Wednesday 4 December 2013

EDANA NIA: New Hydroentanglement and Dry-Lay equipment at CETI

The EDANA Nonwovens Innovation Academy began 7 years ago as the ”Nonwovens Research Academy” also in Roubaix and it remains one of the few meetings to feature original technical papers mainly from the European technical institutes. This year it was hosted by the European Centre for Textile Innovation (CETI) and commenced with a tour of the recently opened €50m nonwoven pilot plant. This comprises state-of-the-art pilot lines for carding, cross-folding, spunlaying of mono, bi- and tri-component fibres, meltblowing, thermal bonding, hydroentanglement, and needlepunching. Machinery has been supplied by Andritz, Laroche, Strahm and Hills Inc. The layout allowed continuous production of laminates of carded and SMS webs with either calender or HE bonding.

Photos from CETI follow:

The hydroentanglement zone is in line with both the Hills Inc spunbond system and the dry-lay card...

...and feeds an Andritz through-air dryer/bonder

The full-size Andritz card can feed a crossfolder for felt and wadding development or feed a narrower lighter web through the spunmelt zone into hydroentanglement

The Laroche Flexiloft airlayer feeds webs under the crossfolder for combination with card webs.

Tuesday 3 December 2013

The New Melt-spun Nonwoven Pilot Plant at CETI

EDANA's Nonwovens Innovation Academy was held last week at the European Textiles Innovation Centre in Roubaix France.  Here are some photos of the new spunmelt pilot equipment now available for hire.

 The Hills Inc spunlaying head (left) and meltblowing (right)



Simom Fremeaux of CETI describing Tri-component yarn spinning

Go to CETI for more details

Wednesday 13 November 2013

600 jobs to go at Lenzing Austria

In the light of the ongoing difficult market situation, Lenzing has decided to proactively implement a massive, far-reaching cost optimization program. The initiative will enable cost savings of EUR 120 mn p.a. until 2015 as a means of safeguarding Lenzing’s cost leadership on the global market for man-made cellulose fibers. In this way Lenzing is responding to the current difficult market environment, which has led to increasingly fierce price competition.
“The difficult market situation will continue in 2014 and possibly well into 2015. We will resolutely counteract this unfavorable situation and adjust our cost structures to the new circumstances as quickly as possible”, says Peter Untersperger, Chief Executive Officer of Lenzing AG. “Our aim must not only be to expand our quality leadership and innovative strength on a sustainable basis, but also to regain the cost leadership in our industry. We continue to see attractive growth potential for our products, but we are already preparing ourselves today as optimally as possible for the increasingly tough competition. Cost discipline and cash generation will be our targets over the coming years.”
In particular, the sales and marketing organization will be strengthened as part of the current reorganization project. The entire organization will sharpen its focus to more strongly orient its activities to the important fiber markets of Asia and Turkey. Sales efforts in China especially will be expanded on the basis of additional technical experts and market development capabilities.
Lenzing will continue to invest, particularly in developing TENCEL® for high quality textile applications and sustainable nonwoven applications. Demand for Lenzing Modal® remains strong.
The expanded cost optimization program “excelLENZ 2.0” is a further, comprehensive step to sustainably safeguard earnings and future investment projects. It complements the initial “excelLENZ” cost-saving program which has been underway since the beginning of the year as well as the organizational restructuring of the Group. Improvement potential for all cost modules encompassing all operating units has been defined over the past weeks. The measures to be implemented on this basis will not only result in savings in material costs but also massive reductions in operating expenses and overhead, extensive increases in operating efficiency as well as a reduction in the total number of employees. All global sites will be affected. The staff at the Group’s largest production site in Lenzing, Upper Austria will likely be downsized by up to 15% from the current level of about 2,600 employees (including retiring employees and unfilled vacancies). On balance, a total of up to 600 jobs will be cut or vacant positions not filled.
The individual measures will be quickly carried out in the coming months, and thus already partially impact earnings in 2014. Lenzing expects one-off expenses related to the implementation of the “excelLENZ 2.0” drive in the mid double-digit euro range.
Source: Lenzing PR

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Kelheim Fibres Presents New Fibre Solutions at Dornbirn

New challenges need new solutions – and true to this slogan of the 52nd Man-made Fiber Congress, Bavarian viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres presents its innovative products at this year’s industry meeting in Dornbirn. The spread of product or trademark piracy is one of these challenges as it inflicts an enormous loss on our global economy every year and is becoming increasingly explosive. Almost 70% of all businesses are affected.
Bernd Probst, a member of Kelheim’s R&D team, will present a range of speciality fibres that protect products from illegal counterfeits with a visible or invisible fingerprint.

Another hot topic is the mega-trend „Ageing Society” and the resulting increasing demand for convenient, discrete and safe incontinence products. Dr. Ingo Bernt presents viscose speciality fibres from Kelheim that enable perfect liquid and moisture management: their absorption levels range from “extra absorbent” to “hydrophobic”; hence they allow the production of incontinence solutions that consist completely of renewable materials and are at the same time washable and re-usable.

Dr. Philipp Wimmer will give a lecture on the opportunities that Kelheim’s viscose specialities offer in the filtration industry, a market which is growing in importance in our increasingly ecologically aware and health-conscious society. In contrast to other cellulosic fibres such as cotton, for example, viscose fibres stand out not only as a result of their definable and reproducible geometry, which enables a perfect match to be made to the specific processing route or end application. The porosity or surface
of a filter, for instance, can be precisely controlled by adding the appropriate viscose fibres with different cross sections. Further, the incorporation of functional additives allows the manufacturing of tailor-made fibres according to the end product’s exact demands.

And finally, Dr. Roland Scholz and Dr. Nina Köhne present a series of interesting analyses regarding ionically activated viscose fibres and their applications. By using different technologies, Kelheim’s R&D can deliver fibres with cationic or anionic functional groups and thus controls the fibre properties. Particularly when it comes to ion exchanging properties, fibres offer a distinct benefit: in comparison with common ion exchange resins, the diameter of the ionically functionalised fibres is considerably smaller and the active surface significantly larger. Hence they operate up to ten times faster!

With these different lectures, Kelheim Fibres scientists give a fascinating insight in their work – and again demonstrate their versatility and ability to develop cutting-edge products.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Tencel sales to nonwovens up 25%

The following paragraphs are extracted from Lenzing's 2nd quarterly report for 2013.  

The global nonwovens fiber market developed robustly in the first half of 2013 against the backdrop of very good volume demand. However, the declining textile fiber selling prices, also in the nonwovens sector, also led to some price pressure.

Lenzing set new sales priorities in its nonwovens business in the first half-year, for example in Europe, where demand developed well. On balance, shipment volumes in the first half of 2013 climbed to about 131,000 tons (H1 2012: 115,000 tons). There was a significant volume increase for TENCEL® of approximately 5,000 tons to close to 23,000 tons.

