North Carolina, United States – INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, recently wrapped up its 10th annual World of Wipes® (WOW) International Conference June 7-10 with attendees and board members giving the program content, speaker presentations, and networking high praise.This year’s conference held at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Chicago attracted more than 400 registrants to discuss business in wipes, and receive information from over 25 valuable presentations, and interact during receptions, breaks, and organized dinners. Coming on the heels of IDEA16, the world’s preeminent event for nonwovens and engineered fabrics, the turnout demonstrated the strength of the nonwovens wipe sector.
“The attendance surpassed all prior WOW Conferences held during an IDEA year, which was just five weeks earlier,” said INDA President Dave Rousse. “The strong growth and innovation in the wipes industry continues with no signs of abatement. We’re seeing wipes with extreme creativity in usage and design, as well as elegant inline converting with multi-functional packaging and enhanced performance.”
Attendees reported that they valued the new connections they made with participants who were unique in their interest of wipes. WOW is the only conference dedicated entirely to wipes.
According to INDA, WOW participants were engaged and attentive, gaining valuable insights in the global wipes business spanning all facets of the value chain, including flush-ability, manufacturing, packaging, standards, consumer awareness, equipment, and market trends.
Kicking off with an indoor and outdoor welcome reception sponsored by Kimberly-Clark Professional, featuring seafood and pasta stations along with a string quintet playing popular rock songs, the atmosphere throughout WOW encouraged face-to-face interactions.
Participants connected directly with hundreds of wipes professionals during receptions, tabletop displays, networking breaks, and optional opportunities for a Speed Networking luncheon and Dinner with an Industry Thought Leader, which participants said presented an “amazing opportunity for networking.”
Preceding the conference, INDA’s Wipes Academy was presented by Rob Johnson, PE, Principal, Smith, Johnson & Associates. The Academy is the first and only comprehensive wipes training for the entire wipes supply chain.
Tec Laboratories’ Tecnu Bites & Stings Medicated Itch and Pain Relief Wipes was the recipient of this year’s World of Wipes Innovation Award®. The annual award recognizes the product that most expands the use of nonwovens and demonstrates creativity, novelty, uniqueness, and technical sophistication within the entire nonwoven wipes value chain. Other finalists were: Kleenex Facial Cleansing Wipes from Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Keyser Cleaning Wipes from Kyser Musical Products.
Speaker highlights of WOW16 included:
- Walmart’s U.S. Manufacturing Initiative – Joe Quinn, Senior Director, Public Affairs and Government Relations of Walmart Stores gave the keynote address to a standing-room only audience. His compelling presentation focused on how the world’s largest retailer is supporting U.S. manufacturing by working with companies to manufacture onshore, boost sales of U.S.-made products, and source locally for materials and products.
- Flushability Opportunities and Challenges – INDA’s Rousse provided an update on the progress being made through collaboration, and perspectives on the threats to its flush-able wipes sector, including lawsuits, legislative and regulatory activity, and global standards development, with a more optimistic view of potential end-points to the major issues.
- A “Fireside Chat” on Navigating the Regulatory Minefield with five experts in the area, from microbiologist to EPA Team Leader.
- Packaging Insights and Ideas – Presentations that were particularly timely and relevant included: Scott Hetherton of HFM Packaging, Ltd. on label bonds for peel and reseal packaging; Martin Johnson of Nypro on connecting to the Internet for reordering; and Stacy Fields, DOW Packaging and Specialty Plastics, on recyclable flexible packaging for wipes.