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Techtextil 2003 hits Frankfurt: record attendance and exhibitor numbers prove the strength of the market for technical textiles.

Techtextil 2003 was held April 8-10 in Frankfurt, Germany. Despite concerns that the war in Iraq and the outbreak of Sudden Acute Respiratory Syndrome in Asia would negatively impact the show, attendance reached an all-time high. According to the show organizers, 883 exhibitors from 42 countries presented their innovations at the show. This represents a 12% exhibitor increase over the last event, which was held in 2001.

The success of the show can in part be attributed to the great potential for growth in the technical textiles industry. Experts predict this market will continue to expand 3-4% during the next several years. Nonwovens, finding a great deal of application in this segment, will certainly benefit from future growth in technical textiles. This potential was clearly evident by the number of roll goods producers as well as the presence of suppliers of raw materials and machinery to the nonwovens industry at Techtextil 2003.

Nonwovens Producers Roll Into Frankfurt

J. Dittrich & Son Vliesstoffwerk, Ramstein-Miesenbach, Germany, produces custom-made needle felts composed of synthetic fibers, natural fibers and blends of both fiber types with hot air, hot and cold calendering, impregnation and coating. The company's products feature antislip properties, flame retardancy, abrasive surfaces and antimicrobial activity.

Fibertex, Aalborg Ost, Denmark, focused its efforts on nonwovens for technical textile applications including building and construction, horticulture and protective clothing. The company manufactures drylaid, needlepunch and SMS fabrics.

The primary focus of Hollingsworth & Vose Air Filtration's Techtextil booth was Technostat electrostatically charged filtration media. The Kendal, U.K-based company has been manufacturing and supplying filtration media for more than 20 years. Technostat is a needlefelt material comprising two electrically dissimilar synthetic polymers, which are specially prepared and processed at the manufacturing stage, creating a charge transfer between the two types of fibers. This charging dramatically enhances the filtration efficiency by electrostatically attracting the particles to the fiber surface and removing them from the airstream.

Lentex SA, Lubliniec, Poland, offers a wide range of nonwovens adjusted to fit a customers' needs. The company's hydroentangling technology allows it to create products characterized by high durability and softness.

Johns Manville Europe, Homburg, Germany, introduced its new fine and lightweight polyester spunbond, ComforTex, at Techtextil. This mineral wool facing weighs only 15 gpsm and offers exquisite product performance properties including optimum air permeability, uniform coverage and excellent adhesive properties.

Novita SA, Zielona Gora, Poland has been producing spunlaced nonwovens for wipes and hygiene products since 1998. The products manufactured on Novita's two spunlace lines mainly service the Western European market. Novita can manufacture viscose and polyester fibers in white and light colors at weights ranging from 0.88-8.85 ospy. Novita also produces needlepunch materials in weights ranging from 1.77-62 ospy with carpet backing being the primary application.

Pegatex nonwoven textiles from Pegas, Znojmo, Czech Republic, consist of high tensile strength, air permeability and water vapor permeability. These products can be used as a vapor permeable barrier in roofing construction, as well as in disposable protective overalls. Other end uses include furniture, building, filtration, blankets and printing. Pegatex nonwovens can be supplied in a maximum width of 3200 mm.

PGI Industrial Division, provides technical nonwovens to markets where the association of its expertise, manufacturing and sourcing capabilities is needed. The division, which is based in Bailleul, France, provides nonwovens to specific industrial market segments where the association of its expertise, know-how, manufacturing and sourcing capabilities meets the needs of its customers. PGI Industrial Division, has recently improved its standard Matline by offering several benefits including better dry drapability, reduction of resin consumption, better adherence on vertical application and width and cost reduction. Now known as Matline Plus, the material is used as a core material in swimming pools, boats and yachts, windmills and trailers.

Of particular interest at Sandier's booth was its products for the automotives industry. The Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany-based company manufactures sawasorb plus and sawasorb shadow, a highly efficient fiber absorber offering automotive manufacturers alternatives in acoustical insulation. Sawasorb can be adapted to meet the desired requirements for substance and density of 100-800 gpsm in the thickness 4-50mm. Used as a trim for doors, bulkheads or pillars, the combustion performance tests the direct vicinity of the airbag systems are met without the need for additional equipment. Sawasorb also complies with EU guidelines.

Also on display from Sandler were products for the filtration, hygiene and wipes markets.