Average fiber selling prices for Lenzing nonwoven fibers remained stable in the first half-year at EUR 1.75 per kilogram, but were below the comparable level in 2012 (EUR 1.84/kg) in line with the general price trend. As expected, the price decrease was not as pronounced as in the textile segment.

Demand for TENCEL® used in textile applications could also be maintained at the same high level by implementing corresponding marketing campaigns. These measures related to all types of TENCEL® fibers, serving as the basis for full capacity utilization at the TENCEL® production plants. In spite of the disruption in production at the TENCEL® factory in Heiligenkreuz, total volume reached a level of 43,000 tons in the first six months of this year, slightly above the prior-year figure of about 42,000 tons. TENCEL® selling prices developed stably throughout the entire first half of 2013, featuring price premiums of about 50% vis-à-vis viscose, but significantly below the premiums attained in the first half-year 2012. 

Lenzing's full quarterly report is now available for download here.

Presentation slides are also available here

Monday 12 August 2013

It's OK to use food-crops for bioplastics if...

Berlin, 12 August 2013. The nova-Institute has recently published a paper on agricultural feedstock use in industrial applications shedding light on the controversial public debate surrounding the industrial use of food crops or so-called first generation feedstock. The core finding asserts that efficiency and sustainability assessed on a case-by-case basis should be the sole criteria in judging the choice of feedstock used. The institute further stresses that the real issue is land availability for growing biomass for different purposes.

The paper refers to studies asserting that, even after satisfying food demand of a rapidly growing world population, enough arable land would remain available for purposes other than food production. The best usage of these areas is achieved by considering the land-efficiency of different crops. Studies show that many food crops are more land-efficient than non-food crops. According to the paper, they require less land to produce the same amount of e.g. fermentable sugar (commonly used in biotechnology processes) than non-food crops or so-called second generation feedstock, e.g. lignocelluloses.

“Efficiency and sustainability should be the leading criteria when selecting renewable feedstock for industrial purposes, such as the production of bioplastics”, said Hasso von Pogrell, Managing Director of European Bioplastics, embracing the paper as a welcome contribution to the discussion.

Monday 5 August 2013

Kelheim viscose has a fingerprint against forgery

With its new viscose fibres “with a fingerprint”, renowned viscose speciality fibre manufacturer Kelheim Fibres presents an innovative solution for composites at this year’s Composites Europe trade fair. The objective is to protect plastic products against forgery, to ensure product traceability and supply chain control – and to avert fraudulent warranty claims. By incorporating luminescent pigments from Tailorlux, the specialist in inorganic phosphors, in the viscose fibre matrix during the spinning process, Kelheim Fibres has intrinsically bound the pigments to the fibre and created a durable effect.

The pigments are customised from a range of more than 300 billion different combinations. They can be precisely identified by light spectroscopy, a widely recognised and uncomplicated method. The pigment can be detected in a non-destructive or a destructive examination (for example in the ash of a product). For quick checks in the field, Tailorlux offers a simple hand scanner.
The particular advantage of Kelheim’s viscose fibres with a fingerprint: the “detour” via the viscose fibres allows for a very economic dosage of pigments in the plastic, so that in the end, there is less pigment required than when added directly. The customer benefits from a significant economic advantage. With these new fibres, Kelheim Fibres offers a solution for all manufacturers of composites (for example in the automobile industry), who have been searching for affordable protection against forgery for some time.
Kelheim Fibres is able to manufacture various types of viscose fibres incorporating Tailorlux’ luminescent pigments, based on the customer’s specific needs, which allows a perfect match to the end product and to the customer’s production process.

Friday 21 June 2013

Freudenberg Nonwovens at TechTextil

During the international press conference for the specialist media which took place on the first day of the TechTextil 2013 trade fair Bruce Olson, CEO of the Freudenberg Nonwovens Business Group, outlined the new strategic orientation of the company belonging to the Freudenberg Group. In keeping with its motto “The Solution Engineers – Wherever you are”, Freudenberg Nonwovens presented its broad spectrum of product innovations in all market segments, from the latest generation of Viledon® battery separators and the steady stream of new applications for Evolon® microfilament technology to the new Vildona® Airliner 2.0 in the footwear industry.

Megatrends such as urbanization and energy storage motivate and drive developers at Freudenberg Nonwovens. Dr. Christoph Weber, Head of Separator R&D Department at Freudenberg Nonwovens, presented the company’s solutions for high-performance batteries in the shape of the latest development in separators for Lithium-ion batteries: “This is an ultrathin nonwoven with a special surface coating which outperforms conventional separator materials especially in terms of thermal and mechanical stability. These Vildeon® separators provide the needed improvements in battery technology that play a key role in the safety, reliability and service life of large Lithium-ion batteries for emerging mobile and stationary applications.”

12 years after Evolon® microfilament technology was launched, Freudenberg Nonwovens is investing some €5 million in expanding production capacity at the plant in Colmar, France. From the end of October production will be raised to 3,000 tonnes/year. Jean-François Kerhault, Business Section Manager Evolon®, presented the numerous applications and versatile properties of Evolon® at the press conference. Evolon® is a revolutionary chemical free fabric for anti allergy bedding, the microfilament structure provides outstanding cleaning and lint free properties which makes Evolon a perfect cloth for high-tech wiping, the scratch free characteristics of the fabric offer the best surface protection for the transport of sensitive parts like for example in the automotive or electronic industry. The latest applications relate to LCD wet wipes, sport & bath towels or eco-friendly printing media; banners at the exhibition booth provided a good demonstration of Evolon®’s performance as a printing substrate. Evolon®’s features can be enhanced by all traditional textile finishing processes.

With 300 times more breathability than conventional membranes, Vildona® Airliner 2.0 has exceeded all expectations as a shoe insole. The technology is based on a substrate, in this case a spunlace nonwoven, in which a superabsorbent polymer is anchored using a chemical reaction. At the same time as Techtextil was taking place, an agreement to cooperate with a leading Turkish brand Greyder®, as an addition to the existing technology partnership with the Deichmann Group, was concluded. And that is just the beginning: “Other major brands are also extremely interested in this revolutionary shoe technology,” Simon Browne, who is responsible for the shoe business in Europe, said.

