“This year’s WOW conference offered one of the best combinations of networking opportunities, conference content, quality of attendees, and meeting venues of all WOW events,” says Nick Santoleri, VP of Operations, Rockline Industries.
INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, wrapped up its 11th annual World of Wipes (WOW) International Conference on June 15 with participants and board members giving the program content, speaker presentations, and networking high praise.
“This year’s strong turnout reinforces the dynamic growth in this segment. Wipes professionals from 20 countries convened for three days to make valuable business connections and keep up on the exceptional technology and continued innovation in this industry,” says Dave Rousse, INDA president.
On the first day of the conference, Rob Johnson, principal of Smith, Johnson & Associates moderated day one Wipes Academy, which is centered on every facet of the multibillion dollar wipes product and marketing sector, from raw materials, converting, wet and dry wipes to medical, industrial, and consumer wipes. The course is essential for technical and management professionals interested in learning the research, development, and manufacturing of wipes. The academy was held for two full days.
Kicking off the conference was a blue-ribbon panel of sustainability experts from Walgreens Boots Alliance, Suominen, The Sustainability Consortium, Burt’s Bees, Rockline Industries and the Procter & Gamble Company with global perspectives on wipes sourcing, communications, R&D, manufacturing, and environmental stewardship.
“It was great to get a summary of regulatory and legal issues in a few hours of talks…it probably saved me days of reading and tracking down information,” says John F. Poccia III, associate R&D director, Platform Research Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc.
The panel was followed by a Natural Opportunities session featuring speakers from NatureWorks and Floratech as well as a session on Today’s Consumers, with presentations from Kit Yarrow of Golden Gate University and Svetlana Uduslivaia of Euromonitor International.
Later that day, Brad Van Pay of Georgia-Pacific moderated a Government Affairs session with talks from Jessica Franken, director of INDA Government Affairs and Brad Kalil, INDA’s director of market research and statistics.
Day two began with two material science sessions where executives from Jacob Holm, Truetzschler Nonwoven, Thomson Research Associates, Lenzing, Clorox and Burt’s Bees discussed new developments for the wipes industry. The afternoon session featured an environmental hot spot session and a session on product claims.
The third and final day of the conference was devoted to flushability featuring updates on industry efforts involving flushability, new labeling processes and testing requirements. During this session, a panel of speakers well-versed on the nonwovens industry’s efforts to keep unsafe items out of the toilet spoke on topics including the status of the fourth edition of flushability guidelines (GD4), its relationship with the wastewater industry and new initiatives like the Responsible Flushing Alliance. Despite the fact that this session was held on the final day of the conference, attendees came out in force to learn about this important issue.
“The World of Wipes conference has become a nexus for professionals in wipes markets to meet, discuss, share, and enjoy the camaraderie in this important and growing global market,” says Janet O’Regan, director Nonwovens Marketing, Cotton Incorporated.
Participants connected face-to-face with hundreds of wipes professionals during the Kimberly-Clark sponsored Welcome Reception on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry. Live music provided an informal atmosphere to connect with fellow wipes professionals. Evening receptions, tabletop displays, networking breaks, and Dining with Industry Thought Leaders facilitated the face-to-face interactions that underpin business success.
Berry Plastics’ Chicopee Microfiber Floor Care System was the recipient of this year’s World of Wipes Innovation Award. Other finalists were Elsner Engineering’s Glueless Tail Tie for rolled wipes and Kimberly-Clark Corporation’s Huggies Natural Care Extra Sensitive Baby Wipes. The annual award recognizes the product that most expands the use of nonwovens and demonstrates creativity, novelty, uniqueness, and technical sophistication within the entire nonwovens wipes value chain.
INDA announced that WOW 2018 will be held June 5-8, at the Sheraton Grand in Chicago, IL. In July, the association issued a call for papers for the event. Brief abstract summaries within one or two paragraphs in length, detailing the relationship of the research to wipes or wipe manufacturing including contact information (phone and email) should be emailed to Deanna Lovell, firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, visit inda.org.