4 October 2018
Structured microfilament nonwoven with textile-like performance and appearance
To improve the aesthetics and mechanical properties of nonwovens, a method for producing a structured microfilament nonwoven has been developed by Freudenberg Group of Weinheim, Germany
The structure of the nonwoven is designed to be resistant to treatments causing mechanical stress, such as repeated washing or dyeing processes. At the same time, the nonwoven has good mechanical properties, good thermophysiological comfort, and a pleasant appearance and handle.
Such materials could find application as cleaning cloths, towels, fabrics for sanitation purposes, bed linen, upholstery fabrics and lining materials, says Freudenberg.
Disclosed in US Patent 2018/0245252, the method comprises:
- forming a nonwoven by spinning microfilaments and/or composite filaments that can be split into microfilaments to form one or more fibre layers;
- stretching the fibre layers;
- laying the fibre layers;
- thermally pre-bonding the nonwoven;
- treating the thermally pre-bonded nonwoven using a pressurized medium such as water-jet needling to break the thermal pre-bonding;
- further applying a pressurized medium to the nonwoven resting on a structure-producing surface to obtain a structured microfilament nonwoven.
The microfilaments and/or composite filaments have an average linear density of less than 1 dtex (most preferably 0.15–0.3 dtex).
For thermal pre-bonding it is desirable for the microfilaments/composite filaments to comprise at least two different polymers, the melting points of which differ by at least 10°C and preferably by 20–25°C.
Ideally, the composite filaments contain at least two incompatible thermoplastic polymers, such as polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and polyamide (PA), which when combined result in pairings that do not adhere to one another, or adhere only in a limited manner and/or with difficulty.
Such a composite filament is easy to split into microfilaments and produces a favourable ratio of strength-to-mass-per-unit-area, says the company. A combination of PET and PA 6 or PET and PA 66 is preferred.
Freudenberg found that splitting composite filaments with a linear density of 0.15–0.3 dtex achieved highly stable structuring (slip-resistance of the filaments), preventing collapse.
The company adds that the advantage of using composite filaments is that production of the nonwoven can be carried out without using solvents or chemical binders and uses a minimum number of processing steps. Further, composite filaments can be easily split and bonded during breaking of the thermal pre-bonding and/or structuring by application of the pressurized medium.
The nonwoven can have a wide range of structures, for instance, a wave pattern, herringbone pattern, nub pattern or textile patterns such as linen, twill, satin, two-ply fabric and/or jacquard patterns, and/or perforations.
In lightweight nonwovens (25–35 g.m–2) the structuring pattern can increase the uniformity of the distribution of the microfilaments and can facilitate processing.
Freudenberg says this makes it possible to produce three-dimensional (3D) structured nonwovens that are significantly lighter than fabrics with comparable performance properties from different production methods. Owing to the fineness and density of the microfilaments, these nonwovens perform well as cleaning cloths despite their low mass per unit area.
Mediumweight nonwovens ( 80–110 g.m–2) can be produced in which the 3D structuring can recreate the feel and look of woven fabrics. For example, towels can be produced that are strong and effective, as well as having a textile-like appearance recognized by consumers.
US Patent 2018/0245252, Method for producing a structured microfilament nonwoven; Assignee: Carl Freudenberg KG; Inventors: Robert Groten, Benedicte Beck, Ulrich Jahn, Abdelkader Ameur and Jean-François Kerhault.
Holger Steingraeber, Director, Global Communications, Freudenberg Performance Materials.
Tel: +49 (6201) 80-6640.
17 September 2018
Discover a new dynamism at NHPA 2018
By Adrian Wilson, Conference Chair
In a late addition to the programme for the 2018 Nonwovens for High Performance Applications (NHPA) conference, which takes place in Cannes, south of France, from October 10-11, Ania Krolak, Senior Consulting Manager at Smithers Pira will provide a comprehensive list of the disruptive technologies poised to drive growth over the next few years.
There is abundant evidence, for example, of a new dynamism among European fibre manufacturers in response to recent initiatives such as the EU’s Circular Economy action plan and also its directive on single-use plastics.
Without doubt, these will have a decisive effect on the nonwovens industry, as new raw materials pave the way for the development of more sustainable products and processes, and re-use and resource efficiency assume an ever greater role.
Already in 2018, new product launches have been announced by the companies of NHPA speakers including Kelheim Fibres, with its new Leonardo flat viscose fibre for wetlaid nonwovens, which provides unique characteristics including enhanced levels of skin friendliness and liquid storage capacity.
At NHPA2018, Kelheim’s Commercial Director Matthew North will present the case for viscose as a fibre of choice for the next-generation of nonwovens.
Oliver Crasser and Thomas Weigert, of Germany’s Voith Paper and Trützschler Nonwovens respectively, as well as Harri Kiiskinen of the VTT in Finland, will meanwhile explain why wetlaid technology is likely to assume an increasingly important role. Marion Sterner of Gruppo X in Italy will also provide details of a new process, derived from paper production, of imparting natural stretch into such products, without the need for elastanes.
Heinz Meierkord will explain why synthetic fibres will continue to play a pivotal role in a balanced use of resources. His company Advansa, has just expanded its Adva shortcut product portfolio with a new microfibre which is also for wetlaid nonwovens processing.
DuPont Industrial Biosciences has also completed a multi-million dollar expansion project at its Sorona polymer plant in North Carolina, to meet growing demand, and Business Development Manager Christian Lenges will present new enzymatic polymerisation breakthroughs for coating and bio-based materials.
Delegates will meanwhile discover what Fibre Extrusion Technology is doing with nonwovens based on engineered resins and how EcoTechnilin is advancing in materials based on flax for the automotive sector.
I only have the space here to have touched on the influential fibre developments for nonwovens, but there will be much, much more to discover at NHPA2018 in terms of products, processes and end-markets, including:
• E-mobility challenges and opportunities.
• Needlepunched nonwovens based solely on superabsorbent fibres.
• Nanofibre nonwovens for niche applications.
• Dry powder impregnated substrates.
• Next generation binders.
• New universal blood filtration media.
• Printable nonwoven structures for energy generation.
• Patent protection.
