Needlepunch Market Report – Nonwovens Trade Journal
Whereas funding within the know-how slowed down early final yr on the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, equipment suppliers are reporting an uptick in new orders.
Equipment skilled Autefa Options has even seen a rising curiosity in needlepunching know-how for hygiene functions and particular cleansing wipes. “This definitely has to do with the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Marco Fano, international gross sales director, Autefa Options.
Jean-Philippe Dumon, gross sales director, Nonwoven, of equipment specialist Andritz Asselin-Thibeau, says that through the first half of 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic drastically decreased investments within the needlepunch sector, aside from processes in reference to medical and hygiene functions. Nevertheless, in August 2020, the market modified drastically and there was monumental exercise on orders for brand new needlepunch gear. “The scenario has not modified since then, to the purpose of making extreme difficulties in assembly supply deadlines,” he says.
In line with Dumon, needlepunching is probably the most versatile nonwoven course of accessible. “It’s fairly wonderful how the needlepunch business has been resilient to the Covid pandemic,” he says. “A lot of our clients have began to supply masks or masks parts with nice success as there was a substantial scarcity of surgical masks within the western world.”
DiloGroup, one other skilled in needling equipment, additionally witnessed restoration available in the market following challenges related to the pandemic. “2020 definitely was a tough yr the place a weak financial system was in additional decline and, initially of the yr, the Covid-19 pandemic has introduced extra stress to the market,” feedback Johann Philipp Dilo, CEO, DiloGroup. “Within the final quarter, nonetheless, the enterprise surroundings modified fully foremost because of the restoration of China. So the downturn was adopted carefully by a speedy restoration and this yr 2021 shall be carrying us again to regular and even above common as an excellent yr.”
In line with Dilo, the expansion fee of manufacturing and consumption of needlepunched materials was between 5% and 6% for a few years. “Although the pandemic will influence this determine, it would solely be for a brief interval earlier than earlier development charges return,” he provides. “Needlepunching was under-estimated previously however is now thought of a very powerful and progressive know-how related to excessive productiveness, effectivity and low power consumption.”
Antonio Carli, gross sales supervisor of Italian nonwovens producer O.R.V. Manufacturing, says that the pandemic has impacted demand for needlepunch primarily for air filters in addition to face masks. In reality, new functions for air filtration and face masks, in addition to the automotive business with particular necessities for acoustic and thermal insulation, are driving development available in the market. “Our know-how permits us to supply personalized merchandise to clients necessities,” he says.
For its half, nonwovens producer Lydall, by way of its Technical Nonwovens (TNW) division, affords one of the vital diversified ranges of needlepunched merchandise within the business. The merchandise manufactured in its 12 international websites are utilized in a number of functions similar to industrial air filtration, liquid filtration, constructing materials and acoustical options, automotive parts, geosynthetics, medical and wipes, industrial materials, and CIPP. Lydall can manufacture needlepunched material from as little as 60 g/m² as much as over 2500 g/m² with numerous fiber sorts, floor finishes and chemical therapies.
Over time Lydall Technical Nonwovens has developed an experience in composite and multi-layer supplies combining the distinctive properties of the completely different supplies being mixed. One current instance of a brand new needlepunched composite is its Draintube drainage product, an modern drainage resolution utilized in civil and environmental works. This patented product is manufactured by a Lydall joint-venture, Afitex-Texel, and consists of one-inch diameter perforated mini-pipes encapsulated between two filter and drainage geotextile materials. The Draintube, used together with different geosynthetics similar to protecting nonwoven geotextiles and waterproof geomembranes, can drain liquid and gases from functions similar to waste landfills, mining tailing pads, sports activities fields and constructing foundations.
In line with Lydall, along with the standard industrial GDP-driven development from the economic sector, the event of latest fields of software for needlepunched materials is bringing extra development to the needlepunch market. Such new software fields are pushed by particular traits of the needlepunch felt. “Traditionally, we solely used to see the needlepunch felt in heavier weight and reusable functions,” says Danny Berube, international director enterprise improvement Lydall TNW. “Extra not too long ago the know-how improvement (particularly with the brand new machines providing decrease coefficient of variation) has allowed using needlepunched materials in lighter weight functions similar to automotive and constructing materials parts.”
Lydall additionally sees a brilliant future for using needlepunch materials in functions the place the environmental sustainability is a key standards. The corporate has seen many nonwoven merchandise being geared toward these greener functions in lots of fields of software, from constructing supplies to automotive merchandise. The brand new greener fibers and binders used for manufacturing nonwovens are enhancing the power to develop merchandise that may substitute different applied sciences with a greater environmental footprint. For example, the pure fiber now being utilized in some needlepunched materials permits for composting of fabric on the finish of their lifecycle.
In line with Lydall, the needlepunch market has seen plenty of technological enchancment during the last 20 years and the manufacturing course of has seen a dramatic throughput improve. This technological evolution has made needlepunched know-how a extra aggressive resolution in lots of fields of functions. “Funding in state-of-the-art gear with larger throughput has modified the face of the business during the last 20 years,” says John Lewis, North American VP/GM Lydall TNW.
Following this development and to help its buyer base, Lydall Technical Nonwovens proceeded this winter with the start-up of a brand new manufacturing line in its Texel facility positioned in Quebec, Canada. This new needlepunching line is focused for development alternatives in lots of markets serviced by Lydall together with medical, automotive, filtration and industrial functions. This funding has allowed Lydall to steadiness its manufacturing strains extra successfully and maximize productiveness based on the distinctive technical capabilities of its gear.
