Textile Technology section
Winkler+Dünnebier: Marc Wolpers named new Vice President Sales Hygiene
Effective August 10, 2020, Marc Wolpers has taken over the position of Vice President Sales Hygiene, at the manufacturer of machinery Winkler+Dünnebier (W+D) GmbH, Neuwied/Germany.
In his new role, Wolpers will manage the entire sales department of the W+D hygiene solutions division and thus manage both the W+D sales team and sales for BICMA Hygiene Technology GmbH, Mayen/Germany. Previously, he was sales director at Trützschler Nonwovens GmbH & Co.KG, Egelsbach/Germany, and has extensive professional knowledge of the hygiene industry.
Ulrich Wald, who held this position until now, will remain active for the company and will again concentrate on dealing directly with key accounts.
Fraunhofer IAP: efficient way of recycling cotton clothes
The technical hurdles to recycling clothing made of cotton have been too high in the past, but now a team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP, Potsdam-Golm/Germany, together with re:newcell, Stockholm/Sweden, have cleared that obstacle. They are the first to produce a viscose filament yarn made of recycled cotton and have found a way to turn cotton clothes into new high-quality garments rather than lowly cleaning rags. Old clothes often end up as inferior products such as cleaning cloths rather than new garments. This is because they are often made of blends rather than a single type of fabric. To date, it has been impossible to separate these intertwined fibers. Researchers were able to extract the foreign fibers from the pulp by setting the right parameters for both the dissolving and spinning processes, for example, with effective filtration stages. This yielded a filament yarn, a continuous strand of fiber several km long consisting of 100% cellulose, the quality of which is comparable to that of wood-based regenerated cellulosic fiber. Compatible with the standard industrial process for making viscose rayon, the new fibers spun from this cotton pulp are suitable for mass manufacturing. The pulp is first activated with lye and then chemically derivatized. This yields a very pure alkaline viscose solution. Spinnerets riddled with several thousand 55 μm diameter holes then spin this solution in an acidic bath. The thousands of liquid jets emerging from the polymeric solution enable the derivatized cellulose to regenerate and continuously precipitate in the spinning bath to form a filament. The next step is to steadily reverse the chemical derivatization, and then wash and dry the filament for it to be wound onto a spool. Made of pure cellulose, this filament is eco-friendly. Rather than adding to the mountains of microplastics that pollute the oceans, it readily decomposes. This is a huge advantage over petroleum-based polyester fibers, which still predominate on the global market with a share of some 60%.
Oerlikon: Manmade Fibers Segment on track despite pandemic
The Manmade Fibers Segment of Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland, delivered a resilient performance despite the corona virus pandemic, driven by the recovery of the filament equipment business in China and a diversified portfolio in products such as nonwovens, staple fibers, polycondensation and smart factory solutions.
In the 2nd quarter (Q2) of 2020, a significant increase in order intake was recorded, attributed to a quick recovery in demand in China and the rest of Asia and the increasing demand for the nonwoven meltblown systems used in face mask production. For the half-year H1/2020, the man-made fibers business booked more than CHF 500 million in order intake and is on track to fulfill its delivery schedules for 2020.
Sales declined by 22.8% in Q2/2020, mainly due to the extraordinarily high sales volume in Q2/2019. At constant exchange rates, sales declined by 17.7% to CHF 264 million. Sales in China were stable in Q2/2020 year-over-year, affirming the recovery in China from the shutdowns in Q1/2020. EBIT was CHF 30 million or 12.1% of sales (Q2/2019: CHF 51 million; 15.7%).
The nonwovens market is anticipated to continue developing positively, as many countries strive to become more strategically autonomous for items deemed critical.
Lenzing: new guidance for FY 2020 as Covid-19 impacts sales
As a result of the global Covid-19 crisis, the producer of cellulosic fibers, Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, suspended its guidance for 2020. Whilst it remains difficult to give a precise outlook for 2020, Lenzing assumes from today’s perspective that the revenue generation and operating performance of the remaining 2 quarters will exceed those of the 2nd quarter (Q2).
In the first half (H1) of 2020, the company faced a historically difficult market environment with increased pressure on prices and volumes resulting from the corona crisis. Sales declined by 25.6% from €1.09 billion to €810.2 million in the H1/2020. In addition to price effects, the company also felt the decline in demand for textile fibers in all regions. The slightly higher demand for fibers in the medical and hygiene segments could not offset the losses.
EBITDA fell by 46.6% to €96.7 million in H1/2020. The EBITDA margin decreased from 16.6% to 11.9%. Net profit for the period amounted to €1.5 million (H1/2019: €78.8 million).
