Delighted exhibitors and a good mood at TechTextil 2013

By Helena Engqvist, Engqvist Consulting | September 6, 2013

Numerous innovations underscored the willingness of exhibitors to invest and act as visitor magnets at TechTextil 2013 in Frankfurt from June 10-13.

Exhibitors at this year’s TechTextil shared great innovativeness in many new products and processes meeting needs of customers and consumers with not only technical solutions, but also in high-performance wearing and climate comfort and medical related areas.

TechTextil, with its focus on technical textiles, once again set new records in numbers of visitors and exhibitors with 1,322 exhibitors from 48 countries and around 27,500 visitors from 97 countries, both increasing 10% compared with 2011.

TechTextil has a unique position in presenting and promoting the diversity in technical textiles and nonwovens. Much focus was on trends in light-weight construction, functionality, sustainability and mobility, and also sensory systems for apparel, extremely light textile reinforced concrete and natural-fiber-based composites for automobiles, showing that the technological bridges between various textiles and nonwovens are getting more and more seamless.

“Techtextil has once again been able to expand its unique position as the world’s leading trade fair and a must for the sector,” says Detlef Braun, member of the executive board of Messe Frankfurt GmbH. “Together with Texprocess, we see a bright future for Techtextil. The records set by both fairs confirm the seminal concept of this combination of technical textiles and textile-processing technologies.”

Many new applications in the medical areas were introduced. One such application relates to hard-to-heal wounds; Zorflex, an activated carbon cloth, is made by Chemviron Carbon Cloth Division. Zorflex is currently undergoing testing on patients in Europe and the US. Similarly, Schoeller Textil AG presented highly functional bed sheets that protect against decubitus or pressure ulcers in immobile patients.

Fibers based on milk
Qmilch is an innovation based on a new bio-based polymer. Qmilch bases itself on milk that is not used for consumption. The eco-friendly process is carried out at just below 90°C and needs neither coagulation baths nor chemicals. The fibers feel like silk, are UV resistant and flame resistant according to B2-standard. They absorb water, can be spun-died and produced with different cross-sections. In addition, materials made of Qmilch can be used in a wide range of applications, i.e. fashion items, home textiles, wound care and other medical applications, and even in automotive. Anke Domaske, founder of the company, was originally searching for chemically untreated clothing for her stepfather with cancer. Eventually milk proteins came to her interest while trying to make fibers and the first trials were made.

Monark, the milk weed fibers
Another new fiber, Monark, is a high-performance cellulosic fiber based on milk weed and produced by the Canadian company Encore 3. This very light, silky-soft natural fiber has a hollow structure with thermal insulation properties and it also has the ability to absorb oil.

Optimistic tunes at Andritz
In an ever developing process the Andritz Group continues its engagement in state-of-the-art high-speed integrated nonwoven technologies. For the needlepunch market the most recent addition is available in the new technical center in Elbeuf in France. In an in industrial scale needlepunch line the TT Excelle double card, designed for short and long staple fibers, is for the first time applied to crosslapping processes for optimal technical nonwoven qualities, e.g. geotextiles and the like. To ensure even web distribution, the Zéta drafting unit has been designed for speeds over 40 m/min.

Interestingly, there is barely any technology missing in the Andritz portfolio. This includes the neXline spunlace with the Jetlace Evolution hydro-entanglement unit for technical applications and durable fibers. Furthermore, the Spunjet technology, optionally in combination with a calender, for a new generation spunlaid nonwovens, and wetlaid technology for the development of materials based on natural as well as man-made fibers, including carbon, microglass and aramid. For the technical textiles market, Andritz has also developed the innovative teXcal trike calender concept that incorporates proven technologies from the production of paper and nonwovens.

Not the least, to meet the growth in Asia and China specifically, Andritz is well supported in sales, production, and service by its 100% owned local branch in Wuxi, China. To face this expansion, Andritz Wuxi Nonwoven is now moving to a new location with wide production capacities and a technical center with a full-scale demonstration line.

Effects that perform and chemistry that cares
Clariant presented the three focus areas Repellence & Release, Flame Retardancy and Stability & Resistance. In this context the next generation C6-based fluoro-chemicals Nuva1 N C6 provide long-lasting repellency and release effects that respond to increasing concerns about the use of certain chemicals in the production of textiles. However, fluorine-free long-lasting water-repellency can be provided by Arkophob1 FFR, a new technology that when used correctly, meets the bluesign2 criteria and the Oeko-Tex3 standard.

