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Techtextil North America review: a look at what nonwovens companies brought to Atlanta.

The third edition of Techtextil North America was held March 30 to April 1 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The show attracted 288 exhibitors, 7% more than the previous show, which was held in 2002. Exhibitors came from 26 countries compared to 21 countries in 2002; attendees came from 46 countries, up from 32 countries at the last event. The increased international presence at the event was further demonstrated by the addition of pavilions of Canada and U.K. exhibitors, which joined established groups from France, Belgium, Germany and Taiwan.

According to organizers, exhibitors expressed a high level of satisfaction with the turnout of buyers at Techtexil North America. Many were positively surprised by the quality, number and international scope of the buyers at the show. Likewise buyer surveys echoed positive reaction to the upscale presentation on the expanded show floor. New amenities like the VIP "Red Carpet" Buyer Club and an upgraded Internet Cafe were appreciated.

Held in conjunction with the show, the Techtextil-Symposium North America was well attended. It opened with a keynote address on Textile Trade issues by Jame Leonard, deputy assistant secretary, U.S. Department of Commerce. Symposium attendees heard many presentations on the latest research and market developments in the nonwovens and technical textiles industries.

Topics included Intelligent/Smart Textiles, nonwovens, product development, new and emerging technologies, standards and testing for the industry and research in new fiber technology.

The next Techtextil North America will be held March 28-30 at the Cobb Ganeria Centre in Atlanta.

Due to the increased focus on technical textiles within the nonwovens industry the show attracted a number of" nonwovens producers from both North America and beyond. Additionally, machinery suppliers and raw material providers to nonwovens producers populated the show floor. Many were optimistic that nonwovens would continue to penetrate technical textiles. Whether these companies were attending Techtextil to promote a new product or to simply give their companies a presence, executives are eager to carve themselves a place in the technical textiles market due to its ability to command strong margins and open up new applications for nonwovens.

>From The Show Floor

* Increased interest in fire resistant fibers has created great potential for American Kynol. The company has been working with fiber producers to incorporate its Kynol flame resistant fibers into their mix. These fibers can add flame resistance and char strength to rayon and other fiber styles. Key areas of interest are quilting and upholstered furniture, which, according to executives, will eventually be subject to flame resistant standards, much like the bedding industry is today.

* Caviscat, a powder scattering for coating or laminating various substrates with thermoplastic adhesives, was presented by Cavitec. Main applications for this technology are carpets, shoe linings, car interiors and the like. Additionally, Caviflex hotmelt coating line, Cavicoat/Caviknife multiroller and knife coating, Cavipreg resin impregnation plants and Cavidot double dot, paste dot and powder dot technologies were being shown by the company.

* Conwed Plastics used Techtextil to introduce BioGrid, its fully biodegradable, high performance netting, designed to fill a need among manufacturers for a product that combines complete biodegradability and manufacturing efficiencies at a competitive price. Using patent-pending technology developed in-house by Conwed, BioGrid maximizes manufacturing efficiencies through higher line speeds, reduces dust and waste and maintains true-width rolls for consistent applications.

* Now offered in cut sheets ready for final use are Craneglas and Cranemat Nonwovens, developed by Crane Nonwovens. This new capability offers a cost-effective option for customers as well as processing benefits and ensured flatness. Craneglas fiberglass nonwovens are used in a wide range of thermal insulation, laminate and surfacing and veil applications while Cranemat is a versatile line of polymeric wetlaid nonwovens incorporating polyester, PPS, polyolefins, nylon, PVC and fluoropolymers.

* FiberDynamics' new environmentally friendly heating ventilation and air conditioning back facings are fiberglass free and incorporate some of the latest fire retardant development work. These products are designed to meet fire retardant requirements without PBDE components and incorporate both an EPA-approved biodice and a water repellent finish into its construction. The tough exterior surface helps in the fabrication process and provides a surface which helps prevent dirt from penetrating the insulation matrix and enhancing airflow. Products can be supplied with or without a variety of heat-activated adhesives, which bond to a multitude of insulation materials.

A manufacturer of chemical and point bonded nonwoven fabrics, Fiber Dynamics services a diverse range of industries including automotives, filtration, air handling, acoustical components, coating and laminating substrates, packaging, personal care, hygiene wipes and home furnishings.

* EMS-Griltech was promoting its entire line of adhesives at Techtextil. These thermoplastic materials are idea for a range of products including automotives. The company was also promoting the use of its staple fibers in more industrial applications.

* Engineered Fibers Technology was showcasing its heat and flame resistant Basofil Melamine Fiber. With key applications including specialty flame resistant papers, electrical papers, transmission/friction papers, filtration media and non-asbestos friction materials, these fibers are available in a range of lengths and feature good wetlaid dispersion and processability with WF finish.

* Representatives for machinery specialist Fleissner were promoting its high technology heatsetting line TAH for Geotextiles. Able to produce multifunctional nonwoven geotextiles, TAH is suitable for PES or PP spunbonded or staple fiber nonwovens; it features compact size, low energy consumption, width control and increased tenacity. Fleissner also produces spunlaced systems and air through dryers for the nonwovens industry.

* Gaston Systems, a maker of foam systems, has reached a licensing agreement with Swiss machinery maker Strahm Textile Systems, to make hot melt laminating lines. Strahm is reportedly looking to fill a void in the U.S. hot melt laminating market by catering to medical and home furnishing manufacturers, among others.