Diaper Design Optimisation

Carlos Richer of Richer Investments (USA) dominated the opening day of this year's INDA VIsion Conference in Orlando with a first-class workshop on diaper design and production for new entrants, especially those in the developing economies.  He commenced with the biology resulting in the production of urine and how the quantities produced vary with fluid intake, age and climate.  He  moved on to practical  diaper designs and factors affecting absorbency, retention and leakage before considering skin irritation, comfort and the ways to optimise diaper design for different markets.  He concluded with a tour of the latest constructions and some speculation about future products. Noteworthy points follow:

·         Whereas on a normal day 62% of fluid is lost as urine, 18% as sweat, 16% as respiration and 4% as faeces, on a hot day sweat increases to 30% at the expense of urine. This reduction in urine output is more pronounced and more important for design in the under-developed markets.
·         Disposable diaper sales decrease in hot sunny weather due mothers preferring to use washables when they can be line dried – at least in markets where disposables penetration is lower than in the USA.
·         Most new diaper producers define their absorbency for a medium size and then adjust the capacity for other sizes in proportion to baby’s weight.  However, a 2kg baby produces about 200mls urine/day and a 26kg baby produces 1650 ml/day from a much larger bladder.  Mls/kg/hour of urine should be considered and this goes down as baby grows.
·         Diapers are worn for 4.5 hours on average before changing but this increases to 6.5 hours as baby grows and varies dramatically with culture.  Japan and Korea change much more frequently.
·         Probability of diaper leakage decreases as the amount of urine absorbed increases.  This is because leakage failure is usually occurs on first urination through the cuffs due to poor construction.

Tuesday 18 June 2013

Suominen increases its spunlace production capacity...

Suominen, the global leader in nonwovens for wipes, will invest approximately EUR 2.5 million in the capacity expansion at one of its assets at the Windsor Locks plant in Connecticut, USA. The investment increases Suominen’s capacity to produce value added nonwovens products, particularly for the growing segment of flushable products.

“We have decided to proceed with this investment in order to be able to answer to our customers’ increasing demand. We will further strengthen our position in the wipes market, and particularly in this market segment, and the investment will expand the production capacity of our proprietary HYDRASPUN® Substrate technology”, says Jean-Marie Becker, Executive Vice President of Suominen Nonwovens.

“The investment highlights our commitment to the wipes market and is in keeping with our strategy to further increase the share of value added products in Suominen’s portfolio”, adds Nina Kopola, President and CEO of Suominen Corporation.
The investment is aimed to increase the production capacity of Suominen’s Hydraspun® Substrates. Suominen’s Hydraspun® Dispersible Substrate is a product defined as flushable as defined by industry guidelines developed by INDA and EDANA, the industry associations.

The market for flushable products is growing in many regions across the globe and Suominen is, by implementing this investment, addressing both the current and future de

Suominen Corporation Press release 18 June 2013 at 15:00 (EEST)

... and Suominen divests Codi

Suominen Corporation has divested its wet wipes business unit, Codi Wipes, to the Value Enhancement Partners investment company. The deal further strengthens Suominen’s strategic focus on nonwovens and clarifies its corporate structure. Due to the divestment, Suominen revises its outlook concerning the Group net sales development in 2013.

The sale of all Suominen’s shares in its subsidiary, Codi International BV, to Cogitandum BV, a subsidiary of Value Enhancement Partners, has been confirmed today. Codi International is a leading European wet wipes producer located in the Netherlands, with net sales of nearly EUR 50 million in 2012.

The estimated acquisition price is in total EUR 9.2 million. The final acquisition price will be contingent on the financial performance of Codi International in 2013 and on other conventional terms and conditions of the transaction. Due to the divestment, Suominen will recognize, in accordance with the IFRS 5 standard, a loss of approximately MEUR 16 in the second quarter result of 2013 of its discontinued operations. Previously, Codi International has been reported as part of Suominen’s Wiping segment. The transaction has been approved by the local works council. The closing of the transaction is still dependent on the fulfillment of the conditions precedent by both parties.

“Divesting Codi Wipes business unit is very well in line with our “In the Lead” strategy as the deal clarifies both our corporate structure and our position in wipes value chain, particularly in relation to our nonwovens customers. We can now concentrate even better on further strengthening our competitiveness in nonwovens”, Nina Kopola, President and CEO of Suominen Corporation says.

“Due to our major expansion in nonwovens, the strategic role of an own converting unit has clearly diminished from 2003, when Codi International was acquired. For Codi International, this transaction assures an owner with strategic interest to develop the company further”, Nina Kopola continues.

“Codi International holds a very strong position in the European wet wipes industry with a highly automated production that provides some of the highest quality converting possibilities in Europe. The fragmented market and growth in upcoming markets presents opportunities to increase the scale of the company and to diversify its production into more geographies and products, thereby also potentially being better able to serve its globally operating customers. We look forward to realizing the growth plans together with management”, Kenneth Tjon, Managing Partner of Value Enhancement Partners says.

After the closing of the deal, Suominen will operate two business units, Nonwovens and Flexibles, which will be reported in two separate reporting segments.

Due to the divestment, Suominen revises its outlook concerning the net sales development for 2013. Suominen expects that the full year 2013 net sales of its continuing operations will remain at the level of 2012. Previously, Suominen had stated that its net sales for the full year 2013 would remain at the level of 2012.

Tuesday 11 June 2013

TENCEL®ePower for EDLC applications

The botanic fiber TENCEL® enhances the performance of electrical separators in advanced demanding electrical applications. The latest TENCEL® innovation – TENCEL®ePower – will revolutionize the double-layer capacitor industry.

The fourth European Advanced Automotive Battery Conference (AABC) held in Strasbourg/France from June 24-28, 2013 will examine the advanced battery market with a focus on the activities and needs of European automakers. For the first time, the Lenzing group will exhibit at AABC presenting innovative solutions in the fields of energy storage, power and substrate density.

As Lenzing fibers are made from wood, they are naturally absorbent and pure. These properties make them ideally suited for numerous nonwoven applications including technical end-uses. During its appearance in Strasbourg, Lenzing will focus on the botanic fiber TENCEL® enhancing the performance of electrical separators in advanced electrical applications. Most high-capacity energy storage devices contain separators with the main purpose of optimizing ion transport. Refined TENCEL® supports this task. The micro-fibrillar structure prevents short circuits and failures whilst improving capacity and performance in advanced technical applications*.

In addition, Lenzing will present the latest innovation TENCEL®ePower which is the sustainable solution targeted at the new energy market for use in electrodes in high performance capacitors. The technology behind is based on a combination of TENCEL® fibers from Lenzing and the proprietary technology of Nanocarbons LLC, Fort Lauderdale (Florida, USA). A new pilot line for activated carbon for electric double-layer capacitors (EDLC) derived from high purity TENCEL® has been built and is sampling for pre-market development. Exceptionally high capacitance values are obtained from a unique tailored structure based upon TENCEL®. The superior purity of TENCEL®ePower is the basis for enhanced stability and operating life of EDLC cells.

Lenzing press Release 11/6/2013

* These EDLC separators were first developed by Courtaulds Research in conjunction with Nippon Kodoshi in Japan in the early 90's.  Click here for more information.

