INDEX 2008: a record-setting event: nonwovens exhibition exceeds expectations.[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]
With more than 500 exhibitors and a record 12,500 visitors, INDEX 08 confirmed its spot as "the world's leading nonwovens exhibition," in April 2008. The level of innovation, numerous product launches, talks and displays seen at the show demonstrated just how creative and dynamic the nonwovens industry continues to be.
Not only were visitors pleased with the breadth and depth of the exhibitors, who covered the entire chain from raw material producers to converters but exhibitors also announced that they too were delighted with the quality of the attendees visiting the show.
One of the most noticeable phenomena of this year's visitors was the number attending from so-called "technical" applications, such as the filtration, automotive or construction industries, following the advances which nonwovens continue to make in these important sectors.
INDEX 08 not only welcomed visitors from a broad cross-section of nonwovens applications but also from all the regions of the world, including Europe, North and South America, Africa and, in particular, from the Middle and Far East.
This year's edition of this triennial event could be called "East meets West" as a large percentage of the first-time exhibitors at this event of the nonwovens industry came not only from Europe old and new, but also from a diverse range of Middle and Far Eastern countries, such as Turkey, Iran, India, Pakistan, Japan and, in particular, China, according to organizers. In fact the Chinese delegation formed the largest block of exhibitors from outside continental Europe, indicating how the dynamic nonwovens market is developing.
With so many joint-ventures and significant investment in new production facilities in the East, this genuinely reflects movements within nonwovens companies.
One of the hallmarks of this edition of INDEX was the diversity of the new products and services that were on offer, from all sectors of the market--from raw materials to converted products. Indeed the constant technical creativity and innovation, which have become a 'leitmotiv' of the nonwovens market, continue to drive its dynamism.
INDEX 08 Awards
The innovation highlight of the exhibition was undoubtedly the unveiling of the winners of the INDEX Awards. These EDANA-sponsored awards are an accolade for the best examples of excellence in the industry and highlight some of the innovations from businesses of all sizes, from all parts of the nonwovens supply chain.
Five Awards, covering everything from product and process innovation to marketing brilliance, were presented to the winning companies, selected from among the nominees, during a special ceremony on the first day of the INDEX 08 exhibition. Winners were Johnson's Baby Extracare wipes, Ahlstrom's Disrputor filtration media, ExxonMobil's Vistamaxx, neXdetect from Andritz Kusters and J.H. Ziegler's Z-mannle mascot in the marketing category.
Under the umbrella theme of Solutions for Tomorrow, visitors were treated to a series of more than 30 free presentations by exhibitors, including two special sessions dedicated to filtration applications and nanotechnology.
The Innovation Pavilion
The Innovation Pavilion, which featured European Union-funded FP6 and FP7 projects, provided a glimpse of what the future could hold for nonwovens. Projects such as STELLA--Stretchable Electronics for Large Area Applications--or INTELTEX--a project designed to develop a radically new approach to developing innovative textiles, which can detect mechanical stress, regulate their own temperature and detect toxic chemicals--attracted a great deal of interest from exhibition attendees.
INDEX 08 showed how seriously the nonwovens sector and its supporting industries all along the chain are taking the challenge to become even more sustainable.
"For an industry in metamorphosis, confronted by difficult circumstances compounded by a weakening dollar and rising oil prices, INDEX 08 showed the nonwovens industry at its creative best: dynamic, innovative and continually diversifying into new application areas," said Pierre Wiertz, general manager of EDANA, the sponsor of INDEX.
Companies ranging from converters to roll goods makers to machinery and equipment suppliers to raw material providers used INDEX to showcase their latest developments to the global nonwovens industry.
Among the innovations at Sellars Wipers' INDEX booth was the new Safe-2-Flush ... flushable and dispersible wiper.
Sellars' (dry dispersible product) was tested by an independent lab and passed the fiushability tests specified in the WERF A.1 Screening Toilet Bowl and Drainline Test standard (Ref: WERF Protocols to Assess the Breakdown of Flushable Consumer Products).
Safe-2-Flush helps to prevent potential plumbing problems associated with toilet clogging caused by use of non-dispersible wipes. While having excellent performance wet, with some agitation. Safe-2-Flush is disposable and dispersible, similar to toilet paper. Applications for the new dispersible wipe are:
* Perineum care
* General cleaning
* Disposable bath-cloth
* Accident clean-up
* Disposable guest-towel
* Restroom clean-up
* Surface cleaning
* Child and Elderly care
Features and benefits of the new dispersible wipe:
* Excellent dry strength
* Highly absorbent
* Cloth-like feel
* Surface Cleaning
* Helps to prevent cross contamination
At INDEX celebrating the completion of its new seven-meter bicomponent SMS line was Italian nonwovens producer Albis. Based on Albis-Neumag technology, the new line can make products with very low basis weights, well below 15 gpsm, to respond to the demands of the hygiene market. At INDEX, Albis displayed a seven-meter nonwoven roll made on this machine.
The line, which is just ramping up now, joins another SMS line, capable of making products as low as 10 gsm, in Italy as well as a large-scale spun-bond-pulp-carding line in Germany.