The 76th Annual General Meeting of Lenzing AG resolved on June 18, 2020, not to distribute a dividend for the 2019 financial year.
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.
Dralon: comprehensive restructuring
Acrylic fiber producer Dralon GmbH, Dormagen/Germany, has already had to reduce its production severely in the 2nd quarter 2020. In addition to the effects of the corona pandemic, the company is also burdened by the continuing high price pressure in a shrinking global market. In order to make the company competitive again, Dralon has decided to comprehensively restructure the company as part of a protective shielding process.
The protective shielding procedure can only be initiated if the company is not yet insolvent at the time of application. The management of the company remains fully capable of acting in the proceedings. Production and delivery to customers will continue without restrictions.
Dralon is using the debtor-in-possession management for the restructuring with the aim of continuing the company. In doing so, the company management remains in office and carries out the reorganization itself.
The affiliated business of the fiber manufacturer Dolan GmbH, Kelheim/Germany, is not part of the restructuring process, as the business there is less affected and remains profitable in 2020.
Freudenberg/NCSU: face masks for universities and hospitals
In order to manufacture face masks for UNC system universities (all the public educational institutions granting 4-year degrees in North Carolina (NC)), NC government organizations and hospitals, the producer of technical textiles Freudenberg Performance Materials Holding SE & Co. KG, Weinheim/Germany, has partnered with the Nonwovens Institute at North Carolina State University (NCSU), Raleigh, NC/USA.
As the fight against corona virus continues, the need for essential face coverings continues to rise. Together, the partners will begin production of earloop procedure masks and N95 masks. The 2 organizations are aligning their expertise and supply chains to bring PPE to universities and healthcare workers as quickly as possible.
Through this partnership, NC State is supplying Freudenberg Performance Materials with the necessary roll goods needed for production while Freudenberg provides the textile manufacturing expertise and work force needed to install, operate and maintain the four new production lines. Once fully operational the site will be able to produce more than 1 million masks a month.
In addition to the face mask lines provided by NC State, Freudenberg is also in the process of installing 6 additional production lines to manufacture surgical and N95 masks. Not only will the lines help provide essential face coverings, but the addition of the lines has enabled Freudenberg add 50 new positions within the company to operate the lines.
RadiciGroup: positive results for 2019
The manufacturer of synthetic fibers and yarns, RadiciGroup, Grandino/Italy, closed financial year 2019 with consolidated sales revenue of €1,092 million (2018: €1,211 million). The group with 3,100 employees in 16 countries engages in the chemicals, engineering polymers and synthetic fibers businesses.
Crucial to maintaining the Group’s competitiveness and development in 2019 was the decision to continue allocating sizeable investments – totaling over €45 million – to the constant technological upgrading of plants and equipment, as well as to business sustainability. In particular, €7.6 million was earmarked for implementing Best Available Techniques, enhancing energy efficiency, emission abatement and R&D activities aimed at adding to low environmental impact processes and products.
At the beginning of 2020, the purchase of shares in Radici Plastics France SA, St. Priest/France, was completed, thus giving RadiciGroup a majority interest in the French company engaged in the sale of engineering polymers. The group also acquired Zeta Polimeri Srl, Buronzo/Italy, a company specializing in the recovery of synthetic fibers and thermoplastics.
Kelheim Fibres: new Head of Business Development
Effective July 1, 2020, Dr. Marina Crnoja-Cosic has been appointed Head of New Business Development at the cellulose fiber producer Kelheim Fibres GmbH, Kelheim/Germany. She will also serve as a member of the Management Board.
With a PhD in Chemistry, Crnoja-Cosic brings with her long-time experience in fiber and application development as well as in business development. Customized and market-oriented solutions, cross-company cooperation along the value chain and constant attention to long-term industry, and particularly to textile trends, have shaped her career path for the past 20 years.
IVC: new Board
The election of the chairman, the vice-chairman and the treasurer took place at the general meeting of the Association of Man-Made Fibres e.V. (IVC), Frankfurt/Germany, on July 24, 2020. Stefan Braun of Dralon GmbH, Dormagen, was no longer available for this election after 2 terms of office as IVC chairman.
Klaus Holz (photo) of Trevira GmbH, Bobingen/Germany, was elected as the new chairman, having previously been deputy chairman. Wolfram Daubek-Puza from Lenzing AG, Lenzing/Austria, was elected as deputy chairman. The previous treasurer of the IVC, Dr. Till Boldt of Enka International GmbH & Co. KG, Wuppertal, was confirmed in his office by re-election.