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Successful nonwovens conference and exhibition completed last month.

What was billed as the largest North American nonwovens conference and exhibition, IDEA '92, took place last month at the Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C., November 17-19. The show was voted a smashing success by most of the exhibitors, with companies reporting good traffic and numerous contacts passing by their booths. This was the last IDEA show to be held on a biennial basis; beginning next year the show will alternate on a triennial schedule with INDEX, the European nonwovens exhibition and ENA, the Far Eastern trade show.

The IDEA show--and the new global scheduling--obviously reflects the growth in the nonwovens industry as a whole. According to INDA president John Mead in his opening remarks, "Since 1980, worldwide consumption of nonwovens has increased to 1.72 million metric tons, by approximately 173%. During this same period, the IDEA show has grown in attendance by 140%, in number of exhibitors by 160% and in square footage by 240%. By the year 2000," he continued, "volume is expected to reach 2.7 million metric tons at an annual rate of more than 6%. And the IDEA show, along with INDEX and ENA, will play an important role in stimulating this growth."

The conference program at IDEA '92 played an important role in the success of the show; keynoters each day drew significant crowds to hear their words of wisdom on the state of the industry. New product presentations, a nonwovens basics course and end use market sessions rounded out the program.

Dahlstrom Presents Keynote Challenges

On the opening day of the conference, the keynote speaker was Norbert Dahlstrom, general partner of the Freudenberg Group, Weinheim, Germany, who had the distinction of speaking at his second IDEA show in four years (he was also a keynote speaker at IDEA '88). In his talk entitled "Business and Technical Factors Affecting the Nonwovens industry Worldwide," Mr. Dahlstrom issued a series of challenges to a nonwovens industry that is maturing in a period of increasing world change.

"Nonwovens seem currently to be passing through a phase of technical consolidation," he said. "By contrast, dramatic changes are taking place in the geopolitical environment ...which will far outweigh the impact of internal industry developments in the foreseeable future." The question, he said, is how to maintain real growth as some of the "growth motors" that historically have pulled the industry are running out of fuel.

Mr. Dahlstrom suggested that innovation is the only way to "ultimately add to the economic substance of our industry. The more interesting question, therefore, is to what extent we can maintain real growth, i.e., growth in excess of inflation and of GNP progression. Only this will demonstrate that we can continue to gain marketshare or create entirely new markets through innovation."

Another area covered by Mr. Dahlstrom is "the constantly and vastly increased competition that is reaching the last market niche in the remotest corner of the world." He mentioned the integrated European market, the North American free trade agreement and the fall of the communist bloc as contributing factors in this increased competition.

"My conclusion is still the same [as in his keynote talk in 1988]...As the natural initial growth potential of our industry inevitably slackens, those with a serious long term commitment and profit expectation in this industry must redouble their efforts to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of their management, market and research."

A third area Mr. Dahlstrom addressed was the changing structure of the nonwovens industry. "The nonwovens industry still has an unresolved identity problem," he said. "The reason lies less in the heterogeneous parentage of nonwovens than in the fact that the great majority of nonwovens companies today are fairly small parts of corporations where prime interests lie in their traditional fields.

"I maintain," he added, "that because of our lack of cohesion and a resulting deficit in identity and sometimes even self-confidence, the nonwovens industry is still failing miserably in its most collective responsibility. We still are not even attempting to create a broader awareness of the unique characteristics and capabilities of nonwovens," he said.

His solution was to advocate a mutual cohesive effort of "educational marketing to teach potential industrial and individual users what an essential role nonwovens already play in their lives...and where nonwovens have the potential to fulfill further needs, answer unresolved problems and provide previously unknown benefits."

Meanwhile, At The Show..

As each afternoon's trade exhibition opened, companies from suppliers of raw materials and machinery to roll goods manufacturers and converters touted their wares to the roaming attendees. While there certainly a number of new products, there were also a great many companies who concentrated on product upgrades and improvements rather than completely new product introductions.

For the roll goods manufacturers, the majority of companies concentrated on promoting a cohesive corporate image and maintaining their visibility in the industry. Complete nonwovens product lines were highlighted, while a focus on quality and R&D was also important.

One company that did introduce a new product at IDEA '92 was Fiberweb North America, Simpsonville, SC, which debuted its "Securon" barrier fabric line. The line, which incorporates a combination of proprietary Fiberweb technologies, offers both high barrier levels and high comfort properties such as breathability, softness and drape. It will target medical, industrial and possibly hygiene markets (see Top News Stories for additional information). Fiberweb also introduced its "Spectralon" point bonded nylon product in a variety of colors.

New from Freudenberg Nonwovens, Chelmsford, MA, was "Clear Advantage," an eyeglass lens wipe that permits the easy removal of dust, dirt and grease without leaving smears or scratches. The wipe combines bicomponent microfiber and nonwovens technologies, utilizing the special absorption qualities of its "Belima-X" microfiber.

The company also introduced "MicronAair" passenger compartment fresh air filters for the U.S. automotive market. The filters utilize layers of synthetic microfiber media to block potentially harmful particulate air pollutants from reaching the passenger compartment; the nonwovens are in a pleated configuration integrated into a custom-designed plastic or nonwoven frame.