In other news, Albis has teamed up with ExxonMobil to innovate in the hygiene market. Albis' process technologies combined with ExxonMobil's proprietary Vistamaxx specialty elastomers have resulted in the development of a new elastic fabric with a number of benefits compared to traditional nonwoven structures. For example, this technology offers the ability to create an elastic fabric in a single step on a range of spunbond equipment and the final product can bond with other materials for advanced processing and design flexibility.
The intrinsic elasticity that Vistamaxx specialty elastomers impart to the fabric eliminates the need for elastic laminated composites currently used. Now there is no need to combine existing materials in a composite structure by mechanical methods to achieve the desired elasticity.
Attracting attention at the DuPont stand was the company's Hybrid Membrane Technology (HMT), which was nominated for an INDEX08 award. HMT, launched by DuPont two years ago, is a nanofiber-based filter media containing continuous filament spun by a proprietary process. It can achieve particle capture in the range of 0.3 to 1.0 microns; does not rely on electrostatic charges to maintain illtration efficiency, and features a luxurious feel and long lasting efficiency.
New commercial applications for the technology include pillow and mattress covers designed to protect users from a range of harmful allergens. Offering an effective barrier that has been proven to seal off microscopic allergens, the products replace vinyl and films, which are noisy and trap body heat and moisture near the skin, and alternatively cotton, which does not provide an effective barrier against microscopic allergens.
Another key new application for HMT media is filtration of completion fluids. The nanofiber-based media has been specified for filters that will be used to clean oil field completion fluids by Total Separation Solutions (TSS). TSS, whose investors include Shell Technology Ventures, provides unique high-value products and equipment for increased productivity and environmentally responsible processing of oil field fluids. The new product offers high flow rates, increased efficiency and cost savings.
Another new application for the technology is dust collection, where benefits include low pressure drop, energy savings and extended filter bag life. In the area of energy storage membranes, nylon-based HMT products replace paper in battery and capacitor end uses and offer higher energy output and increased durability. Hybrid vehicles are a primary target application.
A two-time INDEX exhibitor, Turkish roll goods maker General Nonwovens was at the show showcasing its range of lightweight polyester fabrics. The company's polyester and polypropylene products target baby diaper, filtration and agricultural end uses. Offering uniformity, good coverage and a competitive price, the company's polyester fabrics are being used to replace heavier weight products. "The show has been a good opportunity for us to meet with our existing customers," explained Alican Yilankirkan, business development director. "We are very pleased with the turnout and can see that people are hearing our name and are interested in finding out more about our capabilities."
Golden Phoenix Fiberweb
Elaxus, an additive-free elastic non-woven from Golden Phoenix Fiberwebs, can be stretched with gentle force to elongate 200%. The recover tested at 100% elongation is greater than 70% and in the case of lower elongations exceeds 95%. The material is currently being applied to elastic beauty masks, elastic beauty gloves and elastic heating belts.
Golden Phoenix Fiberweb is also promoting its Optiflex series of elastic side panets; its ElaxTab elastic side tab closure systems and its Optiflex 60 series of elastic waistbands.
Hollingsworth & Vose
Hollingsworth & Vose presented information on its NanoWave Synthetic filter media. NanoWave extended surface synthetic media offers the same efficiency and resistance in an uncharged state as glass mat media. However, NanoWave synthetic media eliminates the occurrence of fiber shedding that is associated with glass media during filter processing, installation and use.
Designed specifically to meet ASHRAE bag standards, NanoWave can be converted into a filter using conventional ASHRAE bag manufacturing equipment, eliminating capital expenses for plant equipment switching costs.
NanoWave can be used in a wide range of applications including paint spray booth filter media, commercial HVAC applications, residential HVAC media, vacuum cleaner bag and exhaust filters, respirator filter media and auto air intake and auto cabin air filter media.
Libeltex's new range of Dry Web three dimensional acquisition and distribution layers are being made on a new production line while its Janus product range combines topsheet and ADL functionality into one nonwoven. These were just two of the many highlights at the Belgium company's INDEX booth. Libeltex's medical business has made developments in orthopedic cast padding, pushing the primary product rquiremnts to a higher level by embedding surprising secondary properties such as stretch, hydrophobic or antibactieral products.
Italian nonwoven product specialist Magic Srl was promoting a new product for medical end use applications. Under the brand name Four Stop, the innovative composite is designed for use in operating rooms as an absorbent, non-slip floor pad or as a tray liner beneath surgical instruments. The four-layer construction includes a three-dimensional perforated LDPE transparent material; a drylaid 100% viscose nonwoven weighing 28 gpsm; a 110 gpsm airlaid fabric and a high grip clear film.
The company also offers nonwoven adhesive tapes for surgical end uses under its Magifix brand, which are available in rolls or individual cases. Magic is also active in the area of laminates for wound pads, where it sells its Medipad line of products. Medipad features a non-adherent film and can be mounted to a variety of substrates from nonwovens to paper. Another multi-layered composite being offered by the company is Medilam, which includes five layers and is available in rolls up to 2000 mm wide and with a maximum diameter of 1200 mm. In the food packaging sector, Magic offers the Meatpad line, which is available in different colors and in a range of sizes.
