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With an annual turnover of €15 million, DS Technical Nonwoven has a staff of more than 30 highly skilled employees. The company operates three needlepunch production lines with a total capacity of 30 million square meters per year. At the corporate level, DS Textile’s overall sales amount to approximately €82 million per year.
As part of a vertically integrated group, the DS Nonwoven division produces mechanically bonded needlepunched nonwovens made of DS staple fiber. In addition to being ISO 9001:2000 approved, DS Textiles has also obtained the CE-mark for its standard GeoTex and GeoFelt range. The company’s primary geographical focus is on European regions such France, the U.K., Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.
“Our differentiated production lines enable us to produce various types of nonwoven textiles and even—in a second stage—to impregnate, coat or structure them,” offered Dirk De Saedeleir, R&D director. The company’s nonwoven products target a variety of end uses including agriculture, geotextiles, building and construction, industrial, packaging, flooring, filtration and automotive. In the geosynthetics sector, DS Technical Nonwoven supplies commodity as well as customized geotextile solutions ranging from lightweight 110 gpsm to heavy weight 1800 gpsm needlepunched nonwovens in polypropylene and/or polyester for filtration, drainage, separation and protection.
In the agricultural area, one interesting recent innovation from DS Technical Nonwoven is Hortaflex, an eco-fleece made of Ingeo fiber. The new product is the result ofa long cooperation between DS and NatureWorks LLC to develop a range of articles shown for the first time at Techtextil 2007 in June. Hortaflex is an alternative to the oil-based materials normally used in weed control that can be returned to the soil when composted under certain moisture and temperature conditions found in industrial composting facilities.
Typical target applications for Hortaflex include groundcover, landscaping, erosion and weed control. The Ingeo fiber used in making Hortaflex fleece is the first man-made fiber made from a 100% annually renewable resource, not oil. Conventional mulch and barrier fleeces use the world’s finite oil reserves as their source material.
Ingeo is a nature-based fiber derived from agricultural resources and is made from NatureWorks polymer, which demonstrates a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. “This, in the long term, closes the product’s production cycle and provides an added environmental benefit, especially when gardeners or horticulturists are faced with the task of removing the barrier fabric after a few years when changing over a garden or landscape,” Mr. De Saedeleir said.
While developing the production process for the Hortaflex range, initial tests show that with the addition of grass seeds, better germination and growth results were observed when compared to conventional cellulose carpet-based structures. “This, combined with the added benefit of lighter weight structures, means Hortaflex can offer a positive alternative for the existing mulch-mats for the growing trend of green roof applications, enhancing the eco-options for architecture as well as contemporary landscaping.” Mr. De Saedeleir added that the company isalso setting up a range of protective nonwovens made on the basis of regeneratedflakes of polyester bottles.