I look forward to welcoming everyone interested in these exciting and fast-changing fields within the nonwovens industry to Cannes next month.
Click here to purchase your delegate place.
12 September 2018
Light-transparent viscose fibre is unveiled
A highly light-transparent viscose fibre is being launched by Kelheim Fibres of Kelheim, Germany
The company says that the fibre, called Leonardo, is smooth and flat with a width-to-thickness ration of 1:40. In wetlaid nonwovens, the fibre is skin-friendly and is able to retain large amounts of liquid—typical of viscose fibres.
However, Leonardo is highly transparent to visible light. Kelheim says that this property is desirable for the production of cosmetic facial sheet masks for the Asian market. Here, transparency not only suggests that the masks are highly moist, it also enables them to be worn discreetly in everyday situations.
This transparency could also be beneficial for other nonwovens products, the company claims, such as tea bags where it would allow the contents to be seen clearly.
The application of Leonardo is not limited to nonwovens. When processed into effect yarns, the transparent fibre can impart a distinctive appearance to textiles.
As with all viscose fibre from Kelheim, the company points out Leonardo is made from 100% renewable cellulose and is therefore fully biodegradable.
A member of the company’s research and development team, Ingo Bernt, will present Leonardo at the Dornbirn Global Fibers Congress in Dornbirn, Austria, on 12–14 September 2018.
Kelheim's Commercial Director, Matthew North, will give a keynote address on the environmental merits of viscose fibres at The International Conference on Nonwovens for High-performance Applications (NHPA2018) to be held in Cannes, France, on 10–11 October 2018.
Matthew North, Commercial Director, Kelheim Fibres GmbH.
Tel: +49 (9441) 99-368.
30 August 2018
Jacob Holm reorganizes aramid fabric supply chain
Jacob Holm of Basel, Switzerland, is simplifying its supply chain for hydroentangled aramid (Kevlar and Nomex from DuPont of Wilmington, Delaware, USA) protective fabrics
DuPont first manufactured hydroentangled nonwovens containing the aramids 31 years ago at its Sontara production facility in Old Hickory, Tennessee, USA.
When the Sontara brand and assets were acquired by Jacob Holm in 2014, the Swiss company continued to produce these fabrics while it worked to upgrade and improve the efficiency of the two Sontara sites (the other being in Asturias, Spain).
For the past four years, Jacob Holm has sold the aramid-containing fabrics through DuPont as a toll manufacturer. From 1 September 2018, deliveries of these fabric products will come directly from the Old Hickory production site.
Jacob Holm says that while its base offering of hydroentangled aramid nonwovens has not changed, it is developing a variety of other products based on the Sontara technology.
Shelby Clark, Lead ICS/Customer Service Key User (International Customer Service – Exports) Sontara America Inc.
Tel: +1 (828) 418-2128. Fax +1 (828) 418-2129.
Annette Lattrell, Global Business Development & Market Segment Manager, Jacob Holm Industries (France) SAS.
Mobile (cellular): +33 (6) 68454-963.
22 August 2018
Needlefelt nonwoven is made entirely from superabsorbent fibres
A fully maceratable needlefelt nonwoven made entirely from superabsorbent fibres (SAF) is being launched by Technical Absorbents Ltd (TAL) of Grimsby, UK
TAL Product Development Director Mark Paterson says: “The development of a fabric that contains only SAF and no other synthetic, natural or binder fibres is extremely exciting. We are not aware of anyone else that can manufacture such a fabric and this opens up the opportunity for new product forms. There is no other 100% superabsorbent fabric currently available.”
“We particularly see a potential for its use in spill capture products, such as those used in hospitals to contain bloods, urines and other liquids that need to be managed safely, hygienically and effectively.”
TAL’s company’s 2-m-wide needlefelt line, which was installed in 2015, can produce absorbent fabrics in basis weights of 130–1000 g.m–2. To help protect the fibre during processing, the line is housed in a humidity -controlled environment. Other non-absorbent fabrics can also be manufactured on the line, such as those made using polyester (PES). Short-order trial runs can also be carried out where commercially viable.
“Initially, the line was used for research and development [R&D], as well as making commercial products,” continues Paterson. “The first couple of years saw us develop our product range – containing up to 80% SAF – which are now used in many different applications from medical to filtration.”
TAL's Product Development Specialist, James Docherty, will give a talk on strengthening SAF fibres at NHPA2018, please click on the Abstracts of Presentations tab above for further details.
21 August 2018
Microfibre composite material for automotive headliners
A microfibre multilayer composite for use in automotive interiors has been developed by Alcantara of Milan, Italy. The material could be used, for instance, as vehicle headliners or for covering the parcel shelf or interior pillars
The composite comprises a layer of microfibre nonwoven coupled to a layer of fabric (preferably knitted) made of polyethylene terephthalate (PET – polyester) fibres by means of a specific adhesive.
The key innovation disclosed in International Patent Publication WO2018/138641 is that dyeing is carried out after the production of the multilayer material as the adhesive is capable of resisting the severe process conditions used for dyeing suede-like artificial leather. As a result, the final material has a uniform colour and appearance on both surfaces.
In addition, the coupling of nonwoven and the PET fabric provides the multilayer material with superior elasticity, flexibility and formability characteristics.
The method for producing the microfibre composite material comprises:
- producing a nonwoven semi-finished product made of microfibres of one or more polymers dispersed in a polyurethane (PU) matrix;
- cutting the semi-finished product lengthwise into two layers, preferably of identical thickness;
- buffing one layer on one side to extract the microfibres and form the nap, thereby obtaining a semi-finished raw product with a thickness of 0.6–0.9 mm;
- cutting once again the semi-finished raw product lengthwise parallel to the surfaces, producing a nonwoven intermediate product, containing the buffed side (side N) and a waste layer containing the side that has not been buffed (side S);
- coupling the nonwoven intermediate product on the side opposite side N to a fabric made of PET fibres by the hot-melt application of a thermoplastic PU adhesive that can be cross-linked between the nonwoven intermediate product and the fabric;
- submitting the multilayer composite material to an exhaust dyeing process with dispersed dyes in a jet-dyeing machine at a temperature of 110–140°C in a buffered aqueous bath with a pH of 4–5.
