Convenience is a major driver in the wet wipes industry where consumer demand for products that allow for quick cleanup or application of everything from makeup to kitchen counters to greasy hands in manufacturing environments continues to rise.
Wet wipes sales worldwide totaled $14.8 billion in 2016, with U.S. sales alone representing $5.6 billion of that amount. Increased demand for wet wipes in both the U.S. consumer and industrial markets is expected to lead to a 3.6 percent annual sales increase through 2018, according to a forecast by RISI Nonwovens Markets. Personal hygiene, premoistened facial cleansing, disinfecting and wet floor-care wipes are expected to see gains as consumers incorporate these products into their routines. Accelerating manufacturing activity will account for the increased demand for wet wipes in the industrial market, the RISI study said.
Greater interest in personal care wipes is pushing brands to explore factors such as natural ingredients, eco-friendly packaging options and flushable capabilities to satisfy consumer preferences. The Millennial generation, for example, wants products that are portable and sustainable, and aging Baby Boomers are searching for easier-to-use options. Consequently, both newcomers and industry veterans are exploring innovative technologies and improved products to accommodate user demand and desires. Additionally, growing acceptance of wipes means that applications and uses continue to increase exponentially, both among retail and professional applications.
As the wet wipes landscape becomes more crowded and competitive, it is essential that a wipes brand select a contract manufacturing and packaging partner with capabilities and experience across a broad range of formulas and finished products. A supplier that understands the process and the industry players will play a big part in your product launch success.
With nearly 20 years of experience in the wet wipes marketplace, Multi-Pack SolutionsTM is among the most comprehensive and innovative wet wipes manufacturers and converters in the industry. Founded as Multi-Pack in 1999, the wet wipes division is now a part of Multi-Pack Solutions, a portfolio of three companies with robust contract packaging capabilities. The company today manufactures and packages a variety of brand-name products for the personal care, healthcare, and I&I and Janitorial industries, including Class I Medical Devices such as disinfectant wet wipes in canisters and single-use packettes as well as surface and hand cleaning wipes.
Multi-Pack Solutions’ capabilities in wet wipe manufacturing and packaging cover a broad range of formulas, substrates, and custom sizes and counts. Packaging options include a full lineup of canisters, caps, refill bags and buckets, and pouches for retail and professional applications.
Labeling options for canisters include wrap labels and shrink sleeves, with single-use labeling options that include various custom-printed film substrates in a wide variety of sizes.
All of our wipes are produced in EPA- and FDA-compliant facilities, and our fully automated wet wipe line is built for accuracy, speed and quality. Our in-house wet wipe capabilities include:
- Custom converting to customers’ exact specifications
- Multiple fabric choices with recommendations based on application
- Multiple canister and cap choices
- Shrink sleeve labeling and wrap labeling
- Scalability to fully automated production
- Custom-printed films for sachets & single packs
Designing a wet wipe is far more complicated than simply adding a liquid formula onto fabric. You should always begin with the end user in mind. Because regulatory requirements vary widely between retail, medical and industrial use, it is vitally important to know who will be using your product and how it will be used.
At Multi-Pack Solutions, we believe that contract manufacturing and packaging is a science. To assist those who may be entering the wet wipes market for the first time or those considering a line extension into the world of wipes, we recommend Nine Considerations for a Successful Wet Wipe Product Launch.
(1) Choose Your Fabric Wisely. To determine what type of fabric is best suited for your wet wipe product, it is important to understand the characteristics of polypropylene, polyester, spunlace, thermal-bonded, biodegradable and disbursable fabrics. Nonwoven fabrics are developed to have specific properties, with some engineered to release liquids and others engineered to absorb them. With wet wipes, the applicator and the formula must be compatible and stable to maintain effectiveness.
The most common fabric used for industrial wipes, for example, is polypropylene. A durable fabric, polypropylene is resistant to most chemicals and to stretching and shrinking. It is wrinkle, mildew and abrasion resistant. Conversely, viscose fabrics—because of their softness and smoothness—often are used for personal care wet wipes. Understanding how fabrics react with certain ingredients and formulas, as well as their cost, also will influence the type of fabric used.
