(19)
(11)EP 3 698 763 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION
published in accordance with Art. 153(4) EPC

(43)Date of publication:
26.08.2020 Bulletin 2020/35

(21)Application number: 18897680.7

(22)Date of filing:  07.12.2018
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
A61F 13/49(2006.01)
(86)International application number:
PCT/JP2018/045077
(87)International publication number:
WO 2019/131060 (04.07.2019 Gazette  2019/27)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
KH MA MD TN

(30)Priority: 28.12.2017 JP 2017254955

(71)Applicant: Unicharm Corporation
Ehime 799-0111 (JP)

(72)Inventors:
  • MAKI, Hideaki
    Kanonji-shi, Kagawa 769-1602 (JP)
  • INOUE, Takuya
    Kanonji-shi, Kagawa 769-1602 (JP)
  • OKUBO, Tetsuo
    Kanonji-shi, Kagawa 769-1602 (JP)
  • SHIMIZU, Noriko
    Kanonji-shi, Kagawa 769-1602 (JP)

(74)Representative: Dolleymores 
9 Rickmansworth Road
Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JU
Watford, Hertfordshire WD18 0JU (GB)

  


(54)UNDERPANTS TYPE ABSORBENT ARTICLE


(57) An underpants-shaped absorbent article (1) has an up-down direction, a left-right direction, and a front-rear direction that intersect each other. The underpants-shaped absorbent article (1) includes: an absorbent main body (10); and a first waist portion (20) that is joined to the absorbent main body (10) and that includes a stretchy sheet (24) having stretchability in the left-right direction. The stretchy sheet (24) has a lower end (24b), which is located at a position separated upward in the up-down direction by a predetermined distance (lg) from an upper end (10a) of the absorbent main body (10).




Description

[Technical Field]



[0001] The present invention relates to an underpants-shaped absorbent article.

[Background Art]



[0002] Pull-on disposable diapers are known as an example of an underpants-shaped absorbent article. PTL 1 discloses a pull-on disposable diaper in which an absorbent main body is provided spanning between a front-panel exterior body and a back-panel exterior body, and the two widthwise side edges of the front-panel exterior body and the back-panel exterior body are joined to each other so as to form a waist opening. In the front-panel exterior body and the back-panel exterior body, waist elastic members are fixed stretching between an inner sheet and an outer sheet (non-stretchy sheets).

[Citation List]


[Patent Literature]



[0003] [PTL 1] Japanese Patent Application Publication No. 2013-138795

[Summary of Invention]


[Technical Problem]



[0004] In a pull-on disposable diaper that is provided with elastic members such as in PTL 1, the stretchability of the elastic members arranged around the waist allows the front-panel (back-panel) exterior body to fit along the wearer's waist, and also allows the upper end portion of the absorbent main body to fit to the wearer's lower stomach region.

[0005] However, if string-like elastic members are used as the waist elastic members, linear marks are likely to be formed in the wearer's skin due to constriction by the elastic force of the string-like elastic members. In particular, if the wearer is an infant who has sensitive skin, for example, there is a risk of poor texture in the stomach region or the like, thus causing an increased level of discomfort.

[0006] Also, with the diaper in PTL 1, the waist elastic members provide fit at both the front-panel (back-panel) exterior body and the upper end portion of the absorbent main body at the same time, and therefore there is a risk that these members will easily shift in position when the wearer moves their body. For example, when the wearer moves their legs back and forth, there are cases where the absorbent main body moves up and down (forward and backward) on the stomach side of the wearer in accordance with the leg movement, and the front-panel exterior body moves in conjunction with the movement of the absorbent main body. In such a case, there is a risk that the front-panel exterior body will shift in position, thus leading to the risk of a poor fit and the leakage of excrement from a gap that forms in the waist portion.

[0007] The present invention was achieved in light of conventional problems such as that described above, and an aspect of the present invention is to provide an underpants-shaped absorbent article that has a favorable texture and enables the fit to be maintained even when body movement occurs.

[Solution to Problem]



[0008] A main aspect of the present invention for achieving the above-described aspect is an underpants-shaped absorbent article having an up-down direction, a left-right direction, and a front-rear direction that intersect each other,
the underpants-shaped absorbent article including:

an absorbent main body; and

a first waist portion that is joined to the absorbent main body and that includes a stretchy sheet having stretchability in the left-right direction,

the stretchy sheet having a lower end,

the lower end being located at a position separated upward in the up-down direction by a predetermined distance from an upper end of the absorbent main body.



[0009] Features of the present invention other than the above will become clear by reading the description of the present specification with reference to the accompanying drawings.

[Advantageous Effects of Invention]



[0010] According to the present invention, it is possible to provide an underpants-shaped absorbent article that has a favorable texture and enables the fit to be maintained even when body movement occurs.

[Brief Description of the Drawings]



[0011] 

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pull-on disposable diaper 1 (hereinafter, "diaper").

