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Fibers at INDEX '90.

fiber developments were prevalent at INDEX '90 in Switzerland, with the environment, processibility and versatility key features of most new raw material variations While the roll goods producers led the way with new product introductions at INDEX '90, the fiber suppliers from all corners of the globe followed closely behind in terms of variations of their products for the nonwovens industry. Indeed, even many of the more outstanding new nonwoven roll goods-such as Freudenberg's new microfiber nonwovens and Corovin's composite multi-denier fabrics-relied on the attributes of the fibers being utilized (a review of the roll goods introductions at INDEX '90 is included in the May issue of Nonwovens Industry).

The European nonwovens trade show in Geneva, Switzerland in early April did serve as the launching pad for a number of new fiber products, but for the most part the raw materials on hand were variations of fibers already familiar to nonwovens producers. The newer products that were introduced at INDEX '90 primarily focused on the environment, improved processibilty and versatility for a number of nonwoven technologies.

Among the INDEX '90 introductions that were recognized by Nonwovens Industry as the top new products unveiled at the show were the new chlorine-free viscose fiber from Svenska Rayon (Sweden), high performance "Sontara" products from DuPont (U.S.) utilizing its "Kevlar" and "Nomex" aramids and a bicomponent fiber from Danaklon (Denmark) that it has licensed from a Japanese supplier. Other raw material new product introductions include Hoechst's "SamFoam" superabsorbent foam and a superabsorbent from Starchem based on natural starch.

Svenska Is Top New Product

Reacting to environmental concerns throughout the nonwovens industry, Svenska Rayon introduced a completely chlorine-free viscose fiber at the show. In unveiling the new product, the Scandinavian producer said that "it has long been a strong wish on the part of the nonwoven and hygiene products industries to reduce the use of chloride and chlorine compounds in as many products as possible."

In cooperative research and development with pulp supplier Borregard (Norway), Svenska Rayon was able to become what it is claiming is "the first (company) in the world to have developed a completely-chlorine-free viscose fiber, one which is completely free of chlorine gas-chlorine dioxide and hypochlorite, for industrial use." The company's Goran Brorsson told Nonwovens Industry that the challenge was to make such a fiber within the same parameters as its traditional rayon. Requisite modifications in the manufacturing process itself created some initial problems, but Svenska Rayon's technicians say that these problems have now been solved.

Commercial trials produced 1500 tons in the first three months of the year and full scale production will be ready by mid-year, Mr. Brorsson said. The company recently completed test runs at Fiberduk (Sweden) that satisfied its concern over processibility Borregard is reportedly prepared to run full scale at 400 tons a day to supply the raw material for the new Svenska fiber. Initial product targets include diapers, tampons and other feminine hygiene products.

Another viscose supplier highlighting new products at INDEX'90 was Courtaulds Fibres (U.K.), which launched its Fibre ML, a trilobal viscose with improved properties. The fiber, born out of the company's Galaxy project, has a fundamentally modified cross section on which tests have demonstrated significant advantages in various fabric and fibrous structures. It is said to be extremely absorbent with a cotton-like handle, as well as maintaining high bulk. Fibre ML is already being produced in limited quantities at Courtaulds' Canadian plant.

One of the most significant advantages of Fibre ML has proved to be its ability to rapidly absorb large quantities of fluid when in a compressed structure, making it of interest to the feminine hygiene market, where the first products to contain Fibre ML are already in product. So far a 3.3 dtex, 38 mm staple fiber has been introduced for the hygiene sector. Plans call for the production of a 2.6 dtex, 38 mm fiber for use in dry laid nonwovens. Courtaulds is also carrying out an evaluation project into the wet laid nonwovens area with fiber produced through the Galaxy project.

Courtaulds Fibres Performance Products, a unit created to develop and market high performance fibers, was on hand at the show promoting two recent developments-an acrylic-based biocidal fiber, known as "Courtek," and a fibrillated acrylic for use in specialty papers or wet laid nonwovens, currently code named APF. Courtek M is available in 2.2 decitex either as a staple fiber or tow. A pilot plant for APF, with a capacity of several hundred tons, is nearing completion in Coventry. That fiber is being targeted primarily at industrial paper such as battery separator media, filtration and electrical insulation papers.

