Nonwovens Technology

ATME-I 2000 ReviewBy Richard G. Mansfield, Technical Editor Nonwovens Technology
Acquisitions, alliances fuel growth for nonwovens machinery
  Acquisitions, the formation of alliances and reorganizations of
nonwovens machinery producers are trends that were well in evidence at ATME-I 2000 trends that are
likely to continue. Examples of these trends include Rieters acquisition of ICBT Perfojet. Rieter
has evolved from a company that once was heavily concentrated in spun-yarn-processing equipment to
a key supplier of components and systems for man-made- fiber-manufacturing and nonwoven- processing
units. The recent entry of the company into spunbonded systems will give it more clout as a
supplier to the nonwovens industry.The acquisition by Autefa and Dilo of Spinnbau from Kleinewefers
enables a company, such as Dilo, to more easily provide customers with compatible components for a
whole nonwovens manufacturing system.A symposium presented during ATME-I, The German Nonwoven
Machinery Industry Partner for a Challenging Market, illustrated how companies are creating
alliances to aid their customers. Speakers at this symposium were from Dilo, American Truetzschler,
Spinnbau, Autefa, Kleinewefers, Fleissner and SchottandMeissner.Another important joint development
program is the work Fleissner and Hills Inc. have been doing to make microdenier spunlace fabrics
using Fleissners AquaJet spunlacing system and Hills bicomponent fiber manufacturing skills.The
Santex Group has reorganized in order to better service the highloft nonwovens business as well as
providing machinery for the coating and laminating of nonwovens. Nonwovens LeadersAutefa
Automation Group This German/Swiss company develops and manufactures components and logistics for
textiles and other industries. Autefa manufactures crosslappers for making nonwovens and textile
products. The functions of the crosslapper are to increase the surface weight of the web, improve
the longitudinal/transverse strength, increase the web width and improve the web quality.Autefa
Topliner crosslappers layering belts have low surface weight and friction, are chemically resistant
and highly conductive, and reduce static electricity problems. 

Dilo System Group The Dilo System Group includes alliances with Spinnbau, producers of
carding systems for nonwovens, and Siemens Mannheim in Europe and Siemens Westinghouse. The Siemens
companies provide on-call service and logistics with 24-hour emergency response for electrical
system repair and maintenance. As part of this alliance, Dilo and Siemens can provide training
options for the needleloom lines electrical and power systems.Spinnbau sells a carding unit for
producing thermal-bonded diaper coverstocks. The unit can make a 4-meter-wide web that runs at 370
meters per minute. In recent years, Dilo has supplied more than 70 needlepunch systems worldwide.
Sales of the companys geotextile systems have grown significantly.At ATME-I 2000, Dilo exhibited a
fully functional nonwovens line. Bale opening and fine opening were provided by Truetzschler. The
fiber flocks were then conveyed to the Dilo booth, where a dosage-control system fed the
Truetzschler Scanfeed FBK 539 unit, which then prepared the material via fleece-conveyor and
air-lay Turbo-Unit for the Spinnbau Turbo-Card. The Turbo-Unit is the air-lay web-forming unit to
be fed by either carded web, pre-needled fleece or a flock-feeding unit (Truetzschler FBK). The
Turbo-Card system combines a classic roller card and an air-lay unit when a maximum quality of
homogeneous blending and distribution of fiber in the fleece is required. In order to increase the
evenness of the product, two such lines may be combined into a tandem line by sandwiching two
fleeces with half the final weight of each on a collecting apron. The fleece is then consolidated
in the Dilo Hyperpunch needling system. With elliptical needling kinematics, it offers extremely
high throughput speeds of up to 150 meters per minute (m/min) at up to 3000 strokes per minute.
Dilo states that there are minimal dimensional changes (low draft and shrinkage close to 0
percent). When elliptical needling kinematics are combined with a special selection of
high-precision needles, interesting effects for the consolidation of fine-fleece hygienic wipes and
pads can be expected in regard to strength, drape and entanglement.Fehrer AG, Nonwovens Machinery
Division Fehrer exhibited a fully operative needle-punch machine type NL 21/SF-RV Superlooper in
2.4-meter working width. The machine is designed for the high-speed production of top-quality
random velours on a brush conveyor. Through the use of carbon fiber reinforcement for those
oscillating parts of the machine subject to extreme loads, it is now possible to achieve speeds of
up to 3,000 revolutions per minute (rpm). The Superloopers performance is enhanced by GBB 75 needle
distribution in both needle zones. Fehrer promoted to its customers the new mini-mill nonwovens
trial center in Linz, Austria, which allows running a wide variety of realistic customer trials for
many different applications of existing and potential customers. 

