An August 14 article in Nonwovens Industry outlined the many advantages of tailored finishes for hygiene nonwovens. Author Claire Vadas argues that the increasing global population coupled with medical advances which allow the population to live longer and longer means that the hygiene product market will continue to expand in the coming years. This means that companies producing diapers, adult incontinence products and feminine hygiene products need to somehow differentiate their products from competitors.
Vadas claims that the final finish, called the fiber finish, offers advantages to the final product, including absorbency, softness, antistatic or antimicrobial benefits, and more. She outlines a series of testing procedures developed by ISO to validate hygiene nonwoven fiber finishes.
1. Improving strike-through and repeat strike-throughThe strike-through time is the time necessary for a known volume of liquid to go through a treated nonwoven fabric to the absorbent medium below. In hygiene products, a low strike-through time gets the moisture away from the skin quickly. So, in effect, the final finish used on the nonwoven fabric needs to lower the surface tension of the liquid so that it will pass through more quickly.
2. Lowering rewetThere is a balance between lowering the surface tension of the liquid to enable it to pass through the nonwoven quickly and not allowing the liquid to go through too quickly. If it does, the fabric will not retain the liquid, leak and rewet the skin. Low rewet is necessary to prevent leakage and irritation of the skin.
3. Eluate surface tension
Fiber finish quality can also be determined by measuring the loss in surface tension caused by the finish. Again, the finish needs to lower the surface tension enough to allow for rapid transfer from the topsheet to the absorption material below. However, the surface tension can’t be so low that there untreated areas of the product, like leg or waist cuffs, get wet.
4. CytotoxicityHygiene products manufacturers need to be highly aware of the skin sensitivity of their products. The ISO tests give final finishes a cytotoxicity rating of 0 (no cells damaged) to 4 (>70% of cells damaged). Obviously, low cytotoxicity ensures a skin-sensitive finish.
Hygiene product manufacturers should be aware of how the final finishes affect the overall performance of their products. Work with your nonwovens manufacturer to secure the right fiber finish for your end-use product. Please read Vadas' complete article for more detailed information.
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