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.