Face-to-Face Business Returns to INDA's Nonwoven IDEA Show 2022
Part 1 - Sustainable Fiber Solutions
by Kathlyn Swantko
Innovative products and equipment, and sustainable advancements in nonwoven fabrics were highlights of the 21st edition of IDEA Show, the world's preeminent event for nonwovens and engineered fabrics. The show, organized by INDA, the Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, was co-located with the second FiltXPO™, North American's only exhibition and conference dedicated exclusively to filtration and separation. The combined events were held March 29-31 at the Miami Convention Center. IDEA Show 2022 offered the first opportunity since 2019 for approximately 5,000 textile executives and IDEA Show attendees to once again engage in face-to-face business meetings with global leaders from the nonwoven, engineered materials market.
"There's no substitute to meeting face-to-face and in person," INDA president, Dave Rousse said. "The event attracted a high level of participation among key decision makers, which is a testimonial to the show's importance within the international nonwovens/engineered materials industry."
A highlight of IDEA® was the announcement of the IDEA® Achievement Awards by INDA, in partnership with Nonwovens Industry magazine. These awards recognize innovative launches in equipment, raw materials, short-life and long-life nonwoven products, and sustainability.
Highlighted below are several innovative fiber-based nonwoven products featured at the show.
Bast Fibre Technologies (BFT) is a cleantech fiber engineering company that creates specialty natural fibers for applications throughout the nonwoven industry. BFT's products include sero™, a premium hemp fiber, and novel™, a specialty linen fiber. These fibers are part of the transition from using synthetic materials toward producing truly sustainable nonwovens.
Using advanced fiber processing technology, BFT transforms raw fibers from hemp and flax plants to meet the exacting standards required by nonwoven customers. BFT's ‘soil-to-soil' sustainability goes beyond climate neutrality, and works to repair the planet. BFT's 2R strategy is to Replace plastic in the manufacture of nonwoven items, and Repair the planet with natural and 100% compostable materials by eliminating waste, capturing carbon, and rebuilding soil.
Freudenberg Performance Materials used IDEA Show 2022 to showcase its 2020 mergers with Low & Bonar, and Filc, and to present the company's innovative technical nonwoven solutions as one. Through the mergers, the company can now work with a broader technology platform.
Freudenberg presented two new products at the show: 1) Evolon® RE, its high-quality microfilament textile made from recycled PET. By recycling post-consumer PET bottles in-house, Freudenberg's Evolon® RE is now available in high-tech wipes and technical packaging, in weights currently ranging from 80g/sqm to 300g/sqm. Evolon® RE offers the same high quality and material performance as its other popular Evolon® textiles. 2) Freudenberg's Colback® Plus nonwoven product is a pleatable support medium with a built-in filtration capacity layer for use as a carrier in the manufacturing of cabin air, room air and HVAC filters. This unique filtration utilizes fine-fiber technology and retains outstanding performance qualities.
Indorama Ventures (IVL) showcased the company's past decade of established growth strategy, and IVL's continued advancement and ongoing structuring of acquired fiber businesses.
Organized in 2019 into a portfolio of fibers companies, IVL has established three key Product Groups: 1) Mobility empowers Safety & Performance in Tires, Airbags, MRG, Composites & Industrial; 2) Hygiene provides Safety & Comfort in Baby care, Adult care, Feminine products; and 3) Lifestyle conveys Fashion with Performance through "Athleisure" Performance Fibers. The goal of these groups is to build and leverage the interactions among the three resource groups, as a way to target future segments for a continued presence within the global textile market.
Norafin featured a broad array of its functional nonwovens for a variety of wiping applications. Made from both natural and man-made fibers, these custom-engineered nonwovens are available in fine, coarse, extra coarse, and 3D performance fabric apertures and structures, and are also available customizable colors and print patterns. Norafin's broad manufacturing solutions for these wipes, along with the enhanced fabric performance qualities, are available in a variety of both natural fibers (animal-based and plant-based) and man-made fibers (thermoplastic, regenerated, and PET).
Through Norafin's spunlace and needlepunch technologies, the company processes nonwovens such as viscose, LENZING™ Lyocell, flax or blends of these fibers in a comparable stability that usually can only be achieved by adding synthetic fibers. Norafin works closely with its customers and partners to develop adaptable solutions, made of varied raw materials, for today's sustainability and for the future.
TRuCotton™, an innovation developed by Wildwood Cotton Technologies (WCT), located in the heart of the Mississippi Delta, is the market's first naturally hydrophobic fiber. For over 80 years, the company has been a 100% farmer-owned and farmer-operated supplier, a producer of recycled cotton fibers, greige premium cotton fibers, and an assortment of absorbent cotton raw materials. TruCotton™ is WCT's recent breakthrough approach to purifying cotton fibers without using water, chemicals, or process heat.
The non-bleached, non-scoured 100% natural TruCotton™ fiber is purified by cleaning, rather than through traditional chemical textile finishing processes. As an affordable solution and through comparisons, TruCotton has been shown to surpass the performance of synthetic nonwovens in manufacturing and in product performance. This unbleached, pure cotton product provides high-performance is good for business and good for the planet.