Textile Technology section
Oerlikon Nonwoven: expansion of meltblown production capacity in Germany
The nonwovens manufacturer Innovatec Microfibre Technology GmbH & Co. KG, Troisdorf/Germany, started production with the 2nd newly-delivered meltblown system manufactured by Oerlikon Nonwoven, a business unit of the Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland. With it, Innovatec immediately started producing polypropylene filter nonwovens: in particular for use in protective face masks, which have been increasingly in demand since the start of the corona pandemic and whose domestic manufacture is being supported by the German government. Here, the Oerlikon Nonwoven technology is supporting the production of the filter media.
In June 2020 Oerlikon Nonwoven delivered the 1st so-called 2-beam system to Innovatec. Together with the new production line, Innovatec has been able to almost double its filter nonwovens output to date. The company now has filter media production capacities that can be used to manufacture up to 2.5 billion operating room filter masks or a billion highly-effective FFP2 masks/year.
Oerlikon/Procter & Gamble: exclusive collaboration for high-class wipes
In a global marketplace, collaboration is just as important as competition. This is what motivated Procter & Gamble Corp., Cincinnati, OH/USA, and Oerlikon Nonwoven, Neumünster/Germany – Teknoweb Materials srl., Palazzo Pignano/Italy, to agree on an exclusive license agreement to market and sell the Phantom platform worldwide.
Oerlikon already entered into a strategic partnership with Teknoweb in 2017 aimed at extending the nonwovens production systems portfolio.
The patented process for hybrid nonwovens combines the best of both airlaid and spunmelt technologies to deliver new, flexible ways of creating wet and dry wipes. The Phantom technology offers additional benefits by reducing resources and cost, while increasing overall performance. The exclusive license gives Oerlikon Nonwoven – Teknoweb Materials total access to the patents, know-how, and pilot lines developed by Procter & Gamble. The research and development team at Procter & Gamble continues to support Oerlikon Nonwoven – Teknoweb Materials distribute this technology worldwide. In addition, Oerlikon Nonwoven – Teknoweb Materials have further refined the process into their own Levra technology – an entry-level option which offers tailored production volumes with lower investment costs but is still suitable to be upgraded to the premium Phantom model in the future.
Essentially, Phantom technology was developed to produce hybrid substrates. The spunmelt and airlaid processes are merged into one step to combine cellulose fibers, long fibers such as cotton, or even powders with polymer fibers in unprecedented ways. This technology has clear advantages in terms of resources, performance and cost compared to the previous processes on the market. By removing hydroentanglement, it is no longer necessary to dry the material. Adjusting the process can optimize relevant product characteristics such as softness, strength, dirt absorption, and liquid absorption. In the end, this even increases the quality of the product itself.
Oerlikon: electro-charging unit rounds off filter nonwovens systems
Spunbond and meltblown materials can be electrostatically charged to improve their filter performance. The ecuTEC+ electro-charging unit from the Nonwoven BU of the Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, is part of the delivery scope of all meltblown systems currently sold for the manufacture of protective mask nonwovens.
The patented solution is characterized by its high flexibility: ecuTEC+ stands out above all as a result of its diverse applications, which can be electro-charged. Nonwovens manufacturers can freely choose between numerous variation options and set the optimal charging method and intensity for their specific filter applications. Additionally, EPA and HEPA-class filter media can also be manufactured using the ecuTEC+.
This meltblown technology, with which among other things nonwovens for respiratory masks can also be manufactured, is recognized as being a technically very efficient method for producing highly-separating filter media made from man-made fibers. The capacities for respiratory masks available in Europe to date are predominantly manufactured on Oerlikon Nonwoven systems.
Oerlikon Nonwoven: Minister President visits Neumünster site
The worldwide demand for protective masks and apparel has resulted in a number of new orders in the high 2-digit millions of € at the Nonwoven business unit of the Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland. From the manufacturing site in Neumünster/Germany, the high-tech meltblown systems with their patented ecuTE+ nonwovens electro-charging technology – are meanwhile exported in all over the world. For the first time, a contract has now been signed with a business in Australia. On July 8, 2020 Schleswig-Holstein’s Minister President Daniel Günther visited the production site. In addition to a tour of the meltblown system and its assembly and production files, the visit by Minister President Daniel Günther had the purpose to strengthen the dialog between politicians and business.
Oerlikon Nonwoven: meltblown technology plant sold to Australia
The company OZ Health Plus, Queensland/Australia, will establish Australia’s first manufacturing plant to make the critical fine plastic material used in most protective face masks. OZ Health Plus has purchased a plant of the Nonwoven business unit of the Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, to establish a Queensland-based production plant for spun-bond and meltblown nonwovens. These fabrics are essential for Australia’s face mask manufacturers, who currently produce about 500 million medical and industrial masks per year. However the fabrics have to be imported from overseas and access to these materials has been severely disrupted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Oerlikon’s German-based business unit Oerlikon Nonwoven has now executed legal and commercial arrangements to supply the specialized machinery which can manufacture the nonwoven material locally. The same machinery is used to make almost all face masks material manufactured in Europe. The new plant will commence operations in April 2021, with a second stage planned for late 2021. The Oerlikon Nonwoven plant can produce meltblown fabrics for masks, along with other medical and non-medical grade products, filtration products, sanitary items, antiseptic wipes and more.