FIG. 2 is a plan view of the diaper 1 in an unfolded and stretched state.

FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line I-I in FIG. 2.

FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of a front waist portion 20 (first waist portion) and an absorbent main body 10 in FIG. 3.

FIGS. 5A and 5B are schematic cross-sectional views illustrating details of the fit of the diaper 1 on the wearer's stomach side.

FIG. 6 is a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating a variation of a method for fixing a stretchy sheet 24 of the front waist portion 20.


[Description of Embodiments]



[0012] At least the following matters will become clear with the description of this specification and the attached drawings.

[0013] An underpants-shaped absorbent article having an up-down direction, a left-right direction, and a front-rear direction that intersect each other,
the underpants-shaped absorbent article including:

an absorbent main body; and

a first waist portion that is joined to the absorbent main body and that includes a stretchy sheet having stretchability in the left-right direction,

the stretchy sheet having a lower end,

the lower end being located at a position separated upward in the up-down direction by a predetermined distance from an upper end of the absorbent main body.



[0014] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, the region provided with the stretchy sheet in the first waist portion fits in surface contact with the wearer's skin, thus making it possible to realize a favorable texture. Also, the stretchy sheet and the absorbent main body are not overlapped with each other in the up-down direction, thus enabling these members to independently follow movement of the wearer's body without moving in coordination with each other, and therefore a favorable fit can be realized.

[0015] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable

that the first waist portion includes a plurality of elastic members having stretchability in the left-right direction, and

that left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and an elastic member located at an uppermost position among the plurality of elastic members
is smaller than

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the stretchy sheet is arranged.



[0016] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, the first waist portion can easily deform freely in the region between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and the elastic members when the absorbent article is put on. Also, in the region where the stretchy sheet is arranged, the first waist portion can easily fit to the wearer's waist.

[0017] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable that
the elastic members are arranged in at least a portion of an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is overlapped with the absorbent main body.

[0018] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, contractive force of the elastic members acts on the absorbent main body, thus allowing the absorbent main body to fit to the wearer' s body, and making it possible to suppress positional shifting.

[0019] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable that
the elastic members are not arranged in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the stretchy sheet and the absorbent main body are not overlapped.

[0020] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, the stretchability of the elastic members (string-like elastic members) is not likely to act in the region in the up-down direction between the stretchy sheet and the absorbent main body (in the buffer region), and therefore the first waist portion can easily deform flexibly in this region. Accordingly, the absorbent main body and the region provided with the stretchy sheet are likely to independently follow movement of the wearer's body, and it is possible to further improve the fit of the underpants-shaped absorbent article.

[0021] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable

that the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

that the left-right-direction mean stress in the up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the stretchy sheet is arranged is smaller than

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the plurality of elastic members are arranged.



[0022] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, when the absorbent article is put on, the first waist portion does not excessively constrict the wearer's waist, and the wearer is not likely to feel discomfort. On the other hand, a relatively large amount of constriction force acts in the absorbent main body, and therefore even if the absorbent main body is pulled or subjected to a large amount of external force, positional shifting of the absorbent main body is not likely to occur.

[0023] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable

that the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

that concerning an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the plurality of elastic members are arranged,
a left-right-direction mean stress in a region that is above a center in the up-down direction is smaller than a left-right-direction mean stress in a region that is below the center in the up-down direction.



[0024] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, the amount of stress decreases in stages from the lower side of the absorbent main body toward the upper side (upper end portion). In other words, the amount of stress decreases the closer the position is to the region between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and the elastic member (buffer region) . This makes it possible to more effectively buffer force acting in the regions above and below this region.

[0025] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable

that the absorbent main body includes an absorbent body that absorbs an excreted fluid, and

that a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is between the elastic member located uppermost and an upper end of the absorbent body
is smaller than

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is between the upper end of the absorbent body and an up-down-direction center of the up-down-direction region in which the plurality of elastic members are arranged.



[0026] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, the amount of stress can be set lower the closer the position is to the upper end portion of the absorbent main body. Furthermore, in the region overlapped with the absorbent body, the absorbent body can easily fit to the wearer's body. On the other hand, in the region not overlapped with the absorbent body, excessive constriction does not occur, and a soft texture can be realized.

[0027] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable

that the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

that an up-down-direction length of the up-down-direction region in which the stretchy sheet is arranged
is longer than

an up-down-direction length between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and the elastic member located uppermost.



[0028] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, in the region in which the stretchy sheet is arranged, a larger percentage of the first waist portion fits in surface contact with the wearer's skin, thus making it possible to suppress positional shifting of the first waist portion.

[0029] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable

that the absorbent main body includes an absorbent body that absorbs an excreted fluid,

that the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

that an up-down-direction length between the upper end of the absorbent main body and an upper end of the absorbent body
is longer than

an up-down-direction length between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and the elastic member located uppermost.



