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Wipes Market Watch Spring 2012



Recent news in the wipes market moves the industry forward. Suominen, Ahlstrom deal makes new leader in wipes



By Nonwovens Industry Staff



Published April 14, 2012
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In late 2011, Finland-based Suominen bought fellow spunlace producer Ahlstrom, making it the world’s largest provider of wipes substrate material in the world. The move was reportedly in line with Ahlstrom’s strategy of focusing on more technical markets.


Ahlstrom’s Hydraspun flushable spunlace
is one of the well-known brands now sold
by Suominen.
“Both companies had complementary and also different technologies and manufacturing capabilities to bring together a more complete product offering for our new and potential customers,” says Alistair Brown, director of marketing and communications for Suominen. “We offer the most comprehensive range of nonwovens from standard spunlace to different composite technologies serving the widest range of applications.”

Brown worked at Ahlstrom prior to the merger. During recent years, Ahlstrom had spent a lot of time and money building its global spunlace business, acquiring operations from Green Bay Nonwovens in Wisconsin, Orlandi in Italy and Fiberweb in North Carolina and Spain while at the same time investing in greenfield plants in Brazil and elsewhere.

These plants will continue to operate under the Suominen umbrella, which also includes an operation in Tampere, Finland. Executives said there are no plans for consolidation at this time however, Ahlstrom had streamlined some of its operations in Italy prior to the sale.

The acquisition also combined the two companies’ wiping technologies, which includes Ahlstrom’s Hydra­spun flushable substrate and Biolace, Suominen’s environmentally friendly spunlace nonwovens. Brown says these well-known brands will likely remain due to their ability to differentiate themselves in the marketplace. Meanwhile, lesser-known brand names will likely be reviewed as the company considers the product and technology portfolio in the future.

“As a new and larger company we are able to provide our combined customers with an even broader range of manufacturing technologies and production location flexibility,” Brown adds. “This means we can satisfy customer demands and efficiently. Part of the scale efficiencies have been realized already and the rest will be realized mostly during 2012.”

In 2010, Ahlstrom’s wipes business reportedly generated about €291 million in sales and €6.1 million in profits. After a period of investment beginning in 2007, in early 2009 Fiberweb made its first consolidation within wipes when it closed its Gallarate, Italy spunlace facility as well as one line in Cressa. The next year, the company closed another spunlace facility in Carbonate, Italy.

Amid these closings, Ahlstrom seemed bullish about wipes. In May 2011, the company said the Americas, Europe and Asia continue to provide growth opportunities for Ahlstrom in the wipes market.

Meanwhile, Suominen has faced struggles within its business. In 2010, the company said it had experienced a 4% increase in sales after a few years of flat or declining results. However, its ownership of Suominen Codi Wipes division has kept its presence within wipes strong. At the time of the acquisition, general manager Juha Jokinen said, “Needless to say, we are truly excited about the acquisition. Together with the assets, products and technologies purchases, our ability to serve our current and future customers on a global basis has improved significantly.”

Russian wipes maker chooses Lenzing

Russian wipes ma­ker Avangard has chosen Len­zing Viscose fi­bers for its latest baby care product. The Pam­perino baby care wet wipes range aims to meet the needs of both babies and parents.

“From our ex­perience, we know that only the best is good enough for sensitive baby skin,” says
Oleg Ryabo­shapka. “In addition, our wipes need to be especially convenient to allow parents to act quickly when necessary.”

The leading wet wipes producer in Russia, Avangard has 10 of its own trade brands as well as an established contract manufacturing business. “It is important for me to allow consumers to make an informed decision,” Ryaboshapka says. “I fully believe in the benefits of Lenzing Vis­cose and therefore feature the brand on the package as well as in our production activities.”

Tufco expands

Tufco Technologies, a contract manufacturer of wet and dry wipes, has added a new canister line to its operation. The new Elsner ENR-1000 re­winder is reportedly very flexible and will give Tufco the increased capacity needed to support growth while decreasing waste and downtime.

“We are ecstatic to add this piece of equipment to Tufco’s already sizeable portfolio of assets,” says John Michaud, Tufco’s vice president of sales and marketing.
Based in Green Bay, WI, Tufco has manufacturing sites in Wisconsin and North Carolina.

Rockline achieves zero-landfill status in Arkansas

Rockline Industries, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of wet wipes and coffee filter products, announced that it had achieved “zero-landfill” status at its manufacturing facilities in Springdale, AR, and Booneville, AR.