Polymer Group, Inc.'s Spinlace material is being rolled out commercially for the first time by The Clorox Company in disinfectant household cleaning wipes. PGI launched Spinlace, based on continuous filament nonwovens technology, in April 2007 at IDEA07 in Miami. The Spinlace process provides added strength, absorbency, texturing and other performance characteristics that enhance cleaning in the wipes.
The new Clorox wipes offer consumers a quick and easy way to effectively clean and disinfect by combining premoistened wipes with cleaners and disinfectants. These thicker, textured wipes with an imaged design made with PGI's proprietary Apex imaging technology deliver better cleaning based on comparison testing. PGI was showcasing its Spinlace fabrice, which, will begin being exported to Europe this year, the company has announced.
"Based on the positive response this breakthrough technology has quickly received in household cleaning wipes, we are excited to be expanding these fabrics into the European marketplace and into other categories," said Veronica Hagen, chief executive officer. "Spinlace fabrics answer a critical demand in the market for a new category of high-performance, value-added materials."
PGI developed Spinlace fabrics to bridge the gap between value and performance in wipes. Using a more efficient process that eliminates carded manufacturing steps, PGI is combining continuous filament, pulp and its proprietary Apex imaging technology to achieve the performance attributes customers want at competitive prices. PGI can custom design attributes from softness to strength and liquid dispersability right into its material at lower weights to meet customers' requests.
Sandler's Sawasorb absorber nonwovens attracted attention at the stand of Sandler AG. The fabrics, which are primarily used for acoustically effective components in vehicles and electrical appliances, are hydrophilic and oleophylic. The water and oil repellent version, sawasorb exterior, is also resistant against engine fluids and features quick drying behavior. According to the company's sales director Ulrich Hornfeck, traffic was very strong at the show and visitors were eager to know more about sawasorb products. "We were pleasantly surprised to see the level of interest from visitors here in technical applications. We expected more of a hygiene- and wipes-focused crowd," he said.
Tessiture Pietro Radici
Tessiture Pietro Radici's Dylar UV Plus is a polypropylene spunbond nonwoven with outstanding anti-UV properties, mainly aimed at the automotive, roofing, agricultural, clothing and single use sectors. The material reportedly features a higher UV protection factor than the average product now on the market. It creates a veritable screen against UV rays and complies with the requirement of the AS.NZS 4399/96 standard, which was developed in Australia and New Zealand in 1996 and has since become an international reference standard.
Sustainability is the central theme of BASF's INDEX 2008 booth. The company was presenting new product developments and applications for fiber bonding and superabsorbents for the hygiene and nonwovens companies looking for environmentally friendly fiber bonding agents and liquid absorbing polymers for their products.
For fiber bonding, BASF offers Acrodur, eco-friendly reactive resins that can be used for natural fiber moldings, glass and synthetic fiber nonwovens. The latest application for these resins is the environmentally friendly cork floorings of Portuguese group Amorim, the world's biggest producer of cork products. These products have a higher eco-efficiency than compatible vinyl tiles and floating wood parquet. Another focus is Acronal brand acrylate dispersions, which have been used in polyester and glass nonwovens as well as to bind cellulosic substrates. Cellulosic filters produced with Acronal display low water absorption, high wet and internal bond strength and are particularly robust.
Meanwhile, in superabsorbents sustainability has become a key issue for hygiene industry products that come in close contact with the body, such as baby diapers, incontinence products and feminine hygiene. BASF offers all-in-one solutions as well as customized solutions developed in close collaboration with innovative customers.
Celanese Emulsion Polymers was at INDEX spotlighting a range of technologies that support emerging market opportunities in both nonwovens and paper specialty applications. Highlights include Celanese's industry expertise, global footprint and high performance products in both disposable and durable nonwovens and saturated papers. Celanese is also focusing its market-leading emulsion polymer products such as its Elite Ultra line of vinyl acetate/ethylene (VAE) emulsions featuring strength, softness and functionality in a variety of end uses including wipes, absorbent hygiene, filters and the medical industry.
With the theme, "Designing Appeal and Functionality into Nonwovens," Ciba presented a range of enhanced effects for nonwovens at INDEX. Highlights included a unique vis-breaking technology that allows for the cost-effective production of high quality meltblown nonwovens from standard spunbond polypropylene. These nonwovens have outstanding liquid barrier and mechanical properties; the technology provides high flexibility in raw material sourcing and opens up new options for the design of nonwovens in filters and wipes.
Ciba's new RAVOtec pilot melt-blown machine allows the simulation of additive processing before scale-up at customer companies. Tests run on this pilot line will help customers speed up commercialization, saving them time and resources in evaluating additives.
Cotton Incorporated was at INDEX highlighting the use of 100% virgin cotton in nonwoven products. Fabric samples were on hand to show visitors a range of end use possibilities. Visitors were also directed to Winner Medical's stand, where PurCotton virgin cotton products were being promoted. Cotton Incorporated has been working in this area for three years and has run three successful trials on virgin cotton. "The fabrics, based on ultraclean fibers, card well," explained Janet O'Regan, manager, supply chain initiatives. "We are really looking to create a full range of products based on virgin cotton." She added that trials have been run with both Rieter and Fleissner systems. "There are very interesting possibilities for virgin cotton on its own as well as blended with other fibers," she said.
