Sunday 31 December 2006

Inda/Tappi Nonwovens Meeting St Louis, September 2005

The main INDA-TAPPI conference was preceded by a 1 day Nonwoven Enhancements conference organized in conjunction with the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists. The main INTC conference comprised 3 simultaneous sessions and only those attended are reported. This was the largest and busiest nonwoven conference of recent years comprising 98 full presentations, 14 Poster presentations, 12 Supplier showcase presentations, 18 award presentations and a fashion show.
Millenium Hotel St Louis: Venue for INTC 2005

Rory Holmes, President of Inda (seated)

Nonwoven Production by region, 1994-2009 according to INDA

Nonwoven growth by region: 1994-2009 according to INDA

Nonwoven production by web-forming technology; 1994-2009 according to INDA

Biodegradable fibres in Hydroentanglement

Frederic Noelle of Rieter Perfojet described trials with wipes substrates where PLA had replaced the polyester. Old data from Courtaulds (circa 1990, now rebadged "Lenzing") showed how lyocell, viscose and cotton degraded in a sewage farm and old data from Cargill-Dow showed how PLA degraded after pre-hydrolysis when wipes disappeared in 60 days. Without prehydrolysis PLA (poly lactic acid derived from corn) does not biodegrade.

Relative prices of biodegradable fibres on the European Market

Rates of biodegradation of viscose and lyocell hydroentangled (spunlace) fabrics in soil burial

SEM of lyocell after biodegrading for 7 days in soil

Rates of biodegradation of cotton, lyocell and viscose in a sewage farm digester.
Markets for biodegradable nonwovens
Another paper on this subject is available on the main site.

Saturday 23 December 2006

A Pill for Incontinence?

Pricie Hanna, VP of John Starr Inc, previewed a study done with Helena
Engqvist Consulting on the likely impact of advances in drugs on the market for hygiene products. The prevalence of incontinence is rising due to population ageing and the increasing prevalence of prostate surgery, obesity and diabetes.

By 2050, 20% of the world’s population will be over 60, including 35% of Europe and 26% of the USA. This slide shows the figures for 2020.
Prevalence of Incontinence in 6 major EU Countries, USA and Canada

Treatments and coping strategies used by US women with incontinence (above and below)

The key pharmaceutical companies developing drugs to treat incontinence include Pfizer, J&J, GlaxoSmithKline, Ely Lilly, Novartis, Yamanouchi and P&G. Several new drugs for over-active bladder were introduced in 2004 and 2005 and many more are in the pipeline. Also in 2005, collaborations between P&G and Novartis, Yamanouchi and GlaxoSmithKline and Takeda and Toray were announced, all targeting faster introductions of both prescription and over the counter products to treat incontinence.

Friday 22 December 2006

Old Rayon Filament Spinning Machines

The first man-made fibres were intended to replace silk in apparel, and the yarns were marketed as art-silk (artificial silk).
(from "Courtaulds: An Economic and Social History", Clarendon Press, 1969)

The artificial silk spinning machine designed and built by Count Hilaire de Chardonnet c. 1889 for spinning cellulose nitrate (dissolved in an alcohol/ether mixture) into hot air to make fine yarns.

The first Dobson & Barlow machine to produce rayon commercially in Courtaulds Coventry works in 1905. Here a solution of cellulose xanthate in caustic soda was extruded into and regenerated by a sulphuric acid bath

By 1930 the machines were bigger and faster and capable of stretching the yarn, but still recognisably based on the 1905 design.

Cakes of acid yarn had to be wound into skeins for washing in 1930

By 1950, the continuous spinning and washing system was used. This system was for producing tyre-yarn at Carrickfergus.

Further Reading: "Regenerated Cellulose Fibres edited by Calvin Woodings, Woodhead Publishing Ltd, Cambridge, England

Thursday 21 December 2006

Courtaulds Viscose Rayon Plant, Coventry - 1939-45

Rayon made by the viscose process was the first commercially successful man-made fibre and in staple form it was the first fibre to be used in disposables by the emerging nonwovens industry, cotton being too hydrophobic before it was bleached and too hard to process afterwards. The Courtaulds plant in Coventry UK was the first in the world to produce viscose filament yarn, starting production in 1905. The photos below record the devastation of the plant in the air raid of April 1941.