Du Pont, Wilmington, DE, debuted a line of "Xymid" customized technical fabrics that are the result of a proprietary processing technology that connects bulkable yams with nonwoven substrates. The "Xymid" fabric provides properties beyond those of typical nonwovens substrates and can use "Sontara" or "Tyvek" fabrics joined to yams such as "Lycra" or "Dacron" polyester. Performance characteristics include absorbency, elasticity, strength, light weight and moldability and the materials can be used in a variety of end use applications.

Crown Textile, Blue Bell, PA, introduced several products for the automotive and original equipment manufacturer (OEM) markets at IDEA 92. A nonwoven facing, style 29863, targets the fiberglass backed appliance insulation market by eliminating fiberglass bleed through. The product is engineered with a random fiber orientation and a unique combination of binder and fire retardants.

For the automotive market, Crown is offering heat sealable automotive headliner/hoodliner facings. Styles 869 and 870 offer a heat sealable binder agent in the facing for more uniform bonding between the batting and while eliminating potential bleed back and sticking to the mold.

Appearing at IDEA '92 for the first time under its new name was the Fibertech Group, Philadelphia, PA (formerly Scott Nonwovens). The company sported a new booth complete with nonwoven materials and company literature featuring the Fibertech name. Fibertech displayed its "Ultra DryLoft," which was billed as the new generation in coverstock. It has four times the loft for thinner superabsorbent pulp cores, a three-dimensional reservoir structure for fluid holding and distribution and four times the fluid acquisition rate for leakage control.

Also at the Fibertech booth was information on Fibergol, the company's newly formed joint venture with Avgol (EXECUTIVE REPORT, November 1, 1992). The new venture will manufacture spunbonded nonwoven products on a new line that is expected to be up and running in March at Avgol's Holon, Israel facility.

Another company with a new name at IDEA '92 was Johnson & Johnson Advanced Materials Company, New Brunswick, NJ (formerly Chicopee). The company, whose theme was "Our Name Has Changed, But Our 160 Years of Commitment Continues," highlighted its "Duralace" cotton spunlaced fabric. The cotton fabric, which was introduced at IDEA'90, is now commercial and is available in cotton and cotton blends.

A complete product line was the focus at the booth of Veratec, Walpole, MA, at last month's show. The company promoted its line of "Webril" wipes and "Veratuf" materials with superior printing characteristics as well as nonwoven roll goods for diaper coverstock, surgical fabrics, apparel and filtration.

Several product lines were also on display at the booth of Foss Manufacturing Hampton, NH. The company, a first time IDEA exhibitor, was promoting its new "Masterwear" 3-in-1 floor mats and "Enviro-Mat" absorbent matting. The Masterwear product is a scraper mat, a wiper mat and antifatigue mat, while the Enviro-Mat absorbs up to 10 times its weight in off, water and chemicals and is ideal for spill cleanup and containment around machinery.

Foss was also displaying its "Showtime" display panel fabrics for trade show displays, its "Geogard" landscape fabric and its "Bac-Stop" anti-mildew polyester fiber particularly suited for marine applications.

Ergon Nonwovens, Jackson, MS, featured its lightweight polypropylene hydrophilic fabrics that target the medical and personal care markets. The company also introduced polypropylene products from a new calender unit for cartridge filtration applications as well as polyester and nylon products for high temperature filtration applications.

Needlepuncher Tex Tech Industries, N. Momnouth, ME, was on hand showing its line of needlepunched products for a variety of end uses. Filtration fabrics, composites, fabricated components, acoustic and thermal insulation felts and fire blocking fabrics were all promoted at the booth.

Another needlepunched nonwovens manufacturer Hollingsworth & Vose, East Walpole, MA, also focused on a complete line of nonwoven products at IDEA '92. The major focus was laminate materials, which combine melt blown, wet processed and dry processed nonwovens for a variety of filtration applications. Glass fiber nonwovens for filter media were also being promoted, as were new fusible interlinings for apparel applications.

Mexican manufacturer Milyon, Canela, was highlighting three new dusters for lint free wiping applications as well as a new absorbent laminate for surgical and operating room drapes. The medical product combines an absorbent with a laminated sheet so it does not leak.

Another roll goods supplier from Mexico at IDEA '92 was Bonlam S.A., San Luis Potosi, which was promoting its printing and laminating capabilities. The spunbonded fabrics target applications in medical and hospital products, sanitary protection and adult incontinence products, agricultural and filtration applications and packaging and protective clothing end uses.

In addition to announcing its new partnership with Du Pont (see Top News Stories for further information), a complete line of fabrics was featured at the booth of Reemay, Inc., Old Hickory, TN. The company centered on spunbonded fabrics for filtration, agriculture, construction, root control, automotive, geotextiles, home furnishings and apparel.

Lydall Inc., Manchester, CT, was represented at IDEA '92 by all three of its nonwovens divisions for the first time. While in the past only the Manning Nonwovens Division had exhibited, this year the Technical Papers Division and the Westex Division were also present at the show, highlighting a complete line of filtration and technical textile products.

