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Fiber Makers Offer Alternatives



new fiber types give nonwovens makers more options



Published June 18, 2008
Related Searches: hydrophobic viscose absorbent Transportation

Fiber Makers Offer Alternatives

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new fiber types give nonwovens makers more options

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By Karen Bitz McIntyre
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rnRaw material technology in the nonwovens industry is changing. Economic trends such as escalating prices of petro-based materials, as well as social factors like increased awareness over sustainability and eco-consciousness and market demands such as improved fit in hygiene products or more absorbent wipes has created the need for new fibers and resins and suppliers have risen to the challenge.
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rnWhether it’s cotton fibers sourced from scrapped T-shirt materials, specialty elastomers able to create a stretchable nonwoven in one seamless process, polylactic acid derived from corn or more traditional fibers such as polyester or polypropylene, fibers are the backbone of nonwovens and their producers have been creating new products to help their customers.
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rnTake for instance, HY-Wettable from FiberVisions. This wettable polypropylene fiber combines cost effectiveness as compared to traditional wipe materials with unique processing and end product improvements, creating cost-savings and performance benefits for disposable and multipurpose wipes, according to executives.
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rn“The high price and restricted supply of viscose fibers is putting increasing pressure on margins within the wipes industry,” said Karena Can­cilleri, FiberVisions global business manager of hygiene. “HY-Wet­table is both competitive and provides outstanding functionality advantages—a combination that can give wipes producers the edge they need to succeed in their market.”
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rnHY-Wettable offers a number of cost-efficiency benefits to nonwovens producers. It’s easy to process using spunlaced, thermal bonding or nee­dlepunching processes. The fiber’s low linting and dusting tendency reduces the need for frequent line cleaning, speeding up the production process. Faster production is also achieved thanks to the higher carding speed delivered by HY-Wettable. By offering greater bulk than traditional wipe fibers, a lower base weight can be obtained. This ensures benefits of less material usage and a reduction in energy consumption during production and transportation.
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rnAdditionally, the polypropylene offers a wide range of superior functionality advantages that benefit the whole wipe value chain from the nonwovens producer to the consumer. Unlike typical hydrophobic polypropylene, the HY-Wettable fiber is permanently hydrophilic, allowing it to adsorb and release liquids, including water, soapy water, lotions, detergent and bleaching agents. Its resistance to conventional cleaning agents means that fiber performance is unaffected. This makes the fiber suitable for all wipe types, from baby and hygiene to household and industrial applications.
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rnMeanwhile, Fibervisions’ HY-Shrink creates unique opportunities for nonwovens producers to enter the bulky nonwovens market and meet increasing demands from the wipes and filtration sectors for fabrics with improved performance and visual appeal.  HY-Shrink allows higher bulk nonwovens to be produced on existing carded thermal bond lines. Upon adding heat activation to the process after fabric consolidation, the fabric bulk can be increased to more than 300%. This opens up first-time possibilities for conventional nonwovens producers to use minimal equipment investment to develop nonwoven fabrics with increased bulk and loft and novel textures.