Textile Technology section
Berry: new meltblown capacity in South America
The producer of nonwovens Berry Global Group, Inc., Evansville, IN/USA, invests in its global meltblown nonwovens fabric capacity for South America.
This line is Berry’s 1st meltblown asset, based on its Meltex technology, to be located in South America and continues to support the demand for health and wellness products.
With continued demand for face masks globally, Berry has been working closely with customers to help ensure production and supply. The investment will bring more than 400 tons of Meltex meltblown nonwovens material to the region, which will enable production of more than 500 million surgical-grade masks per year.
The new asset will be operational in the 1st quarter 2021, will be placed at an existing Berry production facility in South America. The new line will be upgraded with Berry’s patented charging technology post installation.
Borealis: meltblown production on pilot line in Austria
The manufacturer of polyolefins Borealis AG, Vienna/Austria, transformed its meltblown pilot line in Linz/Austria, in short time to increase supply of polypropylene (PP) filtration fabrics for high-quality face masks.
The company has managed quickly to convert the way of working from pure development to smaller scale pilot production to regularly produce rolls of fine fiber fabrics for face masks. Recently developed by Borealis, a new proprietary polypropylene (PP) meltblown resin has boosted filtration properties due to its capability for finer fibers. By exploiting a robust network of co-operation partners in the country, Borealis is helping bolster the supply of filtration media to increase face masks production.
The newly developed Borealis HL912FB is being used to produce meltblown fabric to be applied for customised inlays in cotton-based mouth-nose masks, for conventional mouth-nose masks, and also for high-end face masks worn by medical professionals (FFP1 to FFP3). It can be processed at higher processing temperatures allowing the production of even finer fibers. According to in-house testing, the use of Borealis HL912FB results in a significant improvement in filtration efficiency. All 3 grades are manufactured at Borealis facilities in Europe and made available to customers worldwide.
Freudenberg: Low & Bonar is now part of the Freudenberg Group
The European Commission has authorized the planned acquisition of the technical textiles manufacturer Low & Bonar Plc, London/UK, by Freudenberg Performance Materials Holding SE & Co. KG, Weinheim/Germany, on April 17, 2020.
The global technology group Freudenberg acquired 100 % of the shares in Low & Bonar. Freudenberg submitted an offer in September 2019. The Low & Bonar shareholders approved the sale in November 2019. The company will be integrated in the Freudenberg Performance Materials Business Group.
Both companies use leading edge technologies to develop and manufacture its fabrics and textiles and for refining textiles and materials. The products from both companies are top quality and the goal is to be responsibly sustainable in their actions. Sustainability is integrated in the entire product cycle, including the use of raw materials and energy as well as the entire manufacturing process. International standards are not merely satisfied but exceeded.
Fitesa: investment in 4 new projects with Reicofil expands capacity
The global manufacturer of nonwovens Fitesa Corp., Porto Alegre/Brazil, signed 4 new projects with the machinery and components manufacturer Reifenhäuser Reicofil GmbH & Co. KG, Troisdorf/Germany.
The package includes state-of-the-art equipment that will significantly increase capacity to serve the healthcare and hygiene markets, making nonwovens for medical gowns, drapes, surgical and N95 facemasks, diapers and sanitary products.
The exact locations of these projects will be disclosed in due time. The intent is to strengthen Fitesa’s global footprint without focus on any one region.
IVL: sales -3% in Q1/2020
In the 1st quarter 2020 sales of the chemical company Indorama Ventures Public Co. Ltd. (IVL), Bangkok/Thailand, decreased by 3% compared to Q1/2019, including integration of newly acquired assets from Huntsman Corp., The Woodlands, TX/USA. A sales growth by 15% during 1st quarter 2020 over 4rth quarter 2019 was registered
During this period the Fiber portfolio was partially impacted by lockdowns in China, India and Italy. The Mobility Fiber portfolio faces headwinds from GDP contraction. The quarter provided strong positive momentum to the global businesses of Hygiene Fibers and the Integrated PET leadership in both volumes and margins as well as management of the regional supply chains, during this period of enhanced demand.