The nonwoven semi-finished product can be prepared by needle-punching a bicomponent fibre of the “island-in-the-sea” type, followed by hot impregnation with an aqueous solution of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) to remove the sea component of the bicomponent fibre, impregnation with PU by immersion, which is then fixed to the nonwoven intermediate product by means of coagulation (e.g. by air, hot water or radio-frequency coagulation), and then removing the PVA by washing with hot water.
The bicomponent fibre can be, for instance, PET as the island component and a copolyester containing 5-sulphoisophthalic acid (or its sodium salt) as the sea component.
Prior to needle-punching, the bicomponent fibre is drawn to a count of 9.2–17.0 dtex, and the resulting nonwoven will have a thickness of 2–4 mm and an apparent density of 0.15–0.30 g.cm–3, which provides a good hand, softness, appearance and mechanical strength under the processing conditions, says Alcantara.
The layer of knitted fabric is preferably a circular knitted fabric made of PET fibres and has:
- a unit weight of 60–120 g.m–2;
- an elongation at 50 N lengthwise of 25–95% and crosswise of 30–150%;
- a breaking load lengthwise of 300–1200 N and crosswise of between 400 N and no breakage;
- a tear strength lengthwise of 8–50 N and crosswise of 9–40 N.
The resulting multilayer composite material preferably has:
- a unit weight of 210–280 g.m–2;
- a thickness of 0.6–1.0 mm;
- an elongation at break lengthwise of 35–90% and crosswise of 50–170%;
- a load at break lengthwise of 100–600 N/5 cm;
- a tear strength lengthwise of 30–90 N and crosswise of 20–80 N.
The microfibre composite disclosed in the Patent is said to provide high levels of elasticity and resistance, given the high stress conditions to which it is subjected during application to a rigid support within a vehicle.
14th August 2018
Short-staple microfibres for wetlaid nonwovens
Advansa has added a microfibre to its portfolio of short-staple fibres (Adva Shortcut), which are intended to be added to wetlaid nonwovens for high-performance applications
The 0.2 dtex microfibre, the finest in the range to date, has a mean diameter of 4.3 µm (with a variation coefficient of less than 10%) and is supplied with staple lengths of 3 mm or more. The microfibre disperses homogeneously in water and is expected to find use in filter media, helping manufacturers to produce fabrics with small pores, according to the company from Hamm, Germany. In addition, the pore size distribution for fabrics containing the microfibre is narrow.
Advansa describes this latest product as the completion of its portfolio, which already includes microfibres (0.3 and 0.5 dtex), as well as regular fibres (1.7, 3.3, 6.7 and 17.0 dtex). Selective use of these fibres allows manufacturers of filter media to control key parameters such as filtration efficiency, pressure drop across the filter, mechanical strength and thermal stability.
Adva Shortcut fibres can be made using a number of polymers: polyester (PES); polyacrylonitrile (PAN); oxidized PAN; polypropylene (PP); polyamide (PA) 6.6; polylactic acid (PLA). However, Advansa says the 0.2 dtex microfibre is only available as PES at present. Other options within the range include core–sheath bicomponent fibres for use as binders. These are supplied with a PES core and a co-PES or polyolefin sheath that is designed to melt at about 110°C, 130°C, 160°C or 180°C.
As well as filtration, Advansa says the fibres are suitable for uses in the paper, composites, automotive, medical, packaging and construction industries. In addition, many of the fibres meet the regulations of the USA, European Union (EU) and Germany with respect to food-contact applications; typically it is the nature of the surfactant finish oils applied according to customers' requests that determine whether or not the fibres meet these requirements.
Nurhan Nalbant, Customer Service Manager, Advansa. Tel: +49 (2388) 840-2306. Fax: +49 (2388) 840-2350
30 July 2018
Teijin acquisition will extend its range of materials for automobile interiors
Teijin Frontier Co Ltd is to acquire J.H. Ziegler, a specialist in high-performance nonwovens based in Achern, Germany
Tokyo, Japan-based Teijin Frontier says it will pay about €125 million to make Ziegler its wholly owned subsidiary. With the acquisition, the Japanese company principally aims to strengthen its production and sales of interior materials for automobiles in Europe.
Founded by Johann Heinrich Ziegler in 1864, the proposed acquisition has developed a range of nonwovens for automotive interiors including seat waddings, sound-absorbing composites and linings for seat covers. It also makes nonwovens for acoustic and thermal insulation in homes, medical applications, reinforcements for composites, and other industrial end-uses.
Ziegler employs about 400 staff and operates five production facilities in: Achern, Oberachern and Lambrecht, Germany; Bábolna, Hungary; Huzhou, China. It also has sales offices in: Detroit, Michigan, USA; Querétaro, Mexico; Nanjing, China. For the fiscal year ended 31 December 2017 it reported consolidated sales of more than €69 million.
Teijin Frontier hopes to complete the deal in August 2018 once all the customary closing conditions have been met, including approval from the regulatory bodies, and will pay for the acquisition partly from its own assets and partly from newly raised capital. It will then seek to develop new products by combining Ziegler’s expertise with its own filaments and staple fibres, particularly its fine fibres in materials for acoustic insulation.
Teijin Frontier will also seek to exploit the production and sales facilities of Continental Structural Plastics, the Auburn Hills, Michigan, USA-based North American hub of its composites business, and Ziegler’s sales office in Detroit to develop new business for interior and exterior materials for automobiles.
In April 2017, Teijin Frontier integrated Tokyo-based Teijin Ltd’s polyester (PES) fibres businesses and subsequently has been strengthening its research and development (R&D) capabilities, as well as establishing a robust supply chain integrating its production of raw materials, fibres, textiles and sewn products for apparel and industrial applications. In particular, Teijin Frontier has focused on its business with the automotive industry and its provision of high-performance interior materials (including seat fabrics, roof linings and sound-absorbing surfaces), rubber reinforcements (such as tyre, hose and transmission-belt cords) and airbag fabrics.
The automotive industry has witnessed radical changes recently, developments such as electric and autonomous vehicles, and a trend towards shared ownership. Together with the introduction of more stringent environmental regulations, these changes are creating new demands for the design and function of automotive interiors, according to Teijin Frontier.