The exhibit by Steams Technical Textiles, Cincinnati, OH, highlighted the company's entire line of products and capabilities. Applications for the company's products include the medical, filtration, automotive, apparel, mattress and furniture industries as well as for use in consumer products in the diaper top sheet and fabric softener markets.

Innovative nonwovens were the focus at Lantor Inc., Bellingham, NU, at IDEA '92. In addition to its line of commodity felt products, the company also highlighted its "Asphalt Eater," "Defender" and "Surfcoat" products for filtration and various other end uses.

Kimberly-Clark, Dallas, TX, was back at IDEA '92 with a magician drawing crowds to the booth to learn about the company's myriad nonwoven products. The company's "Demique" stretch bonded nonwoven, "Evolution 3" and "Coform" products were all highlighted at the booth, as the magician explained the benefits and values of each through tricks and talk.

Phillips Fibers, Greenville, SC, chose to use IDEA '92 to promote its full line of fabrics and fibers for nonwovens. Among the brand names at the booth were "Alpha," "Marvess" and "Ryton" fibers and "Petromat," "Petrotac," "Supac," SuperGro," "Fabrisoil" and "Duon" nonwoven fabrics for a wide range of needlepunched nonwoven applications.

Amoco, Atlanta, GA, spent its time at IDEA '92 promoting its "RFX" and "CLAF" fabrics for nonwovens. CLAF was featured particularly in the composite area, where it is finding application in conjunction with paper and foil for end uses such as house wraps.

Poly-Bond, Waynesboro, VA, part of the Dominion Nonwovens Group, focused on its line of composite products at the show. Targeting specialty medical end uses, the company was highlighting a polyethylene spunbonded, which offers gamma stability and also has the possibility of being recycled.

At Dexter Nonwovens, Windsor Locks, CT, the company's recent ISO certification at its Windsor Locks facility was the talk at the booth. The Windsor Locks facility is the second Dexter Nonwovens operation to receive ISO 9001 certification, following the certification of the company's Chirnside, Scotland facility in 1988. Dexter's Stalldalen, Sweden nonwovens facility and Radcliffe, England pulping plant are involved in the ISO certification process as well. The company also highlighted its complete line of wet laid nonwoven fabrics.

First time exhibitor Walkisoft U.S.A., Charlotte, NC, used IDEA '92 to introduce its company to the North American market. The company, which manufactures air laid nonwovens for feminine hygiene, medical, wipe and towelette applications, said it was concentrating on promoting itself and its nonwovens capabilities to the trade.

Troy Mills, Troy, NH, was at IDEA '92 talking about its line of needlepunched nonwoven fabrics. Applications include automotive, apparel, footwear, wall coverings and office panels and filtration applications.

Crane & Co., Dalton, MA, focused on wet laid nonwoven fabrics at its IDEA '92 booth, talking in particular about its "Cranemat" polymeric fiber/binder combination that uses cellulosic fibers. Applications include industrial products, printed circuit boards and thermal and electrical insulation and gasketing.

New Products From Raw Materials Suppliers

While the majority of roll goods manufacturers concentrated on complete product lines and promoting a company image and product innovations rather than new products, nonwoven raw materials suppliers presented more in the way of new products and line extensions.

In the fibers area, Eastman Chemical, Kingsport, TN, debuted a deep grooved polyester fiber, type 4DG, for nonwovens. The fiber has a unique cross section that has the capability to move fluid spontaneously, store and trap substances and provide larger surface areas and more bulk than typical round fibers.

First time exhibitor Wellman, Charlotte, NC, debuted a new logo since its recent purchase of Fiber Industries. The company, whose booth had the theme "Wellman LITE's (Leadership, Innovation, Technology, Excellence) the way for the nonwovens industry," highlighted its full line of staple fiber products and its status as the largest recycler in the world.

Danaklon, Varde, Denmark, was also promoting fibers for nonwovens at IDEA '92. One product on display was Danaklon HY-medical fiber, which the company said is the only cardable thermal bonding polyethylene fiber. The fiber addresses both comfort and sterilization issues and can be used in OR drapes and gowns, face masks, medical wipes and hygiene pads.

Also promoted at Danaklon was its high speed polypropylene fiber for lower product costs and improved productivity.

Hercules, Wilmimgton, DE, was featuring its Herculon HP high performance fiber for automotive applications. The polypropylene staple fiber meets Detroit standards for interior trim applications and has improved moldability, greater resilience and better resistance to UV degradation. The company was also highlighting its full line of thermal bonding

Top News Stories of IDEA '92

There was certainly no shortage of news announcements from the IDEA '92 conference and exhibition. what NONWOVENS INDUSTRY has determined to be--in no particular order--the five most important news developments from last month's show:

Fiberweb Plans Capacity Expansion. Roll goods producer Fiberweb North America introduced a new barrier fabric "Securon" (see accompanying IDEA review for further information) and in conjunction with that, announced a major capacity expansion for barrier fabrics. The line, which will be built at the company's Simpsonville, SC plant, is expected to be completed in 1994.