Flame retardancy, another focus area, required not only in extreme environments like firefighting and military, but also in home textiles and construction, is met by the non-halogenated Pekoflam product range. As such Pekoflam helps manufactures to meet both ecological challenges and stricter safety regulations. Finally, Appretan E offers options for ultra-low formaldehyde to formaldehyde-free solutions for stability and resistance.

The “Dilo – Isomation Process”
Dilo with its multi-technical approach provided extensive information about its portfolio of equipment with production lines made in Germany. This includes recent machine concepts from the DiloGroup companies DiloTemafa, DiloSpinnbau and DiloMachines.
A major focus is to improve operational efficiency, web quality and uniformity with positive effects on all staple fiber bonding processes. All these elements are part of the “Dilo – Isomation Process” that aims at an even web mass for reduced fiber consumption.

The dosing opener DON continuously delivers fibers homogeneously to the card feeder. Another step to improve evenness is the card feeder MultiFeed which is available in working widths up to 5 m. Here the “Twinflow” infeed system offers a state-of-the-are high capacity system providing a doubling effect for a more homogeneous flock mass flow. 

In addition, the Spinnbau MultiCard presents high production availability due to its easy and fast accessibility for cleaning and maintenance. This card can handle a full range of fibers at speeds up to 200 m/min, representing an economic solution for cross laid nonwoven production. A complete range of vertical and horizontal crosslappers ensure a high layering precision based on excellent web control up to 16m working widths.

A full range of needlelooms, from single board needling on one side to two boards from each side, plus structuring and patterning specialty looms, are part of a the company program. Endless felt tubes can be needled and also wide working width belts for papermachine clothing applications, while the further development of needlelooms continues. Each line specifically engineered to customer needs.

Faré focuses on spunbond-meltblown combinations
Faré, the Italian maker of complete lines for the production nonwoven based on staple fibers, spunbond and meltblown, targets materials ranging from 8-1000 gsm (g/m²). Recently, the company has been entering into new developments for high performing products based on spunbond-meltblown combinations. The special focus on the increasing need for geotextiles in the Far East allows for high quality nonwoven, both spunbond and carded staple fibers of PP, PET, PA, as well as multiple bicomponent combinations.

Fibertex with plants in several European countries and a share on South Africa continues the development for needle-punch and spunlaid nonwoven for a variety of applications in geotextiles, automotive, filtration, building and composites as well as wiping materials.

Freudenberg – meeting global trends
While meeting global trends in environmentally friendly mobility, energy storing and medical advancements, Freudenberg Nonwovens highlighted some exciting new products.

“Megatrends like E-mobility or the demographic change inspire our R&D departments to look for new applications,” says Bruce Olson, CEO Freudenberg Nonwovens.

The Lithium-Ion battery technology that is used in mobile and smart phones, and now enters large capacity energy storage, requires efficient separators. As a response, the Viledon range for battery separators has been extended with ultrathin polyester nonwovens with ceramic particles to generate flexible and thin composite structures.

Evolon, a combination of endless bico-filaments with the splitting by hydro-entanglement to generate extremely fine microfilaments, is constantly finding new applications in high-tech wiping, anti-allergy bedding and technical packaging. Evolon also finds its way in high-performance sports towels and cosmetic wipes, sun protection as well as industrial air filtration.

And last, but not least, the introduction of breathable Vildona Airliner 2.0, which exceeds expectations as a shoe insole material. The base is a spunlace nonwoven with a superabsorbent polymer that is chemically anchored in the nonwoven. The materials have been approved by large shoe manufacturers and can be found on the shelves in major shoe outlets.

General Nonwovens
General Nonwovens presented a number of materials for automotive, filtration, flooring, coating and laminating by their current technologies in PET spunlaid for technical applications ranging from 12-200 gsm. In addition, the company is serving hygiene industry with spunbond topsheet and carded air through bond nonwoven for ADL (acquisition distribution layer) ranging from 20-90 gsm. Recently the company started a new line with a SMS spunbond nonwoven configuration, targeting the hygiene products market with materials ranging from 12 to 80 gsm.

