Textile Technology section
Edana: combined effort to ensure a medical and protective nonwovens production
The international association serving the nonwovens and related industries, Edana, Brussels/Belgium, is working closely with the European Commission, the nonwovens supply chain and other players, in order to find solutions to the provision of essential medical and protective equipment.
In cooperation with the European trade association for the medical technology industry including diagnostics MedTech, Brussels/Belgium, Edana is mapping the capacities of meltblown nonwovens in Europe. Focus lies on capacities being or able to be additionally supplied to masks converters. The supply of these resources in the EU is heavily depends on third countries, in particular from Asia. Edana therefore concludes that an European export ban or restriction on medical face masks and personal protective equipment would be potentially counter-productive.
The European Union intends to create a strategic stockpile of medical equipment, such as ventilators, personal protective equipment, reusable masks, vaccines and therapeutics and laboratory supplies. The European Commission will finance 90% of the costs of the stockpiling and will manage the distribution of the equipment to ensure it goes where it is needed most.
Edana intends to gather und providing necessary information to the EU and private companies, in order to accelerate the procurement of medical and protective nonwovens products.
Reifenhäuser: meltblown test lines converted for up to 1 million face masks daily
The machinery and components manufacturer Reifenhäuser Reicofil GmbH & Co. KG, Troisdorf/Germany, has temporarily converted 2 of its test plants due to the corona pandemic. The lines installed in the nonwovens technology center, which are otherwise exclusively used for research and development as well as customer trials, have been producing meltblown material for the production of face masks for one week. This is the company’s response to the current emergency in the supply of medical protective material.
Until further notice, the meltblown lines will be operated in 4-shift operation 24/7. The daily output is sufficient for up to 1 million face masks. Trial operations will be almost completely suspended during this period.
The meltblown material from the nonwovens technology center is already sold out for the next 5 weeks. As no German or European producer for further processing could be found so far, the nonwovens fabric is going to a Vietnamese manufacturer of face masks. However, Reifenhäuser continues to look for opportunities to strengthen the local supply during this crisis. The company is in close contact with associations, authorities and other companies.
Cinte Techtextil: Opportunities for the technical textiles and nonwovens sector in 2020
Cinte Techtextil China, taking place form September 2-4, 2020 in Shanghai/China, intends to confront the given state of flux in the global economy as well as the textiles sector.
Several international economists did predict a contraction in the general economy in Q1 2020 because of the corona virus. However, they remain optimistic that the economy would bounce back in Q2 2020. China’s technical textiles and nonwovens sector has shown considerable and steady growth in 2019. Annual output of nonwoven fabrics of large-scale Chinese companies last year reached 5.03 million tons, a year-on-year increase of 9.9%.
The corona virus is expected to present special opportunities for the personal hygiene and protective wear sectors. Since there is a supply shortage of one key raw material for surgical mask production, new industrial solutions for meltblown equipment and nonwovens in general are now needed more than ever. Therefor the need for events like Cinte Techtextil China is imminent as well.
Cinte Techtextil China is organized by of Messe Frankfurt (Hk) Ltd., Hong Kong/China, the Sub-Council of Textile Industry, the Sub-Council of Textile Industry (CCPIT), Beijing/China, and the China Nonwovens & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA), Beijing/China. The 2018 edition saw 485 exhibitors take part, nearly 40% of which were international brands, while the fair recorded 13,203 visits from 55 countries. Product categories cover 12 application areas, spanning the entire industry, from upstream equipment and raw materials providers to finished fabrics, chemicals and other solutions.
Reifenhäuser: Focus on a domestic production of medical supplies
In times of the corona virus costumers need to be more independent of Chinese producers. The machinery and components manufacturer Reifenhäuser Reicofil GmbH & Co. KG, Troisdorf/Germany, supports countries and other investors to implement a domestic medical supply production. The company is therefore shortening the delivery time to only 3.5 months for meltblown lines to produce the crucial middle material layer for face masks.
A first contract with the new delivery time has already been concluded. The 1.6 m wide Reicofil meltblown line is scheduled to start operation in August 2020. With an annual output of 550 tons, the plant will produce H99 filter material for up to 1.8 million face masks a day.
Reifenhäuser Reicofil also supplies technology for the production of other medical protection clothing, such as surgical gowns. These products are made of a combination of spunbond and meltblown material. The corresponding Reicofil composite lines are expected to be delivered within 10-11 months.
Anglo Recycling: nonwovens felts for growing herbs locally
There is a rising demand of herbs for salads to be grown and sourced locally, rather than being flown in from the other side of the world. Anglo Recycling Technology Ltd., Whitworth/UK, offers nonwovens mats for hydroponically growing herbs.
A core of 3 growing media products, Growfelt pads, are offered to meet the differing needs of customers across Europe, the Middle East and the Far East, whether for retail presentation and appearance or for water holding.
A customer in the Philippines, for example, wanted a mat 10 mm thick, since the ambient temperature in that region demands increased water availability for growing herbs. A customer in the Middle East is meanwhile seeing the demand for fresh salads increasing significantly and is expanding so rapidly orders have grown from 360,000 pads for all of 2017 to this latest order at the start of 2020 for a million.