25 July 2018
Dr Heinz Meierkord on why man-made fibres still have a vital role to play in the future of the industry and the environment
Q&A Heinz Meierkord, CEO of Advansa and immediate past-President of CIRFS
Q: At NHPA 2018 you will address of some of the key challenges facing the world – population growth, climate change and increasing consumption – and detail some very positive advantages manmade fibres have over natural fibres, in terms of firstly, land use, as well as the use of fertilizers, pesticides, insecticides. Can you tell us a little more?
HM: The majority of the fibre needs of the growing population of the world are already fulfilled by manmade fibres and it is simply impossible to replace, for example, the more than 50 million tons per year of polyester that is currently produced, with natural fibres.
The use of land and water required for natural fibres is more than 100 times higher than polyester or acrylic, so entire countries would have to disappear to be able to harvest so much cotton or wool. This would be impossible to manage and even just to try it would cause widespread wars.
Q: You will also provide examples of further advantages in terms of water and energy use. What are these?
HM: Science and technical developments for the production units of manmade fibers provide continuously more effective processes and thereby additional savings. That is not possible in agriculture for natural fibres and even genetic modifications – along with the inherent risks of making them – are far away from such efficiency gains.
Q: Why are these advantages being overlooked? Is there more the industry could be doing?
HM: The advantages of manmade fibres are overlooked for many reasons. There are the many myths and stories employed in communications and advertisements targeted at consumers and then there is the fact that the use of manmade fibres in daily products goes largely unnoticed. The manmade fibre industry also comes from a history of the large enterprises of the chemical industry and decades ago the communication policies of such companies was that it was better to say less than more. This has changed nowadays, but a perception that hs already been built is very hard to change.
Q: There has been a lot of discussion about the issue of plastics in the ocean. Nonwoven-based wipes and diapers are without doubt implicated, but to what extent do you believe synthetic fibres are contributing to the problem overall – and what, realistically could be done?
HM: The issue of plastics in the oceans is a very big one for mankind as are all major environmental concerns. The issue of microplastics from synthetic fibres is very small compared to other sources of microplastics. What we need firstly is an analytical methodology to measure this. A clear distinction needs to be made between microplastics coming from synthetic fibres and other microplastics. The phenomenon is a global one and needs to be tackled at global level with all parts of the value chain involved. Each source of pollution may have its own roadmap for prevention. Appropriate human behaviour, improved infrastructure and processes and the implementation and enforcement of legislation are the keys. CIRFS has recently issued position paper on microplastics.
Q: Further discussions will centre around transparency within supply chains and the problem of dumping. You have suggested that brands could actually buy their fibres directly from the manufacturers in order to take full control. Could this actually be achieved?
HM: The ultimate commercial power in our value chains is with the retailers and the brands and what messages the consumers hear from them. The core message of the last 20 years has been price and/or fashion, always cheaper cost of material and manpower. In today’s world of efficiency combined partly with non-market behaviour and dumping in the fibres industry, it is necessary to pay for higher value such as efforts and investment into true sustainability. But commercial power is still concerned with obtaining ever lower prices and obtaining additional value without paying for it from producers all the way up the value chain to fibres.
Therefore if social responsibility and sustainability is a serious and honest priority and claim at retail, buying fibres with a higher portion of investment for sustainability directly from the producers can be one way to fulfil such a responsibility. It would ensure that value is given to the point in the value chain where the cost and investment for sustainability is done, and there are a few already examples of this approach already on the global market.
2 July 2018
Addressing the issues at NHPA2018
Cannes – The full programme for the 2018 Nonwovens for High Performance Applications (NHPA) conference, which takes place in Cannes, south of France, from October 10-11, has now been published
Environmental concerns continue to be high on the agenda for the nonwovens industry, and among new additions to the NHPA 2018 programme are keynotes from Matthew North, commercial director of Kelheim Fibres, as well as Kai Pöhler and Thomas Weigert, of Voith Paper and Trützschler Nonwovens respectively.
North will argue that the industry now needs to develop environmentally sound products – in terms of raw materials, production, distribution use and disposal – which mean that consumers do not need to change their habits.
“And industry needs to deliver these solutions before they find their products are legislated out of existence because the consumer doesn’t use them properly,” he says. “As a fibre producer with around 70% of its products going into disposable nonwoven products we recognise at Kelheim Fibres that we have a responsibility to develop such solutions to ensure the sustainability of our business.”
In alignment with this theme, Pöhler and Weigert will provide details of the latest developments in combined wet-laid/spunlace (WLS) technology, which is allowing manufacturers such as Albaad in Israel to meet these new demands from the market.
As a renewable raw material, they point out, cellulose is very cost-effective and allows the manufacture of high-quality nonwovens with different characteristics. One special product segment is flushable wipes, which disintegrate very quickly in moving water but at the same time have a high strength when wet. In addition, these products are completely biodegradable. They are therefore perfect as moist toilet paper and can simply be flushed down the toilet, making an important contribution to reducing blockages and faults in waste water systems.
On a separate theme that is just as concerned with a push for a more sustainable world, Silke Brand-Kirsch of Schlegel und Partner will present her keynote outlining what the major impacts on the nonwovens markets are likely to be, as E-mobility concepts gain traction across the world.
Material compliance, reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 regulations will have a great impact on the automotive industry and multifunctional and lightweight nonwovens can make a decisive contribution to the weight, noise and emissions of vehicles.
New applications are already arising in response to the demands from this growing market, such as brake dust and e-axle filters, as well as battery separators and advanced new insulation concepts.
It is, however, not yet clear whether electric technology will dominate the transportation market, or whether there will be a number of different, equally preferred forms of drive technology, such as those powered by hydrogen fuel cells, for which nonwovens are already being employed as gas diffusion layers.
Silke Brand-Kirsch will outline the landscape of this always fast-moving sector, which without doubt is on the brink of tremendous change.
The full programme for NHPA 2018 can be viewed here.
19 June 2018
Elastic nonwoven tape with improved conformability and skin breathability
3M has expanded its range of adhesives for medical devices with the addition of its 3M Single Coated Medical Extended Wear Adhesive Nonwoven Tape on Liner (3M 4077)
This is a pressure-sensitive adhesive that demonstrates omni-directional stretch, making it highly conformable and breathable, according to the company of St Paul, Minnesota, USA.
