Sandler Focuses on Energy Efficiency
A trending topic in the construction industry observed by nonwovens producer Sandler is energy efficiency, in both new construction and in building restoration. In fact, insulation materials become even more efficient to meeting certain requirements, since energy saving is now also mandated by building legislation with a view to achieving the goals of climate change policy, according to Ronny Schröder, associate sales director Technical Products. Environmental sustainable materials also continue to be in high demand, since they contribute to the conservation of natural resources.
Sandler’s polyester nonwovens from its fibercomfort line, which can be used as insulation in interior walls, as well as in roofing for insulation between and on the rafters, helps achieve these goals. Their porous structure – in which fine fibers form a “fiber skeleton” and create a large inner surface – makes these textiles efficient heat and sound insulators. They feature a low thermal conductivity, achieving a high degree of thermal and sound insulation at a low product thickness and thereby already lowering raw material input.
These single-polymer nonwovens are fully recyclable and partially made of recycled fibers themselves, supporting closed material cycles and conserving natural resources. “They have been developed primarily for use in renovation and reconstruction, but are equally suitable for application in the construction of new buildings,” Schröder says.
The market for new buildings as well as renovation and reconstruction is growing steadily, creating a relatively stable market environment, he adds. As such, Sandler continues to collaborate with its customers to develop products further in order to open up new areas of application. “We are hoping to further establish nonwovens as a textile alternative in this market, contributing to lowering energy consumption while conserving natural resources at the same time,” Schröder explains.
When talking about the European construction market in particular, he says that it’s characterized by vigorous competition. With regard to building design and environmental protection regulations, requirements on construction materials are becoming more and more complex, and this has led to higher demand for functional materials. “Nonwovens are well-equipped to tackle the challenges in this market. Efficient heat and sound insulation, easy handling and a variety of design opportunities make them an attractive choice.”
Fibertex Works on Major International Project
According to Henrik Kjeldsen, CCO, Fibertex Nonwovens, the roofing and construction markets are experiencing good growth rates in most markets. For its part, Fibertex Nonwovens is supplying several types of products for the roofing industry. Fibertex nonwovens are used as a support material to manufacture waterproofing membranes for industrial flat roofs, and products can be supplied with a self-adhesive membrane. “This saves valuable time during the installation process and also improves the actual installation,” Kjeldsen explains.
Another growing application observed by Fibertex is the use of anti-condensation products for metal roofing. The goal for this application is to absorb condensation to avoid any water drops in the building. Kjeldsen says these products are supplied with a self-adhesive, which can withstand high temperature and humidity. “Nonwovens are a flexible solution, which can give the final products tensile strength and controlled elongation and be made with hydrophobic or hydrophilic properties,” he says. “Furthermore, it can give various benefits during the installation process.”
Most recently, Fibertex Nonwovens has been working on one of the largest bridge projects in the world. The company has supplied its Formtex product to The Sheikh Jabar Al Ahmad Causeway in Kuwait. The 36 km long concrete bridge is being constructed across the bay between Kuwait City and the Subiyah region. The bridge connects Kuwait City and the new Madinat al-Hareer (Silk City), a $100 billion urban development project which, among other things, will accommodate the 1001-meter tall Burj Mubarak al Kabir and the international Bubiyan seaport. Silk City is expected to play a key role in connecting the Middle East and Asia.
Formtex is a two-sided CPF (Controlled Permeability Formwork) liner, and Fibertex Nonwovens is supplying a total of 1.5 million square meters of it for use in the casting of both bridge pillars and bridge spans. The product is used for the casting of the actual concrete elements.
“A permeable side is allowing water and air to pass through and the filter side is designed with pore size smaller than the size of the particles in the concrete,” explains Kjeldsen. “The main function of the Formtex CPF liner is to drain surplus water and air from the surface of the freshly placed concrete during compaction. When water is drained, the water/cement (w/c) ratio in the concrete cover is reduced, which improves the strength and durability of the concrete considerably.”
Fibertex has worked for more than a decade to be qualified for the project, and succeeded following fierce competition with two other candidates. While Formatex has been chosen for other major international construction projects before, the Danish company says this is currently the largest project using the product.
Johns Manville is Optimistic
Johns Manville, a specialist in the roofing and construction market, is optimistic about housing and construction growth in the geographies it serves. According to Tom Balkom, North American Nonwovens sales director, Johns Manville, the U.S. housing market has very strong demand for nonwovens reinforcement and it’s expected this will continue in the historically high growth areas throughout much of 2018. Meanwhile, following a lengthy decline in Europe, JM is seeing the second year of an upswing in overall construction. “We expect the positive momentum will continue during the next few years,” says Martin Kleinebrecht, global marketing and product management leader for Nonwovens, Johns Manville. “Given the positive GDP growth and construction needs in most regions, it is also likely that the trend towards higher quality construction products will further strengthen, which is definitely good news for us as one of the leading nonwoven producers.”
This trend toward higher quality products is especially visible in Eastern and South-Eastern European countries, he adds.