Monday 3 June 2013

Viscose Fibres with a Fingerprint – a New Product from Kelheim Fibres

Protecting products against forgery, product traceability, supply chain control and legal protection against fraudulent warranty claims: product security is becoming increasingly important in a globalised economy.

Kelheim Fibres, experts in manufacturing viscose speciality fibres, offers an innovative solution: In cooperation with Tailorlux, the specialist for anorganic phosphors, Kelheim has developed a viscose fibre “with a fingerprint”.
To achieve this, luminescent pigments from Tailorlux are incorporated in the viscose fibre matrix during the spinning process – so the pigments are intrinsically bound to the fibre and durable. Tailorlux produces customised pigments in a range of more than 300 billion combinations, each with its own individual spectrum.

Fibres incorporating these pigments bear their characteristic spectroscopic fingerprint in the body of the fibre; the fibres – as well as the products made using them - can be precisely identified and are therefore impossible to forge.
Validation is by light spectroscopy, a widely recognised and uncomplicated method. The pigment can be detected in a non-destructive or a destructive examination (for example in the ash of a product). For quick checks in the field, Tailorlux offers a simple hand scanner.

Kelheim Fibres’ latest development is primarily aimed at the paper industry: Viscose fibres can be easily integrated in the papermaking process and remain – together with the pigments incorporated in the fibre - in the paper. Thus loss of pigments in the process is a thing of the past!

More possible applications can be seen in the textile or nonwovens industry – namely whenever products need an invisible but unique identification mark. These fibres can ensure the traceability of filters or other products for example – or they can help to control the compliance of predetermined supply chains in the textile industry.

Kelheim Fibres is able to manufacture diverse types of viscose fibres incorporating Tailorlux’ luminescent pigments, based on the customer’s specific needs, which allows a perfect match to the end product and to the customer’s production process.

Thursday 23 May 2013

Sustainability and the Consumer: Green Marketing Statistics

Lee Ann Head, VP Research, Shelton Group has explored “sustainability” from the viewpoint of the average consumer.  Asked what do you think Sustainable means in the phrases Sustainable Products or Sustainable Practices the top 6 of widely varying answers were “No Idea” (21%), “Long lasting and Durable” (14%),  “Environmentally safe and friendly” (10%), “Renewable – easily replaced” (10%), “Preserves resources – non-depleting” (7%), “Keeps going” (7%).  Only 7% came close to the Meeting our needs while preserving the ability of future generations to meet theirs definition which the EPA favours. 

70% of those questioned were searching for Greener products, mainly to reduce energy use (71%) , but also for Home Cleaning (61%), Laundry (59%), Kitchen towels (58%), food (47%) and personal care products (46%).  How do they identify Greener products? Mainly by reading the ingredients list and the claims on the packs, but some do their own research on the web and believe the recommendations of Certifiers such as “Energy Star” and “Good Housekeeping”.  However, due to the recession they were losing interest in green products which did not have an immediate payback and felt that most Green home cleaning products were disappointing.  They were also rejecting toilet paper and kitchen wipes which claimed to use recycled paper and try to justify a premium.  For the consumer, recycled means cheaper.

So, convenience and comfort continue to trump the environmental arguments and people want products with fewer chemicals and more Made in the USA content.  More want personal care products with fewer chemicals rather than more bio-biobased content.

Perhaps of most interest was the emergence of end-of-life disposal as an issue this year.  74% thought the producer should take responsibility for end-of-life disposal and 61% thought the retailer should.

Asked whether the consumers’ view of disposable diapers was changing as a result of the changes evident in this survey, Ms Head thought they were not.  The convenience of disposable diapers far-outweighed any negative thoughts about their sustainability or disposal.

Monday 20 May 2013

Polymeric Delivery Systems for Sustainable Nonwovens

Robert Lochhead, Professor and Director of the School of Polymers and High Performance Materials at the University of Southern Mississippi couldn’t get to Orlando but provided a voice-over for the slide show which was mainly a review of the latest patents of interest to sustainable nonwovens. 
  • He proposed reducing the water content of lotions for wet wipes by using Shinoda’s 1964 principle of phase inversion to make more concentrated emulsions.
  • USP 8327579 B2 (Dec 2012) proposes using waste nonwovens with PU foams to make floating islands which protect small fishes and could be pre-seeded to grow crops.
  • US Application 2013/0012093 A1 suggests using fibres made of polyethylene extended with vegetable waxes to deliver perfumes etc.
  • US 8268738 B2 (Sept 2012) from Kimberly Clark proposes overcoming the brittleness of PLA spunbonds by using PEG plasticiser compatiblized with maleinized PP.
  • US Application 2011/0152818 A1 suggests cellulose acetate butyrate/polyhydroxybutanoate to make thermally bondable nonwovens
  • US Application 2011/0300382 from P&G suggests making nonwovens from alkyd resins made spinnable into fibres by vitrification.
  • US Application 2013/0023608 A1 proposes using biobased thermoplastic elastomers and thermoplastic starches to make bicomponent fibres.
  • US Application 2013/0023176 A1 proposes making nonwovens from the currently wasted coir fibre from coconut farming.
  • US Application 2012/0027838 A1 covered ingestible nonwovens made from Ethylex 2035 starch used as a carrier for drugs.
There were numerous applications for patents from P&G on dissolvable fibres comprising surfactants, PVA polymers, plasticisers and rheology modifiers under the headings “What if nonwovens could be detergents”, “Nonwoven shampoo”, “Nonwoven laundry detergent”.

Thursday 16 May 2013

INDA 2011 Statistics Highlights

Rory Holmes, Past President of INDA provided the latest (2011) INDA statistics:
  • Of the 1817 kt on nonwovens produced, 964kt were spunbond, 598kt carded, 165 kt airlaid and 90 kt wetlaid. 
  • 638kt of the spunbond was PP (SB or SMS). Polyethylene accounted for 54kt and was presumably mainly Tyvek.
  • 314kt of the carded was needlepunched, 201kt spunlaced and 83kt thermal or resin bonded.
  • By 2016 the total tonnage will rise to 2329kt, 1270kt of which will be spunbond.
  • For Disposables, hygiene nonwovens will grow from 370kt in 2011 to 416kt in 2016, medical from 166 to 194kt, wipes from 309 to 414kt and filtration from 171 to 213kt.  Oil Sorbents will grow from 59 to 75kt.
  • For Durables over the same 5 years, automotive nonwovens will grow from 53 to 76kt, furniture/bedding from 90 to 130kt, geotextiles from 125 to 141kt and agricultural from 30 to 37kt.