Reemay, Du Pont Sign Agreement. A marketing agreement involving carpet backing products was announced at the show by roll goods suppliers Reemay and Du Pont. Under terms of the agreement, which was effective December 1, Du Pont will market Reemay's "Typar" spunbonded polypropylene primary carpet backing products worldwide. Du Pont will also continue to manufacture its own carpet backing products, which will also be sold under the Typar name. Reemay will no longer use the "Tekton" name in the carpet backing segment, although it will continue to sell its Typar and Tekton spunbonded polypropylene products for other markets.

Diaper Consortium Formed. The Nonwovens Cooperative Research Center at North Carolina State University has formed a joint industry/university effort to develop completely biodegradable personal hygiene articles. Plans are currently underway for a meeting next spring to settle details of the project; suppliers of diaper components and accessories are among the participants.

Nuova Red Announces joint Venture. A joint venture involving machinery for the manufacture of training pants was announced by Italian diaper machinery manufacturer Nuova Red Italiana and Auburn, GA-based R&L Engineering. Under terms of the agreement, the companies will share technology for the manufacture of training pants machinery. R&L will be responsible for manufacturing machinery for the U.S. and Canada, while Nuova Red will handle markets outside these countries.

R&L has already completed a prototype machine that was shipped to a U.S. manufacturer; this machine will serve as the basis for future equipment.

INDA To Co-produce Technical Textiles Show. INDA, in cooperation with Maclean Hunter Presentations, announced plans to co-produce a conference and exhibition on technical textiles next year. The "Hi-Tech Textiles International Exhibition and Conference" will take place next July 20-22 at the Palmetto Exposition Center, Greenville, SC. The conference highlights both woven and nonwoven fabrics of a technical nature. polypropylene fibers as well.

Polyolefins and bicomponent fibers were the focus at Chisso, which was promoting thermal bonding fibers for nonwovens. The company targets applications in coverstock, filtration, automotives, medical, surgical and fiberfill end uses.

Cotton Inc., Raleigh, NC, introduced "High-Q," its next generation of bleached cotton fiber. It can be engineered for efficient and smooth production of cotton nonwoven roll goods and meets performance guidelines for non-lint, nep content, openness and whiteness.

Cotton for nonwovens was also the focus of the booth of Veratec Natural Fibers Group, Walpole, MA. The group was promoting its "Easy Street" super opened cotton fibers for nonwovens applications.

At the booth of Courtaulds Fibers, Axis, AL, its "Tencel" cellulosic fiber was introduced to the public for the first time. Currently in commercial production at the company's new Alabama facility, the fiber has exceptional strength and natural absorbency that allows it to be engineered into products for a variety of nonwoven applications.

Hoechst Celanese, Charlotte, NC, was on hand to talk about its complete line of fibers for nonwovens, especially concentrating on its newest "Trevira" polyester and cellulose acetate fibers as well as its "Celwet" high wetting polyester fibers.

Binder suppliers were also out in force at IDEA '92 and many of them had new products to offer. Rohm Tech, Fitchburg, MA, introduced a new line of formaldehyde-free and acrylonitrile-free acrylic binders. The Rohamere FF line of patented, self-crosslinking binders has varying softness and cures at low temperatures. The Rohamere FF products are completely free of formaldehyde and acrylonitrile and are now commercially available.

New binders for nonwovens were also the focus at the booth of Air Products, Allentown, PA, which was highlighting two binder products in particular. The first, "Airflex 108," is a low formaldehyde binder that incorporates a new crosslinking technology that allows cost effective production of a material with low formaldehyde and high performance. According to the company, the product is identical in performance to normal high formaldehyde products.

"Airflex 911 Dev" is a flushable nonwoven binder for use in wet wipe applications. The binder can disintegrate in the same time frame as commercial toilet tissue according to the snag breakup test of the National Sanitation Foundation and is nontoxic and formaldehyde free. Other potential applications include feminine hygiene products, medical wipes, acne pads and agricultural applications such as seed stripping, where the product would lose its strength when irrigated and not hinder root growth.

Featuring the "Acrylics and More" theme throughout its three hole miniature golf course, Rohm and Haas, Philadelphia, PA, was able to combine a fun filled exhibit with literature and information describing the company's "Rhoplex" ST-954 binder, a line of patented carbonaceous adsorbents, formulation additives for roll goods producers and acrylic, styrene butadiene and vinyl acetate binders.

Rhone-Poulenc, Gastonia, NC, introduced its "Rhodopel" water reperent latex at the show, also at a golf-themed booth. The properties available with Rhodopel include nonformaldehyde, non fogging, high strength, film flexibility, optical film and good adhesiveness. Rhodopel is commercially available now and the current line of four products is expected to be expanded in the near future to make it a line of 10 products.

At National Starch, Bridgewater, NJ, binders as well as adhesives for nonwovens were on display, as both the Adhesives and the Resins and Specialty Chemicals divisions were on hand to tout their products and promote a global image and joint partnership between the two divisions. The Resins and Specialty Chemicals division featured its acrylic, styrene-acrylic, vinyl acetate, vinyl acrylic and EVA emulsion binders.

On the adhesives side, a new patent-pending product, "Cycloflex," was unveiled to the trade. The hot melt adhesive, originally used in book binding, has been adapted for disposable applications and, because it is manufactured inhouse, can be tailor made with a variety of properties depending on the end use application.

