Visionary Awards

By Karen Bitz McIntyre, Editor | January 3, 2012

Four products will compete for honor in New Orleans.

Four consumer products ranging from a unique floor-cleaning pad to a toothbrush protector have been nominated as finalists for the 2012 Visionary Award. Now in its 11th year, the Visionary Award—which is given annually to a new consumer product that utilizes nonwoven fabrics in its final form – will be presented at the VISION 2012 Consumer Products Conference, January 23-26, 2012 at the Hotel Intercontinental in New Orleans, LA. The finalists will make presentations during VISION 2012 and conference attendees will vote on the recipient of the 2012 Visionary Award.

“For the past decade the VISION Consumer Products Conference has kept the nonwovens and consumer products industries ahead of the curve on the trends that impact the business worldwide,” says Rory Holmes, president of INDA. “At VISION 2012 some of the world's most well-respected experts on consumer products and nonwovens will educate attendees on the topics that will now drive our industry for the next 10 years.”

Jacksonville, FL

The world’s first disposable, eco-friendly, antimicrobial and self-adhesive liner for headwear, BandZorb was born from an avid golfer’s quest to find a way to keep sweat out of her eyes and her headwear clean, despite the hot Florida sun. Terry Zebouni, a Jacksonville, FL-based entrepreneur and avid outdoorswomen, first used pieces of panty liners to shield her hats and visors from dirt and sweat when she couldn’t find a product designed specifically for this task but soon realized she could be the one to bring this idea to market.

This led to the creation of BandZorb, disposable headliners made from 100% cotton airlaid nonwovens. The liners can be used not only in hats and visors on the golf course or in the garden but also have potential across a wide number of markets including police, military and cycling, Ms. Zebouni says.

BandZorb has already received a number of accolades including the recognition one of three Innovation Award Finalists in the Apparel Category at the Cygnus Law Enforcement Awards in Chicago and as Best Overall New Product at January’s PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando, FL and Zebouni feels receiving a Visionary award should be the product’s next honor.

“These amazing liners are a world’s first of a kind disposable headwear liner that addresses an extremely broad market: golfers, tennis players, marching bands, sports teams in high school, college, minor leagues and major leagues, hockey teams, cyclists, municipal employees, uniform rental companies, equestrians, fast food chains, medical supply companies, law enforcement, all branches of the military and much more,” she says adding that virtually anyone who wears a hat will appreciate the quality, convenience and comfort of BandZorb liners.

Additionally, BandZorb are the only headwear liners that are antimicrobial, will fit visors, are made in the USA, come in two sizes and may be cut to size to fit.

O’Cedar ProMist disposable floor pad
Tietex, Spartanburg, SC
Formed through stitchbonded technology, the O’Cedar ProMist disposable floor pad, is manufactured by Tietex, a privately-held company based in Spartanburg, SC that can either be tossed after one use or washed and reused up to 10 times.

“The pad combines the superior cleaning performance microfiber loops with the convenience of a disposable article,” explains Mike Hardegree, vice president of strategic planning and business development. “The combination of microfiber loops with ‘scrubby’ fiber loops creates synergistic cleaning performance.”

Through stitchbonding, Tietex has been able to develop a composite structure containing airlaid nonwovens and spunbond and PE film using microfiber and scrubby fiber yarns. The stitchbonding creates loops on the “A” surface for cleaning performance as well as a “B” surface that is self-attaching with the Velcro-type hooks that are a part of the mop head. The loops are patterned in alternating bands of scrubby and microfiber loops, creating a synergistic effect whereby the scrubby loops scour and loosen stubborn soils for the microfiber loops to easily pick up and remove dirt, hair and crumbs from the floor.

Hardegree explains the concept originated as an attempt to combine the best aspects of two worlds into one product—the widely known cleaning performance microfiber but at a disposable price point. Microfiber is widely known and understood by consumers for its superior cleaning performance, but technology limitations have confined microfiber to washable, durable cleaning articles in the past – both floor pads and hand cloths.The challenge was to harness the cleaning performance of microfiber in a disposable format.

In addition to the floor pads, Tietex has developed a line of hand wipes using the same technology.

Tietex has specialized in stitchbond nonwovens technology for 35 years and has operated a wholly-owned Asian subsidiary since 1997. Historically, this technology has been geared at a number of durable applications such as fire resistant mattresses, Nike shoe components, roofing reinforcements and filtration media, but more recently Tietex has been uncovering a number of opportunities in the disposable segment.

“Our ability to create inexpensive loop surface nonwovens has taken us into the hygiene industry with a loop material used by diaper producers for closure systems (landing zone for hook tab), plus disposable cleaning wipes and floor pads,” Hardegree adds.

Sandstrom Partners, Portland, OR
Solving the age-old problem of how to protect your toothbrush from germs while traveling or at home, Intellident is a disposable toothbrush shield that reduces the risk of bacterial and viral transfer to toothbrushes from both airborne and surface microbial contact. The product is made of a multilayer SMS nonwoven substrate that fits over the head of the toothbrush.

“The idea for this product evolved while we were working on a project utilizing nonwoven materials for hygiene and the prevention of transferring bacterial and viruses to personal items through incidental surface contact,” says chairman of the board Susan Klinsport.

Proven to be 99% effective, Intellident acts like a surgical mask for your brush, allowing rapid moisture absorption and interior airflow to rapidly dry the bristles and keep both surface and airborne microbes from penetrating the shield.

“The fine fibers of the meltblown nonwovens are an excellent filter media ideal for capturing very fine particles,” Klinsport says. “The nonwoven fabric provides absorbency, liquid repelling, resilience, softness and strength, washability, filtering use as a bacteria barrier and sterility.”
New to nonwovens, Intellident had only positive things to say about the industry and is even exploring new applications relating to the toothbrush shield market.“This product provides an entirely new alternative in a very mature category,” Klinsport says. “The receptivity of this item to category managers is extremely positive.”

Stomp ‘n Go
Bissell Homecare, Grand Rapids, MI
Stomp ‘n Go stain lifting pads from Bissell Homecare are premoistened with an oxy formula to permanently remove carpet spots and stains. All it takes is to place it on the stain, stomp on it and walk away—after 30 minutes, most spots are removed and the pad can be thrown away. The pads can clean stains from red wine, food, fruit juice, coffee, pet messes, blood, mud, dirt and more.

“This idea came from observing consumer behavior in homes while they are cleaning stains,” explains Sue Potter, associate marketing director Bissell Homecare Inc. “As one step in the process, many consumers “stomp” on the stain with a paper towel or rag.We combined this observation with our consumer research showing that 77% of consumers rank ‘easy to use’ as important in a spot cleaner.”

The pad is made of a polypropylene nonwoven with an impervious backing. The system was selected to allow the pad to deliver the cleaning solution in one direction onto the stain.

Bissell has had some experience working in nonwovens however traditional spray and bottle formulas has been its focus more recently. To develop Stomp ‘n Go, Bissell partnered with Rockline Industries and relied on that company’s expertise, Potter explains.

“Stomp ‘n Go stain lifting pads provide an innovative new way for consumers to clean carpet spots and stains without scrubbing.This product has gained wide trade acceptance with placement at nearly all major retailers and grocery,” Potter adds. “Plus consumers are always looking to save time and love the ease of use and effectiveness of Stomp ‘n Go.These are just a few of the comments that we have seen from consumers who blogged about this product.”