Monday 13 May 2013

New quality standards for Adult Incontinene products

Nancy Muller, Executive Director of the National Association for Continence (NAFC) pointed out that the US wastes $750bn/year in health care spending, including $210bn on unnecessary services, $190bn on unnecessary administration, and $130bn on inefficiency.  Fraud accounts for a loss of $75bn.  Savings are sought and one of these relates to the Medicaid Nursing Home Waiver whereby the State saves on Nursing Homes by covering the cost of community-based long term care.  This means helping the family to look after elderly relatives. Often the home-based carers themselves are elderly, physically impaired and in need of education about inco management and the available products.

Skin gets increasingly vulnerable with age and skin-care for incontinence sufferers is a key problem.  Even with skilled nurses in excellent long-term care homes, incontinence-related skin erosion and ulceration is a serious problem.  So, as care moves into the community, State authorities are concerned that they could be overwhelmed by such problems and admit to having no idea what type of products they should be recommending to minimise the issue. 

NAFC has therefore pulled together a group of suppliers (K-C, SCA, Attends, First Quality, Medline, PBA) and State Authorities ( CA, MA, MN, SC, and TX) who have teleconferenced  monthly for the last 2 years.  They have rejected the ISO “absorbent capacity is key” philosophy and are incorporating threshold performance standards and recommendations for strikethrough time, rewet weight and retention under load.  The numbers vary according to whether the briefs are “Standard” or “Premium” priced, and whether the wearer suffers from Light/Moderate or Moderate/Severe incontinence.  Recommended values for a medium size – presumably measured on the whole pad - range from 35-60 seconds for strikethrough, 0.5 to 2 gms for rewet and 250-400gms retention.
6 sizes are recommended; all components must be FDA/OSHA/EPA approved; closure systems must allow multiple use; and the garments must be breathable without leaking.  Test results are to be shared between States and there will be regular audits to reduce product variability and prevent inferior products being used.

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Lenzing Fibres First Quarter 2013.

Weak prices in the light of good volume demand characterized the business development of Lenzing’s Segment Fibers in the first quarter of 2013. This served as the basis for the ongoing full capacity utilization of all production facilities.

Fiber shipment volumes reached a level of about 216,000 tons, about the same level as in the fourth quarter of 2012 and approximately 13% higher than in the prior year quarter. This increase can be attributed to the additional production capacities coming on stream in 2012 at the Indonesia plant (SPV) as well as the USA/Mobile site. A fire took place at the TENCEL® fiber production site in Heiligenkreuz in March of 2013, which will likely result in a loss of production amounting to some 5,000 tons in 2013 as a whole.

Segment sales in the first quarter of 2013 totaled EUR 447.1 mn, down from EUR 474.4 mn in the prior-year quarter. Segment EBITDA was EUR 58.9 mn (1-3 2012: EUR 87.2 mn), and segment EBIT mounted to EUR 31.3 mn (1-3 2012: EUR 62.5 mn). 

Specialty fibers comprised about 34.5% of segment sales.

The business development of the Business Unit Textile Fibers was characterized by intensified price ompetition on the marketplace. Lenzing was not immune to this trend, which led to a further decline in selling prices for

Saturday 4 May 2013

South America Nonwoven Update

Rick Jezzi of A D Jezzi and Associates updated the SA demographics noting that the birth-rate was now decreasing (down 1% per year) as religious principles waned and more women worked.  The female population (15-49) was increasing at 1% per year and the over 65’s at 3.8%/pa.  The average PPP/cap will be $12500 in 2017, the wealthiest countries being French Guyana, Chile and Argentina.  Brazil, the most populous country in SA, accounted for half the people and 60% of the GDP, and will have a PPP/cap of $10500 in 2017. 
  • Diapers will grow at 5.6% CAGR through 2017.  There are numerous producers but the two biggest (unnamed) take half of the total sales.  Penetration will rise from 53 to 62% (2011-17)
  • Femcare will grow at 6.1% CAGR through 2017 and here again of the numerous producers, the 2 majors take 54% of pantyliner sales and 42% of pads. Penetration will rise from 67 to 85% (2011-17)
  • The embryonic adult inco market is expected to grow at 10% CAGR through 2017. Penetration will rise from 20 to 27% (2011-17)
  • Baby wipes will also grow at 10% but use lower basis weights and more spunbond than NA.  Household wipes are practically non-existent. Penetration will rise from 39 to 62% (2011-17)
Mr Jezzi expects to see the industry consolidate and many smaller players to disappear.  Mass merchandising will grow and the whole industry will become more professional as technology is transferred from NA.  Brazil is leading the sustainability movement with its highly available low-cost bio-feedstock.  Braskem and Dow are already producing “drop-in” bio-PE.  Industrial PHB/PHV’s are becoming available and Solvay is producing bio-PVC.  An airlaid nonwoven producer is needed in the region.

Tuesday 30 April 2013

Indian Nonwoven Market Update

Rich Chapas of Chapas, Chinai and Associates provided news from the subcontinent.
  • Per capita income for 2011 was $3663 (PPP basis)
  • There are 26.2 million births/year; the middle class population is 375 million of whom 60 million are engineers and scientists; 30% of the population lives in cities.
  • The diaper market is >1% penetrated and the femcare market 15% penetrated by disposables.
  • Nonwovens use is 0.5kg/capita/year now and is expected to grow to 2.5 kg/capita/year by 2025.
  • Nonwovens production was 190,000 tonnes in 2011, of which only 18,000 were disposables.  These numbers are expected to double by 2015.
  • 48% of nonwoven production is spunbond and 36% is needlepunch.  11% is spunlace.
  • The culture is anti-disposables and there is insufficient infrastructure to support rapid growth.
  • Carpets and backing, packaging, geotextile and automotive durable nonwovens make up 75% of nonwoven sales.  Hygiene is only 8%.
  • New product development should involve use of local natural products, not synthetics.  However India, like Brazil, would be a good base for developing bio-based synthetics.
  • K-C are partnering with Lever to develop the diaper and femcare market.

Friday 26 April 2013

INDA's Visionary Award Finalists: Kimberly Clark, Allasso Ind. and Vitaflex

Tim van Himbergen of Kimberly Clark Corp. used the platform to promote the whole range of Poise Wellness products, the latest addition to which is the Panty Freshener, a small 4-layer circular pad containing perfume and intended to be stuck on the outside of the pants.  The layers are perfume-containing nonwoven, film, adhesive, and release paper.  4 hours of freshness are promised.
The other Poise Wellness products mentioned were Personal Lubricant, cooling Gel, Cooling Towelettes, and Feminine Wash, launched July 23rd 2012 in the US and Canada.

Walter Chappas of Allasso Industries Inc., described the company as being spun-off from NC State University develop applications for their multi-limbed fibre made using bico spinning technology.  A segment-pie bico with about 40 soluble segments in a nylon pie is produced and converted into papers, nonwovens or textiles. The segments are then removed in hydroentanglement or dissolved to leave the very high surface area multilimbed nylon core.  In addition to the cosmetic facial mask shown (a 50gsm nylon spunlace impregnated with creams and lotions), applications in filters, wipes, medical, insulation, composites and apparel are envisaged.

