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Absorbent Article with Superabsorbent Material in Both a Targeted Area and Mixed Homogenously within the Absorbent Article

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000028265D
Publication Date: 2004-May-06
Document File: 5 page(s) / 212K

Publishing Venue

The IP.com Prior Art Database

Related People

Sandy Richlen: AUTHOR [+4]

Related Documents

US 5102585: PATENT [+2]

Abstract

An improved process is described for placing particles such as superabsorbent material in an absorbent article. The process creates both a homogeneous distribution of particulate material and a zoned or targeted distribution of particulate material in the absorbent article. This process change also has an impact on product attributes (e.g. overall superabsorbent distribution within the cross direction, machine direction and z-direction of the product.)

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Absorbent Article with Superabsorbent Material in Both a Targeted Area and Mixed Homogenously within the Absorbent Article

Sandy Richlen, Stacy Markovich, David Balensiefen, and Todd Wilkes Kimberly-Clark Corporation, Neenah, Wisconsin

Background This invention discloses a process for creating both a homogeneous distribution of particulate material and a zoned or targeted distribution of particulate material in an absorbent article. This process change also has an impact on product attributes (e.g. overall superabsorbent distribution within the cross direction, machine direction and z- direction of the product.)

US Patent Nos. 5,028,224 and 5,102,585, issued to Kimberly-Clark Corporation, disclose an apparatus and method for forming a zoned distribution of particulate material in a substrate. The ability to concentrate a particulate material, specifically a superabsorbent material, within an area of a product provides the ability to increase the absorbency in the target area of the product while having less absorbency in other areas of the product.

However, having too great a concentration of a particulate matter in an otherwise fibrous web can create integrity issues within the web. Another issue encountered with the process described above was the prevalence of hard spots in the absorbent article where large concentrations of the particulate matter were concentrated. Distributing a portion of the particulate material homogeneously throughout the fibrous web was found to have a positive impact on both of the issues identified above.

The following sections will describe the process which enabled the creation of both a homogenous and targeted distribution of particulate material and the product attributes which resulted from the process modifications.

Process Description

Process Prior to Piping Change

                             This process is capable of placing superabsorbent material (SAM) within a specific area (cross direction, machine direction, and z-direction) of an absorbent web. The specific area of the absorbent web that contains superabsorbent is known as the target zone.

The equipment used to create a targeted zone of superabsorbent consists of a superabsorbent air transport system that conveys a continuous stream of superabsorbent from a metered hopper to a web forming chamber. The superabsorbent material is conveyed from the metering station through stainless steel pipe before entering the diverter. The SAM then enters the diverter where a portion of the SAM (from 66 to 100%) is routed to the target area in the forming chamber. The remaining SAM is routed back to an area near the metering station to complete the cycle. This material is then recirculated through the process again.

This intermittent introduction of superabsorbent into the web forming chamber is what creates the targeted zones of superabsorbent within the machine direction of the absorbent web. The original process is depicted in Figure 1, and the theoretical absorbent web is depi...