The thin, water-resistant tape is said to offer adhere well to skin on its initial application and a 14-day wear time.
3M 4077 comprises an extended-wear adhesive combined with a white meltblown elastic nonwoven backing on a silicone release liner.
It is compatible with ethylene oxide-, electron-beam and gamma-sterilization methods, and is approved for use on intact skin.
Marcello Napol, Global Business Director, Critical and Chronic Care Solutions Division, 3M.
Tel: +1 (651) 733-9832.
18 June 2018
Wet-laid hydroentangled nonwovens for biodegradable wipes
Albaad is using technology from Trützschler Nonwovens and Voith to produce wet-laid and hydroentangled biodegradable wipes from cellulose fibres
Albaad’s WLM1 WLS production line is currently in its first phase after start-up and is producing high-quality nonwovens at a speed of over 200 m.min–1.
In the first production step, web formation, a suspension highly diluted with water is produced and fed into a HydroFormer from Voith of Heidenheim an der Brenz, Germany. A homogeneous fibre mat forms on the inclined wire of the machine in a process similar to that employed for the manufacture of paper.
Trützschler of Egelsbach, Germany, was largely responsible for the machines for web bonding and drying employed on the line. Using its AquaJet technology, directed high-pressure water jets interweave the individual fibres together, yielding a material with a high tensile strength and a textile-like feel—without the need for binding agents or bi-component fibres.
Trützschler’s Streamliner is largely used to dry the nonwoven. Its spiral dryer section significantly increases air speed that would otherwise be the case Voith’s contactless MCB drying system’s uniform and stable web run ensures the efficient residual drying of the nonwoven.
The resulting wipes demonstrate high strength when wet, and Albaad claims that they are completely biodegradable, enabling them to be flushed down the toilet. The company says that this makes an important contribution to the reduction of blockages and faults in our waste water systems, and the amount of plastic found in the world’s oceans.
Marc Wolpers, Managing Director of Sales, Trützschler Nonwovens.
Tel: +49 (6103) 401-0.
Matthias Herms, Global Market Communication Manager, Voith.
Tel: +49 (7321) 37-2749.
7 June 2018
Range of biodegradable fibres launched for nonwoven wipes
A cellulose fibre that enables wet wipes made from it to release quaternary ammonium compounds (known as Quat and used in the cleaning and disinfecting of household and industrial environments) is being launched by Lenzing of Lenzing, Austria
Quat binds to the surface of conventional cellulose fibres, so the majority of single-use cleaning and disinfectant wet wipes are made from synthetic fibres such as polyester (PES) and polypropylene (PP), the use of which are coming under increasing scrutiny. Lenzing says that using its Quat Release technology, the bond between Quat and the surface of its Veocel Surface lyocell fibres is significantly reduced, improving the performance of disinfectant wipes made from it compared with conventional cellulose fibres.
Veocel is the latest brand to be unveiled by Lenzing and will include Surface, Beauty, Body and Intimate products. It says that fibres launched under this brand are certified clean and safe, of botanic origin and produced using an environmentally responsible production process. The Viocel range will include both lyocell and viscose fibres that are certified to be biodegradable in soil, landfill, compost and seawater. Lenzing will be working with its customers to communicate these benefits to end-users.
Vice President, Global Business Management Nonwoven at Lenzing Group, Wolfgang Plasser, says: “Today’s consumers, especially the millennial generation, are more mindful of their ecological footprint or the mark they leave on the natural environment and its resources. Since nonwoven products are mostly for single-use, we have seen increasing interest across the industry value chain in sustainable product composition and transparent production processes. With more consumers wanting to identify sustainable products that are biodegradable and environmentally responsible with proven functionality, the need for brands to be more transparent in product ingredient labelling is greater than ever."
Waltraud Kaserer, Vice President Corporate Communications & Investor Relations, Lenzing AG.
Tel: +43 (7672) 701-2713. Fax: +43 (7672) 918-2713.
Email: [email protected]
5 June 2018
Prague, Czechia-based investment firm R2G, which owns a majority interest in Pegas Nonwovens, is to acquire First Quality Enterprises’ nonwovens operations in the USA and China
The transaction, which is subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2018.
R2G’s strategy is to merge First Quality, which has nonwovens operations in Pennsylvania, USA, and Wuxi, China, with Pegas Nonwovens, a producer of nonwoven textiles with operations in Europe and Africa, to create a new company – PFNonwovens – to supply First Quality’s US absorbent hygiene division, which manufactures infant care, adult incontinence and feminine hygiene products for the retail and health care markets.
The acquisition will expand R2G’s presence into North America and Asia. Analysts have valued the nonwovens operations of First Quality of Great Neck, New York, USA, at US$500 million.
Private equity fund R2G was established by industrialist Oldrich Slemr in 2016 and holds funds of more than €1 billion. It became the largest shareholder in Pegas Nonwovens of Znojmo, Czechia, in September 2017.
Pegas currently operates nine lines at two plants in the Czechia, where it has a tenth line under construction, and has single-line operations in South Africa and Egypt. When its upcoming investments in Czech Republic and South Africa are completed, the company will have an annual capacity of 131 000 t.
First Quality is understood to produce around 100 000 t a year of spunbond and spunmelt nonwovens on eight lines at two plants in Pennsylvania, as well as operating the line in Wuxi, which came on stream in 2013.
First Quality Enterprises Inc.
Tel: +1 (516) 829-3030. Fax: +1 (516) 829-4949.
29 May 2018
Indorama Ventures to acquire majority stake in Avgol Industries
Bangkok, Thailand-based petrochemicals producer Indorama Ventures (IVL) is to acquire a 65.72% stake in Israel’s Avgol Industries, a producer of nonwovens for hygiene applications
IVL will buy the stake from Avgol’s two main shareholders, UK-based private equity firm Ethemba Capital and Leumi Partners.
The transaction, reportedly valued at around US$314 million, is expected to be completed during the second half of 2018, subject to regulatory approvals.
Avgol, which has its headquarters in Tel-Aviv, has six production sites globally in Israel, the USA, Russia, China and India, with a combined annual production capacity of 203 kt and 900 employees.