Groz-Beckert: “From Motion to Emotion”
The theme at Groz-Beckert was practice-oriented applications focusing on technical textiles in automobiles. A vehicle today has 35 m² textiles, corresponding to 29 kilograms. Textile materials are used in the interior, seat covers and car mats, and also in safety equipment like airbags and safety belts. In many of these areas nonwovens can be found as well. Other examples are under the hood, in the trunk and in the wheel houses. In order to demonstrate this textile diversity, Groz-Beckert displayed the TexCar, a new Mercedes-Benz E-Class T-Model. The car was disassembled and converted, uncovering nearly all textiles, even applications that are normally difficult to reach. For visitors this was a unique opportunity to realize the use of woven and knitted fabric, nonwovens and seams in the car.

For nonwoven manufacturers the Board Master System showed how the handling of needle boards, and needle inserting in general, play an important role in the entire process. Two components make the Board Master System the ideal solution for more efficient needle board logistics: the fast and efficient needle inserting system known as NeedleMaster, and BoardScoot, the mechanical needle board wagon for safe transportation of needle boards.

Like in many other companies Groz-Beckert has a technical lab available for customer to try the specific needle designs for in-house processes.

The “JM Innovation Path”
Johns Manville, the manufacturer of Evalith™ nonwovens from glass and polyester fibers, introduced the “JM Innovation Path”. Highlights at the booth were innovative glass nonwovens with a special coating for digital and direct printing, self-reinforcing polyester spunbonds and glass/polymer hybrid nonwovens for applications in thermoplastic composites used in mold constructions. Interesting areas were materials with flame retardant or antimicrobial properties for the automotive, filtration and construction sectors. Others were hybrid nonwovens for flooring, wall and ceiling applications that demand a high degree of smooth and even surfaces. As such they displayed exciting haptic, honeycomb structures made of compressed nonwovens that also serve as acoustical barriers in light constructions.

A non-flammable A2 rated material composite created much excitemet. It had been developed in co-operation with a customer to be used as a decorative board for ventilated curtain facades. And, last but not least, a new e-Commerce portal, was presented.to facilitate ordering and services.

Olea – Hydrophobic viscose by Kelheim
Kelheim introduced Olea, the first hydrophobic viscose fiber with durable hydrophobicity. The fiber is particularly suitable for functional clothing because of its built-in water repellency combined with softness and skin-friendliness. Kelheim also presented Bramante, a new type of viscose fiber with increased absorbency and water retention capacity due to a hollow fiber structure. As such rewetting is minimized making the fiber suitable for functional textiles, hygiene and washable incontinence products. A third product introduced by Kelheim is the flame retardant viscose fiber Danufil(R) CS that is primarily used in barrier fabrics in furnishing applications.

Botanic seating safety by Lenzing
Under the branding of Botanic seating safety, the new flame-retardant fiber Lenzing FR has been introduced to the market. With its high performance fiber and safety characteristics for use in upholstery fabrics in public transportation vehicles Lenzing targets 200-300 tons for such applications in the next years. Safety guidelines and standards are particularly strict focusing on public safety. One advantage is the use of beechwood for the processing of this natural fiber. A number of safety features like no melt, drip or afterglow combines lower rate of toxicity and flue gas density in case of a fire. In addition to public transportation like trains and buses, maritime segments are important. Especially interesting is the cruising segment in which damaged seats are replaced regularly.

Mogul starts PET spunbond line
Mogul Nonwovens in Turkey is currently starting its second PET Spunbond line. The 3.2 meter wide line is capable of producing trilobal and round filaments and also point and flatbond grades. A third line with the capability to run bicomponent PET/CoPET in width of 3.6 meters and weight ranges from 17 to 150 gsm is being installed and start-up is planned for September this year.

News from Nanoval
The Nanoval split fibers process, based on a unique effect that a liquid monofilament divides into several finer filaments after a shear force, is applied to its sheath in a second Laval shaped nozzle underneath the spinning nozzle. Disintegration takes place in a different manner by splitting and drawing, even in sudden blasting. From one spinning hole a multitude of up to more than one hundred finer essentially continuous filaments can be spun. This leads to higher throughput per hour and meter web width. Finer filament diameters are even approaching the nano-domain with less energy consumption as heated drawing air is necessary for filaments below 2 micron only. Spin beams to the Nanoval process now are available from 0,3 m for pilot plants up to 3 m for production lines.