Raw Materials Suppliers Hit Techtextil

Web and film adhesives manufactured by Techtextil exhibitor Bostik Findley, Stafford, U.K., are designed for inline laminating operations and can bond a wide range of natural and synthetic materials. The Sharnet web adhesive has been developed using a unique manufacturing process that enables different polymer types to be blended. This allows the laminator to select an adhesive alloy with the preferred balance of technical properties. The Webmelt range is ideal for laminating delicate fabrics. Flexible and breathable, Webmelt's fine filament structure maximizes soft handle and drape while ensuring excellent bond performance.

Cerex Advanced Fabrics, a division of Western Nonwoveas, based in Pensacola, FL, was presenting its entire range of nylon at Techtextil. The company enjoys a strong business in Europe, where its nylon is unique, according to company executives.

For the first time at Techtextil as its own entity, DuPont Textiles & Interiors (DTI) used the show as an opportunity to showcase its many global brands. DTI was spun off from parent company DuPont, Wilmington, DE, earlier this year, and at least a portion of the business is expected to be sold in the near future (see Top of the News, page 14). DTI's global brands include Lycra, Antron, CoolMax, Cordura, SolarMax, Stainmaster, Supplex, Tactel, Teflon and Thermolite. DTI is currently the world's largest integrated textiles and interiors company with sales of $6.3 billion last year.

EMS Griltech, Domat/Ems, Switzerland, was showing its polyamides, copolyamides and copolyester used in apparel interlinings. The company's thermoplastic adhesives and technical fibers enhance adhesive and lamination techniques.

Fil. Va., Varese, Italy, has developed thermoplastic material extrusion technologies that have allowed it to continuously increase the quality level of its products. This wide range of monofilaments is manufactured from highly technical raw materials. Of particular interest at Techtextil were Fil. Va.'s tricomponent staple fibers that can be obtained from thermoplastic polymers. Tribond fibers are available in two different versions--one that melts at 165[degrees]C and another that melts at 256[degrees]C.

Honeywell Performance Fibers, Richmond, VA, was showcasing its Spectra fibers, which are 10 times stronger than steel. The Iraqi conflict as well as other global struggles have broadly increased the demand for Spectra, which is used in protective gear and marine-based roping.

Fiber supplier KoSa, Spartanburg, SC, presented several innovative products under the brand name KoSa High Tenacity. The company's new Flame Retardant Polyester High Tenacity Type 704 has been shown to allow safety in several industrial applications.

At Lenzing, Austria-based Lenzing's booth was a variety of fibers for the nonwovens industry Lenzing Viscose Chlorine Free is bleached with hydrogen peroxide to make it suitable for delicate applications such as hygiene, sanitary and medical. Lenzing Viscose Color is an ideal fiber for household items because this spundied fiber requires less dying processes. Also, on display from Leazing were Lyocell fibers which are ideal for technical textiles because of its enormous potential.

Montefibre, Milan, Italy, used Techtextil to announce the start up of its new polyester staple fiber production line, which will have a capacity of 50,000 tons per year. The expansion allows Montefibre to strengthen its position in the European polyester staple fiber market. Additionally, the company introduced several new fiber products for technical textiles and nonwovens. Terital Micro T15, a polyester microfiber, is used for cotton-type applications where high tenacity is needed; Terital Micro T74 (polyester microfiber) was developed for spunlaced nonwovens, particularly in hygiene and medical applications, and Terital T73 AD is a polyester staple fiber with inherent antidustmite properties which were achieved by incorporating an inorganic agent into the fiber.

Rhodia Technical Fibers, Business Unit Nonwovens, Neumunster, Germany, has served the nonwovens industry since 1980. Products range from polymers to staple fibers and monofilaments can be used in needlepunched, thermal bond, spunlaced, wetlaid, airlaid and meltblown nonwovens. At Techtextil 2003, Rhodia was promoting its line of staple fibers for nonwovens production.

Four new products were introduced by Sanitized AG, Burgdorf, Switzerland, at Techtextil 2003. Sanitized PL21-60 is an active substance that provides a permanent effect even when applied in small amounts. This new antimicrobial additive has a wide spectrum of use including mold fungi, yeasts, algae and bacteria. Sanitized TPL 20-02 is an additive for polyurethane coatings that meets the tough OekoTex 100 Standards, which have been enforced since early 2002. Sanitized T99-19 is an antimicrobial protective treatment for textiles to prevent body odor. Sanitized TH21-06 is a new product offering comprehensive protection against the infestation of microbes, mildew spots, algae and rot. These new developments are in sync with Sanitized's motto of "Safety and Effectiveness," which has been followed for decades.