The company is said to be the world’s third largest manufacturer of nonwovens for hygiene applications with a global market share of 10%. Its fabrics are used by leading manufacturers of baby diapers, feminine hygiene products and adult incontinence products. Avgol also offers advanced hydroentangled spunlaid fabrics (Avspun and Avsoft), which are used in thin, discrete, soft and high-performance products.
IVL sees the acquisition as an opportunity to strengthen its position in the high-growth personal hygiene-oriented nonwovens market. In particular Avgol offers IVL further diversification of its high value-added portfolio.
The acquisition will allow both companies to provide customers with a comprehensive range of products, said IVL Group Chief Executive Officer Aloke Lohia.
Indorama Ventures PCL. Tel: +66 (2) 661-6661. Fax: +66 (2) 661-6664. http://www.indoramaventures.com
24 May 2018
NIRI's investment aims to track trends in performance nonwovens
A university spin-out business that specializes in developing high-performance nonwoven products has invested in a range of equipment and moved to a dedicated new facility in Leeds, UK
Formerly located on the campus of the University of Leeds, UK, the Nonwovens Innovation & Research Institute (NIRI) was established in 2005 when the university’s still extant Nonwovens Research Group (NRG) was attracting an increasing number of enquiries for help with applied research and development (R&D) related to commercial products. Since then NIRI says it has completed more than 450 projects, including consultancies and co-funded joint ventures, for more than 200 clients. The investment will increase NIRI’s ability to help clients develop, manufacture and test new products.
The equipment purchased is:
- a laboratory-scale electrospinner for making nanofibres;
- a flatbed pilot line for producing hydroentangled nonwovens;
- a scanning electron microscope (SEM) for imaging nonwovens;
- a flow porometer to characterize nonwoven structures;
- bespoke testing equipment for hygiene products;
- test equipment for pulp fluff.
NIRI says the equipment it has bought is a response to the trends within the performance and hygiene nonwovens sectors. The increasing use of nanofibres, for instance, is evident in a number of markets and with its NE300 electrospinner from Inovenso Ltd of Istanbul, Turkey, NIRI can now produce uniform nanofibrous structures up to around 24 × 37 cm from polymers such as polyamide (PA), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) and polyurethane (PU).
The unit can be used with various solvents and can apply a voltage in the range 0–40 kV across a gap from the nozzles to the collector that can be adjusted from 3.5 to 23.5 cm. Its closed feed system keeps solvent evaporation low and the operator can choose to use all or only one of the nine of the nozzles or select any number in between. The unit collects the fibrous structures on either a static plate or a rotating drum, which runs at 80 to 2000 revolutions a minute (rpm) in order to align the nanofibres, which can have diameters of less than 100 nm.
NIRI says the nanospinner will allow for investigations of small-scale fabrics, permitting process parameters to be optimized prior to scaling up to the production of larger samples.
The flatbed hydroentanglement line from Andritz Perfojet of Montbonnot, France, works with webs up to about 35 cm in width. It operates with one to three injectors at pressures of 2–18 MPa (20–180 bars) and has a maximum belt speed of 22 m.min–1. The diameters of its jet strips can be 90–140 µm.
Supplied by Phenom-World BV of Eindhoven, The Netherlands, NIRI’s Phenom-Pro SEM operates with an acceleration voltage of 5–10 kV producing high-resolution images without the need to apply a conductive coating to the nonwoven. Its images reveal the fibre orientation and blend composition of a nonwoven, and allow them to discern the manufacturing methods used to create the fabric. An integrate software package autonomously determines the distributions of fibres diameters and surface pore areas.
To determine the through-pore diameters of nonwovens, NIRI has purchased a liquid-extrusion capillary-flow porometer (Porolux 100FW from Porometer nv based in Eke, Belgium), which uses gas–liquid extrusion to detect the smallest mean flow and largest pore diameters, as well as the relative airflow across the detected range of diameters. Capable of measuring through-pore diameters from 0.43 to 500 µm, this model was chosen because it can be used to characterise a broad range of nonwoven media, according to NIRI.
Wet strength, user comfort, biodegradability and dispersibility are the key properties to manufacturers of products for the hygiene sector, and NIRI has therefore invested in testing equipment to measure the strike-through times and rewetting characteristics as defined by the Nonwovens Standard Procedures, NWSP 070.7.RO (15) and NWSP 070.8.RO (15), published by the industry bodies EDANA of Brussels, Belgium, and the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) from Cary, North Carolina, USA. The unit’s measurements of the penetration times of liquids in response to successive insults and the sample’s resistance to the release of liquids when the surface is under load help to quantify the efficacy of hygiene products as well as assess the comfort for wearers.
Finally, also with reference to hygiene products, NIRI has invested in equipment to measure the specific volume of a sample of pulp fluff, as well as to determine the absorbent capacity and speed of absorption of the sample when under load and exposed to liquids. The equipment determines these parameters according to the SCAN-C 33:80 method outlines by the Stockholm, Sweden-based Scandinavian Pulp, Paper and Board Testing Committee.
Business Director Matthew Tipper will be speaking about NIRI’s work on functionalising nonwovens with advanced material particles at the Nonwovens for High-performance Applications conference in Cannes, France, on 10–11 October 2018.
Matthew Tipper, Business Director, Nonwovens Innovation Research Institute (NIRI) Ltd, 169 Meanwood Road, Leeds, West Yorkshire, LS7 1SR, UK. Tel: +44 (113) 350-3829.
21 May 2018
Two nonwoven industry bodies have jointly welcomed an Australian court’s decision to fine a manufacturer of wipes for falsely claiming the products were flushable
On 12 April 2018, Australia’s Federal Court fined Pental of Melbourne, Australia, a total of Aus$700 000 for making false and misleading representations about the flushability of its toilet and bathroom cleaning wipes (White King). The proceedings were begun in December 2016 following a complaint made to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC) by Choice, an Australian consumer advocate group.
