Wipes Market Watch Fall 2012

By Household & Personal Care Wipes Staff | September 4, 2012

Key developments in the wipes market push the category forward.

Sanitizing wipe nabs WOW award

Table Turners No-Rinse Sanitizing Wipes (TTSW) from Sani Professional received the World of Wipes (WOW) Innovation award this year, beating out competition from three other companies. The Sanitizing Wipes are a total cleaning solution for foodservice operations. The product is EPA-registered and meets guidelines for both front-of-house and back-of-house cleaning and sanitizing food contact surfaces. TTSW is a cost-saving replacement for the traditional, cross-contamination prone, reusable “rag and bucket” solutions.

Attendees at the WOW conference—organized by INDA, the association of the nonwoven fabrics industry and held in Chicago, IL, in June—chose the Sanitizing Wipes product after hearing presentations from four finalist companies during the event. The other three finalists were Fibertect High-tech Nonwoven Wipes, Oil and Vapor Sorbing Wipe, from First Line Technology; Raptor SAFE-T Wipe (Substance Activated Fast Evaluation Technology), from Raptor Detection Technologies, LLC and Clean & Cream Wet Wipes Cream Dispenser, from Wetnaps Ltd.

The WOW Innovation Award is given annually to encourage innovative processes and products anywhere along the wipe value chain.

In addition to the awards competition, WOW featured three full days of educational seminars and networking. Highlights from the conference included:

• A session on Industrial Strength Opportunities featured a presentation by INDA president Rory Holmes detailing “The Industrial Wiper Market—Growth & Opportunities.” Two other presentations—the “EPA Wiper Rule,” by INDA’s director of government affairs, Jessica Franken, and “Worker Exposure to Metals in Laundered Shop Towels,” by Kimberly Dennis MacDougall, a research scientist at Kimberly-Clark, rounded out the opening session.

• A Markets & Trends session focused on the demands of consumers and retailers in the wipes category. Presentations included “European Wipe Trends Moving to the U.S.,” by Ian Bell, of Euromonitor International and “The Retailer’s Point of View” from Dan Mack of Swanson Group.

• A “Wipe Packaging Trends and Sustainability” session featured a presentation by Edward Fabiszak, of Sussex IM. Rob Wallace, of Wallace Church introduced the audience to “Design Thinking” as a way to develop new products. Presentations also came from George Savage, of CalRecovery; Susan Stansbury, of Converting Influence; INDA’s director of technical affairs, Steve Ogle; and Robert Villee, executive director of the Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority & chairman and member of the Collection Systems Committee, WEF.

• WOW 2012 finished with a ses­sion on New Materials, featuring presentations on “A Tale of Two Industries and Their Sustainable Futures,” by Adrian Wilson, editor of Sustainable Nonwovens magazine; “Potential Development of a New Cotton-based Antimicrobial Wipe,” by Brian Condon, PhD, research leader, SRRC-ARS-USDA; “Nonwoven Wipes: Skin Barrier Improvement Using Na­tural Jojoba Esters,” by Tiffany Oliphant, clinical services manager, Flo­ra­tech and “Binder Tech­nology for Wipes” by Maureen Nunn of The Dow Chemical Company.

Suominen to shut spunlace lines

Following the purchase of the Ahlstrom wipes business, Suominen has completed plans for a performance improvement program in its Nakkila, Finland, facility. According to the company, operations at the site will be sharpened by the closing of production lines and the streamlining of administrative and support staff. It is expected that 76 employees will be impacted under the plan, which was to be implemented this summer.

Executives said the closure of one thermal bond line and one spunlace machine will lead to a write down of about €3 million and will result in improvement of the site’s overall profitability.

Suominen’s acquisition of Ahl­strom’s wipes business last year propelled it to a top position in the global spunlace market by tripling its sales and providing the company with manufacturing assets in North America, Europe and Brazil. Prior to the acquisition, Nakkila was Suo­minen’s only nonwovens manufacturing site.

Andritz spunlace line coming to India

Machinery specialist Andritz has received an order to supply a new Jetlace nonwovens production line for Precot Meridian, Coimbatore, India. The line will produce spunlace fabrics for the hygiene and medical industries and is scheduled to start up in the first quarter of 2013. The investment includes a complete Andritz Perfojet Jetlace line, a unit for the production of customized fabrics with patterns and logos as well as a high-efficiency filtration system designed for specialized fibers and fiber recycling equipment.

Precot Meridian, a leading manufacturer of yarn and fabrics with annual revenues of more than $120 million, announced its intention to diversify into nonwovens this spring. At the time of the announcement, executives indicated plans to become an important player in the cosmetic pad market with a new nonwovens operation in the southern state of Karnataka in India. “This greenfield project will be an integrated plant with processing, nonwovens lines and finishing machines,” says Ashok Kulkarni, CEO of the new division. “Major machinery has been ordered and Precot will start with trial production of cotton pads in January 2013.”

