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Addressing the issues at NHPA 2018

Environmental concerns continue to be high on the agenda for the nonwovens industry.

2nd July 2018

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Cannes

Transport/​Aerospace, Civil Engineering

Environmental concerns continue to be high on the agenda for the nonwovens industry, and among new additions to the NHPA 2018 programme are keynotes from Matthew North, commercial director of Kelheim Fibres, as well as Kai Pöhler and Thomas Weigert, of Voith Paper and Trützschler Nonwovens respectively.

North will argue that the industry now needs to develop environmentally sound products – in terms of raw materials, production, distribution use and disposal – which mean that consumers do not need to change their habits.

“And industry needs to deliver these solutions before they find their products are legislated out of existence because the consumer doesn’t use them properly,” he says. “As a fibre producer with around 70% of its products going into disposable nonwoven products we recognise at Kelheim Fibres that we have a responsibility to develop such solutions to ensure the sustainability of our business.”

In alignment with this theme, Pöhler and Weigert will provide details of the latest developments in combined wet-laid/spunlace (WLS) technology, which is allowing manufacturers such as Albaad in Israel to meet these new demands from the market.

As a renewable raw material, they point out, cellulose is very cost-effective and allows the manufacture of high-quality nonwovens with different characteristics. One special product segment is flushable wipes, which disintegrate very quickly in moving water but at the same time have a high strength when wet. In addition, these products are completely biodegradable. They are therefore perfect as moist toilet paper and can simply be flushed down the toilet, making an important contribution to reducing blockages and faults in waste water systems.

Electric vehicles

On a separate theme that is just as concerned with a push for a more sustainable world, Silke Brand-Kirsch of Schlegel und Partner will present her keynote outlining what the major impacts on the nonwovens markets are likely to be, as E-mobility concepts gain traction across the world.

Material compliance, reductions in fuel consumption and CO2 regulations will have a great impact on the automotive industry and multifunctional and lightweight nonwovens can make a decisive contribution to the weight, noise and emissions of vehicles.

New applications are already arising in response to the demands from this growing market, such as brake dust and e-axle filters, as well as battery separators and advanced new insulation concepts.

It is, however, not yet clear whether electric technology will dominate the transportation market, or whether there will be a number of different, equally preferred forms of drive technology, such as those powered by hydrogen fuel cells, for which nonwovens are already being employed as gas diffusion layers.

Silke Brand-Kirsch will outline the landscape of this always fast-moving sector, which without doubt is on the brink of tremendous change.

The full programme for NHPA 2018 can be viewed here

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