1. Kimberly-Clark Invests in Thinx
In September, the Wall Street Journal reported that U by Kotex maker Kimberly-Clark invested $25 million in Thinx, a maker of reusable period underwear. The investment is expected to get the online brand into more mainstream retailers like Target and Walmart, and will also enable the startup to launch a lower-cost line of period underwear.
In 2015, Thinx launched incontinence underwear Icon, now called Speax, and in September, the company launched the more absorbent Thinx Super, which can serve as a complete replacement to tampons and pads.
2. Pampers Launches No-Tape Diaper Pants in the U.S.
Already a popular style in Asia, P&G launched no-tape baby diapers in the U.S. last year. Pampers Cruisers 360 FIT feature a comfortable all-around stretchy waistband in sizes 3 through 6. The diapers feature Pampers’ Air-Dry Channels for breathable dryness and up to 12 hours of protection, as well as Dual Leak-Guard Barriers that gently seal around baby’s legs to protect where leaks happen most.
3. Welspun to Launch Filtration Solutions for Global Market
At last year’s Filtech, Welspun Advanced Textiles Division, the Technical Textiles arm of $2.3 billion Welspun Group, launched its Engineered Nonwoven Filtration Solutions to the global market.
“Innovation and sustainability have always been Welspun’s forte and major driving forces to emerge as one of the key advanced textiles players in the global arena. Filtration is such a segment which perfectly fits in our values,” says Milind Hardikar, director, group strategic initiatives and business head, Advanced Textiles Division, Welspun Group.
Backed by the Andritz’s specially customized needlepunch line additionally integrated with Specialty Quadra Punching technology, Welspun is today one of top filtration solution providers in India.
4. Pampers Develops Smart Diaper System
P&G is one of the latest companies to get into the smart diaper market. In July it announced the development of the world's first all-in-one connected care system, Lumi by Pampers, in partnership with Verily and Logitech.
A high-definition video monitor and an activity sensor that attaches to the diaper automatically track wet diapers and sleep, and baby’s feeding and other key milestones can be added through the app. With the all-in-one system, parents can monitor their baby’s unique patterns and see emerging routines.
5. P&G Acquires Natural Femcare Brand L.
In February, P&G acquired This Is L., owner of L. products, to meet growing consumer demands for period products in the naturals segment. Its portfolio primarily includes tampons, pads, liners and wipes made with organic cotton. P&G also expanded its natural femcare lineup in May with the launches of Tampax Pure, an organic tampon option, and Always Pure pads, which are free of dyes, fragrances, and chlorine bleaching.
6. Brandless Adds Baby Care Line
Brandless.com, a direct-to-consumer, community-led brand, introduced a new baby care category last January. The first items that launched within the new category included premium diapers designed to be gentle on both baby and the earth, offering 12-hour protection, a snug fit and no latex, lotion, fragrance or chlorine processing, as well as plant-based baby wipes that are gentle on baby’s skin.
7. Huggies Launches Special Delivery Diapers
In July, Kimberly-Clark’s Huggies brand debuted a line of diapers that are partially made with plant-based materials. Huggies Special Delivery diapers feature a baby-side liner and waistband made with fibers derived from plant-based materials such as sugarcane, carefully selected to help provide superior absorption and fit. They are free of parabens, fragrance and elemental chlorine, and dermatologically tested and clinically proven hypoallergenic for baby's delicate skin.
8. Diaper Recycling Technology Commissions Factory Waste Recycling Machine
In June, Diaper Recycling Technology announced it had successfully built and commissioned its first large-scale factory waste recycling machine. The new technology converts clean QC rejected diapers back into their original material formats, SAP, pulp and plastic. This is a significant milestone for the company as this achievement amalgamates the learnings of a significant R&D effort into a single machine and also scales the process from 80 kg/hour to 400 kg/hour, the company said.
9. Drylock Completes Czech Expansion
In May, Drylock Technologies added a second production site in Hradek nad Nisou, Czech Republic. According to CEO Bart Van Malderen, the new investment has enabled the Belgium-based company to increase its workforce and annual sales by more than half. In addition to baby diapers, the plants produce incontinence materials, which are supplied to both retailers and healthcare providers.
Drylock’s expansion was part of an ambitious European investment, announced by the company in April 2018, which also included construction of a new site in Segovia, Spain. Reportedly, the €200 million investment was largely prompted by the success of its Magical Tubes channel technology.
10. Shalag to Acquire Texsus
Last year, Shalag Industries acquired 100% of the shares of Texsus, a manufacturer of air-through bonded nonwovens and laminated products primarily for the hygiene market. The acquisition makes Shalag Group a large, global producer of air-through bonded nonwovens with three production sites in Israel, North Carolina and Italy. Its production capacity is now close to 60,000 tons per year.