At the booth of Reichhold Chemicals, Research Triangle Park, NC, binders for wet and dry wipes, filters and highloft and durable goods were the focus. The company manufactures acrylic, SBR, nitrile and EVA polymers and was also promoting its new U.S. headquarters opened in Research Triangle Park earlier this year.

Dispersions, Laminates, Additives, Elastics And Films

Himont's Functional Chemicals Division, Wichington, DE, was featuring three additive concentrates from its "Xantrix" additive delivery system (ADS)--peroxides, antistats and hydrophilics--at the show. The Xantrix ADS product line offers a broad range of additive concentrates in dry, free-flowing spheres. The concentrates, available in loadings up to 25%, provide substantial benefits to resin producers, plastic processors and compounders and offer a safe and convement method for combining liquid and low melting additives with polyolefins. All the Xantrix ADS concentrates are based on reactor technology.

BASF Fibers Division, Charlotte, NC, divided its booth at this year's IDEA show and had representatives from its roll goods, fibers and dispersions groups all on hand promoting their product lines. In the dispersions area, this marked the first time BASF has been involved in the U.S., with a new facility expected to start-up in January. Products highlighted at the booth were the group's line of "Acronal" specialty polymers. Acronal 32D and 35D are thermally crosslinkable acrylic copolymers with a soft hand, Acronal A 457 S, A 502 S and A 604 S are low formaldehyde, thermally crosslinkable acrylic copolymers and Acronal S 888 S is a thermally crosslinkable acrylic copolymer with high heat resistance.

BASF also showcased new "Resistat" conductive fibers for static control applications and "Colback" bicomponent nonwovens as well.

At the booth of Sequa Chemicals, Chester, SC, finishing of nonwovens was the focus. Products featured include "Permafresh" reactants, "Norane" repellents and softeners, "Impregnole" repellents, "Mykon" softeners and bath stabilizers, "Prym" soil release agents, "Warco" antistats, "Sequapel" liquid repellents, "Sequasoft" softeners, "Warcofix" dye fixatives and "Sulfanole" wetting agents.

Film and tape suppliers for absorbent product and medical applications were also present at the show. CT Film, Schaumburg, IL, was featuring its line of film products for a variety of markets; applications include absorbent product components and backsheets, food packaging and paper product overwrap, medical device packaging, agricultural/horticultural films and industrial products such as specialty tapes and release liners.

A newly formed Healthcare Products Group at Clopay, Cincinnati, OH, debuted at IDEA '92. The group, which includes applications such as single use medical and industrial safety products, introduced a thin-gauge barrier film that responds to OSHA's recent bloodborne pathogens regulation. The product is a polyethylene film adhesive-laminated to a spunbonded polypropylene nonwoven; applications include nonsurgical garments for general infection control in myriad medical areas.

Clopay's Hygienic Products Group was also present at the show, with a variety of new film products for the baby diaper area. A new soft polyethylene film on display retains the toughness and barrier properties of current backsheets, but adds a degree of quiet performance suitable for adult incontinence applications. A thin-gauge composite also retains barrier properties but provides the look and feel of cloth.

A mechanically modified polyethylene film that uses state-of-the-art embossing for a soft, quiet barrier film was also new at the booth, as was a compostable film that is compatible with current composting technology and provides barrier performance equal to current polyethylene backsheets.

Fulflex, Middletown, RI, was focusing on its global supplier status, promoting its natural and synthetic elastic tapes and threads for all types of nonwoven applications.

3M's Disposable Products Division, St. Paul, MN, was also at the show promoting its Scotch microporous film products. The company had samples of laminated, printed, embossed and pigmented films. 3M was also highlighting its Scotch double coated tape, which is designed for use as a fastener for panty protector wings on feminine hygiene pads.

News at the booth of Fabrite, Wood-Ridge, NJ, centered around the company's new line of waterproof and blood and virusproof laminated materials. Due to recent OSHA regulations on bloodborne pathogens, Fabrite has intensified its promotion of the laminates, which can take a nonwoven and make it blood and virusproof and washable for at least 25 washings.

Fabrite was also highlighting composite underpads, which hold up to at least 200 washings without shrinkage or delamination. The composites are made up of four layers--a knit or woven fabric, a highly absorbent nonwoven, a waterproof film and another woven or knit layer.

Gelok, Dunbridge, OH, was also highlighting laminates, particularly superabsorbent laminates for the horticultural market. The new product, which is green instead of the traditional white is used in applications where it is necessary to retain water around plants.

"Sanwet" IM-3900 superabsorbent laminates were the focus at the booth of Hoechst Celanese's Superabsorbent Materials Business Unit, Portsmouth, VA. The Sanwet products are starch grafted sodium polyacrylate, which is ideal for use in absorbent product applications where dryness and leakage are critical. In addition, applications include waste clean up and spill control markets.