During these complex times of the COVID-19 global pandemic coupled with an historic collapse in the crude oil price, IVL’s performance has shown high resilience with its regionalized geographical footprint, market segment participation and feedstock adaptability.
Don & Low: investment in new meltblown line in Scotland
The manufacturer of nonwovens Don & Low Ltd., Forfar/UK, a member of the Thrace Group, Alimos/Greece, will install a new meltblown production line in Scotland, which will produce fabric suitable for the production of all types of masks, from surgical masks up to FFP2 and FFP3 type masks. The government supports the project with £3.6 million of the £4.5 million cost of the supply and installation of the new line.
At the moment there are only a few companies in Europe capable of supplying the filter material made of meltblown nonwovens especially used to make the respirator masks.
Index rescheduled to September 2021
The latest developments of the worldwide COVID-19 situation are not yet leading to a normalized situation. As a result of the ongoing uncertainty facing the world in the light of the corona pandemic, and the continuing ban on gatherings of large numbers of people in Switzerland, the Index 20, the largest global meeting place for players in the nonwovens industry, will be postponed to September 7-10, 2021 in Geneva/Switzerland.
More than ever before, the world increasingly recognizes the vital role played by nonwovens in protecting citizens around the globe from infection and disease. The prevailing situation has thrown into relief the sheer diversity of innovation which the nonwovens industry and its suppliers are capable of, no matter how great the challenge.
Oerlikon: corona crisis leads to slump in sales in Q1/2020
The global spread of coronavirus has impacted the world economy, businesses and daily lives in an unprecedented manner.
In the 1st quarter of 2020, sales of the Manmade Fibers Segment of the technology group Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, decreased by 19.3% to CHF 205 million, attributed to the lockdown in China and to lower demand for equipment and systems for special filament (carpet and industrial yarn) and plant engineering (polymerization, staple fibers and nonwovens), particularly in North America, Europe and Asia. EBIT for Q1/2020 was CHF 11 million (Q1/2019: CHF 27 million).
The segment received new large contracts for filament spinning systems from 3 of the world’s leading manmade fibers manufacturers in China. The 3 projects have a total value of more than CHF 600 million. A very small proportion of these projects will be recognized in order intake in 2020, and the majority will be accounted for in 2021 and 2022. Despite the new contracts, the segment noted a decline of 51.4% to CHF 144 million in order intake, partly due to the delay in financial clearance in China as a result of the shutdowns.
In Q1/2020, the segment took over the majority stake in Teknoweb Materials s.r.l., Palazzo Pignano/Italy, which was established in 2017 as a joint venture to extend the nonwovens production system portfolio to include the attractive market for disposable nonwovens. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a strong global demand for Oerlikon’s meltblown (nonwovens) technology used to produce surgical face masks has been noted. This demand is expected to grow in the upcoming quarters, driven by government regulations and the need for greater self-sufficiency and reduced reliance on imports for critical medical items. To support this growth, production capacity for the meltblown technology has been ramped up and the delivery times of these systems significantly reduced.
Edana: LCA Lifetime Achievement Award for Dr. Frischknecht
The achievements and efforts of Dr. Rolf Frischknecht, were recognized by the international association serving the nonwovens and related industries, Edana, Brussels/Belgium, with the LCA Lifetime Achievement Award.
The award was presented at the 30th annual conference of SETAC, the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, held online on May 3-7, 2020.
The award was granted in recognition of Dr. Frischknecht’s outstanding contributions to life cycle inventory databases and methodology. He is especially known for his leading role from 1998 - 2008 in the design, development, implementation and operation of the life cycle inventory database ecoinvent, laying a solid ground for its sustainable recognition and worldwide success. Throughout his professional career, Dr. Frischknecht dedicated his efforts to promote life cycle thinking and raise the awareness of environmental impacts hidden in the supply chains of products and services, and to lower the efforts in performing environmental life cycle assessment in environmentally crucial areas such as dwelling, mobility and food.