Textile Technology section
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.
Textile Exchange: fiber production up to 111 million tons in 2019
The 2020 Preferred Fiber and Materials Market Report released by the international non-profit organization Textile Exchange, O’Donnell, TX/USA, reveals that the global fiber production has doubled in the last 20 years, reaching an all-time high of 111 million tons in 2019 and pre-Covid-19 results indicated potential growth to 146 million tons by 2030. The market for preferred fiber and materials (included as part of the overall fiber and material market) is growing but not at the speed and scale required.
With a market share of 25 % in 2019 (i.e. the 2018/19 ICAC harvest year), the market for preferred cotton is more advanced than for most other materials. Key drivers are the existence of several well-established preferred cotton programs, and that cotton as a large volume material has been on the industry’s sustainability radar for many years. Yet, further increasing the share of preferred cotton and continuous improvement in terms of sustainability are urgently needed.
Textile Exchange’s 2020 Preferred Fiber and Materials Market Report shows the latest trends in the fiber and materials market including those with improved social and environmental impacts, which are referred to as Preferred. This in-depth report not only provides the latest facts and figures but also provides inspiring insights into the work of leading companies and organizations, including the people who are creating material change.
BASF circularity in recycling of mattressesThe materials of old mattresses are to be prepared in such a way that they can be used as a source of raw materials for new mattresses. The chemical company BASF SE, Ludwigshafen/Germany, has developed a chemical recycling process for used mattresses and is starting pilot tests at its site in Schwarzheide/Germany. It is an important step to possibly re-enter post-consumer waste back into product lifecycles. BASF’s process breaks down the flexible polyurethane and delivers the initially used polyol. From there BASF can produce new foam with a significantly lower carbon footprint, because fewer fossil resources are used. With the new process, BASF steps up its efforts to increase sustainability and takes one step further toward a circular economy. Aiming to decouple economic growth from the use of finite resources, BASF accelerates the adoption of the circular economy principle into its day-to-day operations.
BASF circularity in recycling of mattresses
The materials of old mattresses are to be prepared in such a way that they can be used as a source of raw materials for new mattresses. The chemical company BASF SE, Ludwigshafen/Germany, has developed a chemical recycling process for used mattresses and is starting pilot tests at its site in Schwarzheide/Germany. It is an important step to possibly re-enter post-consumer waste back into product lifecycles.
BASF’s process breaks down the flexible polyurethane and delivers the initially used polyol. From there BASF can produce new foam with a significantly lower carbon footprint, because fewer fossil resources are used.
With the new process, BASF steps up its efforts to increase sustainability and takes one step further toward a circular economy. Aiming to decouple economic growth from the use of finite resources, BASF accelerates the adoption of the circular economy principle into its day-to-day operations.
Rudolf: all-in-one, durable antibacterial and antiviral solution for textiles
As a consequence of Covid-19 global pandemic the demand for chemical auxiliaries with antimicrobial effect has boomed. The producer of textile auxiliaries Rudolf GmbH, Geretsried/Germany, has invested in the assessment of a new antiviral feature which is now added to one of their leading technologies. Such an effort returned the surprisingly fast and most comprehensive antibacterial and antiviral textile finishing Ruco-Bac AGP. The microstructures in Ruco-Bac AGP trigger their powerful antibacterial and antiviral effects based on 3 distinctive inhibiting mechanisms: 1. Blocking of oxygen-transporting enzymes therefore leading to impaired growth. 2. Crushing of disulfide bonds and therefore structure of sulfur-containing proteins. 3. Possible interference with Bacteria and virus surface protein in the membrane. Ruco-Bac AGP effectively protects any textile against bacteria (harmful and odor-causing) and its superior antiviral performance on textiles has been independently demonstrated. Assessments were carried out on enveloped coronaviridae families known to cause a broad spectrum of animal and human diseases. It is suitable for next-to-skin applications and cytotoxicity tests show that it has no influence on the natural microflora of the skin. Furthermore, because of the adhesion mechanism of its microstructures, Ruco-Bac AGP is only active in/on the textile and it is non-migrating.
FET: high number of enquiries for nonwovens meltblowing systems
Since the onset of the corona virus crisis, the supplier of extrusion technology Fibre Extrusion Technology Ltd. (FET), Leeds/UK, has received an unusually high number of enquiries about its nonwovens meltblowing systems. The company is currently running trials, preparing samples and defining specifications for companies in Germany and Italy, as well as the UK, and could already have sold the lab line they have many times over. The line primarily designed for R&D and pilot scale applications, but trials have proven it to be suitable for the low volume production of critical meltblown face mask materials. Meltblown polypropylene (PP) nonwovens are the critical component of the face masks needed for Covid-19 frontline workers and their scarcity on the open market has in part been the reason for the reported shortages around the world. Conventional meltblown and spunbonded systems are usually designed for high capacity systems and are not suitable for product development. They consume high quantities of materials and as a consequence are not suitable for development work with high value materials or for niche applications. They also rely on specially formulated low viscosity polymers which is a further limitation which does not apply to FET’s nonwovens meltblowing systems. In processing finer filaments, the company has achieved structures with average mean filament diameters of 1.68 µm and 58% of between 0.5-1.5 µm, in web thicknesses of 37 µm with bulk density of 98 mg/ml and porosity of around 92%. FET’s system is designed for the processing of pure polymer with no need for processing aids or additives. A wide range of structural and mechanical properties are obtainable, with numerous options for post-processing of the web, such as by calendering, point bonding or lamination. More effective and sustainable PPE solutions could well be achieved through further product development.