* Paterson, NJ-based Glenro, Inc. was promoting its improved flatbed laminating lines which use spring loaded pressure rather than pneumatic controls. These lines are particularly ideal for flat fabrics such as needlepunch nonwovens because they feature excellent contact between the belt and the fabric, according to executives. Glenro's flatbed laminates with powder adhesives promote more uniform distribution and use less adhesives than competitors. The result is a fabric with a softer feel. So far, a great deal of interest has been paid to this technology in automotive cover manufacturing.

* Henkel has been introducing its adhesives business into the North American market. Building off of past success in Asia and Europe, the company's Liofex brand is involved in flexible packaging and laminates for apparel, furniture, protective apparel and medical applications. Henkel is marketing the products through its Liofil division, based in Cary, NC.

* Hyosung Technical Yarns was showcasing its high tenacity polyester filaments. A leading supplier to the technical textiles market globally, these yarns feature low shrinkage, low wicking, adhesives activated and air textured. The company serves a variety of applications.

* Invista, formerly DuPont Textiles & Interiors, was showcasing its products for technical and industrial applications. Traditionally known in the nonwovens industry for its Lycra spandex products for hygiene items, Invista manufacturers Thermolite performance fabrics offering lightweight warmth in apparel applications, Coolmax performance fabrics for athletic gear and medical textiles, Outlast material for bandages and orthopedic support products and Teflon fabric protector. Even Lycra was being promoted to Techtextil exhibitors as an enhancement to medical textiles, where it offers fit, comfort and freedom of movement.

* A producer of high-performance polyester staple fibers for nonwovens and industrial applications, KoSa had a strong presence at Techtextil. With markets ranging from absorbent products, filtration, automotive products, highloft and needlepunched products, specialty papers and insulation, KoSa's portfolio is reportedly backed by fast, responsive customer service, skilled research and development teams and technical support.

* Philadelphia-based National Drying Machinery Company's Custom Drying Solutions for Nonwovens are used in thermal bonding, drying, curing/heat setting and finishing. These drum dryers feature custom designed configurations, multiple zone temperature control, vector drives for optimum speed control, reinforced drums, high evaporation rates, stainless construction and cooling drums. The company also produces high-speed belt dryers for dill]cult-to-dry nonwovens that or ideal for high loft webs and loose webs.

* National Starch adhesives was promoting its reactive hot melts for textiles. These polyurethane-based moisture-pure adhesives feature special resistive properties to high performance applications. Key areas include outerwear and medical products.

* Among the offerings from Nordson Corporation, Dawsonville, GA, was information on the company's web coating and laminating systems for paper, textiles, films, nonwovens and other wide web materials. This equipment combines Nordson's experience in hotmelt adhesive and thermoplastic technology with the latest paper, textile, film and foil processing technology to meet the needs of the web coating and converting markets. Nordson hot melt coaters, coating stands and systems provide an environmentally friendly way to reduce costs and improve product quality.

At Techtextil, Nordson was also promoting the merits of its Center of Excellence Bi-Component Nonwovens Pilot Lines, which help customers short time-to-market cycles and reduce research and development costs. The facility products multi-beam SMS nonwoven structures and is located in Dawsonville.

* A custom packaging machine was the main interest of Optima Machinery's booth. This first-of-its-kind product from Optima is filling a niche for companies currently manually packaging their technical textiles, according to executives.

* Santex Nonwovens was showing its machinery solutions to the airlaid industry. These include the SantasAB dispersion unit for metering powder, the Santaspray HS high speed spraying dn drying and thermal bonding installation for airlaid nonwovens and festooners to stacking and packing stripe-cut nonwoven or airlaid nonwovens.

* The SureCut 35 Ultrasonic Slitters/Sealers from Sonobond Ultrasonics are superior loom-mounted or hand-held synthetic fabric cutting tools that eliminate the disadvantages of hot wire and rotating knife cutters. These slitter/sealers cleanly cut and seal the edge of synthetic films and fabrics in a single pass eliminating fraying, unraveling and material buildup along the fabric edge.

* In response to flammability standards under review in California and other U.S. states, Western Nonwovens, was promoting its Esyntial Safe fire retardant fiberfill family of products. This self-extinguishing material is unique in that it can replace existing fiberfill products to easily conform with pending legislation that is set to become effective January 1 in California. Industry con sensus feels that the measures will be adopted nationally once they become effective in California.

* Eterna encapsulation technology, developed by Wacker Specialties, is already used in diapers to reduce irritating effects. Now the company is promoting this "anti-smell" technology to clothing and home furnishings markets. These cyclodextrims encapsulate smelly compounds during wear to give long lasting freshness. They are reactivated through machine washings.

* Zoltek's Pyron fire resistant fiber line has been expanded to include residential fire resistant applications in the bedding and home furnishing categories. After proving itself in the industrial and automotive sectors, Pyron is now targeting residential uses due to an increased need for fire resistance in this applications.

According to executives, these fibers significantly exceed the new standards on mattress flammability required by California and the more stringent national standards currently under development. Plus, the fibers are able to achieve this performance while remaining strong, durable and flexible enough for residential applications, offering manufacturers and designers great versatility in working with other" materials. Pyron has been blended successfully with other fibers and is available in different product forms.
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Author:Bitz, Karen
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 1, 2004
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