[0030] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, the upper end portion of the absorbent main body is more likely to fit to the wearer's stomach region, thus making it more likely to suppress positional shifting of the absorbent main body.

[0031] In such a underpants-shaped absorbent article, it is desirable

that the underpants-shaped absorbent article further comprises:

a non-stretchy sheet that constitutes the first waist portion; and

a fixing portion that fixes the stretchy sheet to the non-stretchy sheet,

that the stretchy sheet has a lower end portion in the up-down direction, and

that the lower end portion of the stretchy sheet includes a folded portion that has been folded upward at a lower end of the fixing portion.



[0032] According to this underpants-shaped absorbent article, the stretchy sheet is overlaid on itself in the folded portion, thus increasing the amount of stretching force, which suppresses positional shifting of the front waist portion. Also, the position of the lower end portion of the stretchy sheet can be changed by changing the position of the lower end of the fixing portion, thus making it possible to freely adjust the size of the region in which the stretchy sheet and the absorbent main body are not overlapped (buffer region) . This makes it more likely to realize an absorbent article that has optimal fit in accordance with the target wearer's physique or the like.

Embodiment



[0033] The following describes an embodiment of an underpants-shaped absorbent article according to the present invention by way of example of a disposable diaper for infants. Note that the underpants-shaped absorbent article according to the present invention is not limited to being a disposable diaper for infants, and is also applicable to a disposable diaper for adults and sanitary shorts, for example.

Configuration of pull-on disposable diaper 1



[0034] FIG. 1 is a perspective view of a pull-on disposable diaper 1 (hereinafter, "diaper"). FIG. 2 is a plan view of the diaper 1 in an unfolded and stretched state. FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view taken along a line I-I in FIG. 2.

[0035] In the underpants-shaped state shown in FIG. 1, the diaper 1 has an up-down direction and a left-right direction, and includes a waist opening BH and a pair of leg openings LH. With respect to the up-down direction, the waist opening BH side is the upper side, and the crotch side is the lower side. Also, as shown in FIG. 3, the thickness direction refers to the direction in which constituent members of the diaper 1 are overlaid on each other, the skin side refers to the side that comes into contact with the wearer in the thickness direction, and the non-skin side refers to the side that does not come into contact with the wearer in the thickness direction.

[0036] The diaper 1 also includes an absorbent main body 10, a front waist portion 20, and a back waist portion 30, which are three members that are rectangular in a plan view. The front waist portion 20 (first waist portion) comes into contact with the front region of the wearer, and the back waist portion 30 (second waist portion) comes into contact with the back region of the wearer.

[0037] When the diaper 1 is in the unfolded state shown in FIG. 2, the front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30 are arranged such that the longitudinal directions thereof conform to the left-right direction of the diaper 1. The end portion of the absorbent main body 10 on the longitudinal one side thereof is arranged in the central portion of the front waist portion 20 with respect to the left-right direction, and the end portion of the absorbent main body 10 on the longitudinal other side thereof is arranged in the central portion of the back waist portion 30 with respect to the left-right direction.

[0038] When the diaper 1 is in the unfolded state shown in FIG. 2, the absorbent main body 10 is folded one time at approximately the longitudinal center such that the longitudinal direction of the absorbent main body 10 conforms to the up-down direction of the diaper 1. The two side end portions of the front waist portion 20 in the left-right direction of the diaper 1 are joined to the two side end portions of the back waist portion 30 with use of heat welding, ultrasonic welding, or the like to form a pair of joining regions 2, thus obtaining the diaper 1 in the underpants-shaped state shown in FIG. 1.

[0039] As shown in FIG. 3, the absorbent main body 10 includes an absorbent body 11, a liquid-permeable top sheet 12 arranged on the skin side of the absorbent body 11, a liquid-impermeable back sheet 13 arranged on the non-skin side of the absorbent body 11, and an exterior sheet 14 arranged on the non-skin side of the back sheet 13.

[0040] The absorbent body 11 includes an absorbent core 11A that absorbs and holds an excreted fluid such as urine, and a liquid-permeable core-wrapping sheet 11B that covers the absorbent core 11A. For example, the absorbent core 11A is constituted by liquid-absorbent fibers such as pulp containing a superabsorbent polymer (SAP), which are molded into a predetermined shape.

[0041] Also, as shown in FIG. 2, leg elastic members 15 are provided in two side portions of the absorbent main body 10 in the left-right direction, thus allowing the diaper 1 to fit to the wearer's legs. For example, the leg elastic members 15 are fixed in a state of being stretched in the longitudinal direction of the absorbent main body 10 between two layers of the exterior sheet 14 that has been folded inward in the left-right direction. The leg elastic members 15 are string-like elastic members, stretchy sheets, or the like.

[0042] As shown in FIG. 3, the front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30 respectively include inner layer sheets 21 and 31, outer layer sheets 22 and 32 overlaid on the inner layer sheets 21 and 31, and multiple string-like elastic members 23 and 33.