"World Scope" was the theme at the booth of Ace, Liege, Belgium, which introduced five products for the hygiene market as well as promoting a new emphasis on global marketing. The company highlighted its "Sanitace" line, a series of film-to-nonwoven laminates for the adult incontinence area, as well as its "Medicace" laminates for the surgical and hospital markets. Also on display at the Ace booth were "Progace" nonwovens and films for protective apparel and "Ingace" industrial laminates.

JPS Elastomerics, Northampton, NU, featured its complete line of diaper elastics. Multistrand rubber thread, single-end rubber tapes, bonded rubber tapes and polyurethane tapes were all the focus at the booth.

"Do Yourself a Favor" were the buttons sported by representatives from Stockhausen, Greensboro, NC, which promoted its "Favor" superabsorbent polymers and composites. Applications include personal care, industrial and agricultural absorbent products.

Palazzo, Milan, Italy, was making its North American debut at the IDEA '92 show after recently announcing its joint venture agreement with HPT Plastics, Dayton, OH. The manufacturer of silicone coated release liners for the feminine hygiene markets displayed its high quality liner and promoted its new silicone coated polyethylene sanitary napkin liner that can be crimped at the edges to create an individually wrapped napkin. With the liner doubling as the package, one layer of the traditional package is eliminated, a significant savings in raw materials. The liner/package is manufactured in cooperation with Ace and its film technology

Because the company works best with projects and not products, Oliver Products, Grand Rapids, MI, highlighted its capabilities and interest in forming partnerships with customers. More specifically, there was information available concerning the company's engineered adhesive coated products that are used with specialty composite materials.

Anchor Continental, Columbia, SC, featured diaper tapes for nonwovens. The company was promoting paper and film fastening tapes as well as paper and film release tapes.

Georgia-Pacific, Atlanta, GA, highlighted its new "Golden Isles" fluff pulp for applications in various absorbent product applications.

Thermoplastic reinforcement netting for nonwovens was the focus of the booth of Conwed Plastics, Minneapolis, MN. The company featured its "Rebound" elastomeric net for stretch/recovery and its "Thermanet" heat activated reinforcement netting.

Machinery And Equipment Also Represented

Despite the fact that IDEA '92 occurred one short month after the American Textile Machinery Exhibition-International (ATME-1) in October, nonwovens machinery manufacturers were still very well represented at the nonwovens show.

With an emphasis on fiberized adhesives, Nordson, Duluth, GA, had several machines on display. The new "Control Coat" system, debuting at the show, is a non-contact, air assisted, slot action coater. The slot action allows for less plugging and higher speeds, resulting in source reduction through the near elimination of waste due to improper application.

Also on display was a fourth generation slot action intermittent metered spiral gluing system that offers higher line productivity and precision deposition, while another feature of the Nordson exhibit was its spiral diagnostic system. Developed originally for inhouse use to further the understanding of on-line fiber spinning, the system premiered at the show as an example of the company's drive to understand all the processes involved in its equipment.

Hot melt and melt blown systems were the featured attractions at J and M Laboratories, Dawsonville, GA. Several working machines were part of the exhibit, including the PC-305 coater laminator station with its 12 inch working width, adjustable tensions and the ability to process up to two webs, ranging from 0.3 mil polyfilm to kraft paper. The GM-50, a new member of the GM-series of grid melters with hardened gear pumps and individual digital temperature control, was also a highlight of the J and M booth.

ITW/Dynatec, Hendersonville, TN, featured both its new name and its complete line of hot melt adhesive application systems for gear driven spiral spray, slot die, melt blown and multi-bead systems. Formerly Mercer, the new company was established following the purchase of Mercer by Illinois Tool Works.

The company's entire range of nonwovens web forming and needlepunching machinery was being featured by Dr. Ernst Fehrer, Linz, Austria. Among the machines being highlighted were the K12 highloft machine, which is a random web carding machine with a highloft device that imparts a higher degree of loft by increasing the vertical orientation of the fibers. In addition, information regarding the company's needlepunching line, including the NL 3000 and the NL 21/S looms and the K21 high-performance random carding machine was also available.

Nonwovens needle felting equipment was featured at the booth of Dilo, Charlotte, NC. Product samples, product design and production process information were all available.

Foster Needle, Manitowoc, WI, featured its "Star Blade' design for needlepunching as well as needleboard metallic Niserts and plastic inserts. Fork and crown needles for structured fabrics were also highlighted.

Needle manufacturer, Groz-Beckert, Charlotte, NC, presented two new needle designs at the show. The "Tear Drop Shape" needle and the "Tristar" needle both offer a new form of working plate. The Tear Drop needle is primarily designed for the making of papermaker felts or production that uses scrims, while the Tristar needle, with its symmetrical resistance to deflection, is designed to withstand more aggressive applications.

Ultrasonic textile processing for the nonwovens industry was the thrust at Branson Ultrasonics, Danbury, CT. An ultrasonic rotary drum bonding/laminating machine for bonding multiple wide webs, the FS-90 ultrasonic fabric sealing system for the "sewing" or cutting of thermoplastic materials, the F-10 ultrasonic slitter for high speed off-loom slitting, a narrow-gauge slitter and the model 910M/AES ultrasonic welder for sealing in the plunge mode were all featured at the Branson booth. The company's ultrasonic cleaning and degreasing technology was also showcased.