The fiber form of Oasis superabsorbents gives greater control of superabsorbent handling, dosing and containment. Incorporating Oasis into nonwovens, compared to granular superabsorbents, dramatically reduces waste by precisely loading and distributing uniformly. Technical Absorbents is a joint venture of Ciba SC and Acordis U.K.

Technical textiles and nonwovens made from Ticona's high performance polymers can be tailored to meet a wide variety of requirements. The spectrum of technical applications range from drying belts for papermaking and the food industry to blood filtration and fuel filters. Ticona supplies a broad range of special grades to meet the diverse requirements of technical textiles. Fortron, Celanex, Hostraform, Topas and Riteflex can be used according to the individual material properties required to produce high quality filaments, fibers and nonwovens. Celanex PBT is particularly well suited to produce ultrafine nonwovens for blood filtration media, which comply with U.S. and EU regulations.

Wacker Silicones liquid silicone rubbers are the ideal alternative to traditional seams and rubber waistbands. This new process allows bonding of technical textiles as well as underwear and sportswear. The bonded seam is permanently elastic and durable featuring excellent skin compatibility. These rubbers are being sold by Wacker Chemie, Burghausen, Germany, under the trade names Elastosil LR and Elastosil R.

In response to a EU directive mandating that the bulk of automobiles be recyclable in the next several years, Wellman International, Kells, Ireland, has developed the Fillwell High Melt Bicomponent fiber. This 100% polyester fiber facilitates recycling while providing the strength, stiffness and toughness stipulated for automotive headliners. This fiber has a melting point of 160[degrees]C, making it able to be processed on current industry equipment.

Machinery & Equipment Manufacturers Shine

The Pope winder, type restatic, from Campen Machinery A/S, Horaslet, Denmark, is an automatic threading system, which at production start leads the material to the winding position by guiding plates and airflow. It features two mechanical fixing systems for drive and fixation of the winding shaft, one for each center drive, as well as automatic splicing sequence and feeding of winding shaft.

The company's impregnation concept features a foam applicator with a driven foam distribution nozzle system, adjustable edge limit posts, driven application rollers of stainless steel and an oscillating doctor blade system for cleaning the roller surface. The concept also features an automatic mixer designed for extremely light densities. Also on display at Campen's booth was its laminating machine for laminating, splicing and spreading.

Caviflex hotmelt technology, featuring coating by gravure roller, multiroller or slot die system for car interiors, upholstery, medical textiles and protective clotbing, was featured at Cavitec's Techtextil booth. The company also produces Cavidot powder dot, paste dot and double dot technologies; Caviscat scatter coating system and Cavipreg impregnation of fabric, nonwoven and paper for the electronics and decorative industries.

Ultrasonic laminating calendars were the focus of Comerio Ercole's booth. The Busto Arsizio, Italy-based company has developed a new range of products to satisfy a need for continuous processing nonwovens and composite materials. This process requires a perfect synergy between system components and technologies, which Comerio Ercole has achieved by integrating the ultrasonic technology of Herrmann Ultrasonics. The main applications of these machines are laminating multiple layers in hygiene items and special areas such as laminating multiple layers of roofing materials.

The company has also developed a variety of equipment to emboss plastic films, nonwovens and composite materials. In nonwovens, the embossing system is enhanced with a unit comprising a pair of steel rolls, one of which is embossed.

The Dilo System Group, Eberbach, Germany, is the complete line provider of machinery manufactured by Trutzchler, Spinnbau, Autefa and Dilo. This partnership has resulted in hundreds of complete line installations around the world, resulting in an unparalleled accumulation of experience in connection to all aspects of the delivery, installation and process technology. A complete line installation from Dilo, and its partners, has many advantages in the needling industry. Among these is that Dilo acts as the sole contractor, assuming the coordination responsibilities.

The Elsis Inspection System from Erhardt + Leimer, Augsburg, Germany, is a customized system package, a new generation of highly innovative inspection technology. This system is capable of inspecting paper, tissue, nonwovens and films featuring high scanning rates, image processing software and system calibration.