[0043] The outer layer sheets 22 and 32 are arranged on the non-skin side of the inner layer sheets 21 and 31. The inner layer sheets 21 and 31 and the outer layer sheets 22 and 32 are arranged on the non-skin side of the absorbent main body 10. It should be noted that upper end portions 221 and 321 of the outer layer sheets 22 and 32 are folded downward so as to cover the longitudinal end portions of the absorbent main body 10 from the skin side.

[0044] The inner layer sheets 21 and 31 and the outer layer sheets 22 and 32 are each a non-stretchy sheet that has substantially no stretchability in the left-right direction of the diaper 1. The inner layer sheets 21 and 31 and the outer layer sheets 22 and 32 can be constituted by an SMS nonwoven fabric sheet (spunbond/meltblown/spunbond nonwoven fabric sheet), a spunbond nonwoven fabric sheet, an air-through nonwoven fabric sheet, a plastic sheet, a porous plastic sheet, or a laminate sheet including layers of any of the same.

[0045] The string-like elastic members 23 and 33 are arranged side-by-side in the up-down direction between the inner layer sheets 21 and 31 and the outer layer sheets 22 and 32, and are fixed in a state of being stretched in the left-right direction. The front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30 can thus stretch and contract in the left-right direction so as to fit to the wearer's waist. The string-like elastic members 23 and 33 can be constituted by a string-like elastic member made of rubber, spandex, or the like.

[0046] In the back waist portion 30, the string-like elastic members 33 are arranged within a range from the upper end portion to the lower end portion. However, the upper end portion of the front waist portion 20 is not provided with the string-like elastic members 23, and instead is provided with a stretchy sheet 24 that has stretchability in the left-right direction.

[0047] According to this configuration in which the upper end portion of the front waist portion 20 is not provided with the string-like elastic members 23 but is provided with the stretchy sheet 24, the upper end portion of the front waist portion 20 comes into close surface contact with the wearer. This therefore suppresses localized constriction, and can suppress the formation of marks by elastic members. In particular, an infant has a bulging stomach region, and therefore it is preferable to suppress constriction in the front waist portion 20.

[0048] Also, stretching force in the upper end portions of the waist portions 20 and 30 largely influences the ability to easily spread open the waist opening BH when the diaper 1 is to be put on. The stretchy sheet 24 has a characteristic of easily stretching from the natural state, but not easily contracting from the stretched state. For this reason, by providing the stretchy sheet 24 in the upper end portion of the front waist portion 20, it is possible to make it easier to spread open the waist opening BH when putting on the diaper 1, and also prevent constriction of the front region after the waist portions 20 and 30 have been fitted to the wearer.

[0049] The stretchy sheet 24 can be constituted by a stretchy-fiber nonwoven-fabric sheet that is manufactured by any of various known manufacturing methods, such as a spunbond nonwoven fabric sheet, an air-through nonwoven fabric sheet, a needle punch nonwoven fabric sheet, and the like, which are constituted by elastic fibers having a mass of 10 to 40 g/m2, or more preferably 15 to 30 g/m2. The raw material constituting the elastic fibers is a thermoplastic elastomer, rubber, or the like. Particularly in the case where the raw material is a thermoplastic elastomer, it is possible to perform melt spinning with use of an extruder similarly to normal thermoplastic resin. The thus-obtained fibers can be easily heat welded, which is favorable for a stretchy-fiber nonwoven-fabric sheet. Examples of thermoplastic elastomers include styrene elastomer, olefin elastomer, polyester elastomer, and polyurethane elastomer. It is possible to use any of the above on their own, or a combination of two or more. The stretchy sheet need only exhibit elasticity in at least the left-right direction, and may exhibit elasticity in two or more directions. The stretch factor of the stretchy sheet 24 in the left-right direction is preferably a factor of approximately 1.2 to 3.0.

Fit of diaper 1 on stomach side



[0050] The following describes the fit of the diaper 1 on the wearer's stomach side when the diaper 1 is put on. FIG. 4 is an enlarged view of the front waist portion 20 (first waist portion) and the absorbent main body 10 in FIG. 3.

[0051] As previously described, the front waist portion 20 includes the inner layer sheet 21, the outer layer sheet 22, and the stretchy sheet 24. In an intermediate state during manufacturing, the outer layer sheet 22, the inner layer sheet 21, and the stretchy sheet 24 are overlaid on each other in this order beginning from the non-skin side in the thickness direction. The stretchy sheet 24 has a lower end 24b that extends in the left-right direction.

[0052] In the diaper 1 of the present embodiment, the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 is arranged at a position that is separated by a distance lg upward from an upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10. In other words, a gap lg is provided in the up-down direction between the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 and the upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10. The region corresponding to the gap lg in the up-down direction will be called a "buffer region BR". As shown in FIG. 4, the buffer region BR is a region that has fewer sheet members overlaid in the thickness direction, and has the lowest stiffness in the front waist portion 20.

