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Kobe Steel, Ltd. is one of Japan's leading engineering and machinery companies. Commonly known as Kobelco, the engineering division of Kobe Steel, Ltd. has been active in supplying spunbond, melt blown and SMS plants on a turnkey basis since 1993. Kobelco has proven supply records all over the world for plants utilizing fine denier spinning and multi-polymer processes.

A case in point is the latest advances made in polypropylene (PP) fine denier spinning. The market has long hoped that PP fine denier spunbond production technology would provide an alternative to the dominant SMS process for use mainly in diaper cover stock because of its excellent barrier properties, softer fabric characteristics and easier handling for converting. Only the cost has prevented its widespread application in the market.

The bottleneck to improving the economics is productivity. As filament denier goes down, productivity is also reduced. In 1999, Kobelco achieved an output in the range of 110 kg/hr/m/beam at 1.2 dpf, while the output of regular denier was 180 kg/hr/m/beam.

Kobelco has been working on reducing production costs of the process at its pilot plant, while maintaining excellent uniformity and softness of the fine denier spunbond fabric. Today, Kobelco can attain a high output of 180 kg/hr/m/beam at 1.2 dpf. Maximum output can reach 270 kg/hr/m/beam for regular denier. This achievement is realized by the development of the proprietary Draw Jet "W" series, which serves two filament curtains through one module. The new draw jet creates spinning speeds in the range of 3,300 to 4,000 mpm for fine denier spinning regardless of the grade of the polymer.

This latest plant incorporating the New Draw Jet System "W" series is called the Kobelco 2000 Model. The Kobelco 2000 Model plant for fine denier spunbond (1.2 dpf) is capable of producing:

* 9000 tons per year on a 3.2 meter wide double beam line (1200 kg/hour)

* 4500 tons per year on a 3.2 meter wide single beam line (580 kg/hour)

* 12,000 tons per year on a 4.2 meter wide double beam line (1500 kg/hour)

* 6000 tons per year on a 4.2 meter wide single beam line (750 kg/hour)

Original technical features are retained:

* Fine denier spinning capability down to 0.7 dpf

* Multi-polymer spinning capability

* Full-width modular design spinning beam and drawing system

* Double-side open air quenching system

This fine denier spunbond fabric of 17 gsm reaches 100-140 mmH2O hydrostatic head, which complies with most of the market requirements for barrier leg cuffs with no melt blown layer between two spunbond layers.

With the Kobelco 2000 Model, non-woven producers will be able to reduce their investment costs by about 25%, in comparison to SMS lines. Operation is also much simpler than SMS lines.

To meet rapidly growing and diversifying market demand, Kobelco has been making continuous improvements to its spunbond technology at its semi-commercial R&D facility in Japan. With three spinning beams and a production capacity of 3000 metric tons per year, the plant is used for product development, operator training, raw material testing and sample product supply.

In addition to plant engineering, Kobelco welcomes joint R&D work for particular customer needs and looks forward to being a long-term technology partner.
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Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:May 1, 2001
Previous Article:KANG NA.

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