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Kelheim Fibres to explore new applications for its viscose speciality fibres

The company will look into the suitability of its innovative hydrophobic Olea fibre for emulsion separation.

12th September 2016

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Kelheim

Packaging, Sustainable, Medical/Hygiene

Olea is a viscose fibre with durable hydrophobic properties. The additives used in production are approved for food contact by the FDA and the BfR and at the same time free of silicones. In a series of tests over the next months, the company will analyse how these hydrophobic properties influence the separation of water/oil mixtures.

Preliminary trials have shown an accumulation of oil on the fibre’s surface which then enables the separation of the larger oil droplets. As a next step, Kelheim will examine the efficacy of separation of different emulsions, as well as the influence of the nonwoven construction and suitable blend partners.

Viscose fibres

Unlike other cellulosic fibres, such as cotton or wood pulp, viscose fibres are distinguished by their well-defined and reproducible properties that allow them to be designed to meet the needs of processing steps and adapted to each application. For example, the porosity and surface of a filter can be precisely controlled by adding viscose fibres with different cross-sections. The incorporation of functional additives into viscose fibres is said to allow the optimization of the fibres in respect of the intended application, for example for the removal of tannins from beer.

One of the advantages of use of functional viscose fibres is that they do not impact the physical properties of the filter and can not migrate into the filtered product but can still function effectively, as additives are incorporated in the fibres.

As viscose fibres are manufactured from renewable raw materials, the incineration at the end of filter life is CO2 neutral, or – if the residue in the filter allows – they can be composted, an ideal disposal route for precoat filter cakes in the beverage industry.

Environmental protection

According to the manufacturer, the use of viscose speciality fibres from Kelheim is completely safe both for people and for the environment, which is one of the reasons why the fibres have been used in medical products.

The fibres are certified for food contact by ISEGA, and the absence of harmful substances in the products is confirmed by their certification to the Oeko-Tex Standard 100 in the most demanding product class. Viscose fibres are taste neutral and are currently used in food and beverage applications, such as coffee pads and tea bag papers.

Kelheim Fibres

Kelheim Fibres is one of the leading producers of viscose speciality fibres. The company is focused on developing innovative products, flexible technologies and strong customer orientation, as well as active environmental protection.

From the company’s production plant and headquarters, located in Kelheim in Southern Germany, its viscose fibre products are used in widely diverse applications ranging from fashion, hygiene and medical products, to the nonwovens industry. Approximately 90,000 tons of viscose fibres are produced and tested every year at Kelheim in South Germany.

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