IDEA Post-Show Article
Part 2 - Advancements in Nonwoven Textiles
by Kathlyn Swantko
One of the primary goals of the global textile industry is to make synthetic textile production and consumption more circular and sustainable for the future. Textile industry sustainability includes a number of factors, such as: greater use of natural fibers; reduced use of water and power in production; the reuse and recycling of existing products; control of microplastic emissions; and the improved collection and elimination of waste materials.
Showcased technologies at IDEA 2022 included sustainable product advancements; equipment and technologies to reduce production costs to make nonwoven fabrics more commercially viable; and the use of nanofibers and other high-performance materials as alternatives to traditional membranes.
The FabricLink Network highlights several companies and products that involve sustainable product advancements; reduced production costs to make nonwoven fabrics more commercially viable; and the use of nanofibers and other high-performance materials as alternatives to traditional products.
Albarrie has been producing technical felts for a wide range of industrial applications for over 35 years. The company's textile processing expertise and its hands on approach creates the foundation for its engineered and diverse product offerings. Albarrie's industrial fabrics serve as key components for a variety of exacting processes, including advanced synthetic felts for demanding technical applications related to: protection, conveyance, insulation, acoustics, chemical-resistance, cut-resistance, and abrasion-resistance. Albarrie's commitment to sustainability is integrated into all its products.
Using advanced needlepunch technologies, Albarrie is capable of producing an array of nonwovens and felts from various synthetic polymer fibers. Albarrie Defenderâ„¢ heat felts are relied upon by the aluminum, glass and steel industries for their durability, heat- and abrasion-resistance, and unparalleled protective qualities. The company provides custom products that save its customers' money and enhance their manufacturing processes.
Albarrie recognizes and responds to approaching environmental issues by reducing waste, protecting against spills and keeping impurities out of our air and water. The company's proprietary polymer blends are non-toxic, non-hazardous, eco-friendly, and can even be burned for fuel after they have been consumed.
Americhem presented its realistic synthetic turf technology at IDEA 2022. By customizing each polymer, process, and application, Americhem offers improved appearance and durability for its line of synthetic turf products. Americhem's full complement of coloring solutions in synthetic turf applications have been carefully selected as to not hinder the turf's weathering performance. Whether a custom or standard color, Americhem's turf product is engineered to deliver the highest level of performance in the field. A variety of special effects can also be incorporated to deliver the desired appearance to any synthetic turf product.
Americhem has extensive in-house capabilities to demonstrate the environmental impacts anticipated on the field. To extend the life of Americhem synthetic turf products, the company uses masterbatches, based upon technologies designed and proven to be both safe and effective. Americhem's nDuramax⪚ family of breakthrough UV stabilizing masterbatches block the harmful effects of natural light in synthetic turf applications no matter the environment. The presence of bacteria in synthetic turf can also promote discoloration, foul odor, deterioration, and other issues. Americhem's nShield⪚ antimicrobial additives masterbatches restrain microorganisms from growing, and can even add value to the end product. When the time comes to replace Americhem's turf system, the product can be recycled, without negatively impacting the environment. Americhem is leading the effort in broadening the use of its sustainable polymer platforms.
GKD, Inc., a leading manufacturer of process belts for customer-specific applications, offered a broad range of solutions for demanding process efficiencies. GKD's range of manufactured textile belt products are used for dewatering, pressing, filtering, separating, drying, cooling, and freezing. The process belts, made from synthetics, metal, or material combinations, are produced on the latest high-performance looms and spiral machines, making them both extremely stable and flexible. GKD's spiral belt fabrics are available as filter and dryer screens, or as conveyor belts made of polyester or polyphenylene sulfide (PPS).
Spiraled continuous screens are ideal for applications in which a seam would be prone to failure, due to mechanical loads. Common uses for spiraled seamless applications involve dewatering and sludge dewatering within the paper industry. Spiral screens are also important in a range of thermal applications, including drying of veneers, the manufacture of gypsum plasterboard, and for quickly extracting juice from berries, fruits, and vegetables in the food industry. The company maintains a sustainable focus within its product portfolio. It is also certified according to industry standards, and has set ambitious goals in the areas of energy, environment, occupational safety and health protection.
Milliken & Company showcased its innovative automotive products of finding new and improved ways to serve consumer needs and meeting today's market challenges at IDEA'22. It's â€œLegacy of Innovationâ€� spans 150-years of combining science with design, operations with innovation, and insight with creativity. This technology for the automotive industry includes rigid underbody shields, wheel wells, and floors, all of which provide for a lighter, quieter ride and more durability. Each of the technical textile products are engineered and manufactured by Milliken and made from a moldable nonwoven, thermo-formable 3D composite material.
The underbody shields and wheel wells are up to 50 percent lighter than current products. The floors are lighter and more durable than the current standard, and the rigid underbody shield components improve aerodynamics and generate better fuel efficiency over comparable nonwoven material. The underbody shields and wheel wells also utilize Milliken's patent pending technology, which eliminates the attachment of ice and reduces moisture-absorption with six times less uptake, providing for more durability and better acoustics. With sustainability being important today, these products also contain up to 90 percent recycled polyester content.
Precision Textiles took the opportunity at IDEA 2022 to showcase its expertise and a range of technology-driven products including nonwovens, coatings/laminates, and specialty fibers for the bedding, automotive, and healthcare industries. The company's innovative technologies and customized nonwoven solutions are designed and tested in its laboratory in New Jersey. Precision Textiles' nonwoven capabilities include: needlepunch nonwovens; low-density/high-thickness nonwovens with a high saturation point; hi-loft nonwovens for applications that require cushioning or breathability; thermal-bonded spunbonds that involve the application of heated-air to the surface of the nonwoven fabric; and spunbond/medical-grade nonwovens.
Precision Textiles' coating and lamination products include: adhesive screen printing; powder coatings; spray coatings; hot melt coatings with the application of a polymer layer to the base fabric through melting, extrusion, or calendering the coating material; and water-based finishing. The company has established a reputation for creating precisely engineered products, and then developing groundbreaking solutions for the future. Going forward, Precision Textiles plans to expand its exclusive lines of eco-friendly solutions, including products such as ECOLOFT, ECOFLEX®, IQFit Natural⪚, EcoGuard⪚, and PurLoft. The company applies environmentally conscious methods wherever possible, such as incorporating organic wool fiber into materials and the use of solar panels at its factory to reduce its carbon footprint.
Twitchell Technical Products offered Coatings & Laminates in flexible custom solutions with various widths, resins, weights, and additives. Just like the individual yarns that make up its fabrics, Twitchell Technical Products has revolutionized the outdoor furniture market, interior & exterior screening, specialty fabrics, and coated products. By maintaining its century long success in developing better performance, design, and expanding new market product lines, the company directs technologies for innovative solutions, from woven, to non-woven fabrics, to any type of manufactured fiber.
Twitchell's coating & laminate process capabilities include: hot melt extrusion coating and laminating on a wide variety of substrates; slitting (both in-line with the coating process and off-line); sheeting; and customized labeling and packaging. The company's coating width capability ranges from 36" to 106", depending upon resin type and thickness.