You also may want your wipe to have certain aesthetic qualities, such as a specific color or pattern (aperture). The fabric used for your wet wipe can affect performance and marketability, so choose wisely. Multi-Pack Solutions’ fabric capabilities include polypropylene, polyester, spunlace, thermal bonded, biodegradable, disbursable, textured, fabric with aperture, as well as special order.
Figure 1: Canister filling.
(2) Chemistry Considerably Affects Fabric Choice. Different chemical compounds can present various challenges with fabric compatibility such as wickability and release properties. For example, a product extension to transform a successful cleaning spray into a wipe will require alteration of the formula to include certain raw chemical ingredients that allow the formula to wick into the wipes. Solution that is dispensed into canisters on the production line must possess the ability to wick its way upward and be fully absorbed into the roll.
Wicking fabric has characteristics that encourage moisture to move along the fabric inside the canister, then release the moisture as it reaches lower humidity on the outside of the container during use.
(3) Know the FDA and EPA Requirements. Introduction of a disinfecting or sanitizing wet wipe product requires knowledge of kill claims, efficacy studies, and federal and state requirements for labeling.
Regulatory requirements vary depending upon the intended use of your wet wipe product. Wipes intended for cleansing or moisturizing the skin, such as those for baby care, hand washing, makeup removal, or the application of deodorants are regulated as cosmetics.
The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) has legal authority over cosmetics that is different from other products such as drugs, biologics and medical devices. Cosmetic products and ingredients do not need FDA pre-market approval, apart from color additives. However, cosmetics must be properly labeled and product safety information must be shared with FDA.
Wipes intended for a therapeutic purpose, such as killing germs on the skin, or treating acne, diaper rash, or other skin conditions, are considered Class I Medical Devices by the FDA and must meet requirements for FDA approval for safety and effectiveness before they go on the market.
Wipes intended to disinfect or sanitize inanimate surfaces and/or wipes containing insect repellents are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Wipes intended for cleaning objects in our homes, at work and in public places are regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Figure 2: Multi-Pack Solutions Milwaukee WI location.
Multi-Pack Solutions is FDA registered and fully compliant at the Greenville, South Carolina and Milwaukee, Wisconsin facilities. Both are registered with the FDA as a Medical Device & Drug Establishment. In addition, all three Multi-Pack Solutions facilities, including the Chicago, Illinois location are registered with the EPA and compliant to applicable regulations, including those for disinfectant wipes. EPA requirements include proper registration of products, efficacy or kill claim data and product labeling.
In addition to FDA, EPA and Medical Device registrations, the Greenville, South Carolina facility of Multi-Pack Solutions partners with an industry-recognized ISO certification body to maintain registration and certification to ISO 13485 to meet all Medical Device directives, regulations and responsibilities.
Multi-Pack Solutions is proud of, and willing to share with its customers, an excellent history of FDA Inspections due to its diligence in maintaining quality systems.
(4) Avoid Any Preservative Surprises. Once a formula is added to a wipe fabric, it can serve as a food source or growth medium for various microorganisms; therefore, formulas must include the proper preservatives to kill microorganisms such as bacteria, mold or yeast that can grow on wipes.
A common way of preventing the growth of microorganisms in consumer products is to adjust the pH level making it either too acidic (low pH) or too basic (high pH) to support microbial life.
For example, many cleaning products have pH values of around 11 vs. the neutral value of seven which helps with the effectiveness of the cleaner. Very few microorganisms can grow in such a high pH level environment, so certain cleaning wipe formulas may not require additional chemical preservatives.
It is important to perform a Preservative Challenge Test on a formulation to determine if the preservative chosen for the product is compatible. FDA/EPA guidelines also recommend an additional challenge test as part of stability testing of the product’s intended shelf life. Subsequent testing will be necessary to re-evaluate the product’s preservative effectiveness whenever the formulation, an associated manufacturing process or product packaging changes occur.