Lower Decitex From ICI Fibres

ICI Fibres (U.K.) launched a range of 2.2 decitex heterofil and 1.7 decitex homofil fibres at INDEX '90. Both fibers have been developed, according to the company, to meet the latest demand for softer, finer fabrics that perform in durable end use applications. ICI's heterofil fibers consist of two different polymers that are spun in a concentric core/sheath formation. The Nylon 6.6 core has a relatively high melting point (250 C) and remains intact, while the sheath has a lower melting point and is designed to flow when heated. It has been specifically engineered for high temperature thermal bond processing. ICI's Nylon 6.6 homofil fibers may be used alone or in blends with other fibers and are suited for all bonding technologies.

In an interesting launch at the show, ICI Fibres unveiled a new marketing campaign to support its nonwovens business. The campaign encompasses new literature and advertising and features four different animals under the theme "Survival of the Fittest." The animals include an elephant to represent strength, an armadillo for abrasion resistance, a koala bear for softness and a bat for drape.

Danish fiber supplier Danaklon (Denmark) introduced a sophisticated bicomponent fiber on a license granted from Chisso (Japan) called Danaklon ES-C. The fiber is specially developed for use in the nonwovens industry in applications where softness and strength are demanded. Danaklon ES-C is a thermal bonding bicomponent fiber consisting of a polypropylene core and a polyethylene sheath in a concentric design. It is being targeted at coverstock applications, where its softness and strength are most in demand.

Montefibre (Italy), under its "Terital" trade name, introduced its Type 80 polyester fiber at INDEX '90. The new fiber has a titre of 0.85 dtex and offers the nonwovens industry an extremely fine fiber with very high tenacity of the individual filaments. The very large numbers of filaments that compose a nonwoven fabric, the company pointed out, reduce the interfiber spaces and yield a material that is "at the same time stronger, lighter in weight and more uniform" and is characterized by very high covering power and a particularly soft hand.

Cotton fiber supplier Edward Hall (U.K.) told Nonwovens Industry it "will certainly return to Geneva in 1993 (for INDEX 93) after its most successful exhibition ever." INDEX '90 gave the natural fiber supplier its initial opportunity to publicly exhibit Europe's first continuously processed bleached fiber, "Luxicot." The on-stand demonstration devised by the company, which it called the INDEX Cotton Challenge, helped in showing attendees the fiber's inherent advantages in terms of its absorbency, comfort and "naturalness." In addition to a display of nonwovens produced by thermal bonding and hydroentanglement of Luxicot, a number of roll goods manufacturers, such as Lohmann, Nordlys, Lantor, Robinson, Mansell Bonded Fabrics and Sodoca were talking about their nonwovens incorporating blends of cotton fiber as well.

A Number of Superabsorbent Developments

One of the more interesting new products to be unveiled at INDEX '90 was the "SamFoam" superabsorbent foam from Hoechst Celanese (U.S.). The novel superabsorbent offers high absorbency and a versatility of application that allows suppliers to protect against problems that trouble the shipping industry. The SamFoam product offers, according to Hoechst Celanese, 10 to 20 times the absorbing power of conventional foam and, because it is a foam, can be bonded or laminated to existing shipping containers. Hoechst Celanese and Hoechst (West Germany) were also promoting their "Sanwet" superabsorbent polymers for the hygiene and industrial products industries.

Another new superabsorbent product for the hygiene industry that was introduced at the show was the "Drystar" superabsorbent polymer from Starchem (West Germany). The unique new product combines the absorption properties of polyacrylates with the hydrophilic properties of natural starch, which therefore combines a high absorption capacity with an extraordinarily fast absorption rate. The product is the result of a 1984 joint venture between Huls and Cerestar; production began in January in a plant in West Germany

In baby diapers, Drystar is said to absorb all the liquid temporarily stored in the fluff pulp in seconds, so that the fluff is immediately ready as the first urine storer and wetback is prevented. Drystar also keeps its granular texture in a swollen state, giving a caviar-like appearance. In this way it does not form a homogenous gel, but rather shapes into a stable capillary system of swollen granules that allows liquids to spread through the channels between the grains even after some liquid has been absorbed.