Nonwoven webs have been successfully tested in many of the standard applications used in hygiene, medical and filters. For filters the advantage is that Nanoval nonwoven webs of PP, PBT or PET can be produced as a mixture of nanofibers and microfibers in an integrated 3D structure.

Nanoval operates a 300 mm wide pilot plant for Lyocell webs. In the future it can be expected that this renewable fiber forming material will have several advantages compared to fossil based materials, such as water absorption and retention, as well as biodegradability. 

Norafin – The development of homogenous heatable nonwovens
Nonwovens can constantly be found in new applications. Energy efficient and functional heatable, electrically-conductive nonwoven is an alternative to fluid heaters. Together with project partners Norafin has developed a nonwoven based on the spunlace and/or needlepunch processes by combining different types of fibers and process-related parameters for optimal output. High surface temperatures can be achieved with relatively minimal heater voltage. The addition of electrically conductive fibers makes it possible to adjust the electrical resistance of the heatable functional nonwoven. Because of its flat and drapeable nonwoven structure, the materials can be used in many new areas such as wall, ceiling and floor heating systems, as well as flat heating elements in mould constructions to name a few.

Technical textiles and nonwovens conquer construction sites. In its recently developed strategy, Oerlikon is presenting man-made fiber technologies for new applications in technical textiles. The total solution concept includes production of spunbond for roofing membranes and geotextiles and systems for the processing of aramid and carbon fibers, which are used in materials as fiber-reinforced concrete. “Thanks to their wide range of functions, manmade fibers will remain a growth market for years to come,” said Stefan Kross, Head of the Oerlikon Business Unit Manmade Fibers.

Today about 12% of fibers produced worldwide are used in technical textiles. In this context Oerlikon Neumag has introduced its single-source solution for the complete spunbond process, from polymer granulate to roll goods. Polyester spunbond is well suited for roofing materials due to their thermal insulation properties. Such materials also serve as base for bitumen and underlay roofing membranes, as well as geotextiles. The latter providing stability and functioning as filter, drainage and reinforcement of asphalt.
The Oerlikon Barmag presented solutions for the production of reinforced composites with carbon, aramid and glass fibers; composites that can replace steel and aluminum in cars, planes and wind power stations.

Lucky number 13 at Sandler
Sandler continues the expansion on technical nonwovens for the 13th time at TechTextil by addressing opportunities in buildings with heating, acoustic panels and isolation materials for tubes and wires. One exciting area was represented by a very thick layer of light-weight isolation “bubble” nonwoven that was cut in different shapes and designs to fit construction areas.

Models of an insulated roof construction, of an interior wall and a floor with insulation materials as well as pipes insulated with nonwovens made the functionality of nonwovens come to life. A wheel house liner made of 100 percent nonwoven material that is neither affected by wind and weather nor by stone chip was presented for the automotive industry. The permanent hydrophobicity of this and other materials for exterior applications in the vehicle was proven to the audience in a practical test.

As a further eye-catcher, cress had been planted on nonwovens for hydroponic supports, this as a textile alternative for the water-saving cultivation of vegetables. During the course of the trade fair, the plants flourished.

Finally a new lounge area was provided by an optical partition from the rest of the booth. Here an element, seven meters wide and more than three meters high, was clad with a mosaic of nonwovens. Embossed, printed or laminated with different materials, the acoustic nonwovens featured various basis weights and thicknesses. It really demonstrated the functionality and the versatility of sound and heat insulation with nonwovens.

Spooling at Spoolex
As part of the Spoolex company, the Calemard brand is a well-known slitter/rewinder/traverse winder manufacturer which produces proven solutions for high quality and technical benefits for major textile and nonwoven manufacturers. Calemard’s range covers all slitting needs from compact slitters able to convert secondary rolls into narrow tapes or tubes from 6mm wide to XXL slitter rewinders up to 3.4 m working width as well as spooling lines to produce narrow spools to jumbo spools of nonwovens.

The Decoup+ brand, provides continuous ultrasonic cutting and sealing for textile and nonwoven production and converting processes. The ultrasonic technology is also used in splicing benches at the end of nonwoven productions lines. Without the build-up of thick splices, the original properties of the material are maintained.

Related Application:

Related Market:

Related Technology:

Related Other: