TW Special Report
The Cary, N.C.-based Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry (INDA) held the 13th iteration of its RISE® — Research, Innovation & Science for Engineered Fabrics — conference recently at the Talley Student Union on the campus of North Carolina State University (NC State), Raleigh, N.C. The two-day event was again co-organized by INDA, NC State and the Nonwovens Institute (NWI).
RISE focuses on emerging technologies and ideas with the aim of connecting innovations with real-world applications for professionals in the nonwoven/engineered fabrics industry.
Speakers included experienced industry, government and academic personnel. Topics included the future of nonwovens manufacturing, real-world applications and advances in filter media, recycled polymers and sustainability, circular solutions, and market statistics and data trends, among other topics. Johann-Philipp Dilo, Dilo Group CEO, traveled from Germany to share information about Dilo’s new MicroPunch needling technology for lightweight nonwovens that was introduced at ITMA 2023.
Graduate students from the NWI had the opportunity to present their research work to attendees in a poster display. The conference also featured a tour of NWI to view its extensive collection of lab- and pilot-scale manufacturing and testing equipment.
Ed Thomas, with Nonwoven Technology Associates LLC, was honored with the 2023 INDA Life-time Technical Achievement Award for his contributions to the growth and success of the nonwovens industry over many decades. He was presented with the award by INDA President Anthony “Tony” Fragnito and Matt O’Sickey, INDA’s director of Education and Technical Affairs.
On day one of the conference, each of the RISE Innovation Award finalists gave a short presentation about their nominated technology to the conference participants who then were tasked with voting for the winner. Presentations were provided by Chris Nelson with Curt G. Joa Inc. about the ESC-8 – The JOA® Electronic Size Change; Thomas Wittrup with Fiberpartner ApS about BicoBio Fiber; Tobias Wagner with Reicofil GmbH & Co. KG about the Reifenhäuser Reicofil RF5 XHL; and by Dr. Hani Sherry with TiHive SAS about its SAPMonit technology. TiHive emerged as the 2023 RISE Innovation Award winner for its diaper inspection technology. Using advanced cameras, high-speed vision algorithms and secure cloud integration, SAPMonit detects the weight and distribution of superabsorbents inline and can optimize resources, detect flaws and accelerate research and development. The technology has the capability to avoid hundreds of tons of plastic waste per machine per year, thus reducing costs and providing a more sustainable operation.
“INDA values its long-standing collaboration with NWI,” noted INDA President Anthony “Tony” Fragnito. “Together we provide valuable workforce development opportunities and disseminate industry innovation and research in the material sciences impacting nonwovens. The 2023 edition of the RISE conference is another shining example of our organizations working together for the benefit of the industry.”
RISE 2024 is scheduled for October 1-2, 2024, at a new venue on the NC State campus — the James B. Hunt Jr. Library.