Arco Chemical (U.S.) was also on hand with its "Fibersorb" superabsorbent fiber. The advantage of the fiber, the company said, is that it is able to form an integral part of the structure of the network. It enables the converter to achieve very high loadings of superabsorbent in the final product. Arco is already currently supplying one quarter inch staple fiber for air laid systems.

Component Developments

The high performance "Lycra" XA elastic thread from DuPont (U.S.) was unveiled to the industry in pink and blue versions at INDEX'90. The new colored Lycra XA is in keeping with a worldwide trend towards gender differentiation in baby diapers; it comes in 800 decitex, which differs from previous versions. DuPont said it has increased capacity at its Maydown, Ireland plant for the production of the colored elastic.

Silicone papers for a range of applications were the focus of first time INDEX exhibitor Jackstadt (West Germany), which offered its expanded range of "Anticoll" products. With an area weight of 50 grams sq. meter, the silicone papers are available in roll widths from 15 mm to approximately 2000 mm, either unprinted or with a single color imprint on the rear.

Lohjan Paperi (Finland) introduced a new ESP" emulsion silicone paper, which has been developed particularly for making the tapes used in sanitary napkins. ESP, said the company, can be repulped, which is done at the plant for side webs. Environmentally friendly ESP types are also available; one type is made from pulp bleached with chlorine dioxide and the other from unbleached pulp that contains no organic chlorine compounds.

Sensitive to the environmental impact of disposable nonwovens, 3M (U.S.) has developed and introduced to the trade at INDEX '90 a degradable closure system whose components are naturally degradable to a residue at a temperature-related rate. Although it remains stable under normal storage conditions, the formulation, developed and defined by 3M, is particularly designed to decompose in compost conditions. Also in the disposables area, 3M unveiled a "Scotch" stretch activated elastic. It is supplied in its inelastic form in planetary wound rolls, with the elastic characteristic obtained by stretching and then heating. Finally, 3M introduced to the general trade at INDEX '90 a Scotch microporous polyolefin film suited to component applications where resistance to liquid transmission is a requirement and where comfort, breathability and quietness are desired.

The Avery Speciality Tape Div. (U.S.) launched its high quality, repositionable elastic diaper tapes at INDEX '90. The product incorporates a stretch zone that is adhesive free. The idea of a tape with built-in extension potential is not new. However, taking it from concept to a high performance material has taken significant developmental work. Stretchable tapes are an alternative approach to elasticated waistbands, the object being to give a close fit but also to yield when the baby has eaten and expanded slightly. This product is likely to appeal to the private label diaper converter because there is no need for investment in additional application equipment. Material costs are also lower per unit than the relatively elaborate elasticated waist materials now being seen in some European and U.S. brands. One of the key concepts customers must consider is clear pack directions to ensure that mothers use the tape correctly-the tape should not be stretched before fixing or wrinkling can occur.

Malcolm Dick, of Fasson, Avery's European sister company in Belgium, told Nonwovens Industry that "the elastic diaper tape being introduced is a much less traumatic way of achieving waist elastication. It is a cheaper modification but should help eliminate red welts and a number of people who have tried it confirm that it helps to prevent leakage." The product should be welcomed because it gives another choice to converters, offering an additional performance feature without the need for major machinery retrofitting.

Avery also introduced two tapes for medical applications at the show-"Westick" for disposable drapes and "Ideal Nonwoven" for application in the stoma care field.

"Abscents" deodorizing powder for personal care products and "Smellrite" deodorizing powder for household items were introduced to the European nonwovens industry at INDEX '90 by UOP, Union Carbide Molecular Sieves (U.S.). The company emphasized that Abscents is "a true odor eliminator; it does not attempt to mask odors with another scent or neutralize them through a chemical reaction." The product is expected to have broad applications in personal care products, including menstrual pads, incontinence pads and baby diapers.

Portions of this article were contributed by Clare Haddad, Nonwovens Industry European correspondent.
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Title Annotation:nonwoven and textile exhibition
Author:Jacobsen, Michael
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Jun 1, 1990
Previous Article:Fiber consumption in disposable nonwoven fabrics.
Next Article:Cotton: a natural move into nonwovens.

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