Despite its timing one month after the largest nonwovens event in North America—IDEA ’01—April’s Techtextil ’01 International Trade Fair for Technical Textiles and Nonwovens attracted a large number of nonwovens producers, proving that the role of nonwovens in technical textiles in on the rise. Held April 24-26 in Frankfurt, Germany, the event attracted a record 795 exhibitors from 43 nations, as well as an unprecedented level of attendees—16,600.
Of the visitors, 42% came from outside of Germany. Many of the foreign guests were from European countries including France, the U.K., Italy, Belgium and The Netherlands, but non-European countries such as Japan, the U.S. and Israel were also represented.
Held concurrent with the exhibition was the annual Techtextil Symposium, which drew approximately 450 participants. The conference featured more than 100 lectures by renowned international speakers including representatives of key nonwovens companies, such Freudenberg and BBA Nonwovens. The speeches were organized into six main categories—Technical Textiles, New Textiles—New Technologies, Textile Reinforced Concrete, Lightweight Construction, Geotextiles Today, Innovative Automotive Textiles and New Protective Textiles.
Roll Goods Producers Show Presence
The increasing use of roll goods in technical textiles was apparent at Techtextil ’01. With materials ideal for protective apparel, automotives and other technical applications, nonwovens manufacturers came to Frankfurt in droves for the bi-annual event.
AET, Middletown, DE, exhibited its “DelPore” melt blown filtration media, which is available in three standard colors and is suitable for air and liquid filtration. Also new is “DelNet” apertured film that is now coextruded to allow for more specialized textures.
The acquisition of Snow Filtration and AQF Technologies as well as various investments into new production technologies and capacity extensions has demonstrated London, U.K.-based BBA Nonwovens’ commitment to developing the technical sector as a core business. Features of the company’s Techtextil exhibit were the extension of its “Ultraflo” range of filtration products, new needle felt products, high electrical conductivity productions and an extension of the company’s service portfolio.
Cerex Advanced Fabrics, Pensacola, FL, showed its “Orion” spunbonded nylon reinforcing fabric. It can be used in many applications including rug binding, filtration and automotives.
Making its debut at Techtextil ‘01 was the European Division of Foss Manufacturing, Hampton, NH, which came onstream late last year after the completion of the company’s first European plant in Pulversheim, France. The division produces needlepunched nonwovens for technical applications.
Freudenberg, Weinheim, Germany, focused on its new material, “Evolon,” which consists of microfilaments directly spun from polymer granules. The fineness of these microfilaments makes Evolon suitable for a wide range of textile finishing possibilities including automotives, home furnishings and apparel. In the automotive industry, Evolon textiles are used in headliner facings, pillar covers, upholstery materials and trunk liners; in home furnishings it is used in bed sheets, window treatments and blinds. In the apparel industry, Evolon can be used in sportswear and outdoor clothing due to its good breathing activity, excellent moisture transport and quick drying time as well as excellent heat insulation and natural ultraviolet protection.
Joint International, Bergen, The Netherlands, is a supplier of nonwoven roll goods, upgraded nonwovens and laminating media. The company’s technologies include spunlaced, thermal bonding, air through bonding, chemical bonding, spunbond, SMS and air laid for applications including baby and adult diapers, sanitary protection and medical.
Fritz Landolf, Näfels, Switzerland, showed a floorliner “FR,” which can protect a floor during home remodeling. Flame retardant and reusable, FR is made from polyester needlepunched material. Landolt specializes in geotextiles, filtration media, construction and carpet underpads.
Johns Manville, Denver, CO, used Techtextil to launch its Johns Manville Europe European Business Unit with a uniform corporate identity. Johns Manville Europe employs 2600 people at 10 locations to produce high quality glass and polyester-based textile products. Of particular interest was the company’s latest product development, “CombiTex”—a hybrid yarn that facilitates the economic manufacture of lightweight plastic molds with improved tensile strength. The company was also promoting “Combimat,” bitumen roofing substrates that combine the advantages of polyester and glass fiber mat.
