed Infinicel, Procter & Gamble’s Always Infinity feminine protection pad is designed to provide softness and flexibility for a comfortable body fit. The pad also has a revolutionary wing design for soft and secure panty protection, said Linda Cooper, R&D director of feminine protection.
Infinity’s core is made of a soft, proprietary absorbent foam material. “Historically women have loved soft, nonwoven topsheets or covers on their feminine pads, but with current pads these topsheets can give her a wet experience,” said Ms. Cooper.
Jeanie Knuth, section head, global Always product development said Infinity, which is approximately three millimeters thick has an asymmetric design with a narrower width in the front and a wider width in the back. “Because of the asymmetric design with the new Infinicel core and topsheet that is specifically designed to interact well with that core so fluid is pulled into it—leaving the topsheet looking really clean and dry, the total experience is taken to a new level.”
Ms. Knuth said the nonwoven topsheet goes across the pad and the wings. “The wings are designed so they provide really secure panty protection. The topsheet is so soft she doesn’t really feel those wings; it’s just like she just has her underwear on.”
Always Infinity’s wing has a dual lobe design. “Because this nonwoven is so pliable and soft we were able to create larger, more flexible wings that cover more of the panty for better side protection, but because it is so soft it flexes and wraps and hugs the panties and feels like your underwear. This is a big enabler for consumers to forget they are wearing a pad because they don’t have wings catching their attention by feeling them rubbing against the body,” said Ms. Knuth.
Always Infinity, which has over 60 patents generated to date and took three years to develop, has a unique double-curve shape and stretched areas that allow the wing of the pad to follow the shape of underwear and its curvature during wearing.
Regenerated Cotton Wipe
Rockline Industries’ Ecowipe, a regenerated cotton wipe, proves that material processed from post industrial waste can be used to create an environment friendly wipe. The product is made from scrap cotton T-shirt material. Instead of going straight to a landfill, the 100% cotton material is reprocessed, blended with viscose and repurposed into Ecowipe, a baby wipe for Sainsbury, the U.K.’s third largest retail chain.
The process of converting the industrial waste to a 100% biodegradeable material which is 75% cotton and 25% viscose, is energy and water friendly. “This cotton is beautifully white so it makes the whitest nonwoven sheets because it’s from bleached white T-shirt material,” said Lorraine Crosbie, Rockline’s EU retail sales director.
Ecowipe is unscented and is sold in flat packs. Rockline Industries plans to offer its regenerated cotton wipe to other wipes brands once its exclusivity with Sainsbury’s in the European market expires. It also plans to offer its regenerated cotton wipes in the skin care (cleansing) market.
Henkel Consumer Goods Inc.
Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheet
If you think it’s impossible for a laundry sheet to house a detergent, fabric softener and anti-static agent that can go from the washing machine to the clothes dryer, think again. Henkel Consumer Goods Inc. has accomplished this feat with Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets.
When the sheet is thrown into the wash, the detergent and fabric softener are released; in the dryer, the anti-static material is released.
“You don’t have any nonwovens in the category today that are coupled with a detergent and are used in the washer,” said Greg Tipsord, senior vice president/general manager laundry care. There are nonwovens used in the dryer with an anti-static property. We are the only one using a nonwoven that works both in the washer and the dryer with three different raw materials that perform three different functions.”
“This breakthrough technology required extensive experimentation to find both new chemistries and nonwoven substrates that could be coated and offered the right release properties during the washing and drying cycles,” said Richard Theiler, senior vice president research and development. Literally hundreds of types of nonwoven combinations were assessed including viscose, PET, PP, polyester, bicomponent PET, Tencel, rayon, Lyocell, cellulose, jute, PLA, cotton and bamboo. Dr. Theiler noted that a host of different types of nonwoven structures were studied including needlepunch, carded, thermal bond, powder bond, calendered, spunlaced, spunbond, through air bond, mechanical bond and laminates. “Successful release in the washer and dryer required a nonwoven layered structure and other proprietary technology developed specially for Purex Complete 3-in-1,” said Dr. Theiler.
Purex Complete 3-in-1 is approximately five by seven inches. The sheet is a little thicker than a traditional dryer sheet and is available in a 20-sheet starter kit, which also serves as a refillable dispenser. The refill pack holds 24 sheets. Purex Complete 3-in-1 Laundry Sheets has a wave shape and 80% of the sheet contains detergent. The top part holds the fabric softener, which has a bluish stripe, and the anti-static is the white part of the sheet.
Purex Complete 3-in-1, which comes in Spring Oasis, Tropical Escape and Pure & Clean took nearly five years to develop. Mr. Tipsord said the company found that nonwovens had the properties that allowed the company to apply the ingredients to the nonwovens so that they could be released at very different temperatures and in different environments. “One (ingredient) is water soluble, one is not. One is more heat sensitive than the other,” he said.
Mr. Tipsord went on to explain, “We spent a lot of time trying to find the right nonwoven, because you need to have each of the products released completely within the environment that they are activated by.”
When it comes to the product’s canister, Mr. Tipsord said that when you look at this footprint relative to the three products that it replaces you see a reduction in plastic of 70% and a reduction in transportation of 80%.
“As you look at the category and type of innovation that this is, it truly is a step change innovation in a category that hasn’t had a lot of innovation over the past years. This category has centered around liquids and bottles. We tried to change the game in terms of launching a new format, which is the sheet as it relates to being the carrier for the detergent and fabric softener plus the anti-static, which is the dryer material. We view this as a platform for future innovations as well and our ability to differentiate more commodity type products sold in the category today,” said Mr. Tipsord.