The Japanese hygiene leader has partnered with Swedish SCA to target the North American adult incontinence market where it hopes its 20-plus years of experience making pants-style diapers will contribute its success.
"We were the first to launch pants-style baby diapers 20 years ago," explained Keiji Jibiki, manager of intellectual property development. "The difference with our technology is they are made laterally, not vertically."
This technology, which is covered by 15 patents, allows the diapers to be made more quickly and more continuously. Additionally, elastic applications is easier and the diapers can be cut more easily to fit human contours, Mr. Jibiki explained.
The 15 Unicharm patents--10 more will be filed by the end of the year--cover five different areas—the traverse technology itself, the production angle, side panel adhesive application, back cutting technology and end cutting technology.
Products featuring the Unicharm technology will be sold under SCA's Tena brand and made at a jointly owned site in Bowling Green, KY. Unicharm owns 60% of the joint venture.
The two companies also have a joint venture agreement in Japan.