Archie Jones - Somerset NJ,
Lai-Hing Louie - Kendall Park NJ,
Hien Nguyen - East Windsor NJ,
Judith Roller - North Brunswick NJ,
Edwin Sailer - Ringoes NJ,
A novel process for forming a compressed tampon includes the steps of forming an open structure comprising at least about 5 wt-% of cellulosic materials; heating the open structure to a temperature of at least about 40° C.; compressing the heated open structure to form the compressed tampon; and releasing the compressed fibrous tampon from compression. Surprisingly, both the force required for compression and the degree of over-compression are significantly reduced when the fibrous web is heated prior to compression. Indeed, what we have found is that heating the fibrous web prior to compression into the tampon form provides a more consistent, dimensionally-controlled product. It also requires lower compression forces to achieve a dimensionally stable product with reduced fiber damage.