Courtaulds Coventry in 1939

Courtaulds Coventry after the April 1941 air raid

Rebuilding after the war

For more photos of this original route from natural cellulose to man-made fibre, click on the link for the 1948 photographs from "The Story of Rayon" . This covers the batch process used to make textile filament yarn and the newly developed tyre yarn at that time.

The link will take you to the Technical Papers section of old (Please use the browser back button to return here.)

Click Here for a view of the Coventry Rayon site today, courtesy of Google Earth

Click Here to read about the development of another fibre in the buildings now visible in the link above - soon to be historic for its contribution to sustainable textiles in the 21st Century.  We're talking Tencel.

Tuesday 19 December 2006

Spunlaced nonwovens for hot-gas filtration.

André Lang of Jacob Holm Industries GmbH (Germany) has been developing scrim-reinforced spunlaced nonwovens as replacements for needled products in hot gas filtration.
He listed the performance advantages of spunlace over needlefelts, including tightly controlled pore size distribution and improved dust-holding

Reduced levels of particles in clean-gas resulted.

Spunlaced PTFE filter bag after 3 months usage.
Pressure drop against air-flow rate comparison: Needlefelts versus spunlace.

Nanovliz - a new nanofibre nonwoven from Lyocell?

Lüder Gerking of Nanoval GmbH & Co KG (Germany) claimed that in his new Nanovlisz® process a single 0.6mm die hole surrounded by a concentric 4mm diameter Laval nozzle could produce 10 gms/min of PP nanofibers and 15 gms/min of titania-dulled PET nanofibers.
The fibres were probably more micro- than nano-, but the process was more like meltblowing than electrospinning...

using significantly less energy for a given fibre diameter than meltblown.

Plans for a 2 metre wide machine were shown...
...along with SEM's of Lyocell webs apparently made by the Nanovliz (as opposed to the Nanoval) method.

Monday 18 December 2006

The Future of Flushables?

Mr. Nataraj Gosavi, Director of Business for Ahlstrom Asia Pacific presented the Ahlstrom view of flushable product development and regulation.
Flushable wipes were getting some adverse publicity and the products were attracting regulatory attention

The Nonwoven Industry in the shape of a combined EDANA/INDA Taskforce was developing guidelines for development and test protocols

dispersibility of the wipes soon after flushing was the key to success... Ahlstrom had developed their own test method

...which showed their wet-laid, hydroentangled products to disperse at a rate between that of dry and moist toilet tissues.

Steam-Jet Entanglement by Mitsubishi Rayon Engineering

Mr. Hajime Tatsumi of Mitsubishi Rayon Engineering described the steam jet process which has been in development for 7 years. Contrary to earlier reports in the press, this is not an alternative to water-jet entanglement, more an extension of hydroentanglement when faster drying, improved bulk and thermal bonding are required.
The MRE Pilot Line: Steam jets shown on the right...
...the web is held between two conveyors and steam injected from above and below.
Comparisons with water jet entanglement: Less mass through the nozzles at much higher velocity gives comparable total energy input...
...but the steam, unlike water, dissipates rapidly and has to pass through a screen before hitting the fibers so little entanglement results.

However its a good way of thermal bonding while maintaining bulk after hydroentanglement, and the heat input reduces the energy needed to dry the web.

Saturday 16 December 2006

Anex 2006 in Tokyo

Tokyo Big Sight - the site of Anex 2006 organised by ANNA, ANFA, and E J Krause

The Statue of Liberty next to Whitestone Bridge: this must be Tokyo (and its the Rainbow Bridge)

The Keynote address was from Unicharm's...

...exuberant founder and Chairman, Mr Keiichiro Takahara, and was a personal view of the people-related issues involved in leading and growing a successful business through 45 years with three prolonged periods of negative growth.

Said is not heard, Heard is not listened, Listened is not understood, Understood is not agreed, Agreed is not convinced. (Managers please note!)

The Celli Wingformer pilotted at Rieter Perfojet - First results

Alessandro Celli, Managing Director of Celli Nonwovens S.p.A (Italy) provided more information on the design of the new Wingformer air-lay head highlighting the significant differences from the established systems from Neumag (M&J) and Danweb.
Pulp was distributed through a thin flexible screen which could be cleaned on each rotation.

The system was now working in Rieter Perfojet's pilot plant

The use of wing-like fiber distribution elements gives uniquely uniform webs with very good MD/CD property ratios.
Web profiles show weight variability below 2% and most remarkably
this uniformity is maintained over air humidities ranging from 80% down to 30%.

Wingformed webs have been supported on spunbond and carded nonwovens