Evonik has inaugurated a new application technology center for superabsorbent polymers in Krefeld, Germany. As a supplier of superabsorbent polymers, with manufacturing plants in the US, Germany and Saudi Arabia, the company has invested in a new facility to strengthen the company's position in a competitive market that, according to recent market research, is mainly being driven by the burgeoning demand for diapers for young and old.
The scope of applications for Evonik's superabsorbent polymers reaches beyond baby diapers and also includes feminine hygiene and adult incontinence products, as well as a broad range of technical areas.
However, the diaper market remains the single largest end market application for superabsorbent polymers, with almost 80% of all production being dedicated to diaper production worldwide. While the baby diaper market has remained largely stable in recent years, the aging population, which is impacting everything from healthcare, housing and pension financing schemes to family infrastructure, is also causing a boom in demand for superabsorbent polymers for adult diapers and incontinence pads.
Superabsorbent polymers are water-insoluble, cross-linked polymers. They are capable of absorbing and storing up to 500 times their own weight in aqueous liquids, while also providing other performance characteristics such as skin dryness.
Evonik's new laboratory has been designed for highly efficient working and testing procedures and will serve hygiene as well as technical superabsorbent applications. "Our customers will directly benefit from an even further improved technical service. The service capabilities of Evonik are the industry-wide benchmark and the basis for strong partnerships and development collaborations with our customers," says Norbert Westerholt, head of Evonik's Baby Care Business Line.
The enlarged laboratory allows for the implementation of the newest test methods, which will further strengthen product knowledge and target-oriented innovation efforts. It is equipped for the evaluation of superabsorbent polymers and hygiene articles, e.g. the new EDANA mannequin test for incontinence articles. For the first time, this test allows the application of realistic in-use conditions to the standardized lab evaluation of a broad variety of incontinence items. In addition, the new laboratory is open to customers for training and testing sessions.