“Over the past three years, Rockline has proven its commitment to environmental sustainability through a number of initiatives. By taking our Arkansas facilities to zero-landfill, we have reinforced this commitment,” says Nick Santoleri, Rockline’s vice president of global wet wipes manufacturing. “But zero-landfill is only the first step in dealing with the solid waste our facilities generate, and we will continue to focus our efforts on eliminating waste at its source.”

Through its partnership with Marck Recycling, all waste leaving Rockline’s two Arkansas facilities will be diverted from conventional landfills and will either be recycled or incinerated for energy recapture. The waste-to-energy incineration will provide power to both residences and businesses in Tulsa, OK.

“Taking the Springdale facility to zero-landfill hasn’t been easy, and it has required a lot of hard work from many of our associates,” adds Michael Gray, the facilities manager of Rockline’s Springdale plant. “I’m proud of this accomplishment as we do our part to divert our waste from landfill.”

Overall, Rockline estimates that 4000 tons of solid waste will be diverted from landfills every year.

The zero-landfill initiative will help Rockline meet its aggressive goal of reducing its landfill rate — the percentage of solid waste sent to landfill — by 5 percentage points by 2015.

The landfill reduction goal is one of the many objective, quantifiable targets that Rockline has set as part of its corporate environmental sustainability program. Rockline also has goals for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions, energy use, wastewater, solid waste, landfill rate and transportation emissions. All of the goals are publicly available on Rockline’s corporate website at www.rocklineind.com.

Founded in 1976 and headquartered in Sheboygan, WI, Rockline Industries is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of coffee filters and wet wipes. The company employs approximately 2,000 people worldwide. Rockline also has manufacturing facilities in Sheboygan, WI; Montville, NJ; Redditch, UK; and Guangdong, China.

Bissell pad takes home Visionary Award

Designed to make cleaning carpet stains easy and simple, the Stomp ‘N Go Stain
Lifting Pad from Bissell Homecare received the 2012 Visionary Award, presented at the Vision 2012 Consumer Products Conference in New Orleans, LA in January. Now in its eleventh year, the Visionary Award is given to a new consumer product that utilizes nonwoven fabrics in its final form.


Bissell’s Stomp ‘N Go pad took home the
2012 Visionary Award in January.
The Stomp ‘N Go was selected over three other finalists by the attendees at the conference. Attracting more than 340 attendees from around the world, the event once again focused attention on the role of nonwovens in consumer products ranging from diapers, feminine hygiene and incontinence products to home air filters, facial products, dryer sheets, cleaning products, packaging and, of course, wipes.

The four finalists made presentations during Vision and conference attendees voted on the winner.

The user simply places one of the pre-moistened pads onto the spot, gives it a good stomp, and then watches as the stain begins to absorb into the pad. Stomp 'N Go pads use an oxy-based formula to lift and remove most spots and stains within 30 minutes.

The other three 2012 Visionary Award finalists were BandZorb disposable headwear liners, IntelliDent Toothbrush Holder and O’Cedar ProMist Disposable Floor cleaning pad, from Tietex International.

The 2013 Vision Consumer Products heads to Orlando, FL in 2013 where it will be held January 29-31 at the Hilton Walt Disney Resort.

WOW awards coming up

Nominations are open for the World of Wipes Innovation Award, one of the many highlights of the 2012 World of Wipes (WOW) International Conference in Chicago in June.

The fifth annual World of Wipes Innovation Award will honor innovative advances within the entire wipes value chain, including raw materials and ingredients, roll goods, machinery, packaging and finished products. Finalists will make presentations during the Con­ference and attendees will vote on the recipient of the 2012 World of Wipes Innovation Award.

The deadline for nominations is April 20.

Organized by INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, the annual World of Wipes (WOW) International Conference, set for June 5-7 at the Hotel InterContinental in Chicago, IL, will focus exclusively on the business and technology of wipes—from raw materials to substrates to converting and end-use applications—during three days of seminars and networking.

The World of Wipes Innovation Award recognizes and rewards industry members who bring new and value-added processes and products to the wipes’ marketplace. Created to encourage innovative processes and products anywhere along the wipes’ value-chain, the World of Wipes Innovation Award is open to all nonwoven fabric manufacturers, raw material and packaging suppliers, converters and end-product producers.

More information: Helena Lee, Suite 115, 1100 Crescent Green, Cary, NC 27518; hlee@inda.org.

SCA buys G-P’s EU tissue operation

SCA has purchased Georgia-Pacific’stissue operations, a division that reported 2010 sales of €1.25 billion. The price of the deal has been reported at €1.32 billion.

“The deal is a strategic fit and will strengthen our product offering and geographic reach in Europe,” says Jan Johansson, president and CEO of SCA.