Nonwovens using the fibre are currently produced in Korea for air filters on a 2-metre wide line.  The fibres are oval with dimensions of about 10 to 20 microns.

Al Blalock CEO of Vitaflex LLC demonstrated a primary head protection balaclava made of three layers of elastic spunbond PP.  The soft stretch breathable fabric allows a comfortable one-size-fits all product which covers the entire scalp, face and neck but for a narrow eye-slot over which goggles can be worn.  It is intended to protect the wearer from all airborne sprays, dust or splashes while working indoors or to reduce wind-chill, sunburn and scratches during outdoor activities.  It could also have applications in food and medical product preparation and maybe in surgery.

It looked ideal for protecting the hair from paint while painting the ceiling.

...And the Winner Was Dude Wipes

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Kelheim Fibres Acquires Visil FR Technology from Bankrupt Avilon

In line with its strategy of continued specialisation, Kelheim Fibres GmbH, the world's leading producer of speciality viscose fibres, has reached an agreement with the bankrupt Finnish fibre company Avilon for the acquisition of knowhow and technology for the production of flame retardant viscose staple fibres, previously marketed under the Visil® name. 

In the late 1990s, operating as Saeteri, Avilon pioneered the production of such fibres designed to meet the requirements in place for furnishings in the American market. Matthew North, Commercial Director of Kelheim Fibres GmbH, comments: "The US market has become dependent on supply of FR viscose fibres from China. The agreement we have reached will allow us to finalise development of FR fibres based on the knowledge and experience of the historical market leader and offer a reliable, high-quality alternative to Asian sources". 

Initial production trials at Kelheim with the support of Avilon technicians were completed successfully in April 2013 and the fibres are currently undergoing testing. It is expected that samples of the new fibre will be available for customer tests by early May 2013. Kelheim Fibres GmbH will be showing its full range of speciality viscose fibres at the IDEA International Engineered Fabrics Exhibition in Miami, USA from 23. to 25. April 2013.

Friday 19 April 2013


New positive growth despite a slow economy background

Friday 19th April, 2013, BRUSSELS – Today the European annual statistics on Nonwovens Production and Deliveries for 2012 were disclosed by EDANA, the International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries, during its Nonwoven Producers Forum. Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director, described the evolution by nonwovens process leading to an overall growth of 2.2% in production volume for 2012, despite an unfavourable macroeconomic context in Europe. The total deliveries reached the level of 1,954,000 tonnes and 57,690 million square metres last year.

Spunmelt processes accounted for 45%, the rest was fibre-based materials. Within the drylaid, the leading bonding technologies remain spunlace and needlepunch in terms of tonnage produced. Jacques Prigneaux stated that “This is the third year in a row of output growth following the slowdown of 2009. Nevertheless, the different market segments follow different trends. In nonwovens, drivers are multiple as linked to the numerous and increasing  possible applications. Some sectors like construction and automotive are directly impacted by the economic background, while disposable end-uses are less affected. Moreover, within the Greater Europe, different major trends have also been observed on a country basis.”

Compared to the situation in 2011, hygiene wipes and automotive segments showed some growth rates higher than 5%, but construction, the second most important sector in volume, recorded a decline of 3%. Nonwovens trade flows in and out of the European Union are still limited compared to local production. The positive trade balance with the rest of the world increased last year, in both volume and value. A large part of the flows was in spunmelt materials and EU27 maintained a positive trade balance for each sub-category by grammage.

For further information please contact: Abby Bailey, Marketing and Communications Director, EDANA
Telephone: +32 2 734 93 10
Fax: +32 2 733 35 18

INDA's Visionary Award Finalists: Diversitech and Dude

Keith Platt of the Diversitech Corporation described how they came to develop the MERV 8+/9+ pleated filter.  Diversitech wanted to make and sell pleated filters for air conditioning units etc but found the standard cardboard-framed design costly to make and too bulky ship economically.  Their experience with plastic mouldings led them to believe that the pleated PP spunbond filter element could be overmoulded with a PP plastic frame to make “nestable” filters which could be stored in half the volume.  The resulting rugged and durable filters also showed lower pressure drop due to absence of cardboard and could be recycled.

Sean Riley, Chief Executive Dude of Dude Products Inc. is targeting 25-35 year old males who tend to “toilet” more away from home than at home.  The resulting individually-wrapped Dude Wipes are intended for all male clean-up jobs, the list including wet-toilet tissue, post-gym clean-up, bedroom festivities and hand/face cleaner.  Dude Wipes are in fact dispersible and flushable multi-function male grooming wipes with a pleasant masculine scent.  Mr Riley expects to extend the range into larger Quick Dude Shower (QDS™) wipes.

Marketing is Twitter-linked and humorous with “social” packaging which works as a conversation starter.  Dude Wipes were developed in conjunction with Rockline Industries and launched in July 2012. They are currently sold online and in a number of small specialty stores.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Europe and Asia Nonwoven Market Update

Ian Bell, Tissue and Hygiene Research Manager at Euromonitor observed that Western Europe’s share of the global nonwoven market had fallen from 26% in 2002 to 19% in 2012 largely due to the preponderance of growth in Asian markets.  Over the same period, and in contrast to declines in WE as a whole, the UK birth rate had increased by 15%.  Here the retailers were aggressively pushing private label diapers as evidenced by the “Tesco loves Baby” promotion.  The withdrawal of “Huggies” will benefit PL and “Pampers” with the majority of the KC 15% share going to PL.
Germany’s population is growing mainly in the over-65’s group where there are now 27% more people than in 2002.  As a consequence of this and the falling birth rate most of the value growth in disposables now comes from incontinence products.  40% of diapers and 15% of incontinence pads are sold as PL.  Incontinence product sales are expected to overtake diaper sales in 2017.
Spain is an economic catastrophe with 27% unemployment overall and 55% in the under 24’s.  Disposable income has fallen by 7% since 2008. The only categories of disposables still growing are flushable wet wipes.
Eastern Europe is growing well mainly due to the Russian baby-boom, and this region is now the 3rd Global Growth area behind China and Brazil.  The government’s “Mothers Capital” scheme, started in 2007 now grants $13,000 to women having babies before the end of 2016.
Turkey hopes to join the EU and will be the next big growth area.
Asia-Pacific as a whole now accounts for 35% of the Global hygiene market, up from 26% in 2002.  China remains the largest market with India running about 25 years behind China.  India, outside the cities, lacks infrastructure to handle disposal (see below).
China’s hygiene sales at retail have grown from around $3bn in 2002 to $10bn now and are expected to reach $37bn by 2020.  In 2002 femcare accounted for the ~90% of sales.  By 2020 femcare will be around 35% and diapers around 60%, the rest being emerging inco.  GDP and per capita income growth have both fallen from the 20% pa peak in the middle of the last decade to around 10%p.a. now and are expected to continue at this rate through 2020.  China is now best viewed city-by-city with Xiamen (9% CAGR), Tianjin (18% GDP Growth in 2011) and Shenzen (7% CAGR) being key growth areas. 
Japan is struggling with low growth and an ageing population.  By 2017 incontinence pad sales will reach $2.5bn, up from $1.2bn in 2002, while diaper sales will fall to $1.7bn from $2bn.
South Korea was singled out as the new market with greatest potential.  Here the per capita income is only $13,000 but already 45% of the diapers sold are bought on the web.  For comparison, only 4.5% of diapers are bought on the web in the USA.