nova-Institute: 2nd International Conference on Cellulose Fibres call for papers
The 2nd International Conference on Cellulose Fibres, hosted by the nova-Institute, Hürth/Germany, will take place from February 2-3, 2021 in Cologne/Germany. Submission of abstracts and innovations, as well as requests for sponsorship are now possible.
The 1st edition of the conference, which took place in February 2020, had 210 participants and 15 exhibitors from 26 different countries. Building on this success, the 2nd International Conference on Cellulose Fibres will again cover the entire value chain from the lignocellulosic feedstock over dissolving pulp, cellulose fibers – such as rayon, viscose, modal and lyocell and new developments – to a wide range of applications like woven textiles (clothing) and nonwovens (wipes and technical applications). All these sectors have gained significant momentum over the last few years.
The innovation award “Cellulose Fibre Innovation of the Year 2021” will be presented to the innovative cellulose fiber industry for the development of new technologies and applications. All producers and inventors along the entire value chain from feedstock to final product are invited to enter the competition. An expert jury will select a total of 6 new materials and products from all entries for the award. After short presentations of the 6 candidates at the conference, the 3 winners will be elected by the participants of the conference and honored with the innovation award at a festive gala dinner.
Call for abstracts, innovation and sponsors are open now.
For further information: www.cellulose-fibres.eu
Edana: 20-fold increase in nonwoven face mask output by November
European Union (EU) production of face masks, essential for tackling the coronavirus crisis, is set to increase 20-fold by November 2020 compared to pre-crisis times. This means that EU-based producers will be able to make the equivalent of 1.5 billion 3-layer masks a month, according to figures released today by, the international association serving the nonwovens and related industries, Edana, Brussels/Belgium.
In contrast with the rest of the supply chain, where European players were no longer in a leadership position, the world’s most sophisticated technology platforms producing meltblown nonwovens belong to European machinery companies.
Over the last 3 months, Edana has been liaising with partner associations including MedTech Europe, ESF, and Euratex to ensure sufficient supplies of essential public health equipment. Edana has been recognized by the European Commission as the voice of industry on all issues relevant to the nonwovens-based face masks supply chain.
In June 2020, Edana convened a new sector group representing face mask converters, nonwovens suppliers, testing laboratories and equipment manufacturers to work together to develop an independent and self-sufficient supply chain for medical face masks and personal protective masks in the EU. The group will work to ensure adherence to applicable European Standards and to encourage responsible product stewardship throughout the life-cycle of face-masks from raw material sourcing to end-of-life solutions.
Dornbirn GFC: 59th conference to take place in webinar form
Due to the corona virus pandemic, this year’s Dornbirn Global Fibers Congress (GFC) will be held digitally in the form of a webinar week. From September 16-18, 2020 the webinar week will present lectures and discussions on trending topics in the global fibers industry.
Opening with keynotes on “Green Deal-Implications for the Textile Industry” and other current topics, the event will also see the awarding of the annual Paul Schlack/Wilhelm Albrecht Prize.
Lectures and discussion will cover topics such as leading polymer recycling technologies, smart, integrated, digital textile production chain, EPR schemes for textiles - lessons learned from packaging and PPE production – a challenge for the industry in Europe.
The webinar will be available free of charge.
Next year the Dornbirn-GFC will take place from September 15-17, 2021 in Dornbirn/Austria.
For further information: www.dornbirn-gfc.com
Berry Global: support of British Government’s mask manufacturing mandate
On June 25, 2020, the producer of nonwovens Berry Global Group, Inc., Evansville, IN/USA, announced its collaboration with the Medicom Group to design the manufacturing solution and guarantee the supply of nonwovens intended for use in producing hundreds of millions of face masks annually as part of Medicom’s agreement with the British Government. Medicom is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of medical and respiratory masks. To do so, Berry is investing in a new state-of-the-art meltblown nonwovens line, to be outfitted with its proprietary charging technology, at one of its UK-based facilities to increase capacity of material necessary in the production of European-standard Type IIR and N99-equivalent FFP3 masks. The masks will be manufactured and sold under Medicom’s European Kolmi brand. The British Government has enabled these investments through a long-term contractual commitment. The agreement confirmed support for Medicom’s new UK-based production facility, which is scheduled to open later this summer.