G-P has a well-established presence in Europe in both away-from-home and consumer tissue products. Their products in both segments are marketed under the well-known Lotus brand.

Consumer tissue accounts for 60% of sales while away-from-home accounts for 30% of sales. Personal care products like cotton pads and facial cleansing wipes represent 5%.

WOW agenda announced

Opportunities and challenges facing the global industrial and consumer wipes’ business are the focus of the 2012 World of Wipes (WOW) International Conference, set for June 5-7 at the Hotel InterContinental in Chicago, IL.

Expected to attract hundreds of participants from all links in the global wipes supply chain, WOW 2012 will provide three days of educational seminars and networking, along with the presentation of the prestigious World of Wipes Innovation Award, recognizing companies that bring new and value-added processes and products to the wipes’ marketplace.

WOW is organized by INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry. Now in its sixth year, WOW is the premier global wipes event for the nonwovens industry. 

The first session at WOW 2012 will focus on Industrial Strength Opportunities, with a presentation by INDA president Rory Holmes detailing “The Industrial Wiper Market – Growth & Opportunities,” followed by presentations on the “EPA Wiper Rule,” by INDA’s director of government affairs Jessica Franken and a presentation on “Worker Exposure to Metals in Laundered Shop Towels,” by Kimberly Dennis MacDougall, research scientist at Kimberly-Clark. 

The demands of consumers and retailers for the wipes category will be the subject of a Markets & Trends session. The session will include presentations on “European Wipe Trends Moving to the US,” by Ian Bell, head of Tissue, Hygiene and Home Care Research, Euromonitor International; and “The Retailer’s Point of View: What a Retailer Really Wants... and What They Really NEED,” by Tom Tobin, regional business development manager, Save-A-Lot Food Stores.

Among the other sessions on the agenda are “Wipe Packaging Trends and Sustainability,” Edward Fabiszak, vice president-sales and marketing, Sussex IM; “Best Practices of Applying Design-Thinking to Business Issues,” Rob Wallace, managing partner, Wallace Church; “Overview of International Developments Related to Solid Waste Management,” George Savage, executive vice president, CalRecovery.

Also on the WOW program is the “International Treatment of Waste Wipes,” Susan Stansbury, director, Converting Influence; “Flushable and Non-Flushable Products Impact Report,” Steve Ogle, technical director, INDA; and “Effect of Non-Flushable Wipes on Wastewater Collection Systems and Pump Stations,” Robert Villee, executive director—Plainfield Area Regional Sewerage Authority & Chairman— Collection Systems Committee, WEF. 

Closing WOW 2012 will be a session on New Materials, featuring presentations on “A Tale of Two Industries and Their Sustainable Futures,” by Adrian Wilson, editor, Sustainable Nonwovens Magazine; “Potential Development of a New Cotton-based Antimicrobial Wipe,” Brian Condon, Research Leader, SRRC-ARS-USDA; and “Nonwoven Wipes: Skin Barrier Improvement Using Natural Jojoba Esters,” Tiffany Oliphant, MS, CCRC, clinical services manager, Floratech, Project Manager, Florachem.

Lonza launches disinfectant wipe product

Lonza Microbial Control’s Hygiene and Preservation business is launching its new Wipes Plus disinfecting wipes for both household and healthcare environments. Initially developed for the US market, Wipes Plus has been approved for use by the US EPA.

Lonza’s Wipes Plus offers three major advantages to customers:
(1) More efficacy claims in terms of eliminating pathogens than any competitive product; (2) Fast, four-minute contact kill time, down from the industry-standard 10 minutes; and (3) the Wipes Plus formulation may be used with many different substrates, including a cellulose-based dispersible substrate that readily breaks downin water, making it easier to effectively dispose of the wipes.
Now available for supplemental registration to wipe converters and wipe marketers.



Rockline Honors Jacob Holm
At Vision 2012, Rockline Industries honored Jacob Holm Industries with its Supplier Innovation Award for 2011, which recognizes exceptional performance in the areas of product and process uniqueness, technological advancement, speed to market, sustainability and value.

Richard Knowlson, Holm’s global director of product development, accepted the award at Rockline’s Nonwovens Supplier Presentation, held in conjunction with INDA’s Vision 2012 conference in New Orleans, LA.

“We are pleased to present Jacob Holm Industries with this year’s Supplier Innovation Award, a recognition of the outstanding innovation in nonwovens that they have brought and we have commercialized this past year,” says Nick Santoleri, president of Rockline Industries.

Previous recipients of this award are Ahlstrom and Global Solutions HK.


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