Friday 12 April 2013

Lenzing Group New Sustainability Report

The Lenzing Group has published a new report on its activities pertaining to the issue of sustainability entitled “Focus Sustainability – Taking Responsibility for Our Business.” The report focuses on fibers, the core segment of the Lenzing Group, which accounts for 90% of consolidated sales. For the first time, the contents of the report are geared to the standards contained in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). In Lenzing’s view it fulfills the requirements of Application Level B in accordance with GRI requirements. The new report is based on figures and information from the 2011 financial year and in part from 2012.

In the 2011/12 reporting period, Lenzing intensified its efforts to systematize its internal sustainability work. The objective of these activities was to expand the list of key indicators for ecological, economic and social sustainability criteria in order to improve the transparency of reporting. The Steering Committee for Sustainability spearheaded this initiative. This body consists of one Management Board member, the two heads of the business units Textile Fibers and Nonwoven Fibers as well as the heads of the two Corporate Centers, namely Safety, Health and Environment and Corporate Communications.

Lenzing is committed to the classical model of sustainability according to Brundtland, which considers sustainability in three dimensions: responsibility for the environment, responsibility for people, and responsibility for the economy.

For the very first time, the Lenzing Group has committed itself (since November 2012) to voluntarily complying with specified environmental criteria. They are based on strict reference values defined by various international standards such as EU Ecolabel (”European Flower”). The Environmental Standards of the Lenzing Group apply to all its sites and regions, and are considered to be a yardstick according to which the future behavior of the company in the field of environmental protection will be oriented.

Source: Lenzing Tuesday, 09. April 2013

The Adult Incontinence Market in North America

Rory Holmes, Past-President of INDA said AI in NA was now worth $4.3bn and the market now consumed 11 billion pads per annum.  For comparison the figures for femcare and diapers are $5.39bn/46.9bn units and $7.36bn/29.4bn units respectively.  AI is now consuming 87,000 tonnes of nonwovens compared with 47,000 tonnes in femcare and 236,000 tonnes in diapers.  Of the body-worn AI nonwoven tonnage, 44,300 went through retail and 15,500 through hospitals and care homes.  23,500 tonnes went into underpads and 3,800 tonnes went to all AI products in Mexico. 

By 2017, 13bn units of AI products would be sold in NA, and this represented a growth rate of 3.5%, compared with 1.5% for diapers and 2.1% for femcare.  In tonnage terms the AI nonwoven use would be 103,500 tonnes compared with 52,000 of femcare and 261,000 tonnes for diapers.

The main growth driver is the increasing availability of well designed disposable light incontinence garments which are much thinner (i.e. use composite cores) and more like normal underwear.  They are stretchable, breathable and can incorporate odour control and wetness indicators for institutional use.

With 16% of the NA population expected to be over 65 by 2020, and the government encouraging home-care of the elderly, the home-care use of AI products is accelerating.  State agencies and retail organisations are therefore developing performance standards for AI.

Asked about the low growth of diaper sales, Dr Holmes thought the recession could be to blame.  What proportion of over 65’s has an incontinence problem? About 1/3rd, but the proportion rises to about 70% for the over 80’s.  Incontinence in middle aged men due to prostate problems and in middle aged women after childbirth is also on the increase. There is as yet no surgical cure for the problem.

Saturday 6 April 2013

The State of the Nonwovens Industry

This the first of a series of summaries of papers presented at the INDA Vision Conference in Orlando, in January this year.

David Rousse, President of INDA reviewed the global nonwovens industry scene, reminding us that when a country’s Purchasing Power Parity rose above $1500 per capita per year, the disposable femcare market would begin to develop.  Above $3500/year, $8000/year and $10000/year, disposable diapers, wipes and incontinence products (respectively) would commence to be in demand.  $10000/year equated to an annual nonwoven consumption of about a kilo/capita and this consumption rose roughly linearly with PPP to reach about 5 kg/capita at the North American income of $50,000/capita. 
  • Globally 7.9 million tonnes of nonwovens were produced in 2012 and this was expected to reach 11.3 million by 2017, a CAGR of 7.6%
  • NAFTA was stuck in a low growth mode (~2%) but the dollar was stable and interest in environmental protection and sustainability was increasing.  NAFTA consumed 24.5% of global nonwovens.
  • The EU is a no-growth or declining area overall with a declining Euro and a high and increasing interest in the environment.  The EU consumed 25.5% of global nonwovens
  • Japan was declining, the population ageing, and incontinence products were now outselling disposable diapers.
  • China was growing, but less strongly, had an appreciating currency and was flirting with sustainability issues.  Population age was stable, but labour costs were increasing. China consumed 23% of global nonwovens.
  • India is where China was 25 years ago.  The rupee is down and the population is still growing. There’s no interest in sustainability and no infrastructure (outside the cities) to allow disposable use.
  • China and ROW were the growth regions.  China now operated a quarter of the world’s SMS machines.
  • Spunbond, needlepunch and spunlaced technologies were growing most (~8%/year to 2017 globally).
  • Wipes and Filtration markets were the growing most rapidly (17%/year to 2017) while nonwovens for Automotive (15%) and Construction (12%) were also doing well.
Mr Rousse suggested we pay particular attention to the following “gamechangers”:

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Galaxy® - new directions for the world's leading tampon fibre

How varied the possible fields of applications for the viscose speciality fibres from the Bavarian producer Kelheim Fibres can be is proven by their patented viscose fibre Galaxy®. Galaxy® is the world's leading viscose fibre for tampons - and can now be found in a completely different application, namely in a direct solar desalination panel. The solar desalination panel called CarocellTM made by the Australian company F Cubed, is used for the cleaning and the desalination of water and is designed to provide access to clean drinking water on a global scale. 