[0053] Also, the up-down-direction region of the front waist portion 20 where the stretchy sheet 24 is arranged will be called an "upward region UR". The front waist portion 20 can be fitted to the wearer's waist by left-right-direction contraction of the stretchy sheet 24 in the upward region UR when the diaper 1 is put on.

[0054] Also, in the front waist portion 20, at least a portion of the up-down-direction region where the string-like elastic members 23 are arranged is overlapped with the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10. The region in the up-down direction between a string-like elastic member 23a arranged at the uppermost position and a string-like elastic member 23x arranged at the lowermost position will be called a "downward region DR". The absorbent main body 10 and the front waist portion 20 can be fitted to the wearer's body by left-right-direction contraction of the string-like elastic members 23 in the downward region DR when the diaper 1 is put on. In particular, the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10 is pressed toward the wearer's skin due to contraction of the string-like elastic members 23, thus suppressing positional shifting when the diaper 1 is put on.

[0055] Also, the region between the upward region UR and the downward region DR in the up-down direction will be called a "middle region CR". Specifically, the middle region CR is the region where neither the stretchy sheet 24 nor the string-like elastic members 23 are provided, and no stretchability in the left-right direction is exhibited by such elastic members. Note that in FIG. 4, the buffer region BR is included in the middle region CR.

[0056] FIGS. 5A and 5B are schematic cross-sectional views illustrating details of the fit of the diaper 1 on the wearer's stomach side. FIG. 5A shows a cross-section taken in the left-right direction in the case where the wearer is in a normal posture with a straight spine. FIG. 5B shows a cross-section taken in the left-right direction in the case where the wearer is in a forward-bent posture, such as when sitting in a slouched manner.

[0057] In the normal posture in FIG. 5A, due to contractive force exhibited by the stretchy sheet 24 in the upward region UR, the upper end portion of the front waist portion 20 fits in surface contact with the bulging portion of the wearer's stomach region. Due to this fitting of the upper end portion of the front waist portion 20, the upper end portion acts as a belt, thus suppressing the case where the front waist portion 20 shifts away from the wearer's stomach region. Also, due to the upward region UR fitting in surface contact, constriction pressure does not become locally concentrated on the wearer's skin, and such pressure is distributed over the entirety of the stretchy sheet 24. Accordingly, the wearer is not likely to feel discomfort, and it is possible to suppress the case where a mark remains in the stomach region due to constriction by elastic members.

[0058]  On the other hand, due to the contractive force exhibited by the string-like elastic members 23 in the downward region DR, the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10 fits to the region below the bulge of the wearer's stomach region. This region is inclined diagonally downward from the peak of the stomach region bulge toward the crotch region, and therefore by allowing each of the string-like elastic members 23 to exhibit contractive force to increase the amount of constriction, it is possible to suppress the case where the absorbent main body 10 shifts downward, and the case where a gap forms between the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10 and the wearer's skin. Note that as shown in FIG. 4, more members (e.g., the inner layer sheet 21 and the absorbent body 11) are overlaid on the skin side of the string-like elastic member 23 in the downward region DR, and therefore even if the constriction force is increased in this region, a constriction mark due to the string-like elastic members 23 is not likely to be formed on the wearer's skin.

[0059] Also, the front waist portion 20 fits to the wearer's stomach region in the buffer region BR (middle region CR) between the upward region UR and the downward region DR. It should be noted that elastic members such as the stretchy sheet 24 are not provided in the buffer region BR, thus making it unlikely for stretchability to act in the left-right direction in the buffer region BR. The front waist portion 20 therefore does not necessarily need to be in close contact with the wearer's skin in the buffer region BR.

[0060] When the wearer in the state shown in FIG. 5A then shifts to a forward-bent posture, the wearer's stomach region changes to a state of being smaller in the up-down direction. At this time, the stretchy sheet 24 continues to exhibit stretching force in the upward region UR, thus maintaining the fit of the front waist portion 20 in this region. Similarly, the string-like elastic members 23 continue to exhibit stretching force in the downward region DR, thus maintaining the fit in the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10 in this region. Accordingly, the distance in the up-down direction between the position of the upward region UR and the position of the downward region DR decreases in the wearer's stomach region.

[0061] On the other hand, in the buffer region BR, there are fewer overlaid sheet members and the stiffness is lower, and therefore due to being compressed vertically by the upward region UR and the downward region DR, the front waist portion 20 separates from the wearer's skin (stomach region) in the buffer region BR so as to deform in manner of protruding toward the non-skin side as shown in FIG. 5B. This deformation of the buffer region BR suppresses the case where the upward region UR and the downward region DR collide and the fit degrades. In other words, even if the positions of the upward region UR and the downward region DR change relative to each other due to movement of the wearer's body, it is possible to maintain the fit in these regions UR and DR.

