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.
Edana: election of a new boardThe international association serving the nonwovens and related industries, Edana, Brussels/Belgium, has elected new governors and a new team of officers for 2020-2021. Mikael Staal Axelsen (Fibertex, Personal Care, Aalborg/Denmark, photo) remains as chair, supported by vice-chairs Åsa Johansson (Essity, Gothenburg/Sweden) and David Lamb (Nonwovenn Ltd, Somerset/UK). Giorgio Mantovani (Corman, Milano/ Italy) was elected as treasurer. The new elected board began their term on July 1, 2020. The following governors were elected as new board members: Cédric Ballay (EVP & General Manager EMEAI, Berry Global, Barcelona/ Spain), Roger Chantillon (Executive Board Member & EVP Sales & Marketing, RKW Group, Frankenthal/Germany), Sophie Rasmussen (Business Leader Essential Health EMEA & Global Women’s Health, Johnson & Johnson, Way Maidenhead/UK, Patricia Sargeant, Vice President, Sales, Composite Fibers, Glatfelter/Canada, Markus Westerkamp, Executive Vice President BA Advanced Solutions, Ahlstrom-Munksjö, Böblingen/Germany.
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.
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.
SABIC: extended portfolio offers solutions for medical disposables
Medical disposable gowns and masks are one part of an overall infection-control strategy and they are used as personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care settings. Nonwovens that are extensively used for these applications, deliver critical properties for the safety of patients and medical staff because of their high levels of efficiency to control sterility. As a strategic material supplier to the sector, the chemical company Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (SABIC), Riyadh/Saudi Arabia, is supporting its customers by offering a broad SABIC Purecares portfolio of polypropylene (PP) polymers for nonwovens used in making of these products. The Purecares polymer portfolio including melt blown and spunbond PP materials, offers high purity and very good breathability, delivering essential properties for the safety of patients and medical staff on prevention and spread of infectious diseases. These materials manufactured with phthalate-free, single-material technology aimed to deliver enhanced properties in spunbond and melt blown fibers for nonwoven fabrics. Separately, SABIC is exploring the potential for its Trucircle solutions to be used in nonwovens applications in the near future.
Advance Nonwoven: appointment of Jorgen Ballermann as new CEO
Jørgen Ballermann is the new CEO of the technology supplier Advance Nonwoven, Roende/Denmark. Former CEO, Advance Nonwoven founder and co-owner Stig Gamborg will continue his work on the executive board. Throughout the past 14 years, the company has been developing the Caft and Dalt-technologies which can upcycle or recycle many different kinds of fiber fractions. Ballermann is an experienced CEO in the field of turnkey solutions and green technology. His former employments include Vestas Wind Systems A.S., Aarhus/Denmark, biogas plant provider Xergi A/S, and Copenhagen Infrastructure Partners. Fr
VDMA: technology webtalks for the textile industry
On June 22, 2020 the German Textile Machinery Association (VDMA), Frankfurt/Germany, started a series of Textile Machinery Webtalks. In the first edition experts from the companies Oerlikon Manmade Fibers, Mahlo and Nanoval presented technologies for the production of melt-blown nonwovens for respiratory protection masks (FFP masks and surgical masks). After the presentations, the experts were available to answer the participants' questions. Further technology webtalks on other topics are in preparation. Participation is free of charge. For further information: www.machines-for-textiles.com/webtalk
Ascend: antimicrobial technology for textiles and nonwovens
A technology specially formulated to guard against the growth of mildew, fungi and other microbes to keep textiles and nonwoven fabrics fresher for longer has been introduced by the manufacturer of fiber technologies Ascend Performance Materials, Houston, TX/USA.
The technology Acteev Protect combines zinc ion technology with polyamide (PA)-based woven, nonwovens and knit fabrics. The active zinc ions are embedded into the polymer matrix, providing a long-lasting solution that does not wash away, unlike topical finishes or coatings. The PA fabrics are durable yet soft to the skin, and the nonwovens filtration media – available as nanofibers, meltblown and spunbond – efficiently keep out unwanted particles.
Additionally, the fabrics feature all the benefits of premium PA, which offer more comfort than polypropylene (PP) in single-use masks and allows knits and woven fabrics to be dyed, printed on and laundered. PA 66 resists abrasion and does not pill or shed microfibers. It has a soft hand and very good drape, and it can be dyed solid or bright colors.
Uniforms or activewear made with Acteev Protect will be durable and comfortable and can be designed to match current color trends. Because the zinc ions are embedded during the polymerization process, articles made with Acteev Protect stand up to 50 washes or more.