Director, Engineered Fabrics Technology, Wacker Chemical Corporation
Ron Pangrazi is a nonwovens industry veteran having spent the last 32 years in this market area. He has a degree in Chemistry and has worked for several companies all dealing with the development of polymers used as nonwoven binders. Ron is currently the Director of Technology, Engineered Fabrics for Wacker Chemical Corp located in Allentown, PA. Ron has presented numerous papers and short courses at previous INDA and TAPPI events. He resides in Pennsylvania with his wife and three adult sons.
The need has existed in the nonwovens market for many years for products that make our daily living easier. The desire to have personal use wipes that can be disposed of in the bathroom toilet instead of a trash receptacle has also existed for some time. The resultant request back to the developers and wipes producers has been for products that perform at the desired level in use and yet, offer true dispersibility when flushed in a typical system. From a chemical binder supplier, the thought was to offer an engineered solution where a chemical decoupling mechanism had been incorporated into the binder or the lotion that would ultimately allow the fibers to disperse and offer an elegant solution. While there are products prepared in this fashion that do exist in the marketplace, the ultimate end product has proved elusive. This discussion will review some of the history that has brought us to this point, touch on the current version of the flushability guidelines, and challenge the other nonwoven producers to continue to innovate around other viable solutions moving forward.