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Glass: a class of its own.

Whether glass should be in a class of its own or accepted as part - many argue the largest part - of the "traditional" nonwovens industry has been a perennial debate. For years, glass has been kept separate from other nonwoven technologies, although it has earned mention time and again in articles on filtration and roofing fabrics.

Part of this separation was due to logistics - since glass hadn't been included for all these years, suddenly including an extra four billion pounds in a nonwovens production figures would certainly skew the results.

Another part of the problem stemmed from resistance from both sides of the issue. Glass nonwovens manufacturers were satisfied with their own categories of "insulation," "fibrous wool," "glass mat" or "glass paper" and these were terms recognized by their customers. History is certainly on their side; these terms have been around a long time and are not likely to be phased out (look at what happened with the word "nonwoven," which was never supposed to be the final definition of the industry.)

Within "traditional" nonwovens as well, many companies were unconcerned about including glass as part of the industry because of the differences in products and marketing; again, their customers knew the characteristics and capabilities of the products they were buying and were not as concerned about the process. Other producers who manufactured both glass and non-glass products did not even differentiate between the two, simply providing the best product for the customer's need.

Nonwovens industry decided it was time, once and for all, to bring glass to the forefront and give it its rightful place in the industry. This issue's article "Through The Looking Glass" by associate editor Scott Sullivan marks the first time we've done a survey type of article on the glass roll goods market and the timing is right because, as Mr. Sullivan states in the article, the lines between glass and traditional nonwovens processes are rapidly blurring.

The article proved to be a challenging and interesting one to research and pinpoint, as many different markets and issues emerged. By including glass nonwovens with traditional nonwovens, the industry as a whole can only get stronger. The processes and products are similar enough to be a part of the industry. Many of the safety and cost concerns and environmental issues are also similar, as are markets and customers. Perhaps it's time to bring all segments of nonwovens together, into a more united and more powerful industry.

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Title Annotation:should glass be part of nonwoven industry
Author:Noonan, Ellen
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Aug 1, 1992
Previous Article:New study reports microfiber glass not carcinogenic.
Next Article:Signing of North American Free Trade Agreement to impact nonwoven industry.

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