At INDEX, Dow delivered a series of technical presentations detailing how its Infuse Olefin block copolymers can create powerful new product application opportunities for brand owners and converters in the health and hygiene market segments. Infuse OBCs, one of Dow's latest resin product families, are an exciting development for olefin elastomers because of a distinct block architecture that delivers excellent new combinations of resin performance processing capabilities.
Invented using Insite technology, Dow's approach to linking the science of catalyst, process and materials together to address customer needs, Infuse OBCs offer several distinct attributes versus currently available polyolefin elastomers. These attributes include improved balance of flexibility and high temperature resistance; faster setup in processing due to higher crystallization temperature; enhanced elastic recovery and compression set properties at both ambient and elevated temperature and improved abrasion resistance.
New from Eastman Chemical is the EastOne S112 water dispersible co-polyester for solvent-free production of segmented pie or islands-in-the-sea microfiber nonwovens. Specially formulated for high viscosity polyesters, enabling lightweight, high strength nonwoven applications, enhancing durability and breathability in fabrics and improving performance in air and liquid filtration, EastOne can be applied to a variety of nonwovens, air and water filtration media and high performance wipes.
INDEX08 exhibitor ExxonMobil Chemical was in Geneva highlighting Vistamaxx specialty elastomers, which earned the raw materials INDEX award at the show. Based on the company's proprietary Exxpol metallocene technology, the elastomers exhibit a combination of attributes that are providing creative potential not witnessed in conventional elastomers. High elasticity, flexibility, drapability, toughness and adhesion to various polyolefins are allowing Vistamaxx specialty elastomers to be tailored for different applications in multiple ways. These properties have led to the development of grades designed specifically for a range of applications including nonwovens (especially hygiene absorbent products), elastic films, compounding and polymer modification.
According to the company, Vistamaxx specialty elastomers are adding value to an expanding range of nonwoven applications because of their good elasticity with a low permanent set, a high coefficient of friction that reduces slip in fabrics, their ability to bond easily with other materials and their adhesive and elastic properties. When used in cast stretch film applications, Vistamaxx resins offer improved cling performance at reduced dosing levels.
Huntsman Textile Effects
Phobol from Huntsman Textile Effects is a new range of high performance repellent products made especially for the nonwovens industry. Benefits include high temperature stability, low curing temperature and higher production speeds for applications such as automotives, medical, construction and filtration.
FreshFlex fabrics, based on proprietary Invista technology, are a unique, single-layer stretch nonwoven material featuring excellent comfort, breathability, discreetness and fit. Freshflex is built on the same technology as Invista's Lycra fiber.
Also featured at Invista's booth were Lycra XA fiber laminates with outstanding machine direction stretch and recovery, enhanced Lycrea XA fibers, a next generation of elastane products and lower temperature adhesive with Lycra XA fiber.
Lipidure polymers, being marketed by Rossow Industries, were developed 25 years ago in Japan and were initially used in artifical hearts where they helped blood platelets stick to the surface to form a protective layer. Now they are being used in cosmetics, such as moisturizers, where they create a protective layer to limit skin irritations. At INDEX, Rossow Industries was touting the technology's relevance in nonwovens applications such as baby wipes, diapers and adult incontinence items.Tredegar Tredegar unveiled a number of innovations at INDEX08 including additions and enhancements to both its topsheets and elastics products. The company is introducing a premium topsheet called SoftAire designed to reduce skin contact area leading to optimal comfort and softness. The product is being touted as visually and tactilely attractive and maintains premium performance levels for acquisition, rewet and masking. A new grade is available.
Tredegar introduced new designs in the ComfortAire line of apertured laminate topsheets. ComfortAire is a highloft flexible nonwoven laminate that combines the softness of a nonwoven with the strikethrough and rewet performance of an apertured film.
In addition, Tredegar unveiled a new product within the ComfortFeel topsheet line. The new grade is a cloth-like, soft and drapeable film/nonwoven structure that offers a high performance level through the combination of selected raw materials and design.
In time for INDEX, Velcro has launched a new generation of its Shear-Grip fastening system using a nonwoven loop designed to maximize peel and shear performance. The nonwoven-based FNL300M is more transparent and offers improved performance over the previous generation FNL300. The proprietary nonwovens technology used to manufacture the landing zone was engineered specifically by Velcro for a hook-and-loop fastener system.
A. Celli Nonwovens
A.Celli Nonwovens is dedicated to the design and manufacture of value-added solutions for the nonwovens industry, in particular winding, rewinding and slitting machines, roll handling and packaging equipment and airlaid web forming technology. In each area of its technology portfolio, the latest developments were presented with a specific focus on the new generation of winders and slitter-rewinders, specifically developed for top-performing spunmelt lines producing low basis weights for the hygiene and medical markets.
