Wetlaid spunlace for flushablity
NBond,,one of the biggest spunlace suppliers in China, installed a new production line in 2013 to make its Sanlyzox nonwoven materials. Sanlyzox combines wetlaid and spunlace processes to develop flushable wet wipes. The technology behind Sanlyzox was developed in Europe and Nbond currently makes the materials on a 2.4-meter line. In March 2014, Sanlyzox nonwovens were certified to meet INDA/EDANA’s third edition flushability guidelines by CTP in France.
Currently, all of Nbond’s output is sold to the U.S. market and a second line is scheduled to become operational this year.
Another new line, this one being operated by Nbond subsidiary Runda Group, also came onstream this year. The new line, which is a 3.5-meters-wide machine capable of making more than 8000 tons of material per year, is also European made and supplied.
Also in China, The Rose Company finished work on a Chinese-made wetlaid line in mid 2014. This line is 1.8 meters wide and can make about 3000 tons of material per year. Much of its output so far has been exported into the U.S. market.
Changshu is another company set on entering the flushable wipes market. Products made on its planned line will be made from pulp and Viloft, a type of rayon fiber without the use of a bonding agent. The content of Viloft is about 40-50%. Viloft is reportedly longer than pulp and more expensive.
Beyond these recent investments, there are currently three carded/wetlaid lines operating in China that can make flushable products. These lines are more economical than European machines.
Airlaid Spunlace for Flushablity
China’s Dalian Ruiguang tried to make flushable materials using a carded/airlaid/spunlace production line but the final product had trouble being certified flushable.
The company might consider taking out the carded step in the line. A few spunlace makers have imported Viloft fibers to make carded spunlace for flushablity spunlace but these materials have not yet been certified either.
YCTEX, a supplier of fiber and nonwovens, is testing new natural fibers like cotton linter, flex and ramie to replace Tencel fiber or Voloft. So far they have achieved positive results using wetlaid/spunlace materials with polylactic acid. The group has also developed some biodegradable chemical fibers for flushable nonwovens using polylactic acid and 100% biodegradable bicomponents fibers replacing PE/PP bicomponent fibers. The company has even set up a lab to run some tests for flushablity.
Latex Bonded Airlaid for Flushablity
In China, only three or four suppliers have latex bonded airlaid machines but none of these manufacturers have the type of material that can be flushed down the toilet.
So, up to now about 10 Chinese suppliers currently make or are planning to make nonwovens for flushable wet wipes. The actual capacity after the latest round of investments will be 1400 tons per month or 168,000 tons per year and target markets will mostly be the U.S. and EC. In the future, more and more nonwovens product will be replaced by eco-friendly product. n