Expert's Opinion

Airlaid's New Strengths

By Susan Stanbury, Executive Director of Converting Influence | November 10, 2011

Stansbury discusses what is driving airlaid forward.

Airlaid nonwovens have found new strengths in today's marketplace. There are several factors going for these highly absorbent materials.Because of the relative economies when buying airlaid fabrics, users are taking another look at the this category. Traditionally, airlaid costs were compared to nonwovens derived from synthetics which have been pegged to fluctuations in petroleum prices. The price of the spunlaced and other synthetic-fiber-based nonwovens have related to polyester staple fibers, for example. In addition, the cost of fibers has, at times, increased more than increases at the oil level. And, another complication has been the cost of cotton in the last couple years.

The cotton situation has also prompted nonwovens buyers to take a new look or increase their usage of airlaid.The current view of airlaid has reminded users about characteristics including absorbency, texture and a range of options for loft and density. Sometimes airlaid gets a bad comparison with synthetics since it is not as strong. However, consumers have expressed that it is "strong enough to do the job," so it can be said that it is not over-engineered. And now the fact that 100% of fiber in airlaid nonwovens is cellulose, a bio-based and renewable material, is a plus for its environmental advantages.In the wet wipes arena, airlaid plays well in tubs and flat packs for products ranging from baby wipes to cosmetic cleansing pads, cleansing towelettes and surface cleaners.Other market applications include bed pads and pad products such as incontinence and feminine hygiene liners, plus absorbent towels, geotextiles and industrial cleaning wipers.


Susan Stansbury is the executive director of Converting Influence. She can be reached at

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