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Finland’s formidable consortium

Establishing a roadmap for identifying business opportunities for sustainable nonwovens.

20th December 2021

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Finland

Medical/Hygiene, Industrial

The Future of Nonwovens (FoN) project co-ordinated by the VTT technical research centre brings together a unique consortium of collaborative partners across the nonwovens value chain in Finland.

This includes raw material producers Fortum, Metsä Spring, Infinited Fiber Company and UPM, CH-Polymers, a producer of biobased and sustainable bonding chemicals for airlaids and composites nonwoven fabric producer Suominen, airlaid machinery manufacturer Anpap, and a measurement and automation system supplier Valmet.

FoN’s aims are to develop airlaid material prototypes from novel fibres and binders and bio-based and thermoformable airlaid-reinforced composites, in addition to comparing airlaid webs with other nonwovens, developing spectroscopic methods for on-line characterisation and establishing a roadmap for identifying business opportunities for sustainable nonwovens.

Suominen’s target is to increase its sales of sustainable products by 50% by 2025, compared to the base year 2019, and to launch at least ten sustainable products per year.

“The project brings together unique expertise and will create new business opportunities, jobs and wellbeing in Finland,” says project manager Taina Kamppuri, a VTT senior scientist. “The FoN project will develop bio-based and biodegradable nonwoven materials from softwood pulp and new cellulose-based textile fibres that can also be made from used T-shirts and jeans. In addition, we are studying the use of bio-based chemicals as binders and low-energy air-laying technology in the production of nonwovens.”

The project envisages that by 2030, over 50% of synthetic textile fibres in nonwovens will be replaced with sustainable bio-based, biodegradable and recycled materials in Europe and in the USA.

It therefore aims to transform the raw material base, exploring airlaying as the production technology.

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