The main focus of Egelsbach, Germany-based Fleissner's Techtextil booth was its AquaJet Spunlace System for composite non-wovens and woven structures using carded, airlaid, spunbond and wetlaid nonwoven webs. This technology has been developed into an advanced bonding technique for high-quality nonwovens. Fleissner also supplies through air dryers for nonwovens applications.

Needle supplier Groz-Beckert, Albstadt, Germany, has recently developed a D-barb needle, which has been used in fineness ranges of 38-40 grams. This needle allows for the closest barb spacing available in the world, according to company executives, and is used to create special, high tech nonwovens.

Isra Vision Systems was displaying its fully automated inline inspection systems for the inspection of technical surfaces including foils, nonwovens, paper and technical textiles. These surfaces can be neutral, printed, structured or colored. This inspection supports productivity through 100% quality documentation, precise data and defect minimization

Kruss, Hamburg, Germany, introduced Top Drop Analyzer TDA10 at Techtextil 2003. This wettabiity tester monitors hydrophobic properties of technical textiles with one press of a button. The new system can reportedly gauge hydrophobicity in any surface type with an integrated video screen and image analysis.

The Nonwovens Inspector, from Massen Machine Visions Systems, Konstanz, Germany, is the first color camera-based system that simultaneously inspects nonwovens webs for defects and monitors the production process with color vision technologies. This inspection system is based on a proven industrial vision standard and detects physical defects such as thin spots, thick spots, wrinkles, holds and folds.

Karl Menzel, Spartanburg, SC, was promoting its vision systems at Techtextil. Menzel's machinery can monitor width, detect edges and printed lines and create reports. The cameras in the systems interact with the lines' controller to detect problems without much downtime.

The Porous Coat System from Nordson Corporation, Dawsonville, GA, is a high-speed, high productivity, environmentally friendly lamination technology that answers the needs of textile and carpet producers. The system was designed for the precise application of thermoplastic hot melt adhesives for textiles and nonwovens. The Porous Coat system consists of a coating stand, drum melter, metering unit, pump station and coating die.

Of particular interest at the booth for NSC Nonwoven, Turcoing, France, was its newly created division, named NSC services, which oversees insulation and commissioning, after-sales services, technical assistance, training and consulting. Also under the NSC umbrella are the fiber to yarn, nonwovens, packaging and system solutions divisions. The company has recently commissioned four complete lines. In Europe, NSC sold a needlepunch line with a ProDyn System for the manufacturing of floor coverings, and in China a spunlaced crosslapped line for artificial leather was sold. Meanwhile, a spunlace line with a ProDyn system was sold in South America and the largest spunlace line in the world for the manufacturing of wet wipes was sold in the North American market, according to company executives.

Rieter Perfojet, Montbonnot, France, was presenting its machinery for meltblown, spunbond and spunlaced nonwovens. The company's Perfobond system features spunbond and spunlace processes with a triple doffer system, allowing weights to range from 25-125 gpsm. While Rieter has traditionally been more experienced in the spunlace arena, with more than 100 machines sold to date, expansion efforts into the spunbond market have proved successful. The company has already sold three machines in Europe, where it is focusing much of its efforts.

Zimmer Machinery Corporation, Kufstein, Austria, was displaying three major coating systems for nonwovens and technical textiles. The Magnoroll system is a multipurpose coating system for widths ranging from 50-540 centimeters. Featuring 100% even application with the Zimmer Magnet System, the system coats in horizontal and vertical web directions. Meanwhile, the Miniroll System is a newly patented system designed for dying and chemical applications, and the Variopress foamer coating system is designed for paste and foam applications on technical textiles, standard textiles, nonwovens and tissue, providing 100% control of how much foam is applied independent of line speed.

RELATED ARTICLE: Plans For 2005 Already Underway

Techtextil 2005 will be held in parallel with Avantex April 19-21, 2005. The two shows will cover the entire spectrum of technical textiles and functional apparel textiles. Event organizers feel that holding the two shows in tandem will capitalize on the synergies between the two subject areas. The next edition of Avantex, which focuses on high-tech apparel textiles, planned for June 2004, will not be held.
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Comment:Techtextil 2003 hits Frankfurt: record attendance and exhibitor numbers prove the strength of the market for technical textiles.
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Geographic Code:4EUGE
Date:May 1, 2003
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