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The Rupp Report: INDEX, The Nonwovens Industry Summit

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

This year's INDEX 11 — the 10th edition of the triennial nonwovens exposition — will take place at Geneva Palexpo Exhibition & Congress Centre in Geneva April 12-15, 2011. Innovation and sustainability are the drivers at this year's event. The global meeting point of the nonwovens industry reports that already more than 500 exhibitors have confirmed their participation, and for the first time, the exhibition covers more than 52,000 square meters of floor space. The organizers expect more than 12,500 visitors from more than 100 countries to attend this leading international showcase, which takes place in Geneva every three years.

Tailor-made Products
Nonwovens are tailor-made products that are used in a wide variety of applications — traditionally in the medical, hygiene and personal care products industries and increasingly in applications within the automotive, construction, home furnishings, filtration and packaging industries. They may be a limited-life, single-use fabric or a durable fabric, providing specific functions such as absorbency, liquid repellency, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame-retardancy, washability, cushioning, filtering, bacterial barrier and sterility.

Sustainability Report
Brussels-based show sponsor EDANA, the International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries, will release its new sustainability report on the opening day. Building on the association's mission to create an environment beneficial to sustainable and profitable growth of the industry participants through the active promotion of sustainable development, consumer interests and transparency, the report examines how players throughout the supply chain work together to achieve a more sustainable final product. A multitude of nonwoven applications will be covered in the report.

Special Events
INDEX 11 will also host a series of special events that provide an additional platform to share knowledge and to network with business contacts from around the world. Speakers from all over the world, among them some leaders of the industry, will take part in the free educational and promotional activities. Helen Rushton, product development manager of Geneva Palexpo S.A., event organizer, told the Rupp Report: "The INDEX is truly the global showcase for nonwovens with a broad spectrum of what is possible today with nonwovens. However, some sectors, such as innovation and packaging, various workshops, EDANA's vision of the future and, last but not least, sustainable products will be highlighted." Rushton also said in a recent interview that a few weeks before the start of the event, the exhibition space was extended to be able to welcome more exhibitors. "The number of visitors is more or less the same but everybody wants for floor space," she added.

Also from the visitors' side, there is a trend toward true globalization of the nonwovens industry. "We see a growing interest from visitors from the Middle and Far East," Rushton said. "Also these people see the advantages of nonwovens for modern industrial applications."

Interactive Workshop
A workshop dedicated to innovation will be available free-of-charge to all registered visitors and exhibitors during INDEX 11. The "Management Workshop on Innovation" will help managers to judge the strong and weak points of innovation in their companies. Attendees learn how to build and sustain superior innovation capabilities. Advance registration for this valuable event should be made online.

Product Presentations
Under the theme "Solutions for Tomorrow," presentations from exhibitors will show the latest innovations and the most up-to-date developments in the application of nonwovens. Visitors will have free access in a special auditorium within the exhibition halls, and there will be around 30 presentations covering the whole range of the exhibition program, starting on the afternoon of April 12.

Packaging Workshop
Packaging is becoming more and more important in today's world. Economical but also ecological solutions are very much in the focus of a special packaging workshop. The utilization of nonwovens is growing rapidly in the packaging field in a very broad range of applications from tea bags to fashion shopping bags. The session will also highlight revolutionary high-profile applications and offer a networking area with displays of new packaging products.

INDEX 11 Awards
The INDEX 11 Awards are designed to encourage and acknowledge innovation and new ideas in nonwovens, their raw materials and the machinery used in making or converting nonwovens. The winners of the prestigious INDEX Awards will be announced April 12 at the EDANA stand. The INDEX Awards are certainly the highest honor for the best examples of excellence in the nonwovens industry and highlight some of the most outstanding innovations. The interest in the awards is always strong and the entries are assessed on creative ideas, new technology and innovative products.

Vision 2020 Launch
EDANA will publicly launch its joint study on the future of the nonwovens and related industry in a program titled Vision 2020. Aimed at supporting member companies in identifying the challenges and opportunities in the coming 10 years, the program was developed with support from futurists and market experts. Information about the program will be shared with attending media on the opening day of INDEX 11, while EDANA members will receive the information and reports the week before. "During the crisis in the last few years, we have seen a trend towards more applications for nonwovens in different areas," Rushton said. "Traditional fabrics used to be the first choice to apply, but more and more, users [are seeing the] advantages of tailor-made nonwovens products. We're looking forward to a successful INDEX 11."

More information is available in the next issue of Textile World and Textiles Panamericanos , and is currently online at www. TextileWorldAsia.com . For questions about the show, contact index@geneva-palexpo.ch.

Textile World and its sister magazines Textiles Panamericanos and Textile World Asia will be present at the show in booth 4294. We're looking forward to seeing you in Geneva!

March 8, 2011