JM produces glass fiber nonwovens and polyester spunbond that are used in asphalt shingles, bituminous roofing membranes, single ply synthetic roofing membranes, roof deck boards, bitumen and polymeric underslating membranes, insulation panels and boards, and exterior gypsum sheathing.
While the company continues to see the use of nonwovens grow annually in the roofing and construction industry, the replacement of traditional materials with glass fiber nonwovens or spunbond is ongoing and varies among different geographic regions, Balkom says. Being able to find new applications that can be “successfully penetrated by nonwovens” doesn’t happen on a regular basis, he adds, but JM did this in one instance recently.
The manufacturer was able to replace cellulose paper layers in compact façade panels by utilizing highly sophisticated JM glass fiber nonwovens in the façade panel architecture. “Those new compact façade panels are certified with a Euroclass A2 fire rating, which means they are non-combustible – a result that could not be achieved with the traditional materials replaced,” Kleinebrecht says.
JM works closely with its customers to develop tailor-made products, and a significant part of its construction innovation program is focused on improving its customers’ production economics, which helps them to maintain an industry-leading edge. “For example,” Kleinebrecht adds, “we were able to meet the ever-increasing processing challenges in roofing underslating membrane production via a product development using our most recent spunbond line investment in Berlin, Germany - based on JM’s proprietary BiCo technology.”
Hoping to capitalize on growth in the roofing/construction market, JM has made other investments in its technology. The company recently completed a major upgrade to one of the glass fiber nonwoven lines at its Waterville, OH, facility, which has been running well for the last year. JM also finalized the upgrade of a glass fiber nonwoven line at its Wertheim, Germany facility. “These significant upgrades provide us access to highly advanced, state-of-the-art technologies that boost our product development capabilities for the benefit of our customers,” Kleinebrecht says.
Freudenberg Talks Up Benefits of Nonwovens
Working with both staple and spunbond technology, Freudenberg Performance Materials’ polyester nonwovens are used as carriers for bituminous waterproofing membranes in the construction market. The company has also developed polyester nonwovens reinforced with fiberglass filaments.
“The combination of the flexibility of polyester with the stability of glass enables excellent runability, especially at high stress conditions and when used on high-speed bitumen lines,” says Dr. Frank Heislitz, CTO Freudenberg Performance Materials. “It also gives the bituminous membrane outstanding dimensional stability and resistance over time.”
Another benefit of these composites, he adds, is that using glass reinforcement eliminates the phenomenon of thermal memory: once applied to roofs, the membrane is not subject to shrinkage due to temperature changes.
Heislitz sees the use of nonwovens in construction applications growing due to continuous innovations in the market and new ways to apply nonwovens in the construction industry thanks to their different features.
A special feature of Freudenberg’s substrates is that many of them are made from 100% recycled PET. The company has been able to reduce CO2 emissions within its production up to 140 million kilograms per year as well as reduce water consumption up to 50%. “The new regulations in matter of energy certification of buildings is surely driving the market more and more towards environmentally friendly nonwovens,” Heislitz says. “Production from recycled materials is also a dynamic growth area within the construction industry.”
Freudenberg’s latest investment in a new glass reinforced spunbond line based in Macon, GA, which started up last year, will not only widen its capacity and product portfolio, but will allow the company to further strengthen its business and leadership in the local market as well as worldwide, Heislitz says. The new line, which represents a new technology for Freudenberg, will supplement output from the staple fiber lines already located in Macon.
Tyvek Products Seal the Building Envelope
DuPont Tyvek has essentially become synonymous with housewrap—in fact the company invented the building wrap category more than 40 years ago. Today, DuPont Tyvek Building Solutions offers a portfolio of products that help effectively seal the building envelope, offering solutions that meet or exceed codes, help extend building life, and help reduce fossil fuel consumption. They resist moisture and air, but are highly permeable, to reduce the risk of condensation damage, wood rot or mold growth.
“DuPont Tyvek building wraps, DuPont Flashing Systems, and Tyvek Protec roofing underlayments contribute to more sustainable, durable and comfortable structures by controlling air and water infiltration and allowing interior moisture vapor to escape,” says Alan Hubbell, residential marketing manager.
Tyvek Protec roofing underlayments are the most recent addition to DuPont’s portfolio of building solutions. Launched in 2016, the underlayments feature a unique embossed pattern allowing for better traction and grip while walking on the roof. They also offer lightweight durability, excellent secondary moisture protection and a wrinkle-free surface for smoother installations. Tyvek Protec underlayments can be used in renovation projects and new construction, and are designed for slopes 2:12 and higher under a variety of roofing materials.
Further, Tyvek weather-resistive barriers help to prevent air and water infiltration while allowing moisture vapor to escape to help reduce the chance of mold and water damage. “These are key differentiators that are unmatched by competition as they provide the right balance of performance properties,” Hubbell says.
DuPont recognizes that the need for nonwoven based products is increasing across the globe, as more countries advance their building standards. “DuPont Tyvek is helping lead the innovation in the markets across the world,” Hubbell says.