In a similar vein, Proctor & Schwartz, Horsham, PA, featured its radio frequency drying technology. Fiber and slasher drying and nonwoven curing systems, each of which uses radio frequency technology, were highlighted.

Sonobond Ultrasonics, West Chester, PA, presented the "Seam-Master" ultrasonic fabric bonding machine, a device that meets OSHA regulations for medical garments and disposables, as well as an industrial fabric ultrasonic welder, the "SureWeld 20," which is for use with industrial fabrics.

The new "Hot-S-Roll 250" for use with calenders was introduced by Eduard Kusters, Krefeld, Germany Used for the bonding of nonwovens, production speeds up to 600 meters per minute are possible. Nonwoven padders and finishing lines were also featured.

Compensating Tension Controls, West Caldwell, NJ, featured splicers for narrow width nonwovens. In addition, the company's line of web tension reducer/equalizers for fragile webs, air chucks and air shafts was also featured.

The "Tension Roll Transducer" and the "SteadyWeb" tension controller were highlighted at the exhibition by Dover Flexo, Rochester, NH. The SteadyWeb controller, designed to be smaller, more compact and easier to operate and calibrate than more traditional machines, was making its first appearance at the show. The patented tension roll transducer also featured the ease and quickness of installation as major advantages of the unit.

Braided carbon fiber rollers, shafts and dancer assemblies were featured at the exhibition by Epoch, Garland, TX. The graphite composite products offer faster line speeds, fewer wrinkles, less web stretch and more flexibility, ensuring higher levels of production. "Aluclad," "Alulite" and "Steelite" rollers were also displayed at the booth.

Inertia compensated tension controls and a new line of hot wire lap splicers were displayed at the booth of Martin Automatic, Rockford, IL. Side-by-side cantilevered splicing was also featured at the exhibit. The hot wire lap splicer on the showroom floor, which can be used with any plastic-type web, was set up for demonstrations.

Cleveland Machine Controls, Cleveland, OH, highlighted its line of tension controls at the booth. The "Tensi-Master" tension transducers and indicators for measuring and displaying precise web tensions, "Tensi-Scan" monitors that offer centralized monitoring and newly designed transducers that can handle narrow web cantilevered rollers were all part of the company's exhibit.

The QLA slitting, cutting and stacking machine from Hauser, Inman, SC, and the company's belt driven linear drive systems were on display at the show. The QLA automatic length/cross cutting and stacking machine offers cutting to exacting specifications and has application in the automotive, shoe and hygiene industries.

Carded web forming lines for light, medium and heavy weight webs were the topic of discussion at Hollingsworth, Greenville SC. In addition, the company highlighted its "Fleximix" three-dimensional automatic bale opener and crosslapper and the Model F 6.435 high-speed web laying system, both new to the show.

Catalogs from the international companies that Gertex, Charlotte, NC, represents were displayed at that company's booth. Machinery catalogs for Autefa, Hansa, Spinnbau, Temafa and Truetzschler were available and sales staff were on hand to offer more detailed information.

Stork X-Cel and Stork Finishing, Boxmeer, The Netherlands, featured hot melt spray laminating equipment and screen to screen machinery at the booth. The STS (screen to screen) system is used for coating, impregnating, chemical bonding and printing nonwoven materials.

Ibis International, Stone Mountain, GA, presented drum replacement pockets as well as an intermittent dosing system for patch or spot placement of polymer. The dosing system on display was from Meca Diffusion, Lunel, France, a company that was sharing the exhibit space.

Fluff separation and superabsorbent polymer extraction machines were featured at the booth of Osprey, Atlanta, GA. The FS-50 fluff separation system was introduced to the show and the SE-100 SAP extraction unit was also presented.

GreCon Electronics, Beaverton, OR, introduced the BS 701/702 microprocessor spark detection/extinguishment system as well as the GreCon abort gate. The company also had information available concerning its BS-7 multi-zone spark detection/extinguishment system.

Extensive information on all its continuous production lines for nonwovens was available from Fleissner, Egelsbach, Germany (U.S. subsidiary: Charlotte, NC). Facts on finishing lines for bitumen roofing felts, combined lines for thermal and chemical bonding and foam impregnating lines for light, medium and heavy weight webs were available.

NDC Systems, Monrovia, CA, introduced the "T" series of low cost on-line basis-weight gauging systems. Applications for the new family of systems include use with spunbonded, melt blown, dry laid, air laid, wet laid and coated webs.

The "Micro PLUS" low cost measurement and control system was introduced by LFE Industrial Systems, Clinton, MA. With Micro PLUS, there is now a simple low cost system specifically designed for measuring smaller width materials.

"ConceptOne," a PC-based gauging system using standard 486 IBM OS/2 machines and software, was presented by Ohmart, Cincinnati, OH. Introduced last year, the system uses a graphical interface that is icon and touchscreen based and very user friendly. Ohmart also featured a unique automatic dye control system that uses a neural network (a form of computer artificial intelligence) for pattern recognition to be used in extruding coatings and laminating systems. The system does not require constant re-calibrating; it can adapt to changes and learn from them.

