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Don & Low making a mark in European nonwovens.

The annual Textile & Technology Exhibition, held Feb. 4-6 in Manchester, England, was not well attended by the nonwovens industry this time around, most likely due to the impending INDEX '90 Exhibition in Geneva, Switzerland next month. Two companies-Fiberweb and Lohmann, for example, were scheduled to attend but did not. However, one company, Don & Low Nonwovens, Forfar, Scotland, was on hand and met with Nonwovens Industry European correspondent Clare Haddad.

The exhibition was opened by Barry Spencer, president of the British Textile Confederation. He spoke of the weak link between research and development in British industry in general, although the nonwovens industry was not specifically included in his comments. Mr. Spencer also discussed the important European Community negotiations underway that will help determine the future of world trade in textiles. He said that these negotiations must strengthen the rules and disciplines applying to international trade and end the distortions that effect U.K. trade negatively at present in the form of prohibitively high trade barriers in many overseas markets.

Further reports on nonwovens activity at the T&T Exhibition will be included in later issues of Nonwovens Industry.

When we last looked in on Don & Low Nonwovens, the company was planning a second "Reicofil" spunbonded line. Events have progressed smoothly and its line number two is up and running and producing a range of nonwovens for industrial applications.

The rapidly developing U.K. nonwovens company installed its second spunbonded line last December and now boasts an annual capacity of 3000 tons. Managing director Alastair McIntosh and sales director Bill Kelly report that both lines are being fully utilized, with half of current sales being exports.

Although it has been in operation only since September, 1988, Don & Low is already well established in Europe with its "Daltex" range of geotextiles; the company, which only recently completed its first full calendar year of production, already reports some healthy profits. Its next target remains high performance nonwovens for the building and construction industries, among others. Both men said that further capacity expansions are likely in the near future. Primary Specialty Area

Spunbonded nonwovens for insulating and protection in the building industry is the primary specialty of Don & Low. It recently introduced a range of products called "Frame-shield," a series of three specially designed products for the building trade. Mr. Kelly said that building markets are complicated to enter and develop because of pre-established standards that must be met.

Don & Low has dedicated significant time and resources to working with organizations such as the British Board of Agreement in order to meet these standards while utilizing the newer type nonwoven building materials that give additional benefits. These benefits, he said, include improved weather resistance and vapor permeability.

Don & Low offers three products in a range of three basis weights of 50, 100 and 150 grams sq. meter. The lightest product is Frameshield 50, a breather support membrane for fibrous board/slab insulation between joisted timber floors. The physical properties of a continuous sheet breather membrane, as compared to more traditional net support, helps to reduce the heat loss than can occur due to convection and cold air movement on the exposed underside of the insulant. The product has multi-directional strength, which makes it moisture and rot proof and thermally stable. Other advantages over the traditional nets in this application are ease of installation and cost, according to the company.

The 100 grams sq. meter product is a wall breather membrane, which is primarily used in houses of timber frame construction. Although timber framed housing has declined in popularity in the mid-1980's, it is on the rebound once again, especially in the north of England and Scotland. Frameshield 100 protects the frame during construction from wind, rain, dust or snow. The high water vapor permeability of the nonwoven allows the controlled escape of vapor from within the frame while at the same time restricting the ingress of rain or moisture.

Don & Low's 150 grams sq. meter nonwoven in the Frameshield range is a new breather film designed for pitched roof breather underlay applications.
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Author:Haddad, Clare
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:company profile
Date:Mar 1, 1990
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