Unicharm's US patent application titled 'method of manufacturing absorbent article and absorbent article' for such items as pant-type diaper published online

WASHINGTON , May 1, 2014 () – According to news reporting originating from Washington, D.C., by VerticalNews journalists, a patent application by the inventors Oku, Tomomi (Kanonji-shi, JP); Sakaguchi, Satoru (Kanonji-shi, JP); Ogasawara, Yoshikazu (Kanonji-shi, JP); Ito, Noriaki (Kanonji-shi, JP), filed on December 13, 2013, was made available online on April 24, 2014.

The assignee for this patent application is Uni Charm Corporation.

Reporters obtained the following quote from the background information supplied by the inventors: "Conventionally, in an absorbent article such as a pant-type diaper, a liquid-impermeable sheet formed from polyethylene or the like is provided. Generally, a liquid-impermeable sheet is particularly hard even among the sheets that configure an absorbent article. Therefore, as compared to a soft sheet, the liquid-impermeable sheet does not easily follow the movement of the wearer, and causes a decline in comfort when the absorbent article is worn.

"Thus, a technique of softening the liquid-impermeable sheets by reducing the thickness of the longitudinal continuous body having liquid-impermeable sheets in continuation with the use of an embossing roll mechanism is known (for example, see Patent Document 1).

"The embossing roll mechanism includes a first embossing roll having a plurality of zigzag shaped first convex units along a roll axial direction on one surface of the continuous body, and a second embossing roll arranged on the opposite side of the first embossing roll and sandwiching the continuous body, and having a plurality of zigzag shaped second convex units along a roll axial direction.

"The continuous body is passed between the first embossing roll and the second embossing roll in a state where it is pulled to the conveyance direction of the continuous body by the conveyor configured to convey the continuous body. At this point, by fitting the plurality of second convex units between the plurality of first convex units so as to sandwich the continuous body, the continuous body is pressed (embossed) in a thickness direction. Thus, the continuous body is extended in the thickness direction and is softened.

"However, the aforementioned conventional method of manufacturing an absorbent article had the following problems. That is, irregularities are formed in the thickness direction in the liquid-impermeable sheet formed from the continuous body. Therefore, the problem was that the liquid-impermeable sheet in which irregularities were formed would touch the wearer, and would cause a feeling of discomfort to the wearer.

"For example, if the liquid-impermeable sheet were used as the outermost sheet (the so-called backsheet) from the wearer, it would form an outline of the absorbent article thereby deteriorating the texture of the absorbent article."

In addition to obtaining background information on this patent application, VerticalNews editors also obtained the inventors' summary information for this patent application: "The first feature of the present invention is summarized in that a method of manufacturing an absorbent article in which an absorbent article is manufactured by conveying a longitudinal continuous body, in which liquid-impermeable sheets not allowing a liquid to pass through are in continuation, in a state in which the longitudinal direction of the absorbent article corresponds to the conveyance direction of the continuous body, the method including: a step of pressing the flat continuous body in a thickness direction of the continuous body by a pair of embossing roll mechanisms in which a plurality of convex units are formed on a circumference, and in between the convex units of one side, the convex units of the other side are fitted so as to sandwich the continuous body, a step of expanding the continuous body that has been pressed towards outside a widthwise direction of the continuous body until it becomes flat, by a pair of expansion roll mechanisms provided at the side of both side units in the widthwise direction of the continuous body, and a step of joining a component member configuring the absorbent article with the expanded continuous body, wherein each of the expansion roll mechanisms has inner ends (inner ends 612A) positioned inside the widthwise direction of the continuous body and outer ends (outer ends 612B) positioned outside the widthwise direction of the continuous body, and includes a pair of pressing rolls (first upper pressing roll 611, first lower pressing roll 612, second upper pressing roll 621 and second lower pressing roll 622) that sandwich the continuous body, and each of the inner ends is positioned at the tip of the conveyance direction of the continuous body from the outer ends.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

"FIG. 1 is a plan view showing an absorbent article 1 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 2 is a cross-sectional view (cross-sectional view of A-A of FIG. 1) showing the absorbent article 1 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view (cross-sectional view of B-B of FIG. 1) showing the absorbent article 1 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 4 is a plan view/magnified cross-sectional view (part 1) showing a backsheet 20 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 5 is a plan view (part 2) showing the backsheet 20 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 6 is a diagram for explaining the method of manufacturing the absorbent article according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 7 is a perspective view showing an embossing device 500 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 8 is a side view (fragmentary view of A of FIG. 7) showing the embossing device 500 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 9 is a front view showing the embossing device 500 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 10 is a magnified front view showing the embossing device 500 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 11 is a perspective view showing an expansion roll mechanism 600 according to the present embodiment.

"FIG. 12 is a top view (fragmentary view of A of FIG. 11) showing the expansion roll mechanism 600 according to the present embodiment."

For more information, see this patent application: Oku, Tomomi; Sakaguchi, Satoru; Ogasawara, Yoshikazu; Ito, Noriaki. Method of Manufacturing Absorbent Article and Absorbent Article. Filed December 13, 2013 and posted April 24, 2014. Patent URL: http://appft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO2&Sect2=HITOFF&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsearch-adv.html&r=1676&p=34&f=G&l=50&d=PG01&S1=20140417.PD.&OS=PD/20140417&RS=PD/20140417

Keywords for this news article include: Uni Charm Corporation.

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