Nan Liu to open spunlace line in China

Nan Liu Enterprise is opening a 6.2-meter wide spunlace line at its facilities in Pinghu, China, near Shanghai. According to the company, the line will be the largest/ widest spunlace machine in the world. Production is expected to begin the third quarter of 2013. The company also plans to become a publicly traded company by early next year. The main objective of the new line, which accompanies an existing 4.5-meter spunlace line in Pinghu, is to meet growing demand in Asia for wet wipes.

Portable feminine wipes introduced

New from healthy hoo hoo are pH- balanced, fragrance-free, paraben- free feminine wipes. Designed to add some freshness to a woman’s “most precious parts,” these wipes are made to complement a wo­man’s natural chemistry and are being billed as a perfectly portable last-minute refresher that are great for travel, camping or yoga.

SCA wipes gain flush certification

NSF International, an independent global organization that writes standards, and tests and certifies products for the water, food and consumer goods industries, has certified SCA’s TENA Flushable Washcloths (adult-sized wipes) to be flushable—under the NSF Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program. The NSF “Certified Flushable” mark on certified TENA Flushable Washcloths helps buyers differentiate between flushable and non-flushable products by eliminating confusion.

While overall wipes usage has increased at a rate of 10% per year, flushable wipes only make up roughly 5% of the overall wipes category, according to experts. Yet, wastewater treatment facilities face increased challenges as a result of non-flushable wipes products entering treatment systems through toilets, which leads to clogging and other negative effects on wastewater collection and treatment systems that can increases costs.

NSF International’s Flushable Consumer Products Certification Program provides third-party verification of flushability claims against recognized industry standards for flushable products. Certified flushable products will bear the “NSF Certified Flushable” mark, demonstrating compliance with NSF’s stringent criteria. The mark indicates whether certified products are suitable for a sewer system, a septic system or both. Products covered by the program include nonwoven consumer products such as baby/adult wipes and napkins.

To earn certification, SCA partnered with wipes maker Rockline Industries, which manufactures TENA Flushable Washcloths. NSF scientists tested product samples provided by Rockline to ensure they meet the requirements of the program. Rockline’s facilities were also subject to an audit to verify that products are being manufactured to approved specifications and adhere to proper safety and quality checks.

Tom Bruursema, general manager of NSF International’s Sustainability Division, says, “SCA and Rock­line are leading the way for their industry, demonstrating their commitment to supporting safer wastewater treatment systems through eliminating confusion in the marketplace regarding flushable products.”

The NSF program evaluates products against a rigorous flushability guidance document developed by industry experts from trade associations INDA and EDANA.

Eco-friendly wipes launched

Cardia Bioplastics, and emerging or­ganic skin care company, Ecocare, have partnered to produce a world first in the skin care industry—eco-friendly facial wipes enclosed in eco-friendly packaging. These bio­degradable facial wipes are made from 100% natural certified organic cotton and the packaging incorporates Cardia’s renewable and recyclable Biohybrid resin, which is derived from renewable resources. The resulting “green” combination has a significantly lower carbon footprint than its competitors. “There is a growing trend for companies to look at ways to reduce the impact of their operations on the environment,” says Frank Glatz, managing director of Cardia Bio­plastics. “Our thermoplastic starch resins have a high renewable content—when they are incorporated into standard packaging or plastic products, the carbon footprint is reduced by up to 50%.”

Cardia’s Biohybrid resins combine renewable thermoplastics with oil-based polymer material to reduce dependence on finite oil resources and to reduce carbon footprint. The renewable material is derived from non-genetically modified corn crop grown for industrial use. Furthermore, they are compatible with current plastic recycling processes, are food safe compliant and have official Halal certification.

“Environmental sustainability is engrained in the Ecocare business model and our range of skin care wipes have been built around this philosophy,” says Callan Taylor, marketing director of Ecocare. “We are looking forward to working with Cardia to access environmentally-friendly and renewable packaging that complements our products and our principles.

“Globally, we will be the first manufacturer of organic wet wipes to use renewable packaging solutions. It is a huge coup for us and offers strong product differentiation,” Taylor adds.   

Lenzing launches Tencel Skin

Lenzing has launched Tencel Skin, the first product made of Tencel that is designed for moisturizing face masks in the beauty market. Tencel Skin is natural, biodegradable and compostable. The cellulose fibers featuring a high purity level are made from renewable raw wood materials, which are sourced from responsibly managed forests. The unique nano-fibril structure of Tencel Skin provides optimum compatibility with lotion, the company says.

“We are constantly seeking exciting new end uses for our sustainable fibers, as well as developing new fiber types,” says Wolfgang Plasser, vice president and general manager, Business Unit Nonwovens. “Lenzing, as a leader in fiber innovation, makes considerable investments each year in research and development.”

Leading maker of cosmetic products, Kose, has chosen to use Tencel Skin in its new Kose Cosmeport Clear Turn face mask range. "Using Tencel from Lenzing helps Kose Cosmetport to deliver the highest quality cosmetic product to our customers while the FSC logo ensures we maintain our corporate commitment to preserve the global environment," says a Kose spokesperson.

Tencel is used in a composite structure within the mask to effectively deliver facial lotion ingredients to the skin surface. Active ingredients in the mask are specifically designed to meet different skin needs. Tencel's smooth surface and purity fiber ensures gentleness in use to promote repeated treatment, according to the company.