Fleissner GmbH Fleissner is a company that has been in business for more than 150 years as a
supplier of machinery for the textile and related businesses. Its initial products were targeted
for textile dyeing and finishing, but the companys product lines have broadened to include
machinery for synthetic fiber, paper and nonwoven fabric production.Fleissners Through-Air Drying
units have good acceptance by textile, nonwoven and paper manufacturers. Fabrics dried on these
units with minimum tension have a soft hand and low pattern distortion. The introduction of the
Fleissner AquaJet spunlacing system has enabled the company to broaden its participation in the
nonwovens industry. The AquaJet system can produce fabrics with weights from 10 to 100 grams per
square meter (g/m2) in widths up to 6,000 millimeters (mm) (240 inches) at pressures up to 600 bar
(8,800 psi). More than 30 AquaJet systems have been installed throughout the world.In conjunction
with Hills Inc. of Melbourne, Fla., Fleissner is developing spunlaced fabrics made with microdenier
fibers (less than 0.3 denier). Hills has developed fiber-spinning techniques to produce bicomponent
fibers that split during the spunlacing process to produce the microdenier fibers. The resulting
fabrics have a good hand and can be used for synthetic leather, substrates, velvet-like fabrics,
and for filtration and insulation applications. Spunlaced microdenier fabrics are used to make
wiping cloths for use in cleanroom processing installations.The Fleissner AquaTex system produces
Interspun® fabrics by the use of high-energy water impinging on the fabric. These fabrics have a
softer hand, improved abrasion resistance and reduced seam slippage. In some cases, latex for
stabilization can be eliminated.Kleinewefers (KTM) Kleinewefers (KTM) has been a producer of
calenders for the textile industry for many years. Thermobonding calendering units for nonwoven
fabric production now comprise an important segment of the companys business.KTMs Parotherm®
calenders are designed to provide for processes like spunbonding and for thermobonding of staple
fibers. The name Parotherm means the calender has a heatable roller with an integrated deflection
compensation engineered for these applications. In a two-roll Parotherm system, pressure is applied
externally and only one hydraulic system is required. KTM Parotherm rolls for making a
polypropylene coverstock use typical roll-surface temperatures, 160ºC and 250ºC for polyester
interlinings, with temperature tolerances plus or minus 1ºC. Speeds of up to 600 m/min can be
attained.Lurgi Zimmer Lurgi Zimmer is among the premier plant engineering companies for synthetic
fiber plants. The company has built production plants in 50 different countries and has built 390
polyamide plants; 160 polyester polycondensation plants; 147 high-speed spinning plants for POY,
FDY and FOY filament yarns; and 50 staple-fiber plants.Among the companys most significant recent
developments for fiber manufacturing are: PTT technology, jointly developed with Shell, for carpets
and apparel; modified polymers for high-performance spinning processes, high-tenacity technical
yarns; and high-performance spinning systems.Future research and development efforts include
optimization of PET processes to reduce capital operating costs, improvement of processes for
manufacturing PBT and PTT polyesters and use of renewable resources for cellulose processes.Neumag
The Neumag three-end BCF (bicomponent fiber) MAC (Modulus Assembly Concept) plant provides a mill
with the ability to start production of mono- or multicolored BCF yarns in just two weeks. The
unit, which is shipped in six 40-foot containers, can be assembled in nine days and is fully
functional in an additional five days.The Neumag BCF MAC unit can be supplied for polypropylene,
polyamide or polyester production. The machine and related utilities are placed into a modular
steel frame and assembled at Neumags facility prior to containerization and shipping. As well,
Neumag can provide modular specialized staple-fiber lines capable of producing bicomponent
fibers.N. SchlumbergerandCie In the nonwovens arena, N. SchlumbergerandCie has unveiled for the
first time to the public the worlds widest card cylinder (as claimed by the company) with a width
of 5 meters (197 inches). This cylinder usually would be integrated in the type CA11R35PPLL card.
According to company officials, such a card is already running in the industry with production
speeds of over 300 m/min. The CA11 card is adapted to the hygienic, clothing, medical and technical
products markets.Reifenhauser Reifenhauser was the first company to successfully introduce a
spunbonding system and has sold more systems throughout the world than any other company. The
Reicofil® system can produce spunbonded polypropylene fabrics from 10 to 150 g/m2 in widths up to
5,200 mm. The Double Reicofil line incorporates a second extrusion and spunbonding line, and raises
production rates while reducing energy consumption.The Reicofil Composite system incorporates
meltblowing units with the spunbonding units in order to produce SM (spunbond/meltblown), SMS and
SMMS composites. 

