Bowling Green, OH 43402
Tel. (419) 352-1482
Fax (419) 352-8340
Gelok International, a manufacturer of superabsorbent laminates and airlaids, was founded in the early 1980s by small business owners Lee and Jim Mitchell. Since 1961, the Mitchell’s have been the owners of Principle Business Enterprises, Inc. (PBE), a Northwest Ohio manufacturer and distributor of foam hospital slippers and incontinence products. They had started PBE as a way to make a significant difference in the lives of their customers, and the foundation of Gelok International offered an opportunity to innovate in the adult incontinence market.
PBE’s mission is “to be a principle-centered business that uplifts, enlightens, and enriches the lives of those it serves so that they can live more abundantly.” In the early 1980s, this overriding desire to improve people’s lives led the company to explore better solutions to assist in managing the often-debilitating condition of incontinence. The company began development on a unique pad and pant system using an absorbent laminate developed by a leading chemical company. A new venture, under the name Gelok International, began producing laminates used for incontinence products sold under the brand name Tranquility. The success of Tranquility products prompted research into additional consumer and health care applications that would find effective solutions for managing excessive moisture and offensive odors.
Gelok International has two principal absorbent technologies: lamination of absorbent cores using high temperature and pressure, marketed as Gelok, and a hydrogen-bonded airlaid, marketed as TotalCore.
Gelok laminates are predominantly cellulose-based tissues hydrogen-bonded with superabsorbent polymers (SAP), though they can be made with specialized nonwovens and adhesives. “They are ultrathin and can have very high absorbency capability,” says Steve Lazenby, business development manager, Gelok. “This makes them ideal for a diverse range of markets including wound care, puppy pads, filtration, medical and food packaging.”
Gelok’s TotalCore airlaid products launched last year after the company installed state-of-the-art airlaid equipment at a new production facility at its Dunbridge, OH, headquarters. TotalCore airlaid products include fluff-pulp with the SAP, making them softer and pliable, with superior wicking characteristics. “These attributes make them perfect for skin sensitive applications such as feminine hygiene, incontinence products and wound care dressings,” Lazenby explains. “Additionally, the superior wicking and softness of TotalCore airlaid enhances the performance of meat and fruit pads.”
Gelok has seen significant growth in all of the markets it serves, particularly in the wound care market. In fact, the recent certification of its quality management system to ISO 9000-2015 has opened up several opportunities within the highly regulated wound care industry. “Health professionals realize the benefits of applying super absorbents in wound dressings for severe, chronic wounds,” Lazenby says.
Looking to the future, Gelok is optimistic and has plans to work on a substantial list of R&D projects for both laminates and airlaid products, including exploring the properties of alternative nonwovens and absorbent materials.
“The markets are showing significant growth and we expect a sizeable expansion over the next five to 10 years through Gelok’s current portfolio and products in the R&D pipeline,” Lazenby says.