The company's new winder and slitter-rewinder feature the latest technology and target production speeds of 2000 meters per minute. Complementing the technological advances in winding and slitting is Slittopack, the latest in terms of integration between roll handling, packaging and slitting. Slittopack is a highly flexible solution for the efficient and effective downstream stage of sorting, labeling and wrapping reels into bundles. Its fully modular design makes it suitable to fit around and above all optimize the productivity of the individual line configuration.
Also shown was the Wingformer, A.Celli Nonwovens' proprietary technology for airlaid web formation. Wingformer combines A.Celli Nonwovens' expertise in the nonwovens industry with the group's 60 years of experience in pulp and paper. In fact, A.Celli group's sister company, A.Celli Paper, is a leading company in designing and manufacturing tissue plants. Wingformer is capable of an impressive maximum productivity of 650kg/h/m. A complete team of executives supported by sales and technical managers will be happy to assist visitors in understanding the different solutions to be customized to specific requirements and operational needs in terms of performance, budget and technology.
Acrison International has unveiled a new device that will ensure consistent SAP flow rates even in the production of multi-level core products. Crucially, the adjustable flow divider, used for separating SAP streams into two smaller streams, maintains the required split ratio even as the SAP rate is increased or decreased. It does this by incorporating technology from Acrison's patented AirSAP device, developed to ensure a consistent spread of SAP across a desired width. For instance, in the production of sanitary napkins using an airlaid web.
Using its years of experience, Acrison has incorporated technology to ensure a consistent SAP/fluff pulp mix. By combining adjustable Venturi injectors with the splitter, it has enabled onward transfer of the SAP streams (to the core forming area) to be tuned to avoid duning or streaming.
Italy's ATS&P was showing its lamination machines for a number of markets that use multilayer/multifunctional webs. Among the company's interest areas are building and roofing, specifically housewrap and roofing applications; disposable applications in the hygiene and medical markets including backsheets for diapers and feminine hygiene items, agricultural ground covers, filtration media and stretchable side panels for baby and adult diapers.
Bikoma was presenting its newly developed nursing pad machine S-700, which reaches a production speed of up to 500 pieces per minute, making it the quickest machine worldwide for this type of product. The new revolutionary forming station with product forming times of minimum 800 ms enables a stable and perfect breast shape. The line is very universal and offers the following product variations: fluff core with tissue layer, fluff core with two tissue layers and SAP, fluff core with airlaid layer and SAF, airlaid only, single or double silicone tape, products with or without nipples, individual wrapping and two pads in one individual bag.
All the mentioned options are available for different product sizes. The line includes a new camera control system with options to observe various parameters. Bikoma is in the process of dismantling this machine and preparing the installation in its customer's plant, so they can start the production in summer.
Cellulose Converting Solutions
Exhibiting under a new moniker was Cellulose Converting Solutions, which is all but the sales company of the former Cellulose Converting Equipment, which was sold last year to a holding company. CCS produces equipment for the production of baby and adult diapers, meat pads, feminine hygiene products and incontinence items.
At INDEX with a brand new name was Edelmann Technology, which promoted its latest developments in winding, slitting and rewinding. The company's latest high speed In0Line slitter/winder features automatic core cutter and positioning systems.
At Elsner Engineering's INDEX booth was the new EW-4 Series of shrink film roll overwrappers. These high speed overwrappers and heat shrink tunnels use a hot wire seal system with microprocesser-based impulse controller and seal wire. The range also includes a mechanical drive system for the sealing head assembly in place of a pneumatic actuator to reduce air consumption.
Fleissner's new SteamJet technology, developed jointly with STFI Chemnitz, bonds nonwovens by mean of steam jets that are generated in steam head with rows of holes similar to those found in Fleissner's AquaJet machine. The steam is overheated to prevent condensation in the product; drying after the SteamJet is not required.
Steam Jet's advantages include hydraulic and thermal bonding with simultaneous structuring or perforating; bonding from one or two sides on belts or drums; suitability for processing all types of synthetic fibers, filaments and blends with natural fibers and web weights from 15 to more than 100 gpsm for multilayer products. The process is also suitable for the production of nonwovens from fibers sensitive to water such as superabsorbent fibers and PVA.
Gneuss Kunststofftechnik presented the pressure- and process--constant Melt Filtration Systems at INDEX. These systems ensure a consistently high product quality in the extrusion of nonwovens. The latest generation SFXmagnus is characterized by its well known gneussconstant performance: fully automatic, process and pressure-constant operation. Thanks to a new concept for the heating of this system, the polymer melt can be filtered even more gently. The completely encapsulated system prevents chemical reactions with oxygen or airborne moisture. Specially developed retaining plates ensure perfect location and sealing of the filter elements even at filtration fineness of 10 [micro]m.
One of the new developments in the nonwovens division of Hermann Ultrasonics is the Ultrasonic-Rotary-System with a 30kHz rotating sonotrode. The sonotrode counter rotates to the anvile drum and continuously draws the web materials through a defined, closed-loop controlled bonding gap. The rotating motion generates minor frictional resistance allowing for fluffy or intermittent materials to be bonded. Its design is compact and its operational sound is beyond human hearing.
Bonding widths up to 40 mm can be achieved. The anvil drum as well as the sonotrode can be engraved with a three-dimensional pattern to meet individual customer demands.
