Speaking to a packed ballroom, Mr. Holmes noted that while many attendees were delayed in arrival due to inclement weather in several states, "Attendance is up from last year's conference in Atlanta. Of the 260 people who pre registered, there is a good contingency of international attendees from Europe, Asia and South America."
Mr. Holmes went on to say that the wiper segment of the nonwovens industry has grown three percent despite the record-breaking recession. "The forecast for 2013 is anticipated to be $6 billion in sales—$4.5 billion in consumer wipes and $1.5 billion in industrial and institutional. Wipes increased during the recession. Household and personal care (wipes) has increased. The whole market has more than tripled in size since 1997. Baby wipes were under $800 million in 1997. Baby wipes is $1.1 billion now. Other segments of our industry were significantly impacted. This part was not. In North America orders are so great that they are having trouble making products and converting products. In Europe the situation isn't as positive as the U.S. Their overall production dropped 6% according to EDANA, " said Mr. Holmes.
Mr. Holmes informed attendees about the upcoming RISE (Research, Innovation and Science For Engineered Fabrics) Conference slated for September 20 to 23 in Baltimore, MD. "We've constructed several features that will be of interest. We will have an innovation workshop," said Mr. Holmes.
During the three day WOW conference attendees gleaned industry insights from nonwovens experts. The Dial Corp. presented a case study of a nonwoven in a laundry product: Purex Complete 3-in-1.Attendees also learned about emerging sustainable packaging trends from Joseph Hotchkiss, School of Packaging, and Michigan State University.A session hosted by Tom Daly of Belle-Aire Fragrances focused on odor control technology. Yet another session led by Wolfgang Siegert highlighted Preservative Trends in Wet Wipes. PGI's Cliff Bridges presented a discussion about sustainability.
Attendees also learned about "Enhanced Shelf-life and Biodegradation of PLA/PHB Blended Substrates." Finally, Tarry Zielinski of Guy & O'Neill presented "Packaging Innovation—Wrap it Right!"
The highlight of the fourth annual WOW conference was the presentation of the 2010 WOW Innovation Award. The winner was Nice-Pak for its Eco-Pak wet wipes delivery system.
The WOW Innovation Award recognizes and rewards the industry members who bring new and value-added processes and products to the wipes market. Following presentations by four finalists, attendees at the WOW Conference voted the Eco-Pak system as the recipient of the 2010 Award.
Eco-Pak is a portable, soft pack delivery system that holds high-efficacy surface disinfecting wet wipes, which could previously only be packed in canisters. This resealable new package has soft sides, and yet is able to stand on one end, maximizing store shelf impact and minimizing storage space under a kitchen sink. This new package provides a more compact footprint than traditional canisters for more efficient storage and transportation, as well as a more comfortable fit in the consumer's hand.
Accepting the award, Ruth Levy, Nice Pak's vice president of strategic product development said, "Product development is a huge effort that cuts across research and development, marketing and logistics. We are fortunate it was something you appreciated. Anyone could have won. They are all fabulous products."
Other finalists for this year's awards included Seventh Generation Disinfectant Wipes and RPMPolywipes.
Next year's WOW conference will be held in Atlanta, GA in June. More info:www.inda.org.