[0062] In contrast to the case in FIG. 5B, if the wearer shifts to a backward arched posture such as when stretching their back, the wearer's stomach region will become stretched in the up-down direction, and therefore the upward region UR will move upward and the downward region DR will move downward. Even in this case, the buffer region BR deforms so as to stretch upward and downward, thus making it possible to maintain the fit in both the upward region UR and the downward region DR.

[0063] Also, even in the case where the absorbent main body 10 sags downward due to absorbing excrement such as urine and becoming heavier, or the absorbent main body 10 is pulled downward by movement of the wearer's legs, the existence of the buffer region BR makes it unlikely for the force pulling the absorbent main body 10 downward to reach the upward region UR. Accordingly, the front waist portion 20 is not likely to become positionally shifted, and it is possible to make it unlikely for the wearer to feel unpleasantness or discomfort.

[0064] If the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 overlaps the front-side upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10, that is to say if the upward region UR and the downward region DR are overlapped with each other in the up-down direction and the buffer region is not formed, then in a case where the position of the downward region DR shifts due to the absorbent main body 10 being pulled for example, the position of the upward region UR will also correspondingly shift, and the fit will degrade. In contrast, in the diaper 1 of the present embodiment, the buffer region BR is provided between the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 and the upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10 in the up-down direction, thus allowing the upward region UR and the downward region DR to independently follow movement of the wearer's body. This therefore makes it possible to maintain the fit of the front waist portion 20 and the absorbent main body 10.

[0065] Also, in the present embodiment, the string-like elastic members 23 (elastic members) are provided below the upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10. In other words, the string-like elastic members 23 are not provided in the buffer region BR that is between the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 and the upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10 in the up-down direction. That is to say, the string-like elastic members 23 are not overlapped with the buffer region BR in the up-down direction, and stretchability is not likely to act in the buffer region BR due to the string-like elastic members 23. Accordingly, the front waist portion 20 is more likely to flexibly deform in the buffer region BR, positional shifting of the upward region UR and the downward region DR is even less likely to occur, and it is possible to further improve the fit when the diaper 1 is put on. It should be noted that even if the buffer region BR and the string-like elastic members 23 are arranged overlapping each other in the up-down direction, as long as the stretchy sheet 24 and the upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10 are separated from each other in the up-down direction, it is possible to realize the "buffer" function of the buffer region BR.

[0066] Also, in the diaper 1 of the present embodiment, the left-right-direction mean stress σBR in the buffer region BR of the front waist portion 20 is smaller than the left-right-direction mean stress σUR in the upward region UR of the waist portion 20 (σBR < σUR). Accordingly, when the diaper 1 is put on, the front waist portion 20 is likely to fit to the wearer's waist in the upward region UR, and the front waist portion 20 is likely to deform freely in the buffer region BR. Accordingly, the downward region DR and the upward region UR are even less likely to move in coordination due to deformation of the buffer region BR, and positional shifting and the like of the front waist portion 20 is not likely to occur at the wearer's waist.

[0067] Note that the aforementioned stress in the buffer region BR and the upward region UR can be measured by performing a stress test such as follows, for example. First, the joining regions 2 formed at the two side portions of the pull-on diaper 1 are cut away, and the front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30 are separated from each other. Measurement target test pieces are then respectively cut out from the buffer region BR and the upward region UR of the front waist portion 20. For each test piece, a section of the test piece having a length of 140 mm in the left-right direction is clamped, as a measurement section, between the chucks of a tensile tester (Instron Co.). Then the test piece is then pulled on both sides in the left-right direction at the speed of 100 mm/min until it has stretched to a length of approximately 270 mm, and then the test piece is allowed to contract at the speed of 100 mm/min until the chuck separation distance returns to 140 mm. This cycle is repeated two times, and when the test piece has been stretched to a predetermined length in the second cycle, the tensile load is measured, and the stress is calculated.

[0068] Also, the left-right-direction mean stress σUR acting on the front waist portion 20 in the upward region UR is smaller than the left-right-direction mean stress σDR acting on the absorbent main body 10 in the downward region DR (σUR < σDR). Accordingly, when the diaper 1 is put on, the front waist portion 20 does not excessively constrict the stomach side of the wearer's waist, and the wearer is not likely to feel discomfort. On the other hand, a relatively large amount of force acts in the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10, and therefore even if the absorbent main body 10 is forcefully pulled downward due to movement of the wearer's legs or the like, positional shifting of the absorbent main body 10 is not likely to occur.

[0069] Also, a configuration is possible in which in the front waist portion 20, the string-like elastic members 23 are arranged so as to have different stretch factors depending on their position in the up-down direction, and therefore the amount of stress acting in the downward region DR differs depending on the position in the up-down direction. Specifically, it is desirable that the amount of force acting in the absorbent main body 10 decreases the closer the position is to the buffer region BR. This is because if the amount of stress is high in the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10, which is adjacent to the buffer region BR, there is a risk that the action of force cannot be entirety buffered in the buffer region BR, and positional shifting of the front waist portion 20 will occur in conjunction with movement of the absorbent main body 10.