Oerlikon: New Logistics Center in NeumünsterIn order to further optimize the material provision and to strengthen the internal processes for the Oerlikon Neumag and Oerlikon Nonwoven business units at the German site in Neumünster, the Manmade Fibers segment of the technology group Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, has decided to invest in a state-of-the-art logistics center with a new lift center. This is helpful for speeding up the processing of the numerous orders for meltblown systems for manufacturing nonwovens for protective masks and apparel that Oerlikon Nonwoven has received over the past months alone. The processing speed when manufacturing new systems improved in the first weeks as a result to the optimized processes. The new logistics center offers more than 250 m² for 25,000 parts. This also houses all small parts which used to be stored in the high-rack facility due to lack of space. Coinciding with the opening of the new logistics center, Oerlikon also introduced digital processes that will also cope with the increasing production volumes.
Oerlikon Nonwoven: efficient production of highly-bulky yarns
Not only in the home textiles sector, but also in the automobile industry high-quality textiles bulky polyester filament yarns are used. To date, DTY yarns up to 1200 den (1333 dtex) with up to 784 filaments have been plied from 4 POY 300d/192f bobbins using DTY machines. This process has the disadvantage that half of the texturing machine’s available winder positions are not used. Here, the machine and system builder Oerlikon Barmag, Chemnitz/Germany, a subsidiary of the Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, offers a solution that can produce high-titer yarns with maximum machine efficiency. The spinning concept is a winding unit with WINGD HD in conjunction with an automatic eAFK Big V Multispindle texturing machine. 12 Poy packages of up to 600d/576f are produced in the spinning process using WINGS HD 1800. This is made possible as a result of an additional godet which ensures that the high yarn tensions developing in the process are reduced to the yarn tensions common in the case of the winding process to date. The eAFK Big V Multispindle texturing machine is based on the Multispindle concept with 2 individual friction rows. The high individual titers of up to 600 den (667 dtex) per single filament can be textured using more powerful godet motors, a more powerful friction unit and a 2,5 m heater. The straight configuration of heater and cooling unit ensures a particularly gentle yarn handling with a simultaneous drawing/crimping process.
Oerlikon Nonwoven: 50 million protective masks made in GermanyFrom autumn 2020, up to 50 million masks of protection classes FFP1 to FFP3 will be produced and sold in Germany each month for the European market. The 2 newly founded companies FleeceforEurope GmbH, Düsseldorf/Germany, and Lindenpartner, ein Angebot der Bechinger & Heymann Holding GmbH, Berlin/Germany, primary will focus on quality. These virus-absorbing nonwovens will be manufactured by the new venture FleeceforEurope in Germany using an Oerlikon Nonwoven meltblown system of the technology group Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland. With the masks, protection against infections such as corona virus can only be guaranteed with the right quality. On the one hand, this relates to how the masks are made. On the other hand, it is above all about what is inside. Because the nonwovens used in protection class FFP1 through FFP3 respiratory masks plays a decisive role. The electrostatic charging ensures that even the smallest particles, and therefore also viruses, are drawn in and absorbed by the nonwovens fabric for several hours. As a result of the comparatively loose formation of the fibers, the wearer can nevertheless breathe in and out easily. Those responsible at Oerlikon Nonwoven and FleeceforEurope, which will primarily focus on producing high-end nonwovens, and Lindenpartner, which will manufacture and distribute the protective masks, are certain of one thing: the market for protective masks has a very promising long-term future in Europe. What has been commonplace in Asia for many years now will also become normal in Europe. People will be increasingly wearing face masks when venturing out, in order to better protect themselves against health risks such as the current pandemic and also against increasing environ-mental pollution in the form of fine particles and exhaust fumes in the future.
Oerlikon Nonwoven: laboratory nonwovens production expanded
Due to the high demand for processed materials in protective mask production, a laboratory system in Neumünster/Germany by Oerlikon Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, has been converted to manufacture nonwovens.
The laboratory system at the R&D Center is normally used solely for research and development purposes as well as customer trials. Now the facility manufactures material for more than 1 million protective masks a month. With this, small local businesses and companies will be supported in their effort to manufacture face masks.
Furthermore, Oerlikon Nonwoven has received a significant number of orders on the production of the machines and systems used for meltblown nonwovens. The company has signed orders in the mid-range double-digit millions. Delivery times have been adopted as much as possible. Oerlikon is intending to start delivering the additional orders for nonwovens systems in fall 2020.
Oerlikon will also be comissioning the first meltblown system at the site of a leading Western European nonwovens producers in the 2nd quarter of 2020. This system will be deployed exclusively in the manufacture of nonwovens for respiratory masks.
Oerlikon: nonwovens large-scale meltblown sold to Asia
A leading Asian large-scale manufacturer of manmade fibers and polymers has invested in a new meltblown system of the Nonwoven business unit of the Manmade Fibers segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland. The contract comprises a 2-beam system for manufacturing filtration nonwovens – predominantly for medical products such as face masks – with a nominal capacity of up to 1,200 tons of nonwovens a year. The commercial production launch has been scheduled for the Q4 2020.
The 2-beam system has an operating width of 1.6 meters and is equipped with the new patented Oerlikon Nonwoven electro-charging unit. Electro-charging the filter nonwovens allows the manufacture of sophisticated EPA-and HEPA-class filter media as well as media that comply with the requirements of N95-, FFP2- and FFP3-class respiratory masks.