At the moment the company is undertaking trials to find a fully biodegradable product that meets micro and growth challenges but also allows customers to reduce their landfill costs.
NCTO: US government urged to deem manufacturing facilities "essential"
The National Council of Textile Organizations (NCTO), Washington, DC/USA, the Industrial Fabrics International Association (IFAI), Roseville, MN/USA, and the Association of the Nonwovens Fabrics Industry (INDA), Cary, NC/USA, issued a joint statement urging federal, state and local governments in the USA to deem textile and nonwovens manufacturing facilities as "essential" when drafting "Shelter in Place" orders in response to the corona virus crisis.
Textile member companies make a broad range of inputs and finished products used in an array of personal protective equipment (PPE) and medical nonwovens/textile supplies, including surgical gowns, face masks, antibacterial wipes, lab coats, blood pressure cuffs, cotton swabs and hazmat suits. These items are vital to the government's effort to ramp up emergency production of these critical supplies.
If workers who produce these goods are not granted an "essential" exemption from "Shelter in Place" and other quarantine orders to go to their manufacturing and distribution facilities, it will cause major disruptions in the availability of these goods.
Sinopec: new factory to help combat corona virus built in 12 days
The energy and chemical company Sinopec Corp., Beijing/China, put its first melt-blown nonwovens assembly line into operation at its Yanshan factory in Beijing on March 6, 2020. The Yanshan factory is a converted 3,970 m² former warehouse that has found new life as a global production base following the challenges brought by the corona virus outbreak. Sinopec built the new meltblown nonwovens plant in 12 days to help combat the virus.
The 14,400-tons capacity facility is one of the company’s 2 meltblown nonwovens assembly bases and is co-managed with China National Machinery Industry Corp., Beijing. The base has 2 nonwovens production lines and 3 spunbond production lines and can produce up to 4 tons of melt-blown fabric for 1.2 million N95 disposable masks, or 6 tons for 6 million disposable masks per day.
The new facility also takes advantage of Sinopec’s integrated upstream supply-chain by sourcing local materials from Yanshan and support from the on-site synthetic resin production line.
The largest medical material supplier in China, Sinopec is a significant supplier of polypropylene, a key component in the production of disposable masks for medical use. The new assembly line will ensure a stable supply of medical supplies, such as masks and clothing, can be distributed across the nation and worldwide.
Sinopec’s 8 other meltblown nonwovens production lines in Yizheng, Jiangsu/China, are currently under construction and are expected to enter operation by mid-April 2020.
Andritz: new spunlace line to BCNonwovens
The international technology group Andritz AG, Graz/Austria, has received an order from BCNonwovens, Barcelona/Spain, to supply a neXline spunlace line as a turnkey project to meet growing needs from customers globally. The production line is scheduled for start-up early in 2021.
The line will be installed in a dedicated new building, meeting the highest hygiene and environmental standards. It will enable BCNonwovens to widen their product portfolio and process a broad range of raw materials, including sustainable fibers. This line will also be equipped with Andritz’s self-developed Metris UX platform, enabling predictive maintenance based on Andritz’s new Vibe sensors and the risk-based maintenance app. It will improve the line’s efficiency by reducing downtime.
Sandler: positive result for 2019
With sales of €322 million, the nonwovens manufacturer Sandler AG, Schwarzenbach a.d. Saale/Germany again reports a successful year in 2019 (sales 2018: €322 million). These positive year-end results create the basis for further growth in the dynamic market environment of the nonwovens industry. During the past year, new nonwovens solutions were developed in Schwarzenbach and Perry, GA/USA, and the product range and the company’s position as a partner to international customers had been expanded.
In 2019, the company again invested heavily. A double-digit million euro amount went into the expansion of its headquarters in Schwarzenbach: 2 new nonwovens manufacturing lines increase production capacity in technical applications and are the basis for the expansion of business activities.
Sandler is also gradually expanding its US subsidiary – Sandler Nonwoven Corporation in Perry – into a competence center for nonwovens manufacturing. To the northwest of the existing company building, the new 135,000 ft² (12,540 m²) building has taken shape in recent months. In the coming weeks, the assembly of a further manufacturing line for nonwovens for hygiene applications will commence here. Start of production is scheduled for autumn 2020.
Berry Global: expansion in nonwovens capacity in fight against Corona
In response to fight spread of the coronavirus, the manufacturer of nonwovens Berry Global Group, Inc., Evansville, IN/USA, has increased production for healthcare materials across North America and Europe.
On March 10, 2020, in addition to its already vast nonwovens supply network, Berry announced the commercialization of its new Spinlace production line in Mooresville, NC/USA. A US$50 million investment, the line is running at full production rates, providing an incremental 17,000 tons of annual capacity to the marketplace. This asset is also focused on various wipes applications serving the healthcare, hygiene, household cleaning, foodservice, and industrial markets.
The company manufactures nonwovens fabrics which are sold to converters who produce infection prevention items. These include hard surface disinfectant wipes, face masks or products used in blood filtration. Berry has shifted capacity to supply maximum output.