First-time INDEX exhibitor Miller Weldmaster was at the show touting its hot air rotary heat sealing equipment for polyester nonwoven filter bags. The line, which was in operation at the company's stand, attracted the attention of visitors from filtration and other sectors. The automatic tubing system features cut-to-length capabilities and the option to radius weld the ends. The machine is able to pull fabric off of a roll, pre-fold into a desired diameter and weld into a tube.
NSC nonwoven was promoting its ability to design, build and supply turnkey nonwovens lines for needlepunching, spunlacing, thermal bonding, air-through bonding and chemical bonding. The lines are equipped with a supervisory control assistance system, which includes production recipes, maintenance and assistance to line management. NSC nonwoven is a worldwide supplier of Excelle cards, crosslappers, ProDyn, drafters, needle-looms, winders and slitters-rewinders. Technical sales engineers of 11 nationalities present throughout the world ensure turnkey engineering, textile assistance, consulting, training, installation commissioning and support for new and existing equipment.
A nonwoven technical center at the Asselin-Thibeau Tourcoing plant in France--with industrial ines designed for needlepunching, spunlacing and thermal bonding technologies--is available for customer trials.
In a combined stand, NSC nonwoven and Rieter Perfojet joined their expertise and experience and highlighted their synergy to demonstrate their capability to provide turnkey nonwovens lines to the market.
"There's Never Been A Better Time to Buy," according to Parkinson Technologies. The equipment supplier had a clear message at INDEX: for nonwovens processors considering new machinery purchases, the time to buy is now.
"For U.S. processors, the Economic Stimulus Act that was signed into law in February provides unprecedented savings opportunities," said Peter Termyn, president and CEO of Parkinson Technologies, a maker of web handling, winding and plastics orientation processing machinery. "There are huge investment incentives for converters who buy and install new equipment before 2009." These incentives include 50% bonus depreciation on new equipment purchased in 2008 and installed before Jan. 1, 2009.
It's also a good time for the rest of the world's processors to buy, according to Parkinson, and it also has to do with the U.S. economy. "Our pricing has become very attractive to European and Asian processors, particularly because of the current situation with the weak U.S. dollar," said Mr. Termyn.
More than a machinery provider, Parkinson Technologies prides itself on its "Customer Success" program, a corporate-wide initiative that defines the company's mission, guiding values and value proposition to its customers.
"Every employee at Parkinson Technologies takes ownership of the company's performance," said Mr. Termyn. "In our business there is no individual employee who does not have a connection with the customer. We want everyone at our company to know that all of our efforts start and end with creating customer success."
The program is designed to ensure that customer expectations are met or exceeded. It defines key guiding values such as communication, quality and safety, innovation and continual improvement, all of which lead to the goal of customer success.
"As a company with multiple brands of products, we have a wealth of engineering, sales and service expertise," said Mr. Termyn. "We feel the value proposition we offer our customers--the unique benefits they receive from us--is unmatched in the industry." This includes:
* Flexibility--provide complete design, manufacturing and R&D capabilities
* Performance--deliver engineered solutions based on proven performance over a broad range of applications
* Innovation--leverage applications and pilot plant knowledge into technology advancement and performance leadership.
The initial idea supplying turnkey plants for carding, airlaid, spunlaid and combinations of these, has proven to be the right strategy for the global market and its key players, according to Oerlikon Neumag. Apart from complete lines, a sizable portion of the overall business remains the sale of components from Oerlikon Neumag's "Technology Toolbox" and the retrofitting of existing lines.
The following published projects are examples of this:
* A retrofitted polypropylene homopolymer spunlaid line to bicomponent technology for Freudenberg Vliesstoffe in Germany.
* The Oerlikon Neumag flagship, the seven meter spunlaid line for Albis started up just before INDEX and one of the first produced seven meter rolls was exhibited at Albis' INDEX booth.
* Oerlikon Neumag also won a contract for a 3.2 meter SMS line from the Russian company Zavod Elastik which is due to start up at the end of the year.
* In carding, Oerlikon Neumag has acquired a turnkey project from Freudenberg for an installation in China including opening, blending, cards, crosslappers and needle looms.
* Oerlikon Neumag has installed an M&J Airlaid web forming system for Polymer Group, Inc. in Benson, NC, which was part of a project to retrofit and expand an existing nonwoven production line.
* Ahlstrom has invested in a new carded needlepunch line from Oerlikon Neumag for its production in Bethune, SC, which includes a fiber opening and blending line and FOR carding, Autefa crosslapping with WebMax technology, followed by Fehrer needlepunching.
Oerlikon Neumag offers the most comprehensive portfolio of turnkey solutions in all major nonwoven formation technologies. This broad approach enables the company to target markets like hygiene, medical, filters, automotive and a variety of industrial end uses. In fact, Oerlikon Neumag's technology sets a new benchmark for the production of hygiene nonwovens. The concept taps the full potential of its huge economical advantages especially when producing filament sizes below 1.6 dtex and web weights below 18 gpsm.
Other leading edge technologies are stand-alone meltblown, aerodynamic carding and festooning. The key to future product and cost innovation are multi-technology lines--an excellent example being the Ascania 4.2 meter wide spunlaid, airlaid, carding line with hydroentanglement.
