It revolutionized traditional production processes, incorporating raw cotton spunlace first that was made in a way where fiber length and toughness were not compromised and softness was improved.
With this new technology, Winner Medical was able to process cotton into cloth within two days, much shorter than previous methods. The new technology improved the production efficiency and reduced environment pollution and carbon emissions. The production process was done in the high standards of cleanroom and controlled by computer and monitored by a detection system to detect the heterogeneous fibers. The cotton spunlace nonwovens can be used for medical care, health care and home nursing applications.
In 2009, Winner opened three pilot chain stores in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, China to sell its PurCotton branded products.
The three chain stores are located in densely populated commercial areas with high visibility and significant foot traffic. Each store contains a broad range of PurCotton branded personal products and healthcare supplies, which include PurCotton sports bandages, cosmetic products, baby diapers, sanitary pads, baby wears, wipes, women’s underwear, bed sheets, curtains, pillows and related products. The concept stores specifically focus on offering customers a broad range of disposable, daily use products which will simplify customers’ shopping experiences. All of the products are made with 100% natural cotton.
Despite its success in the market, Winner Medical has shied away from establishing its name in disposable markets not just in China but also in Japan, a market known for its stringent, or even meticulous guidelines.
Winner Medical Co., Ltd. started its business in cotton yarn based medical products. However, using these fibers in these products was plagued with problems like broken fibers and dropped fluffs which made it difficult to maintain the soft, green, absorbency of cotton fiber. In 2005, Winner Medical invested in the development of 100% cotton spunlace nonwovens, which proved to be successful in 2007 with patterns approved and production scaled up.
“In the past years, Winner Medical invested a lot in human resources, physical resources, as well as time and money. Our production process was polished and fine adjusted after repeated test and verification with close cooperation and support of local equipment suppliers, this finally leads to the success of our patterned 100% cotton spunlace nonwovens in the market.” deputy manager Peng Xia explains. “The advantages of our products have been exhibited clearly in the PurCotton product lines and in medical products, and by the increasing acceptance of our customers and the market. In 2014, Winner Medical’s business started skyrocket growth.”
Since 2014, the order from new customers for 100% cotton spunlace nonwovens has increased dramatically, not to mention the demand from old customers. This drove the company’s annual sales volumes to continuously double. In this circumstance, the existing capacity of Winner Medical lagged far behind the fast growing market demand. “We soon realized this situation, and started to expand our capacity,” says Xia. “To date, basically, we can say, that we are well positioned to be able to meet the market demand of its 100% cotton spunlace nonwovens.”
Xia adds: “Currently, we can organize our capacity according to the market demand in advance. For example, we estimate the sales volume based on our own PurCotton brand and customers’ sales, as well the new order from new customers, and arrange the production accordingly. This enables us to respond to the market change flexibly and swiftly.”
Deep into the Application Market
The medical product line made of 100% cotton spunlace nonwovens provided by Winner Medical is designed to replace cotton yarn based products that are widely used in the medical segment, including surgical towels, disinfectant cotton sheets, gauze pads and masks, which have similar appearance and feel of the gauze. This eliminates the shortages such as fluff dropping and leads to improved surgical treatment quality and safety. Meanwhile, the 100% cotton spunlace nonwovens are very soft, absorbent, and are ideal for stopping bleeding as a wound dressing.
As the material combines the advantages of cotton and nonwovens, the medical products from Winner Medical are well accepted in the global market, including Japan, Europe and the U.S. According to the statistics from the China Chamber of Commerce of Medicines & Health Products Importers and Exporters, Winner Medical has been ranked No. 3 in medical dressings exporters in China for years.
In regards to the local market, Xia comments, “Compared with the advanced market, the demand for disposable medical products from the local medical industry is in the beginning stage, so, there is a big space for us to explore in terms of volume and applications. This, together with the huge population in China, gives us great confidence for future market potential. We believe that as the infection control awareness [grows] in medical community and the living standards keep improving, together with government support, the disposable medical products market will have a prospective future.”
In addition to its medical product series, Winner Medical provides three other product lines, including a hygiene product line, personal care product line and wipes.
In the hygiene product line, the company will introduce three new products in addition to its traditional offerings. The personal care product line includes substrates and final products, i.e., masks and makeup cotton, while the wipe product line includes industrial wipes, baby dry and wet wipes, as well as adult and household wipes.
Xia also talked about Winner Medical’s future plans, which will focus on industrial applications, i.e., filtration material, high temperature resistant material, geotextiles, etc. In addition, the company will also invest in fiber and nonwovens post treatment and other natural fiber application research and development.
As the pioneer of pure cotton spunlace nonwoven products, Xia says there are many newcomers and followers that are beginning to compete in the market. She expressed the confidence of Winner Medical, that the company does not worry about the competition from either the final products or the spunlace roll goods competitors. “Being ‘natural, green, comfortable and healthy’ is the philosophy we have adhered for all these years, which suits the consumers needs and the market trends very well. And we are confident in keeping our position as the industry leader in terms of product development, performance, diversity and service.”