[0070] Accordingly, it is desirable that the left-right-direction mean stress σDR1 in a region DR1 that is above the vertical center in the downward region DR is smaller than the left-right-direction mean stress σDR2 in a region DR2 that is below the vertical center in the downward region DR (σDR1 < σDR2). According to this configuration, the amount of stress decreases in stages from the lower side of the absorbent main body 10 toward the upper side (upper end portion), and therefore the amount of stress is lower in the vicinity of the buffer region BR, and it is possible to more effectively buffer force that acts in the upward region UR and force that acts in the downward region DR.

[0071] Furthermore, in the up-down direction, concerning a region DR3 which is a part of the aforementioned region DR1 that is not overlapped with the absorbent body 11 and concerning a region DR4 which is a part of the aforementioned region DR1 that is overlapped with the absorbent body 11, it is desirable that the left-right-direction mean stress σDR3 in the region DR3 is smaller than the left-right-direction mean stress σDR4 in the region DR4 (σDR3 < σDR4). According to this configuration, the amount of stress decreases in stages from the lower side of the absorbent main body 10 toward the upper end portion, and the amount of stress is high in the region DR4 that is overlapped with the absorbent body 11, thus allowing the absorbent body 11 to more easily fit to the wearer's body. On the other hand, in the region DR3 that is not overlapped with the absorbent body 11, the number of sheet member layers is lower, and the absorbent main body 10 has a lower stiffness, and therefore the amount of stress is reduced in the region DR3, thus making it possible to prevent excessive constriction in the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10 so as to achieve a soft texture.

[0072] Also, in the up-down-direction, the length of the region in which the stretchy sheet 24 is arranged (the upward region UR) is longer than the length of the region between the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 and the string-like elastic member 23a located uppermost (the middle region CR). Due to the up-down-direction length of the upward region UR being longer than the up-down-direction length of the middle region CR, it is possible to increase the percentage of the portion of the front waist portion 20 that fits in surface contact with the wearer's skin in the upward region UR, and it is possible to suppress positional shifting of the front waist portion 20. Also, the texture can be made softer in the portion where the front waist portion 20 fits against the wearer's skin.

[0073] Also, the up-down-direction length of the region between the upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10 and the upper end 11ea of the absorbent body 11 is longer than the up-down-direction length of the region between the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 and the string-like elastic member 23a located uppermost (i.e., the middle region CR). Due to the up-down-direction length of the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10 that is not overlapped with the absorbent body 11 being longer than the up-down-direction length of the middle region CR, the upper end portion of the absorbent main body 10 is more likely to fit to the wearer's stomach region, and it is possible to suppress positional shifting of the absorbent main body 10.

Variations



[0074] FIG. 6 is a schematic cross-sectional view illustrating a variation of a method for fixing the stretchy sheet 24 of the front waist portion 20. An adhesive such as a hot-melt adhesive is applied to a fixing portion 41, the fixing portion 41 is provided between the stretchy sheet 24 and the non-stretchy sheets (inner layer sheet 21 and outer layer sheet 22), and the stretchy sheet 24 is fixed to the non-stretchy sheets 21 and 22 by the fixing portion 41.

[0075] In the front waist portion 20 shown in FIGS. 3 and 4, the stretchy sheet 24 is arranged so as to extend straight without being folded in the up-down direction. In other words, the upward region UR is formed between the upper end 24a and the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24. However, in the variation in FIG. 6, the lower end 24b of the stretchy sheet 24 extends downward beyond a lower end 41b of the fixing portion 41, and the extending portion is folded upward at the lower end 41b of the fixing portion 41, thus forming a folded portion 241. In other words, a portion of the stretchy sheet 24 that protrudes downward from the lower end 41b of the fixing portion 41 is turned upward by the contractive force of the stretchy sheet 24 itself, thus forming the folded portion 241.

[0076] In the region where the folded portion 241 is formed in the lower end portion of the stretchy sheet 24, the stretchy sheet 24 is overlaid on itself in the thickness direction, and therefore in this overlaid region, the stretchability of the stretchy sheet 24 increases locally, and the front waist portion 20 is likely to come into close contact with the wearer's skin. Accordingly, positional shifting of the front waist portion 20 is not likely to occur when the diaper 1 is put on.

[0077] Also, in the case where the folded portion 241 is formed, the above-described buffer region BR is the region between the folding position of the stretchy sheet 24 (i.e., the lower end 41b of the fixing portion 41) and the upper end 10a of the absorbent main body 10 in the up-down direction. Accordingly, the up-down-direction lengths (up-down-direction sizes) of the buffer region BR and the upward region UR can be adjusted by adjusting the position (height) at which the fixing portion 41 is provided. Accordingly, it is possible to provide a diaper with a buffer region BR having a size that is set appropriately according to the age and physique of the target wearer.