Before filing the complaint, Choice says it conducted its own tests on a range of wet wipes and found that none of the White King products disintegrated when put in a mixer with water for more than six hours. This was in stark contrast to the toilet paper it tested, which broke up within minutes and eventually completely dissolved. Nevertheless, the packaging and promotional materials for White King wipes included statements such as “flushable”, “Simply wipe over the hard surface of the toilet…and just flush away”, and “White King Toilet Wipes are made from a specially designed material, which will disintegrate in the sewage system when flushed, just like toilet paper”.
The Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) of Cary, North Carolina, USA, and Brussels, Belgium-based EDANA are working with nonwoven industry and wastewater experts to develop a comprehensive battery of tests that ensure a wipe marketed as “flushable” does not cause blockages in the wastewater system after it is flushed.
INDA President Dave Rousse says: “There are rigorous testing procedures for flushability and Pental’s product did not pass those tests and should have been clearly marked with a ‘Do Not Flush’ symbol [according to] our Code of Practice for labelling." He added a review had found that White King wipes had not been subjected to this testing and subsequent studies concluded the products do not pass the Edition 3 Flushability Guidelines (GD3) established by INDA and EDANA.
“This type of behaviour hurts responsible manufacturers, because some consumers and regulators will unfairly attribute those failures to the entire category of flushable wipes.”
3 May 2018
High-performance applications for European nonwovens grew substantially in 2017
Electronic applications for nonwovens in Europe grew 21% by weight of fabric in 2017 compared with 2016, outstripping the year-on-year rate of growth for medical (13.2%) and automotive end-uses (13%), according to the annual survey of EDANA, the Brussels, Belgium-based body representing the industry
In the same period, European production of nonwovens grew by 4.3% to reach 2.544 Mt, which generated an estimated turnover of €7869 million (+5.6%).
Production from the European Union (EU) approached nearly 2 Mt, helped by growth in Greece, Romania, Czechia (Czech Republic), Slovakia, the UK and Ireland. Manufacturers in France and the Benelux region saw no growth, but maintained the production levels of 2016. In the wider European region, growth in production from Turkey exceeded 10% and that from Russia was above 9%.
With respect to process technology, European production of wetlaid fabrics enjoyed the greatest increase (+10.2%), owing largely to newly installed lines becoming fully operation in 2017. As a result, 9% of Europe’s total production is now accounted for by wetlaid fabrics. Output of short-staple airlaid fabrics grew by 1.3%.
Production of polymer-based nonwovens (spunmelt and assimilated) grew by 4.2%, consolidating the importance of this type of fabric in the European industry. Polymer-based nonwovens now account for 41% of the production (1.056 Mt) in terms of fabric weight (65% by surface area). Output of drylaid fabrics accounts for 42% (1.057 Mt) having grown by 3.6% year-on-year.
Despite the rapid growth of high-performance applications, the hygiene sector continues to be the main application for nonwovens, accounting for a 29.8% share. Sales to manufacturers of wipes for personal care, where growth stagnated temporarily in 2016, rose by 5.4% in 2017.
EDANA combines data from participating companies with its own from continual monitoring of the industry to compile the annual report, which it supplies exclusively to members.
19 April 2018
A filter pad that removes impurities from contaminated cooking oil has been developed by Pure Gravity Filtration Systems of Conroe, Texas, USA
The company notes that the use of cooking oil on a repetitive basis results in an accumulation of total polar molecules (TPMs) in the oil. Over a period of time (and depending upon several factors, including the quantity of cooking oil, the moisture content of processed food and the quantity of food processed in the oil) the TPMs accumulate until they produce undesirable characteristics, such as discoloration and foul odours, and and generates excess grease and an unpalatable taste in the food being fried.
Described in International Patent Publication 2018/0099238, Pure Gravity Filtration Systems' filter pad, which is made of carbon and a fibrous material, is designed to remove contaminates and polar molecules from the oil and restore its colour so that it can be reused many times.
Essentially, the filter pad (100) comprises:
- an outer layer (102) with an air permeability of 425 CFM (Frazier number, as measured by the Frazier Differential Pressure Air Permeability Instrument, and industry-standard for measuring air permeability ) that includes a filter paper, mesh or other material that allows oil to flow through both layers of the filter pad; a viscose-based filter paper, for instance, has a weight of 50.9 g.m–2;
- an inner layer (104) that includes a filter composite/filter medium.
The company adds that, in some circumstances, it may be beneficial to first pass the used cooking oil through a pre-filter capable of removing large particulates (such as those greater that 50 µm), which prevents them from clogging the filter pad.
The filter pad can include carbon, cellulose, polyester (PES) and viscose; an example is a blend comprising 7–9 g of filter paper, 6–8 g of viscose, 3–5 g of PES and 12–16 g of carbon.
The carbon can be a liquid-phase powdered activated carbon, such as BG HHM from Calgon Carbon. The carbon can also be an acid-activated, wood-based product and capable of adsorbing high- and low-molecular weight organic impurities.
Fibrous materials can include textiles, nonwovens or composites, made from, for instance, aramid fibre, chipboard, corrugated board, felt, fibreglass, graphite, para-aramid or hardboard.
The “regular tenacity” viscose can have a linear density of 0.9 dtex and a length of 3.2 mm, while the high-tenacity, low-shrink PES can have a linear density of 3.3 dtex and a length of 3.2 mm.
The filter pad can also include a cellulose composition with an areal weight of around 249 g.m–2, a thickness of 1 mm and a Frazier number of 11.7 CFM.
International Patent Publication 2018/0099238, Filter pad; Assignee: Pure Gravity Filtration Systems; Inventors: Brendan S. Siegert and Lee L. Reneau.
Pure Gravity Filtration Systems LLC.
16173 Tree Monkey Toad, Conroe TX 77303, USA.
14 March 2018
Developing heat-resistant thermoplastic nonwovens
Researchers in Germany hope to show that heat-resistant fibres of around one micrometre in diameter can be produced cost-effectively from highly viscous polymer melts
Nonwovens based on these fine fibres are suitable for use in hot gas filtration, personal protective textiles, battery separators and fuel cell membranes.
The work is being carried out by: the German Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering (DITF) in Denkendorf; spin die and plant manufacturer Nanoval GmbH & Co KG of Berlin; producer of specialized woven fabrics for the lay down, formation and transport of nonwovens Siebfabrik Arthur Maurer GmbH & Co KG of Mössingen; and Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM) in Kaiserslautern, which is contributing it expertise in process simulation.