Maurizio Peruzzo Industries, Padova, Italy, focused on its latest product, the “heating textile sandwich,” a combination woven/nonwoven product that uses carbon strands to provide heat in clothing, medical and agricultural applications. Additionally, the company was promoting its spunbond, spunlaced, thermal bonded and needlepunched nonwovens for the roofing, automotive, furniture, filtration and insulation markets.
Mogul, Gaziantep, Turkey, displayed its range of 100% polypropylene melt blown and spunbonded nonwoven composites. Mogul offers nonwovens with colored, hydrophilic, antistatic, flame retardant, antidust mite and antibacterial treatments.
PGI Europe made its debut at Techtextil ’01. Formerly known as Nordlys, the company exhibited for the first time under its new name since its acquisition by PGI.
Vliesstoffwerk C. H. Sandler GmbH, Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany, promoted a broad range of nonwoven-based products. According to company executives, demand was great for the company’s “sawascreen” products, which range from pocket filters to pleated materials. These fiber structures are ideal for filtration applications including interior automotive filtration, breathing protection, liquid filtration, vacuum cleaning and air conditioning. In addition to sawascreen, Sandler exhibited its “sandler sports”range of breathable nonwovens ideal for outdoor sports clothing, and its breathable and non-breathable sawabond laminates for hygiene applications.
Web Dynamics, Rickmansworth, U.K., marketed its advanced waterproof hole technology in fabric design under the name “edg.” The technology takes open microfibers and closes them down to generate liquid barrier. Made from a calendered process, the polyester-based material retains its water barrier while being comfortable.
Raw Material Suppliers Bring Innovation
Raw material suppliers were also on hand at Techtextil to exhibit products such as fibers and binders.
Acordis Specialty Fibers, Coventry, UK, showed its “Oasis” superabsorbent fiber which recently received approval from FDA to be used in food packaging applications. The fiber is currently used in medical, hygiene, industrial and filtration applications.
BASF, Ludwigshafen, Germany, promoted its advanced technology “Basofil” heat and flame resistant fiber. Its configuration of round and variable diameters traps insulating air among its fiber filaments and provides improved thermal protection in fire service apparel.
The hot melt adhesives produced by the Business Unit High Performance Polymers of Degussa AG, Marl, Germany, connect textiles and nonwovens that are resistant to higher temperatures and chemicals. The products under the brand name “Vestamelt” are copolyamides and copolyesters, which contain laurolactam and feature the desired melting points for economical and low impact textile fixation.
Dow Plastics, Midland, MI, showcased its “Covelle HF” weldable polyolefin films, which can be thermally laminated to nonwovens, textiles, or foams to add sealing functionality.
FiberVisions, Varde, Denmark, used Techtextil to introduce its “HY Strength” PPE fiber produced only in Denmark. The fiber gives a 25% lift to nonwovens tenacity. Although the fiber is not strong, it adds strength in carded nonwovens, which is weaker than spunbond. Customers can reduce the weight of carded materials to offer an alternative to spunbond fabrics.
KoSa, Frankfurt, Germany, presented new yarns for technical textile applications. Among these yarns are those made of polyethylene naphthalate, which feature increased strength and improved resistance to hydrolysis, chemicals and rotting.
Kynol Europa, Hamburg, Germany, exhibited its “Novoloid” fibers, which are phenolic fibers that feature low smoke emission and nontoxic emission. These flame resistant and temperature resistant fibers find application in protective apparel.
Säteri Oy, Vaalkeakoski, Finland, promoted its flame retardant fiber, “Visil.” This cellulosic fiber contains silicic acid and is produced using a modified viscose process. It can be used in protective apparel and transportation applications.
Stork, Boxmeer, The Netherlands, exhibited its hot melt technology that can be used for laminating on nonwoven substrates. Stork’s technology allows the hot melt applications to be as high as 250°C, allowing manufacturers to switch to lower cost adhesives. For instance UVA laminates require at least 200°C for application.