Other embodiments



[0078] Although the embodiment of the present disclosure have been described hereinabove, the above embodiment of the present disclosure is simply to facilitate understanding of the present disclosure and are not in any way to be construed as limiting the present disclosure. The present disclosure may variously be changed or altered without departing from its gist and encompass equivalents thereof. For example, modification which will be described below is possible.

[0079] For example, the stretchy sheet 24 is not limited to being provided in the upper end portion of the front waist portion 20. The stretchy sheet 24 may be provided at any position in the front waist portion 20 in the up-down direction. Also, a configuration is possible in which the back waist portion 30 (first waist portion) has a stretchy sheet, and the front waist portion 20 (second waist portion) does not have a stretchy sheet, or the front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30 may both have the stretchy sheet 24.

[0080] Also, although a diaper in which the front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30 are separate members is described as an example in the above embodiment, a configuration is possible in which the crotch portion is provided between the front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30, and the front waist portion 20 and the back waist portion 30 are a single continuous member.

[Reference Signs List]



[0081] 

1 diaper (underpants-shaped absorbent article), 2 joining region,

10 absorbent main body, 10a upper end,

11 absorbent body, 11ea upper end,

11A absorbent core, 11B core-wrapping sheet,

12 top sheet, 13 back sheet,

14 exterior sheet, 15 leg elastic member,

20 front waist portion (first waist portion),

21 inner layer sheet (non-stretchy sheet), 22 outer layer sheet (non-stretchy sheet),

23 string-like elastic member, 23a string-like elastic member, 23x string-like elastic member,

24 stretchy sheet, 24a upper end, 24b lower end,

241 folded portion,

30 back waist portion (second waist portion), 31 inner layer sheet,

32 outer layer sheet, 33 string-like elastic member,

41 fixing portion,

BR buffer region, UR upward region, CR middle region, DR downward region




Claims

1. An underpants-shaped absorbent article having an up-down direction, a left-right direction, and a front-rear direction that intersect each other,
the underpants-shaped absorbent article comprising:

an absorbent main body; and

a first waist portion that is joined to the absorbent main body and that includes a stretchy sheet having stretchability in the left-right direction,

the stretchy sheet having a lower end,

the lower end being located at a position separated upward in the up-down direction by a predetermined distance from an upper end of the absorbent main body.


 
2. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to claim 1, wherein

the first waist portion includes a plurality of elastic members having stretchability in the left-right direction, and

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and an elastic member located at an uppermost position among the plurality of elastic members
is smaller than

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the stretchy sheet is arranged.


 
3. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to claim 2, wherein
the elastic members are arranged in at least a portion of an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is overlapped with the absorbent main body.
 
4. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to claim 3, wherein
the elastic members are not arranged in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the stretchy sheet and the absorbent main body are not overlapped.
 
5. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to any one of claims 2 to 4, wherein

the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

the left-right-direction mean stress in the up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the stretchy sheet is arranged
is smaller than

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the plurality of elastic members are arranged.


 
6. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to any one of claims 2 to 5, wherein

the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

concerning an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion in which the plurality of elastic members are arranged,
a left-right-direction mean stress in a region that is above a center in the up-down direction is smaller than a left-right-direction mean stress in a region that is below the center in the up-down direction.


 
7. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to claim 6, wherein

the absorbent main body includes an absorbent body that absorbs an excreted fluid, and

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is between the elastic member located uppermost and an upper end of the absorbent body
is smaller than

a left-right-direction mean stress in an up-down-direction region of the first waist portion that is between the upper end of the absorbent body and an up-down-direction center of the up-down-direction region in which the plurality of elastic members are arranged.


 
8. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to any one of claims 2 to 7, wherein

the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

an up-down-direction length of the up-down-direction region in which the stretchy sheet is arranged
is longer than

an up-down-direction length between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and the elastic member located uppermost.


 
9. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to any one of claims 2 to 8, wherein

the absorbent main body includes an absorbent body that absorbs an excreted fluid,

the first waist portion includes a plurality of the elastic members, and

an up-down-direction length between the upper end of the absorbent main body and an upper end of the absorbent body
is longer than

an up-down-direction length between the lower end of the stretchy sheet and the elastic member located uppermost.


 
10. The underpants-shaped absorbent article according to any one of claims 1 to 9, wherein

the underpants-shaped absorbent article further comprises:

a non-stretchy sheet that constitutes the first waist portion; and

a fixing portion that fixes the stretchy sheet to the non-stretchy sheet,

the stretchy sheet has a lower end portion in the up-down direction, and

the lower end portion of the stretchy sheet includes a folded portion that has been folded upward at a lower end of the fixing portion.


 




Drawing






















Search report







Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description