The J&M meltblown equipment, which is now manufactured at the Neumunster facility in Germany, has undergone a redesigning process. This technology offers an outstanding price/performance ratio, whether part of a spunlaid plant or as a stand-alone solution.
The new redesigned M&J Airlaid technology provides engineered capacities with different product categories that range from simple binder bonded to complex multi-layer structures of different raw materials and bonding techniques.
The latest generation of the Kortec festooner technology allows a pack height of up to 1.700 mm and is featured with the most advanced Siemens drive and control system.
Oerlikon Neumag's carding team offers a series of improvements on FOR preparation and carding, Fehrer needlepunching, and Autefa in cross-lapping. Technical improvements include: cards with the "Easy Opening" (simple cleaning and maintenance), crosslappers with new drive technology and improved profiling, needlelooms with improved feeding systems and optional features like MMD (elliptic needling), optimized needle patterns, and automatic needle board exchange. Oerlikon Neumag machines are produced at two locations in Germany as well as in Austria and Italy.
TECHNOplants, based in in Pistoia, Italy announced the sale of one of its Lilliput needlepunch nonwovens lines to USDA/SRRC in New Orleans. The line has a working width of 1000 mm and is composed of a crosslapper, an OFF-SET pre-needle loom and a combined slitting and winding unit.
The new line will replace one which was severely damaged by Hurricane Katrina in August 2005.
Danish Airlaid Focuses On Innovation
Airlaid newcomer Danish Airlaid was presenting a variety of innovations at INDEX. One trial product, known as F0050 combines layer of I films, superabsorbent fibers and nonwovens to create a highly absorbent material capable of absorbing up to 7000 millileters per square meter; while another airlaid fabric is made nearly entirely of superabsorbent fibers for medical applications. Additionally, the company is able to make a reinforcing scrim inline on an airlaid machine.
Nonwovens 'Function in Action'
At the top end of the creativity scale, was the Nonwovens: Function in Action' project. This collaboration between the Nonwovens Research Group and the School of Fashion at the University of Leeds, U.K., and EDANA members, took these infinitely engineerable properties of nonwovens as their base point from which to create some exciting new garments for the future. Exploiting the functional qualities that can be built into nonwovens such as temperature regulation or the delivery of chemicals, these imaginative creations showed that the garments of the future could have not only aesthetic properties but also functional benefits to their wearers, and be part of a sustainable loop as well.
Fitesa To Enter North America With Two New Lines
Fitesa, a Brazilian nonwovens producer announced it has invested $120 million in North America. The subsidiary of Petropar S.A. has placed orders for two Reicofil lines. The first will come onstream at the end of October 2009 with the second to follow 15 months later. The location of the new line will be determined later this month.
"This is our growth strategy," said Fernanda Gasta, sales manager for North America at INDEX 08. "NAFTA is the most important in the market and it is competitive but we will compete with the best technology."
The investment, valued at $120 million, follows similar investment in the Brazilian market. Fitesa's second Reicofil line is coming onstream this summer, which follows a first Reicofil line in July 2006. Two older generation spunbond lines and two meltblown lines are also operational in Brazil.
NanLiu Enterprises Announes Second Rieter-Perfojet Line
Taiwanese spunlace producer NanLiu Enterprises announced it has purchased a third JETlace line from equipment supplier Rieter Perfojet. Reportedly the largest spunlace line in Asia, the new line is 4.5 meters and has just been installed in Zhejiang, China. NanLiu already operated two JETlace lines--one for coating substrates and one for wet wipes--in Taiwan.
"We are very confident of our relationship with Rieter-Perfojet," said NanLiu Enterprises president C.S Huang. "It has allowed us to be a major spunlace supplier in Asia."
"This new line installed in China is the widest, most powerful installed in China where it will serve the wipes and surgical gowns market," said managing director Didier Vulliet of Rieter Perfojet.
RKW's HyJet Is A New Generation of Spunlace
RKW unveiled its latest technology for the nonwovens industry. Based on Rieter Perfojet Spunjet machine technology, RKW's HyJet is a new generation of hydroentangled spunbond nonwoven. Currently the only technology of its type available in the European market, HyJet is created inline to combine the cost effective process of spunbonding with the softness of hydroentanglement.
Calling the technology a "new benchmark in RKW managing director Andreas our industry," RKW managing director Andreas Kirsch explained that the technology allows RKW to switch from spunbond to hydroentanglement in a short timeframe. Among its benefits are tear resistance, hydroembossing and multiple colors. Only available for a few months from RKW, already HyJet is being applied to many applications including hygiene and medical as well as industrial areas including car covering and construction.
Koester Offers New Closure System
Koester's new FlexEar PA closure system for hygiene products is a new approach to elastic side panels featuring unique stretch, high elasticity and elongation as well as homogenous softness, according to sales and marketing director Thomas Goeller. The panels feature blocks of elasticated material as well as embossed non-elastic areas. custom-sized to customer needs, to achieve maximum softness. FlexEar PA is already being used by private label diaper makers in Europe.