(5) Proper Labeling Is a Regulatory Requirement. Labeling typically provides an aha moment for those wishing to launch a wet wipe product. For example, as discussed in section (3) Know the FDA and EPA Requirements, personal care wipes such as those for baby care, hand washing or makeup removal are regulated as cosmetic products and must be properly labeled in compliance with the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act and the Fair Packaging and Labeling (FP&L) Act.
Labeling of personal care wipes must state prominently the name and address of the manufacturer, packer or distributor. The label also must state the net quantity of contents to enable consumers to make value comparisons.
Figure 3: Automated single-pack manufacturing line.
Wet wipe products used in healthcare environments are regulated as Class I Medical Devices by the FDA. The FDA has many labeling-related requirements to help ensure that medical devices are used safely and effectively. As such, labeling requirements may address adequate instructions for use, servicing instructions, adequate warnings against uses that may be dangerous to health or information that may be necessary for the protection of users.
Wipes intended to disinfect or sanitize and wipes containing insect repellents are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. Labeling requirements include information such as a net contents/net weight statement.
Once regulatory requirements are met, a decision must be made about the type of label placed on your product. Multi-Pack Solutions offers expertise in wet wipe canister and single-pack labeling. Canister labeling options include wrap labels and shrink sleeves, and individual-wipe options include various custom-printed film substrates in a wide range of sizes.
(6) Select the Right Type of Label. Appearance, branding, readability, cost and production efficiency are considerations when choosing a label for your wet wipe product. Multi-Pack Solutions’ labeling capabilities include wrap, front and back, shrink sleeve, in-mold and dry offset screen printing, as well as custom film printing for single packs.
(7) The Right Canister Can Make a Difference. The shape, size and even the color of your wet wipes canister can affect your sales. Selecting one with your application and end user in mind is critical. The size of the canister is dependent upon sheet sizes and the amount of fabric to be housed inside. Packaging options include a wide range of canisters, caps, refill bags and buckets, and pouches for retail and professional applications.
With solid industry experience and supply chain relationships, Multi-Pack Solutions provides go-to-market consultation and packaging capabilities that include:
- Canisters: 70mm round, 80mm round, 105mm round, 120mm round, 120mm tapered, 4″H oval, 4″H oval with finger grips, 6″H oval, 8″H oval, special order, custom molds
- Buckets: 7″W mouth, 8.25″W mouth, special order, custom molds
- Caps: Flat, domed, with threading loop, standard colors, special-order colors
- Canister sealing
- Fully custom sachets and single-packs
- Refill bags and pouches
(8) Choose a Lid That Fits Your Function and Brand. Choosing the right lid for your wet wipes product isn’t as simple as using one that fits the canister. Your retail application may dictate a domed or flat lid. Or a fabric-threading lid may be necessary for an industrial use. Color selections are important as well, as you seek to distinguish or reinforce your brand.
A good contract manufacturing and packaging partner will understand the wipes manufacturing business and consumer preferences. For example, a flip lid for a baby wipe product likely is not the best option for a personal care wipe. Multi-Pack Solutions has the experience and expertise to help you select the best lid for your product’s application and end user. And our exhaustive list of supply chain partners gives you access to a broad range of primary and secondary packaging options, along with valuable sales and marketing advice.
(9) To Seal or Not to Seal. Most industrial wet wipes call for a seal underneath the cap to ensure that wipes stay wet with optimum evaporation protection. Most retail wipes do not have a seal, rather wipes stay moist with a tight-fitting cap. Again, it is important to know who will be using your product and how it will be used. Understanding consumer preferences—especially in the personal care marketplace—is key when launching a new brand.
Multi-Pack Solutions is experienced in every phase of the production and packaging process, from master roll to finished product. Our fully automated wet wipes manufacturing line is built for speed, accuracy and project scalability. This state-of-the-art line features built-in quality assurance functions such as a reject function at each major production station, Statistical Process Control (SPC) capabilities and exclusive ultrasonic fabric tacking that eliminates the typical presence of glues in automated canister stuffing.
This commitment to continuous improvement is displayed in our superior quality systems that address procedures, equipment and processes. This longstanding commitment to quality and innovation makes Multi-Pack Solutions a trusted wet wipe manufacturing partner.
For more information contact:
Marketing & Business Development Manager