As many of you know by now, Fabrite
Laminating closed it's doors in March this year. The diaper
making market has always considered Fabrite PUL to be the 'Gold
Standard' as no other manufacturer
proved able to match Fabrite's performance and durability
for diaper making PUL.
Over the last few months we have seen
and read countless stories of
confusion, excitement and
disappointment and in a few cases horror. The marketplace
has begun sorting out he quality manufacturers and it's now down to a
couple of quality choices, including our DiaperMaker™
brand, which like out other branded products has emerged as a
As many of you have learned in
the past, not all PUL's are created equal -- making
PUL that survives 300 laundry cycles without
delaminating, or leaking is no easy task. DiaperMaker branded PUL
is manufactured using 2 processes, Solvent lamination and
Microsphere lamination. Our PULs are tested to meet the same duty cycle
(300 launderings) as Fabrite branded PUL - the toughest
standard in the business. Products are marked with the
type on the detail pages of our web catalog.
- Solvent Lamination: This
is the process used by Fabrite and the best process for creating
a strong, continuous bond durable enough for cloth diaper
making. The PU film and knit are coated with a solvent
based adhesive that liquefies the surface of the PU film and
knit, then pressure is used to fuse the fabric together.
Identify this type of PUL by looking at the shiny PU side of the
fabric, it may be clear to milky PUL surface. We use this
process for our highest volume colors.
This is a process that most closely matches solvent lamination.
Tightly spaced adhesive spheres coat the polyurethane film and
fabric then under intense heat an pressure these spheres
fuse the film and knit in a bond that rivals the strength and durability
of solvent bonding. Wazoodle uses this technology on a
portion of our DiaperMaker products, mostly in colors that are
produced in smaller volumes.
- Hot Melt: This type of
PUL is made by scattering, printing or sandwiching a layer of hot
melt glue onto the fabric. Heat melts the glue at 185f degrees and
pressure rollers press the fabric, glue and film together. This
process has the highest failure rate mostly because few laminators have perfected the process for fabrics that require repeated laundering. Wazoodle does not use this
technology for our DiaperMaker PUL.
- Web: This type of PUL is made by laminating a web or fine film
of adhesive between the polyurethane film and knit. It
works the same way as hot melt however it produces a
stiffer hand which reduces the fabric stretch. Like hot
melt, this process is mostly applications that are not subject to repeated
laundering. Number launderings is low, puckering,
bubbling, tearing of the film and early delaminating is common.
Identify this type of PUL by looking at the shiny PU side of the
fabric, it will have a cracked glass or spider web appearance.
This type of PUL is not acceptable for diaper making.
Wazoodle does not use this technology for our PUL.
- Heat Lamination: This is the
process uses heat to slightly liquefy the surface of the PU film
and knit, then pressure to fuse the fabric together. This
process does not work well with fine or soft PU films as they
melt below the working temperature of heat lamination.
Heat only lamination used thicker films which are too stiff and
crunchy to be used in diapers. Identify this by peeling
back the PU film, the film will remove from the knit in large
pieces, kind of the way skin peels after a bad sunburn. This
type of PUL is not acceptable for diaper making. Wazoodle does
not use this technology for our PUL.
Heat and solvent type laminations are similar in that they form
a complete bond, they are not visually identifiable. You
can tell head bonds by lifting a corner of the film and tearing
it off the fabric. Heat lamination will peel off the same
way your skin peels after a good sunburn!
Wazoodle has worked with
raw material suppliers and several reputable laminators to develop
a high quality 1mil PUL that meets the needs of diaper makers.
DiaperMaker branded fabrics and
notions are the benchmarks for quality
and performance in the diaper making market.
DiaperMaker PUL joins a growing list of products recognized for
their industry leading quality, dependability and product
safety. Diaper sewers trust DiaperMaker!
Q & A ( a list of good and silly
questions I get from time to time)
What is the new TPU type PUL?
TPU is the technical name for
the polyurethane film used to make all PUL, new and old. A few
vendors heard TPU for the first time and thought it would help
them make their items sound different -- just marketing tricks!
What does it mean when vendors label their PUL as 'new standard' of environmentally friendly PULs?
It's their attempt to divert attention away from hot-melt PUL limitations, nothing more. It's also not truthful as the hot melt process consumes more energy and does not capture prossess offgasses.
The main reason for people claim
environmental advantage is to justify and hopefully offset the
shorter life and delaminating disadvantages of hot melt
So why don't all laminators use
It's a matter of cost. Hot
melt PUL laminators are inexpensive to purchase and operate when
compared to solvent laminating lines so unless a laminator
has more markets than diaper making, solvent laminating lines are
simply not economical. New technologies like micro-sphere fusing are
evolving to the point where they perform as well as solvent laminations, larger
laminators invest into solvent laminators because they are
currently the best way to get durable fine film laminations like
Can I make PUL at home?
No. Even the best laminators
with millions invested into equipment have a hard time making PUL.
It's a trick industrial process, you can't do it at home.
I have heard some very large
name brand diaper manufacturers have had to recall products
because of failing PUL, how did this happen?
Testing and limited technical knowledge of the textiles they
use. Not all manufacturers have the expertise in-house to
spec, design and test the textiles they use. Some rely on
the supplier's testing and reputation (like our customers), some
simply took risks by using untested PUL from new market entrants.
Will hot-melt PUL delaminate in
With some brands that's possible.
It will take about a year to shake out the quality brands in the
market. When you choose DiaperMaker brand PUL, you can be
assured it has been tested to 300 or more washings.