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The top new products of the past year: innovative entries range from gender specific and biodegradable diapers to sunscreen applicators to composite fabrics for electrical and filtration applications.

The Top New Products of the Past Year

innovative entries range from gender specific and biodegradable diapers to sunscreen applicators to composite fabrics for electrical and filtration applications The past 12 months have been a time when the industry's talk focused on composite nonwovens but its actions centered around variations of established products. Some of these alternatives--such as the new boy and girl "Luvs" disposable diapers and the degradable and dioxin-free diapers in the U.S. and Europe--were important enough to make our annual list of the top new products of the past year.

But the real new product news within the worldwide nonwovens industry continues to be made with the innovations that allow the technology to expand into uncharted territories. The majority of our top new products fall into that category.

* Spiffits wipes: A new line of household cleaning products was introduced last spring by Dow Chemical, Midland, MI. "Spiffits," which combine a disposable nonwoven towel with cleaners, promotes the concept of "one step cleaning" for the working woman. A Dow spokesperson said Spiffits are made through a proprietary nonwovens process, but would not elaborate. Spiffits were compared to Kimberly-Clark's "Once Overs," a disposable bathroom cleaning towel still in test market.

* Lantorine aluminum nonwoven: Reflectivity in a new satellite launched earlier this year is provided by a layer of "Lantorine," a highly reflective aluminum nonwoven from Lantor U.K. The nonwoven forms an integral part of the composite dish, which features a unique compression molded SMC plastic reinforced with glass fiber. Several European dish manufacturers are beginning to incorporate Lantorine into their products using both hand lay-up and compression molding processes.

* MicroInsorb absorbent pad: Providing more sizzle in bacon, a nonwoven absorbent pad called "MicroInsorb" from 3M's Packaging Systems Div. has been added inside each package of Hormel's Microwave Bacon product. The material absorbs the grease as the bacon microwaves, resulting in crisper, less greasy meat; it does not absorb moisture, so the bacon does not dry out.

* Luvs for Boys and Luvs for Girls: The experts said it couldn't be done, but the gender specific concept for disposable diapers has apparently been accepted by mothers in the U.S. and Europe. Last fall Procter & Gamble went national with the pink for girls and blue for boys versions (along with the strategically placed superabsorbent area). The retailers' unwillingness to devote more shelf space to another disposable diaper entry--which was seen as the primary hurdle P&G had to overcome--has apparently give way in the face of consumer acceptance; the private label suppliers in the U.S., however, have yet to commit the marketing and equipment resources to make the change. P&G has already expanded the concept to Europe, this time on its "Pampers" brand.

* Biodegradable, dioxin-free diapers: The first U.S. commercial move towards a biodegradable disposable diaper alternative was taken early this year by private label supplier Dafoe & Dafoe, which brought its Canadian product to Star Markets in New England in January under the "Ultra Nappies" trade name. It was said to be 92.4% biodegradable, although improvements have since been undertaken to bring that figure into the high 90% range. This entry was quickly followed by a Dafoe & Dafoe "dioxin-free" baby diaper using pulp from its Tembec parent. In Europe, the dioxin issue reached a boiling point with the introduction by Peaudouce of a CTMP pulp diaper called "Ultra Plus" in the U.K. and by P&G with an "environmentally safe" Pampers product. Both are telling mothers the slightly off-white color of their products means the diaper is better for the environment and contains no harmful dioxin.

* Paddies disposable changing pad: Fresh on the heels of its national introduction of a disposable baby bib, Playtex unveiled "Paddies" disposable changing pad. The 13 1/4 X 20 inch changing pad is polycoated on one side for barrier properties and absorbent on the other. National introduction took place last fall.

* Huggies Pull-Ups disposable training pants: For those children beyond diapers and ready for toilet training, Kimberly-Clark now offers "Huggies Pull-Ups" disposable training pants. The pants, said to be in development for five years, provide the absorption and protection of a disposable diaper but look and are worn like children's underwear. They are also intended for children with bedwetting problems. Manufactured at K-C's Paris, TX plant, the pants come in small, medium and large for children from 19 to 50 pounds.

* SunSense towelette: Sunscreen without the bottle is the concept being marketed by Solarcare, a one-year-old Bethlehem, PA company that markets "SunSense" disposable towelettes. This greaseless, SPF 15 product comes in a throw-away foil package; the nonwoven towelette is inserted into a laminate, injected with a sunscreen and heat sealed into a pouch. Primary users are outdoor enthusiasts such as skiers, golfers and bicyclers. A family of brands is planned for the next two to four years, including a combination sunscreen/insect repellent and a waterproof sunscreen formula.

* New Pig dust cloth: A dust cloth that "pigs out on dust" was introduced this spring from New Pig Corp., Tipton, PA. The dust cloth, made from a blend of DuPont's "Tyvek" and "Lycra," electrostatically attracts and collects dust. The 14 inch cloth is lint-free, requires no spray or liquids and can be machine washed and reused more than 300 times.

* Syntex-EL electrostatic nonwoven: "Syntex-EL," Mitsui Petrochemical's electret nonwovens, are now being used for air conditioner filters; the product was unveiled at Techtextil in Frankfurt, West Germany in June. Syntex-EL is made of electrostatically charged polypropylene film cut into ribbon fibers. It is currently being sold to Matsushita Electric and Sanyo Electric. Research efforts are focusing on upgrading Syntex to increase the warranty period.

* Super Sod: There are few new nonwoven products with the added volume potential of "Super Sod," a jute-based needlepunched nonwoven that serves as a dirt sod replacement. Basically, it is made by needlepunching grass seeds into the middle of a jute fiber structure. Product attributes include better germination, more growings, no dirt (lighter weight), biodegradability and faster installation. The product is produced by General Felt Industries.

* Enkavent radon control: Akzo Industrial Systems, Asheville, NC, has developed "Enkavent," a system to prevent radon gas from entering the home; it effectively filters the gas through a pipe to the outside of the house. The Enkavent matting is constructed of heat bonded nylon monofilament in a three dimensional, compression resistant configuration bonded to a polyester filter fabric. Enkavent is lightweight but stiff enough to hold up under concrete.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Title Annotation:Special Report: Markets for Nonwovens
Author:Jacobsen, Michael
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Aug 1, 1989
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