Sanitary Napkin comes under Nonwoven fabrics segment which as a whole come under technical textile sector. Sanitary napkins constitute a major chunk of the technical textile usage in Meditex segment.
Sanitary napkins have come a long way since their first forms as bandages. The invention of cellucotton in World War I lead to the invention of sanitary napkins. Kotex, manufactured by Kimberly-Clark, was the first incarnation of sanitary napkins after the war.
The 1st sanitary napkins were in the form of a cotton wool or similar stringy rectangular structure, sheathed with an absorbent liner. The design of the sanitary napkins has also changed through the 1980's to today. Disposable sanitary napkins started to be available in the markets only around the year 1895.
Sanitary napkin market has huge potential in a country like India where feminine hygiene levels are reckoned to be appallingly low. A sanitary napkin is a product with a stable demand among its consumer group and hence translates to an immense potential with rising women population in the nation.
1.1 Product Definition
A sanitary napkin, sanitary towel, sanitary pad, menstrual pad, maxi pad, or pad is an absorbent item worn by a woman while she is menstruating, while she is recovering from vaginal surgery, for lochia (post birth bleeding), after an abortion, or in any other situation where it is necessary to absorb a flow of blood from her private parts.
There are various forms of sanitary napkins available in the market today like sanitary pads, tampons and panty liners.
The chart below will help you understand the segments of sanitary napkins.
Figure 1 Classification of Sanitary Napkins
1.2 Product Classification
Designed to absorb daily vaginal discharge, light menstrual flow, “spotting”, slight urinary incontinence, or as a backup for tampon use.
A tampon is a cylindrical mass of absorbent material, primarily used as a feminine hygiene product. Tampons are designed to be easily inserted into the vagina during menstruation and absorb the user’s menstrual flow.
A sanitary pad or menstrual pad is an absorbent item worn inside the underwear but outside the genitalia.
Today sanitary pads come in various sizes according to the blood flow intensity on different days.
- Ultra-thin – A very compact (thin) sanitary pad, which may be as absorbent as a Regular or Maxi/Super pad but with less bulk.
- Regular – A middle range absorbency sanitary pad.
- Maxi / Super – A larger absorbency pad, useful for the start of the menstrual cycle when menstruation is often heaviest.
1.3 Product Characteristics
· Sanitary napkins are made from a number of types of fabric — most often cotton flannel, or hemp (which is highly absorbent and not as bulky as cotton).
· They have high degree of softness and loosely fitted fibers.
· They are highly absorbent.
· They are made of clean fibres that do not have an unpleasant odour when wet or dry.
· They should have sufficient wet strength treated with wetting agents or wet strength imparting resins such as urea formaldehyde or Melamine resins.