Toyobo, Osaka, Japan, spotlighted its “PBO Fiber Zylon,” which consists of rigid rodchain molecules of polyphenylene-2, 6-benzobisoxazole. Featuring high tensile strength and superior flame resistance, Zylon offers reinforcement for rubber products, plastics, concrete and cord and is used in protective clothing and active sportswear.
Wacker-Chemie GmbH, Burg-hausen, Germany, introduced “Vinnex M21 X” and “Vinnex C50,” two environmentally compatible polymer powder binders. These low-odor powder binders are emission free when processed. Vinnex M21 X is suitable for making press-molded fiber parts and for laminating nonwovens. Vinnex C50 is intended chiefly for use in the nonwovens, construction, automotive and carpet sectors as well as in personal care and medical textile applications.
Machinery & Equipment Suppliers Show Wares
Techtextil also hosted a variety of machinery and equipment suppliers to the technical textiles industry that highlighted their newest products.
Cavitec, Cavitec, Switzerland, showed its water-based and solvent-based coating systems as well as hot melt and epoxy coatings for technical textiles, flexible and rigid composites, geotextiles and hygiene and medical applications. Among the systems being highlighted at Techtextil was “Cabiscat,” a scatter coating system for coating and laminating thermoplastic adhesives and “Cavimelt,” a hot melt coating and laminating machine for medical textiles, foam laminates and upholstery.
A. Celli, Porcari, Italy, showcased its “Super Rewinder,” which includes a winder, a defect detection/elimination system, a “Super Slitter” rewinder, a fully automatic shaft and core handling system and a finished reel labeling and packing station. The company offers a range of in line winders, off line slitter-rewinders, in line/off line winder/slitter-rewinders as well as equipment for lamination lines and unwind stands.
Erhardt + Leimer, Augsburg, Germany, exhibited its “Elsis” surface inspection system, a brand new system for the inspection of nonwovens, paper and film. The system can be tailored to the integration and preparation of web conditions.
Fleissner, Egelsbach, Germany, spotlighted its spunlaced/hydroentangled technology. The company’s machinery gives nonwovens manufacturers the ability to produce various patterns on material during production by using a special drum or wire.
KKA Kleinewefers Anlagen, München, Germany, explained the new scope of its business since the recent acquisition of sister company Kleinewefers Textilmachinen. The merger creates a company based around four competence centers—plastic calenders, winding technology, textile/nonwoven calenders and finishing technique. The company’s latest development is “Parotherm,” a calendering concept designed especially for thermal bonding high-speed spun fabric and staple fiber products.
Reiter Perfojet, Montbonnet, France, showed how two of its machines, “Jetlace 3000” spunlacing system and “Perfobond 3000 spunbonding system,” can work together to form a spunlace/spunbond composite material. The two processes combine to make materials suitable for wipe applications.
Eduard Küsters Machinenfabrik GmbH, Krefeld, Germany, presented its extensive calender range for the nonwovens and textile industries. Of particular interest was the company’s “CS-Rolls,” the use of which has resulted in the development of a new field of application for air laid nonwovens.
Massen Machine Vision Systems, Konstanz, Germany, highlighted its “ColourBrain” nonwoven inspection system, an automatic in line monitor of physical and aesthetic quality. The system inspects finished products and monitors the production process for drifts in the main quality features. The early detection of drifts allows for taking countermeasures before the production turns to second choice quality of scrap.
The spotlight of Nordson Engineering’s booth was the Lüneberg, Germany based company’s porous coating and laminating system for hot melt adhesives. The system is ideal for the creation of contact sensitive materials.
The combined booth of Thibeau and Asselin, Tourcoing, France—two divisions of NSC Schlumberger Nonwoven Systems—focused on “ProDyn” technology, which includes a redesigned web handling system and is driven by scanning gauges. The group also offers a high speed nonwoven carding line that allows a web formation that was hard to achieve with older carding systems.