Almost one billion people have no safe drinking water supply which causes a death rate of 10,000 people per day due to water borne diseases and the majority of these deaths are among children; with its CarocellTM product F Cubed offers a solution for this huge social problem.CarocellTM is a very simple system which can easily be positioned almost anywhere; the polluted water is fed into the CarocellTM panel by gravity, pressure or a solar pump. Following the natural water cycle of evaporation and condensation, an average of 15 litres per day of pure water is produced - that is enough to meet the needs of a single family - and up to 25 litres and more can be produced on hot summer days. Only solar energy is used and there is no pollution of the environment with chemicals or greenhouse gases. CarocellTM is a modular unit and can therefore operate as a single panel or as multi-panels for higher water production for towns and commercial applications such as treating industrial or mining waste water.

In order to keep the cost of CarocellTM panels as low as possible while maintaining high levels of efficiency, the developers paid particular attention to the design and the materials used in the panel: so, the nonwoven inside the panel is made of the viscose speciality fibre Galaxy®. The excellent liquid absorption and distribution capacity of the Galaxy® fibre are not only of value in tampons: in a comparative test on different nonwoven fabrics, carried out by an independent institute, the fibre with its typical trilobal cross-section delivered the best distribution of water in the nonwoven; at the same time, the high surface area of Galaxy® improved the evaporation of the water.
Another benefit is the fact that Kelheim Fibres delivers the fibres in spun-dyed form and additional dyeing, which would be costly and laborious considering the small amount of fibres needed, is not necessary.

The CarocellTM units are already being exported to 23 countries with a growing demand from governments, NGO's and corporations looking for a sustainable future.

Friday 15 March 2013

Biodegradable Diapers from recycled cardboard

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a process that enables recycled paper and cardboard to be used as a raw material for nonwovens. Hygiene and home care products, such as nappies, sanitary towels and cleaning cloths, are among the many items that can be manufactured from the biodegradable nonwovens. The manufacturing costs of cardboard-based nonwovens are around 20% lower than for nonwovens produced from wood raw materials. The forest industry will be among those likely to benefit from new business opportunities opened up by nonwovens based on recycled paper and cardboard.

Nonwovens are essentially consumer goods that once used will end up in a landfill site along with other community waste. In the metropolitan area alone, an estimated 10,000 tonnes of nappies and sanitary towels are disposed of each year. The principle raw material in nonwovens manufacture is biologically non-degradable polyester. Up to now, market entry for bio-based nonwovens derived from wood has stalled because of prohibitive production costs.

“Now for the first time we can make use of recycled paper and cardboard as a nonwovens raw material,” says Ali Harlin, Research Professor at VTT. “The new process means that bio-based nonwovens are now more competitive on price in comparison with plastic-based products. The manufacturing costs of cardboard-based nonwovens are around 20% lower than for nonwovens produced from wood raw materials. New business opportunities should open up fairly rapidly, since the technology required for manufacturing nonwovens from recycled materials is already in place.”

Every year Europe generates around 60 million tonnes of recycled paper, of which cardboard makes up around 40%. The demand exists for new applications and technology for exploiting recycled paper due to the EU’s objective of raising the proportion of recycled paper to 70 per cent. The method developed by VTT could extend future possibilities for re-use, particularly in the case of cardboard, which is more cost-effective as a raw material than fine paper.

Cleansing the cardboard of filler material, lignin and hemicellulose is a key part of nonwovens manufacture. VTT has matched several fibre-processing methods in the preparation of dissolving pulp to assist in obtaining pure cellulose from the recycled cardboard. The dissolving pulp produced in the research project was regenerated using VTT’s patented carbamate technology, which is safer and more environmentally friendly than the traditional viscose process. The nonwovens were manufactured with foam forming technology that uses little water.

Around 1.9 million tonnes of various types of nonwovens were manufactured in Europe in 2011. Strong growth in the global market for nonwovens is forecast to continue for the foreseeable future. Apart from hygiene, health and cleaning products, the nonwovens have further applications in, among others, the construction industry.

Saturday 2 March 2013

Nippon Paper Makes Cellulose Nanofibres from Pulp

Nippon Paper Industries Co., Ltd. (President: Yoshio Haga) has decided to build new verification and production facilities for cellulose nanofibers at Iwakuni Mill of Chemical Division to develop the cellulose nanofiber business using pulp as materials.

Cellulose nanofibers are materials obtained by breaking plant fibers (pulp) down to the nano-order level, several orders of magnitude smaller than a micron. They provide excellent features: the elasticity is as high as that of aramid fibers known for high intense fiber, they stretch well just like glass as temperature changes, and they provide high barrier performance to gas, including oxygen. Also, as they come from plant fibers, they are characterized by a low environmental footprint in production and disposal, as well as light weight. Cellulose nanofibers are expected to find many applications, such as reinforcements, thickener and gas barrier materials.

The new verification and production facilities for cellulose nanofibers will have an annual production capacity of 30 or more tons, and will start production in October 2013. The facilities will make it easy to disintegrate pulp by implementing prior treatment chemically. The basic development for this has already been conducted in a project called “Research and Development of Nanodevices for Practical Utilization of Nanotechnology” at the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO). The new facilities will be Japan’s first full-fledged facilities producing cellulose nanofibers by chemical treatment. This project plan has been selected for the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry’s innovation site support business, “Subsidies for Maintenance, etc. of Advanced Technology Verification and Assessment Facilities.”

The establishment of the facilities enables the full-scale supply of samples to facilitate the cellulose nanofiber business, and accelerates the development of applications. As a comprehensive biomass company, the Nippon Paper Group plans to enhance its technology to promote the overall use of forest resources, which are recyclable resources, and expand its business domains.

Saturday 9 February 2013

Kimberly-Clark Increases Production of Flu Face Masks

ROSWELL, Ga., Feb. 8 - With the 2012-2013 influenza season reaching epidemic levels across the U.S., Kimberly-Clark is continuing to increase production of face masks and other Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) products in response to increased customer demand from acute care facilities across the country.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that the flu season began earlier than usual this year and is shaping up to be more severe than in years past1. Kimberly-Clark, the market leader in facial protection in the U.S., has been closely monitoring CDC data and adjusting manufacturing schedules and inventory management in anticipation of continued increased demand from current customers for PPE, including face mask products.

"The health and safety of our valued customers and their patients is our most important priority," said John Amat, Vice President of Sales and Marketing, Kimberly-Clark Health Care. "Kimberly-Clark representatives are proactively reaching out to all of our current customers to assure them that with our North America-based product supply, we can continue to provide the highest quality facial protection products throughout the flu season."

To further help customers, their patients and consumers prevent the spread of the flu, Kimberly-Clark recommends these simple prevention precautions:
  • Get vaccinated - The CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious virus.2
  • Pay attention to hand hygiene - One of the best ways to help prevent the spread of the flu is to wash your hands with soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.3
  • Contain the germs - Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. This will block the spread of droplets from your mouth or nose that could contain germs.4
Additional tips and information for patients can be found at Kimberly-Clark also offers complimentary, accredited clinical education webinars on the topic of flu via The Kimberly-Clark Knowledge Network,