A formation analysis system that inspects the web edge to edge and provides real-time formation quality analysis was showcased by Systronics, Norcross, GA. Utilizing CCD array cameras and a neural network to acquire and analyze images, the system, along with a web inspection system also featured at the booth, classifies, maps and counts defects and provides various reporting capabilities.

Measurex, Cupertino, CA, debuted its "MXOpen MCS" affordable measurement system. Joining high quality and precise measurements with a low price, Measurex presented the MXOpen family of products and its "OptiVision" production and quality management systems.

A. Celli, Porcari, Italy, introduced its AC 3 automatic winder at the show as well as featuring its AC 810 RA slitter rewinder. The AC 3 has an automatic finished-roll change sequence, while the AC 810 RA features straightforward parent reel loading onto the unwinding stand.

Carbon fiber shafts, such as the CF 1000 hghtweight through shaft with a chuck and collar, were presented by Double E, West Bridgewater, MA. A full line of carbon fiber and other lightweight components were highlighted at the booth, including carbon expanding core shafts.

Automatic Handling, Erie, MI, debuted at the show and was present primarily to meet the industry as a whole. The company had information available concerning the industrial controls, service and mechanical engineering design skills that it can provide to solve industry problems. More specifically, literature describing the System 100 complete slitter handling system and the System 60 automatic turret unload/load system was also available.

Optima, Green Bay, WI, featured its Hygiene division and the packaging of soft disposable paper products into pre-fabricated poly- or paper bag alternatives with an inline bag making device.

Introducing drum dryer applications for web and nonwovens materials was National Drying Machinery, Philadelphia, PA. The high-efficiency suction drum dryer offers a low maintenance design for use with gas or steam heaters. The company also highlighted its nozzle, three-zone conveyor dryer, which can use convection air, radiant heat or steam sparging.

Elsner, Hanover, PA, featured its Z-Fold folding machine at the exhibition, specifically promoting the newest adaptation that offers the folding of baby wipes for flat packs. The Elsner ZFW folder can fold, moisten, stack and have ready for packaging nearly 5000 pieces per minute.

The Weko "Rotor Damping System" was showcased by Weko Biel, Biel, Switzerland, at its booth. Offering contact-free, uniform damping and application of auxiliaries to webs, the system is a proven technique for the application of liquids to press rollers and material in the web form.

Simco, Hatfield, PA, highlighted its "Top Gun" static neutralizing blow-off gun, "Neutro-Vac" web cleaning system and "Conveyostat" static neutralizers at the show. With a new and improved ionizer for superior ionizing capability, the Top Gun unit offers high efficiency cleaning and static neutralization in one cost effective product.

Dienes, Spencer, MA, introduced its new slitting tools, the air-operated "Quik-Clamp" score/crush cut knife holder and the "Score-Pak" crush cut system. The Quik-Clamp securely locks the holder to the mounting bar and eliminates any lateral movement.

Amotek, Bologna, Italy, introduced an automatic pre-made bag filling and closing machine at the show specifically designed to pack baby diapers and/or adult incontinence pads in a super-compressed style. The PB-128 can handle almost all types of pre-made bags including ones with drawstrings while still offering up to a 50% product compression.

Texmac, Charlotte, NC, representing Sakata Machine, featured information on Sakata's converting machinery for adult incontinence pads, nursing pads, masks and other varieties of sanitary and industrial nonwoven products.

Fi-Tech, Richmond, VA, the North American sales agent for Cofpa, Ceccato S.p.A., Edelmann GmbH and Reifenhauser GmbH, showcased information about all four overseas machinery companies. In addition, a new automated spinneret measuring and inspection device for long spinnerets was introduced at the show.

Central station vacuum collection systems for trim, dust, waste fiber and scraps were showcased at the booth of Abington, North Abington, MA. The company's capabilities at designing custom systems was also highlighted.

Company literature and examples of embossing rollers could be found at the booth of IR Engraving, Richmond, VA. Specializing in precision design for custom bonding and embossing rollers, the company can also handle varying hardness requirements--flame hardened, nitride hardened or fully hardened.

First time exhibitor Roehlen Engraving, Rochester, NY, presented its engraving and embossing line of rollers at the show. The company also featured its chemical milling process.

Boyd Converting, South Lee, MA, featured a variety of services for nonwovens. Among these were electrolytic capacitor papers, composite fabrics, a lens tissue, ultrasonic bonding services, contract sheeting, die-cutting and rewinding.

Tufco, Green Bay, WI, featured its entire range of laminating, converting and printing services at its booth. All of the company's equipment is designed and engineered to handle a variety of flexible substrates.

The Precision Fabrics Group, Greensboro, NC, displayed finished and coated nonwovens of all types, emphasizing the higher end fabrics, especially those with color added. The company was also looking to establish partnerships with other groups, emphasizing its custom designing capabilities.
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Title Annotation:IDEA 1992 conference held in Washington, D.C., November 17-19, 1992; includes related pictorial on conference
Author:Noonan, Ellen; Sullivan, Scott D.
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Dec 1, 1992
Previous Article:Review & forecast of the nonwovens industry.
Next Article:Rhone-Poulenc opens new research center.

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