K-C Worldwide issued US patent for disposable undergarment and related manufacturing equipment and processes

ALEXANDRIA, Virginia , January 16, 2014 () – A patent by the inventors Rajala, Gregory J. (Neenah, WI); Gehling, Steven C. (Oshkosh, WI); Suke, Paul D. (Appleton, WI), filed on October 27, 2010, was published online on January 7, 2014, according to news reporting originating from Alexandria, Virginia, by NewsRx correspondents (see also Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc.).

Patent number 8622984 is assigned to Kimberly-Clark Worldwide, Inc. (Neenah, WI).

The following quote was obtained by the news editors from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Undergarments are made typically of cotton and/or synthetic materials. The cotton and synthetic panties typically do not offer barrier protection. Often the synthetic undergarments have a cotton lined crotch to absorb vaginal discharges or perspiration. The absorbent/barrier properties of regular undergarments are minimal such that any vaginal discharge and/or heavy perspiration may strike through onto outer clothing; i.e., liquid penetrates from the interior to the exterior of the panty.

"Panty liners and feminine care sanitary napkins or pads used with regular undergarments have polyethylene backings that provide some barrier properties inhibiting liquid strike through. However, if the vaginal discharge extends to the sides or the ends of the pads, the discharge can leak or seep around an edge of the pad and onto the undergarment. Such leakage can stain the undergarment. Depending upon the amount of leakage, liquid may strike through or go around the undergarment and stain outer clothing and/or bedding. Women with heavy liquid flows may often use one or more maxi pads, double pads and/or tampons alone, or in combination, and change these pads and tampons frequently to prevent embarrassing, messy leakage around the edges of the pads and/or staining of outer clothing. In some cases, during their heaviest flow days, some women will restrict their activities and stay home.

"Many women experience some leakage of menses from their pads to their undergarments. This varies from being limited to a small number of pads leaking onto only the undergarment during light flow to more prevalent leakage onto the wearer's outer clothing on pads worn during heavy flow. Normally this leakage occurs at the side of the pad, although end leakage is also a problem. Placement of maxi pads and overnight pads in the crotch of regular undergarments shows that, at best, the pads lay on the leg elastic and, at worst, overhang the leg elastics. This causes side leakage onto the undergarment and possibly onto outer clothing. Typical leakage from the pads is caused by poor fit of the pad to the body, improper positioning of the pad by the user and lack of absorbency. Leakage from the undergarment onto the outer clothing is typically due to incompatibility between the pad width and the panty crotch width and/or lack of barrier properties in the panty material around the edge portion of the pad."

In addition to the background information obtained for this patent, NewsRx journalists also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent: "The present invention broadly includes a three dimensional, disposable, discrete panty, subassemblies of the panty, and apparatus and methods for making the panty.

"In one aspect of the invention, a method for attaching elastic to a crotch area of an undergarment includes the steps of cutting an elastic thread into a plurality of elastic sections; providing a secondary absorbent for receipt of at least one of the elastic sections, the secondary absorbent defining an inner side and an opposing outer side; attaching the elastic sections to the inner side of the secondary absorbent as the elastic sections and the secondary absorbent move in a machine direction; maneuvering the secondary absorbent with the elastic sections attached thereto to a non-machine direction; and attaching the secondary absorbent to a garment web moving in the machine direction, the elastic sections of the inner side disposed against an inner crotch portion of the garment web, the opposing outer side visible in the crotch portion. In this aspect, each elastic section is from about one inch to about three inches in length. Also in this aspect, the elastic sections are attached to the inner side of the secondary absorbent by an adhesive.

"According to a further aspect of the invention, a disposable garment assembly includes a disposable garment defining a length and a width and including an outer cover having a front body portion and a back body portion, the front body portion and the back body portion being connected by a crotch portion, the outer cover, when laid out flat, having a length and a width, the front body portion and the back body portion being connected together to form a waist opening, a first leg opening and a second leg opening, the first and second leg openings having respective first and second front and back leg edge portions and corresponding first and second side leg edge portions connecting the front and back leg edge portions, the outer cover comprising a first layer, and a second layer having a front portion and a back portion, the second layer front portion disposed adjacent the front body portion of the outer cover, the second layer back portion disposed adjacent the back body portion of the outer cover; a first absorbent defining a length and a width, each respectively less than the length and the width of the disposable garment, the first absorbent further including a liquid impermeable outer sheet and a liquid permeable inner sheet, the liquid impermeable outer sheet having a front portion and a back portion, and a center portion therebetween, each of the liquid impermeable outer sheet front and back portions of the first absorbent disposed adjacent one of the respective second layer front and back body portions of the outer cover, the first absorbent having a first absorbent capacity; a second absorbent including a first side and a second side and having a second absorbent capacity, the second absorbent attached in the crotch portion and covering the width of the first absorbent, the second absorbent underlying the first absorbent on the liquid impermeable outer sheet of the first absorbent, the first side of the second absorbent disposed facing the liquid impermeable outer sheet, the first absorbent capacity of the first absorbent being greater than the second absorbent capacity of the second absorbent; and a plurality of crotch elastics extendably affixed between the outer cover and the second side of the second absorbent proximate the crotch portion, the second absorbent affixed to the outer cover.

"In this aspect of the invention, the second absorbent capacity of the second absorbent is about one-half the absorbent capacity of the first absorbent. For instance, the second absorbent capacity of the second absorbent can be about 3 grams to about 6 grams, more particularly, about 4 grams to about 6 grams. Also in this aspect of the invention, the second absorbent is a stain shield.

"In a further aspect of the invention, a disposable garment has a length and a width, and includes an outer cover having front and back body portions connected by a crotch portion, the outer cover, when laid out flat, having a length between first and second ends and a width between first and second sides, the front and back body portions being connected together to form a waist opening and first and second leg opening. The outer cover in this aspect includes a first layer; a second layer having front and back body portions overlying respective front and back body portions of the outer cover; and a stain shield incorporated into the disposable garment, the stain shield having a length and a width and a garment facing side, the garment facing side having a front portion, a back portion and a center portion therebetween, the garment facing side of the center portion having a plurality of extensible crotch elastic pieces attached thereto proximate the crotch portion, the extensible crotch elastic pieces being disposed between the garment facing side and the outer cover of the crotch portion, the stain shield affixed to the outer cover, each of the garment facing side front and back portions of the stain shield disposed adjacent one of the respective second layer front and back portions, at least a portion of the stain shield having an overall total absorbent capacity of about 3 grams to about 6 grams. Also in this aspect, at least a portion of the absorbent has an overall total absorbent capacity of about 4 grams to about 6 grams."

URL and more information on this patent, see: Rajala, Gregory J.; Gehling, Steven C.; Suke, Paul D.. Disposable Undergarment and Related Manufacturing Equipment and Processes. U.S. Patent Number 8622984, filed October 27, 2010, and published online on January 7, 2014. Patent URL: http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&p=98&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-bool.html&r=4897&f=G&l=50&co1=AND&d=PTXT&s1=20140107.PD.&OS=ISD/20140107&RS=ISD/20140107

Keywords for this news article include: Gynecology, Women's Health, Vaginal Discharge, Kimberly-Clark Worldwide Inc..

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