The cooperative project is focused on optimizing the energy used for creating fine fibre webs from polymers such as polyetheretherketone (PEEK) polyphenylene sulphide (PPS) and polyphthalamide (PPA), using melt blowing and Nanoval's process, at temperatures of up to 450°C and at high pressures.
Based on an existing melt-blowing line, the process is being evaluated with regards to its energy consumption and its fluid dynamics. The researchers will examine mechanisms for: melt process and fibre formation; air processing and recovery; fibre lay-down and web formation.
A multi-row Nanoval spinneret designed for high-performance polymers is being employed as part of the project. The hot air stream required for the process will be optimized, and energy will be recovered. Further, a high-temperature-resistant filter band will ensure the homogeneous lay-down of the fine fibres.
Encouraged by the requests of customers from the filtration and battery industry, Nanoval and Siebfabrik Arthur Maurer aim to commercialize the technology.
Martin Dauner, Head of Filament and Nonwoven Technologies, German Institute of Textile Technology and Process Engineering.
Lüder Gerking, Managing Director, Nanoval.
An air-through bonded nonwoven developed as an alternative to lighter weight needlepunched or heavier weight airlaid fabrics is now available from its German developer
An air-through bonded nonwoven (pelyloft 90/30) that can absorb more than 1000% of water by weight.
Wahlstedt-based pely-tex Gmbh makes the new fabric (pelyloft PZ 90/30) from polypropylene (PP)/polyethylene (PE) bicomponent (70%) and viscose (30%) fibres and claims, owing to the fibre geometry and the use of a particular viscose, the nonwoven can absorb more than 1000% of water by weight (as measured according to the standard DIN 53923—Testing of textiles; determination of water absorption of textile fabrics).
The company adds that the fibres are skin-friendly, so the fabric can be used in direct contact with the body as well as being incorporated in multi-layered products. Moreover, the presence of the bicomponent fibres results in good processing characteristics with ultrasonic equipment.
Tested in-house according to methods recommended by nonwovens industry body EDANA of Brussels, Belgium, the fabric is 2.7–3.3 mm in thickness and its basis weight is 85.5–94.5 g.m–2. The tensile strength of dry fabric in the machine direction (MD) is 45–65 N/50 mm, while that in the cross-machine direction (CD) is 5–13 N/50 mm. The dry state elongation (MD), meanwhile, is greater than or equal to 14% and that in the CD is greater than or equal to 50%.
Fibertex Nonwovens of Aalborg, Denmark, has acquired the Brazilian nonwovens manufacturer DUCI, effective from February 2018
The new owner says the acquisition gives it an immediate and solid foothold in the growing South American market for automotive nonwovens and is a significant step towards becoming a global leader in this sector.
Based in an industrial area to the west of São Paulo, DUCI makes hydroentangled (spunlaced) nonwovens, a technology of which Fibertex Nonwovens has wide experience and believes offers great potential, particularly for supplying the automotive industry. Currently, DUCI employs about 100 staff, but Fibertex Nonwovens has already announced its intention to expand production there in the next few years.
A typical European car contains about 30 m2 of advanced nonwovens and Fibertex Nonwovens says it has captured market-leading positions as a supplier of internal materials including headliners, seats and parcel trays, as well as for external applications such as wheel housings, underbodies and insulation. Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Fibertex Nonwovens Jørgen Bech Madsen says his company supplies large parts of the European automotive industry and the Brazilian acquisition allows it to follow these customers into one of the most important growth markets in the world: “Brazil is in fact the most preferred country of production for many automotive manufacturers.”
At present, Fibertex Nonwovens generates annual revenue of about DKK1.4 billion (about €200 million) and has production facilities in Denmark, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey, USA and South Africa. DUCI was founded in 2001 and generates revenue of nearly DKK115 million, with estimated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of about DKK15 million for 2017.
Fibertex Nonwovens is a wholly owned part of the Danish conglomerate Schouw & Co, which acquired the former Fibertex A/S in 2002. In 2011, Aarhus-based Schouw divided this acquisition into two sister companies: Fibertex Nonwovens, to specialize in manufacturing performance fabrics; Fibertex Personal Care A/S.
Fabrics from Fibertex Nonwovens are used in many specialist products. In addition to the automotive industry, they find applications in such as the furniture, construction, geotextiles, filtration and acoustics sectors. The acquisition of DUCI also opens a door for entering the South American market with products for the composite industry and high-performance wipes, where Fibertex Nonwovens also has a strong position in Europe. The Brazilian market for industrial nonwovens is the sixth largest in the world and accounts for about 120 kt a year, equivalent to approximately half of the South American total.
President of Schouw Jens Bjerg Sørensen adds: “We see a large potential in developing Fibertex Nonwovens. The business has a production platform with a very large potential, and new nano-based products – that Fibertex Nonwovens has developed and patented – are lined-up and ready.”
Jens Bjerg Sørensen, President, Schouw & Co. Tel: +45 8611-2222; https://www.schouw.dk/hjem/
Jørgen Bech Madsen, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Fibertex Nonwovens. Tel: +45 9635-3535. Fax: +45 9815-8555.
An electrically conductive metallized nonwoven that can be used to protect composites from lightning strikes has been launched by General Nano of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Called Veelo Veil, the carbon nanotube (CNT)-based nonwoven has been designed for use in aerospace parts and can also provide protection from electromagnetic interference and pulses (EMI and EMP).
General Nano says that the ductile, drapeable nonwoven can conform to the curvature of parts with complex geometries, demonstrates more than four times the specific conductivity of other metalized nonwovens of equivalent areal weights, and is 36% lighter than the least resistive metallized nonwoven currently available commercially.
Specifically, Veelo Veil has an areal weight of 50–60 g.m–2, is 75 µm in thickness and exhibits a sheet resistance of 0.005–0.01 ohms per square.
The veil is available in roll or prepreg form.
General Nano was The Boeing Company’s 2016 Supplier of the Year for Technology.
Jill Gwinnutt, International Newsletters Ltd. Tel: +44 (870) 165-7211. Email: [email protected]
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