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Nonwovens/​Converting

Nonwoven innovation to the fore in Miami

Winners in six categories to be announced at IDEA 2022.

1st March 2022

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Miami, FL, USA

Medical/Hygiene, Industrial

Online voting for the IDEA Achievement Awards celebrating major innovations in the global nonwovens and engineered fabrics industry in six categories is now open.

Industry professionals will have the opportunity to vote for the winners and see the award-winning achievements in person at IDEA 2022, from March 28-31 at the Miami Beach Convention Centre.

The awards recognise the leading introductions in equipment, raw materials, short-life, long-life and nonwovens products, as well as sustainability. Votes can be cast here.

The INDA technical advisory board, consisting of technical professionals from member companies, has narrowed the competition from more than 100 online nominations to the following 18 finalists selected for their leading innovations since the last IDEA show in 2019:

Equipment

With patent-pending ESC-8 electronic size change technology, US machine builder Curt G. Joa has addressed the need for automated product size change on adult incontinence machines, allowing endless combinations of insert and chassis designs while maintaining higher production speeds and minimising raw material usage. The ESC-8 technology can be integrated into new and existing machines.

The elastic thread anchoring (ETA) sonotrode technology of Germany’s Herrmann Ultrasonics allows the precise placing of elastics in the production of diapers and incontinence products that is reliable, adhesive-free and extremely soft.

The fixation of the elastic threads is accomplished with ultrasonic energy that offers a wide process window, without the need for tool changeovers, at processing speeds above 600 metres a minute.

With airlaying suction and a doffing system like traditional roller cards, the doffer airlay card of Italy’s Technoplants makes it possible to produce carded webs in thicknesses of from 10-1,500gsm. With top and bottom suction, it can produce a partly carded and partly airlaid web. The card can comb, separate and make parallel all types of natural, synthetic and regenerated fibres for applications including filtration and medical, as well as gradient acquisition and distribution layers (ADLs) for hygiene products.

Raw materials

Sero 100% premium hemp fibres from Bast Fibre Technologies (BFT) are the result of years of top-to-bottom supply chain experience in both the USA and Europe. BFT’s proprietary processing technology is employed to carefully clean, individualise and soften the fibres to meet stringent nonwoven technical standards. The fibres are plastic-free and compostable. As a plug-and-play replacement for synthetic fibres they run seamlessly on major nonwoven platforms without compromising production speeds, efficiency or uniformity.

The patented ODOGard technology of Kentucky-based Rem Brands is an advancement in odour elimination that has a mechanism which works by covalent molecular bonding to malodours, changing them into non-odorous molecules forever. ODOGard can be impregnated into pulp fluff and other kinds of media.

SharoWIPES by Sharon Laboratories of Israel feature an anti-biofilm mechanism to offer dual protection from the microbial contamination of both the wet wipe formula and the nonwoven substrate. The preservation system delivers broad-spectrum protection at low levels, contributing to wet wipe brand equity and sustainable claims.

Short-life product

MDP from Dermasteel (USA) is a nonwoven product for men coping with light urinary incontinence that is discrete, effective, comfortable and reliable. It features Body ID technology for customised adjustment, variable elasticity strapping, self-reflexive side panels for unimpeded breathability, form-fitting to the unique characteristics of each man’s anatomy, and the smallest carbon footprint of any comparable male incontinence option.

In young plant propagation, plastic products are used in large quantities. Ellepot of Denmark’s new nonwoven paper is a game-changer in supporting plastic exit strategies. During six years of development, Ellepot and Ahlstrom-Munksjö partnered with OrganoClick, the developer of special binders using organocatalysis, a field of chemistry awarded the Nobel Prize in 2021. The product is approved for organic crops in Germany, the UK, Denmark, The Netherlands, Sweden and Canada and certified okay home compostable and biodegradable in soil.

LifeSavers personal wipes, developed in Jamaica, change colour if they detect abnormal health indicators in the urine. The launch product is a diabetic wipe, which will change colour if there are abnormal levels of glucose in the urine. The wipes are therefore triple purposed as they assist with personal hygiene after urinating, act as an early warning system, and serve as an instant glucose monitor. UTI and kidney disease wipes are next in line.

Long-life product

Today’s reusable respirators are uncomfortable, limit communication, and can lose effectiveness after cleaning. Disposable options pose similar issues and generate waste. US company Canopy has created a next-generation, reusable respirator for healthcare workers that is comfortable, easy to clean, exceeds federal safety standards, has a transparent front to allow for improved communication, costs less than disposables, and can help save 7,200 tons of waste daily. It features a patented transparent, fully mechanical filter.

The Sumo baby cloth diaper paves the way for needlepunched/thermobonded nonwovens to find their way into reusable diapers as a result of speciality viscose fibres with adjusted cross-sections (trilobal and hollow) developed by Germany’s Kelheim Fibres. This technology pushes liquid management capabilities and the absorbency of washable hygiene products to new levels, opening up new fields of application.

Germany’s Mann+Hummel has developed a hybrid media by combining electret-based spunbond and a pure mechanical filtration layer of ultrafine polymer fibres. This results in an outstanding separation of PM1 particles up to 95%, according to DIN EN ISO 16890. The technology enables stable filtration performance and long-term efficiency over the whole filter lifetime. The nanofibre layer can be combined with any cabin air filter media of the Mann+Hummel range.

Nonwoven product

Sontara Silk from Glatfelter allows the creation of cosmetic masks that perfectly fit facial contours, are luxurious on the skin and have a minimal environmental impact. When infused with lotion, the masks have enhanced elasticity, conform closely to the skin, and have excellent adhesion. Sontara Silk has superior translucency and ensures even penetration of active ingredients onto the skin. It is manufactured with premium fibres derived from natural raw material allowing the masks to be biodegradable and compostable.

Suominen’s latest moist tissue product, Hydraspun Aquaflo achieves dry tissue dispersibility through a proprietary blend of 100% sustainable cellulosic materials, minimising environmental impact. This flushable nonwoven has a premium hand feel and passes dispersibility standards set by INDA (and the International Water Services Flushability Group (IWSFG.)

Technical Absorbents has developed a new grade of low shrink (LS) superabsorbent fibre (SAF) for use within a new range of nonwovens that are more resistant to shrinkage. The new LS SAF fibre and resulting fabrics were developed in response to demand from the medical industry for a superabsorbent nonwoven suitable for use in advanced wound pad dressings. The new fibre was engineered to be capable of withstanding the moisture used in the EtO sterilization process.

Sustainability

New bolt-on additions to the Generation 8 recycling platform of Singapore-based Diaper Recycling Technology (DRT)  guarantee increased performance in terms of material purity and work efficiency. While recovering up to 87% of investment in diaper waste, DRT is pushing the boundaries by adding active pulp scanning, fluidizing SAP re-gen technology, and gravimetric pulp refeed processes.

Fitesa’s S Bico 100% bio-based PE/PLA is a technically sophisticated plant-sourced nonwoven that has been successfully applied in baby diapers as topsheet, backsheet, and front ear components to deliver classic spunbond strength with good abrasion resistance and converting performance. It is responsibly sourced, soft and sustainable, leaving a negative carbon footprint by reducing environmental CO2.

Swedish start-up Blue Ocean Closures has partnered with Glatfelter and Alpla to accelerate and produce sustainable and environmentally-friendly packaging solutions. The companies have optimised renewable and recyclable wood fibres and airlaid materials to create paper-based screw caps that are durable, strong, and water-resistant. Proprietary vacuum press forming allows for low production costs and high scalability.

www.inda.org

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