Rieter Perfojet Formerly known as ICBT Perfojet, this newest member of the Rieter group
manufactures spun- and filament-yarn processing equipment. This machinery produces nonwovens for
medical fabrics, personal and industrial wipes and synthetic leather.The Jetlace 2000 produces webs
from 20 to 400 g/m2 at 300 m/min. The water-jet injectors can operate at a pressure as high as
1,000 bar. Rieter Perfojet and M and J Fibertech have developed a spunlaced/air-laid combination
that produces wet wipes that are soft and have high uniformity and good absorption.In early 1998,
Rieter Perfojet started the design of a new generation of spunbonded fabric-production systems
under the trade name of Spunjet. The Spunjets advanced quenching system controls air in three
vertical zones and allows each zone to be controlled independently. All external air filters and
ductwork are integrated in line frames. Large volumes of air from the web former are accurately
controlled and managed. Heat dissipated within the system is collected and used for heating, and is
replaced by fresh air. Fiber drawing is achieved by using a specially designed slot device. The
Spunjet system can be erected within three weeks, and production can be started in another three
weeks.Santex Group (Santex Nonwovens) Santex Nonwovens was formed in 1999 in order to concentrate
the efforts of the Santex Group on nonwovens. In the United States, American Santex Inc. is the
organization selling and servicing nonwoven products.The Santex Wavemaker is a vertical lapping
unit that operates according to the rotation principle. The vertical position of the fibers in the
cross direction provides three-dimensional stability. The resulting products are finding use as
replacements for polyurethane foam in selected seating and bedding applications. The units can
handle card webs of up to 3,500 mm in width and infeed speeds of up to 150 m/min.The Santex
Santatherm unit is a thermal-fusion oven for nonwovens. Flowthrough and overflow techniques allow
the use of the same oven for air- permeable and impermeable materials. Each section of the unit
allows control of air-nozzle height adjustment, temperature and air regulation. Applications for
the Santatherm unit include thermal fusion with power or fiber, impregnation drying and heat-
setting. The Santext Santabond II is a smoothing and cooling calender that can be run under
pressure or with a gap.The Santex Highspeed I thermobonding line can run at speeds of up to 250
m/min, while the Highspeed II can achieve speeds of up to 350 m/min.Spinnbau Spinnbau, formerly
known as Krupp-Spinnbau, was part of the Kleinewefers group between 1981 and 1996. When Autefa and
Dilo acquired Spinnbau, the technical capabilities of former company Hergeth-Hollingsworth were
incorporated into Spinnbau.The Spinnbau carding program comprises universal cards with single and
double doffer, random cards with random and condenser rolls, specialty tandem cards and air-lay
cards. Spinnbau specializes in cards with working widths of up to 4 meters and wider for direct
feeding of thermobonding and spunlacing lines. Spinnbau recommends two-roll take-off systems,
effective at high running speeds.Spinnbau cards are equipped with suction and filter systems that
eliminate much of the cleaning. The top roller compartment is continuously vacuumed. Vacuumed fiber
is automatically fed back into the process, and dust is collected in a central filter station.A
modern Spinnbau card is PC-controlled and menu-driven. The card is integrated into a complete line
with a crosslapper and needleloom. Editor’s Note: this is the final report in ATI’s
three-installment series about the ATME-I show, held this past October in Greenville, S.C.

February 2001