Also new to Koester is FlexUpPA which is even more stretchable than FlexEar PA and is soon to be found in the European training pant market.
The product is made by ultrasonic bonding an extruded film layer between two nonwovens layers.
RadiciSpandex Focuses On Diapers
A highlight at RadiciSpandex's INDEX booth was its new extruder packages with a tail to to allow spandex to be transferred without stopping the machinery. According to RadiciSpandex CEO Marty Moran, the elastomeric was the last component that required the diaper line to be stopped for transfer and this innovation solved this problem. The company is also showcasing colored spandex in smaller runs.
RadiciSpandex has grown its diaper business 40% during the past year and expects to repeat this success during the next 12 months thanks to its strong commitment to the diaper market which was reinforced with an investment in new capacity at the company's Tuscaloosa, AL plant.
Accusentry Launches Inspection Systems At INDEX
Accusentry's SentryDAS system for real-time data acquisition on a high speed production line can track down time, defects and production performance. The machine made its debut at INDEX. The system delivers real time graphs, chrts and reports, providing instant production intelligence and key performance indicators for operators, engineers and management from anywhere in the world through a secure web.
Also new from Accusentry is
SentryScan technology, enabling the inspection of products moving at high speeds through a narrow viewing window, and its SubtleLayer Detection technology to enable the inspection of embedded components inside web layers by achieving a breakthrough that allows precise tracking of the embedded component placements that are barely visible with human eyes.
Biax-Fiberfilm, Reicofil Strike Deal
Equipment suppliers Biax-Fiberfilm and Reicofil used the first day of INDEX 08 to announce a new partnership dedicated to the development of turnkey systems specifically for meltblown Lyocell nonwovens. Through this partnership, the two companies will jointly build a one-meter pilot line based on the technology, which is expected to be operational early next year at a yet-to-be-determined location.
The technology uses a die developed and proven to work by Biax-Fiberfilm, based in Greenville, WI, as well as Troisdorf, Germany-based Reicofil's equipment expertise, to create meltblown technology based on Lyocell biodegradable pulp. The result is a fully biodegradable meltblown nonwoven that is much stronger than traditional meltblown materials and has application in a range of areas including hygiene, diapers, wipes and clothing, according to the two companies.
Fameccanica Shows Its Best at INDEX
Fameccanica's new technology for diaper ears, sold under the brand name Best, can save diaper makers 1000 tons of material per year. Already the hygiene equipment supplier has sold 10 of these lines, keeping 10,000 tons of raw materials out of landfills, according to executives, who said the new line is just one of many measures the company is taking to help their customers save money and lessen waste.
Galileo Group Sells Line to Italian Firm
First-time exhibitor Galileo Group made a splash at INDEX by completing the sale of its second spunbond line to industry newcomer Aurora Nonwovens, Imperia, Italy. The high capacity 1.6 meter line will produce 3000 tons per year of colored nonwovens for home furnishing, upholstery and other niche end uses. "The system is extremely flexible, efficient and is able to change colors very quickly," stated Rosario Maggio, engineering director of Galileo's spunbond engineering division. "This compact system fits our budget as a newcomer to the nonwovens business," commented Elisa Morici, sales manager of Aurora. She added that although Aurora is new to nonwovens, the company has a history in traditional textiles.
Announced several months ago and expected onstream in the first quarter of 2009, Galileo Group's inaugural spunbond line was sold to Bahrain Nonwovens, based in Manama in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The line will produce spunbond polypropylene nonwovens targeting the industrial, agricultural and hygienic sectors. This new capacity will target growing demand in the Gulf and Middle East regions and also supply growing demand for these structures in Europe and North America. Bahrain Nonwovens is the first company in the Gulf region to build a state-of-the-art spunbond polypropylene manufacturing facility.
Nordson Runs Lines At INDEX
Nordson Corporation demonstratied an array of innovations in adhesive applications, variation management and waste control at INDEX. Nordson was showcasing its latest innovations for the effective application of adhesives, lotions and perfumes at 660 m/rain, including its Universal Signature lamination and long lasting SureWrap elastic spray technologies, as well as its Universal Slice gear metering applicator. Nordson also displayed a number of unique variation management solutions that help manufacturers substantially reduce adhesive waste, including metering and pressure control options that can easily integrate into new and existing manufacturing lines.
"For manufacturers, it's all about efficiency, speed and process control," said Michael Fornes, nonwovens global marketing manager. "We are supporting these performance goals with a variety of technologies that push the disposable hygiene adhesive dispensing speed barrier and help manufacturers more effectively and efficiently apply adhesives, with less waste, greater flexibility and increased cost savings."
The Nordson booth featured live demonstrations every 30 minutes focused on high-speed hygiene adhesives dispensing. The booth also featured Nordson's Universal spray and slot coating solutions, which allow manufacturers to choose the most appropriate technology for each application. Nordson's comprehensive adhesive supply solutions include a complete line of bulk distribution systems and adhesive melters designed specifically for nonwovens applications. Melters include the VersaBlue XN series, capable of supplying an entire diaper line from one melter: VersaBlue IPC: VersaBlue PLC: and mid-tier AltaBlue and new AltaBlueTT melters.