Archive for April, 2021

Future of Nonwoven Fabrics

April 8th, 2021

Introduction

Usually people consider textile fabrics as the common categorization such as woven, knitted, braided or tufted constructions. They commonly abandon nonwoven fabrics form the textile group. In the conventional fabric, the fibre is first made into yarns; on the other hand, nonwovens are manufactured sheets or webs directionally or randomly orientated fibres, bonded through resistance, solidity or sticking together into a fabric.

The demands for fabrics have increased sharply. Conventional textiles are not able to meet the production cost and higher cost of upgradation along with demanding consumers in new fields of consumption. With better customization of characteristics into the fabric and appropriateness to certain end uses being advantages, nonwovens have emerged rapidly as the fabrics of the future.

Nonwoven fabrics presents many advantages over conventional fabrics, the clearest benefit is cost savings. In recent couple of years the nonwoven industry has emerged at a rapid speed, offering a huge range of products to several diversified fields. Conversely, nonwoven fabrics hold some natural characteristics, which led them to be counted for non-usable in certain applications. At present, many research and development has been conducted on enhancing the characteristics of nonwoven fabrics. Nonwovens are also entering into some astonishing fields, with making its mark in fashion apparel also.

Currently, three fibers lead the worldwide market:

Polypropylene (synthetic – 63 percent)

Polyester (synthetic – 23 percent)

Cellulosic staple fiber (natural-based 8 percent)

Manufacturing Process

To manufacture a nonwoven fabric, first a web is made, and then it is tied (bonded together) to give strength. Usually, Nonwoven fabrics are made from two processes, a one-step or two-step.

One-step process: In this process, the formation of web and bonding is conducted continuously. The processes, spunbond and melt blown are considered under one-step.

Spunbond process: The thermoplastic fibers are extruded via a spinneret, and then is it spread on a conveyor belt to make a web. Following the process, the web is bonded by passing it through two calendar rollers.

Melt blown process: The thermoplastic fibers are driven onto a collector screen to make a web. The combination of fibers fixing and snaring, results bonding.

Insight: Five Reasons the Nonwovens Market Shows No Sign of Slowing Down

April 8th, 2021

Today, innovations in nonwovens are growing as quickly as global demand. From housewraps to laundry aids, nonwovens open up a large and ever-increasing number of possibilities for a range of industries.

This insight refers to all industrial nonwovens which are sold business to business and are used mostly in commercial operations. Applications are diverse, and include automobile body degreasing, hard surface cleaning and skin preparation. In 2012, the global consumption of industrial non-wovens was 3.30 million tonnes, and this is forecast to reach 4.95 million tonnes by 2017.

In this insight, we examine: what are the main drivers behind this impressive growth of industrial nonwovens?

1.) Low raw material supply and cost
Industrial nonwovens are less expensive to produce than most alternative products. This low cost is measured not only in currency but in consumption of raw materials. Nonwovens use a significant percentage of European and American wood pulp, which is not petroleum based, and is also renewable and relatively inexpensive. As oil is expected to increase in both demand and price until 2017, use of natural fiber for nonwovens in the place of petroleum based material is favourable.

Water is also becoming a scarce resource as industries and populations compete for supplies. Woven cotton textiles require a great deal of freshwater irrigation, as well as chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The replacement of woven cotton textiles with wood pulp and/or rayon-based nonwovens therefore not only saves money, but valuable resources.

2.) Advantageous manufacturing processes
Nonwovens are usually made using relatively new technologies and use less energy, produce minimum effluent and require fewer raw materials than older methods of production. For example, the now common spunbonding process is only around 50-60 years old, whereas textile spinning and paper-making have been around for a few thousand years.

There are also fewer resources required during the nonwoven production process. Spunlaid, needlepunch, carded and airlaid nonwovens use little or no water, while spunlace uses almost no chemicals and recycles 99% of the water it uses. Nonwoven processes are typically very flexible. This has meant that many industrial processes can rapidly and inexpensively change to produce multiple different products, allowing a much greater degree of product diversification than is possible with wovens or other materials.

3.) Regulation and sustainability concerns
Environmental responsibility influences the manufacturing methods of most industrial products, and nonwovens are no exception. Regulatory pressures and retailer proactivity have meant that movement towards sustainability is now common in this market.

Those in the nonwovens industry feel that sustainability is a need driven by both consumers and governments, and the time to act is now rather than later. For example, while packaging has been the main area of emphasis, Walmart has acknowledged that other areas, such as nonwovens, are also important.

This impacts both the consumer nonwovens market and the industrial nonwovens sector, and the suggestion that the world’s largest retailer might judge and select nonwovens based on the environmental performance of the suppliers has had an immense effect. A wide variety of products have begun changing for environmental reasons: airlace, with woodpulp replacing rayon in traditional spunlace for wet wipes, airlaid pulp replacing highloft polyester in automotive insulation, and a new ‘repurposed cotton’ fiber for use in spunlace are now marketed.

4.) High performance
In some cases, industrial nonwovens materials deliver properties unattainable by other materials, leading to their increased popularity. Exemplary materials include clean-room wipes, which provide a highly entangled web with high strength and abrasion resistance. The large quantity of water used at high pressure tends to remove all loose fibers or particles all at high speed and relatively light basis weights. There are no woven products comparable.

There are dozens of other instances where nonwovens just perform better than equivalent products, from industrial wipes to automotive insulation, from packaging to battery separators. Sometimes the pure performance of a product rather than cost or convenience drives this market.

5.) New and competitive materials
The nonwovens market continues to evolve and adapt in order to best serve the needs of various industries, especially in terms of cost and performance. In spunlace, a precursor web containing segmented bicomponent fibers makes it possible to produce both a cost-effective and high performance microfiber substrate, useful in filtration and industrial wipes.

Airlaid is already 80-90% wood pulp, one of the most sustainable raw materials in nonwovens. Low-density versions are a suitable replacement for foam plastic packaging, and combined with a dispersible binder, airlaid is perfect for repulpable packaging or flushable wipes. This constant adaptation to keep up with a fast-moving industry has meant that the global market for nonwovens shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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