In different funding information, Polish nonwovens producer Puerko Sp. z.o.o. introduced final month it could set up an Andritz needlepunch line in Myszków, Poland. The road will course of recycling fibers from garment waste for the manufacturing of technical felts devoted to furnishings and geotextile functions. The ultimate merchandise could have material weights starting from 300 to 500 gsm, and the manufacturing capability shall be as much as 750 kg/h. Set up and start-up are scheduled for the third quarter of 2021.
Andritz will provide a whole neXline needlepunch eXcelle line – from net forming to needling – in addition to engineering and Andritz’s not too long ago launched scanning gauge. That is the second Andritz line to be provided to Pureko, thus demonstrating the sturdy partnership between each firms. Three years in the past, Pureko invested in a brand new, fashionable plant provided by Andritz Asselin-Thibeau to supply fluffy nonwovens used within the furnishings, textile and clothes industries. The brand new line will allow Puerko to proceed its ongoing development.
Additionally investing in Andritz gear is Chongqing Double Elephant Microfiber Materials, which can add 4 needlepunch strains to its operation in Chongqing Metropolis, China. The strains, developed by Andritz to course of islands-in-the-sea fibers for high-quality artificial leather-based merchandise, will begin up in late 2021. They’ll produce 30 million meters a yr of microfiber nonwoven supplies.
The manufacturing strains are geared up with an Andritz carding machine and the newly developed Profile crosslapper in addition to the advanced-technology ProWid closed-loop system. The system can monitor the load uniformity (CV%) of your complete product on-line and predict the load distribution adjustments brought on by the bonding course of. As well as, the online weight will be decreased by managed stretching, which solves the difficulty of fiber accumulation on the edges brought on by conventional crosslapping strategies. Each the load and the uniformity of the product will be routinely adjusted through the closed-loop perform as set on the Andritz gauge.
Within the U.S., Bondex will increase its manufacturing capability to extend its needlepunch nonwovens output and capabilities due to a brand new funding at its headquarters in Trenton, SC. The brand new line shall be provided by DiloGroup and is designed to satisfy the rising calls for of the filtration, PPE and different industrial markets. Along with needlepunch nonwovens, the corporate makes hydroentangled and thermal bonded nonwovens for a variety of functions.
“As a proud member of Andrew Industries Ltd., a privately owned U.Ok. multi-national manufacturing firm, our mission is to carry worth to our clients by way of superior service, innovation and product high quality,” says firm president Brian Little.
Bondex has been producing technical nonwovens with carded thermal bond know-how since 1997, serving markets together with reprographics, electrical insulation, filtration, medical and residential care.
This new line, which is predicted to be absolutely industrial within the fourth quarter of 2021, is designed to run quite a lot of fiber sorts, fineness and staple lengths in a big weight vary. Its parts embrace fiber opening and mixing, carding, crosslapping, drafting, needling and ending and is supposed to be a workhorse producer of needled felts for roll items as much as 90 inches large in each fiber-supported and scrim-supported merchandise. Modern options are tailored to this environment friendly and economical manufacturing system with an emphasis on the uniformity of fiber distribution in addition to materials financial savings results. Particular person buyer necessities and functions will be met by way of this whole in-house nonwoven manufacturing course of. All parts of the road have been put in by Dilo as a normal contractor and engineered and assembled to go well with the excessive requirements of Bondex with the intention to present a state-of-the-art, economical manufacturing line for prime quality nonwoven merchandise, based on the corporate.
Likewise, Foss Flooring, a specialist in needled carpet, has ordered a brand new manufacturing line from DiloGroup. It will likely be the fourth Dilo line positioned at Foss Flooring.
In recent times, Foss Flooring has turn out to be a serious participant within the sector with Di-Loop carpeting to incorporate structured surfaces in rib and patterned high quality. Primarily due to prime quality necessities for the carpet product and a large of recent design patterns, needlefelt ground masking appeals tremendously to architects and contractors for houses and industrial buildings.
DiloGroup has engineered this newest high-tech manufacturing system as a staff along with Foss, tailored for its wants. The road could have a big manufacturing capability at excessive fiber throughput charges, comprising absolutely automated fibre opening and mixing from Dilo Temafa, carding from Dilo Spinnbau in a large working width, high-speed crosslapping in addition to pre- and end needling, designed for last product widths over six meters. The specialty Di-Loop machine with excessive velocity function in a working width of 6.5 meters will full this manufacturing plant for the Di-Loop carpet sector.
Additionally growing its needlepunch output is Thrace Group, which introduced in September that two needlepunch manufacturing strains have been added to its European manufacturing crops in Greece (Xanthi) and the U.Ok. (Scotland).
By considerably growing its needlepunch manufacturing in northern and southern Europe mixed, Thrace Group goals to higher serve its growing buyer base, each in Europe and overseas. Offering improved product traits, higher service and additional decreasing lead occasions, the group is strengthening its presence among the many prime suppliers for the geotextiles, agro-textiles and industrial materials markets worldwide.
U.Ok.-based Technical Absorbents, maker of superabsorbent fiber (SAF), has the potential to fabricate a variety of SAF-based superabsorbent materials, in addition to non-absorbent supplies if required. The corporate invested in its personal 2m large needlefelt line in 2015 which may producer materials as much as 1000 gsm, containing as much as 100% SAF. It additionally works with numerous companions with the intention to present a variety of finishes, together with extra laminates and slit widths. The place commercially viable, smaller quantity runs ranging from 1000 sqm are additionally attainable.
For Technical Absorbents, a brand new vary of washable needlefelt materials is presently in improvement. “These materials have already been tremendously obtained by hygiene producers innovating within the reusable area,” says Mark Paterson, product improvement director, Technical Absorbents. “This subsequent era of materials goals to help their wants by enhancing drying occasions, and many others.”
Due to the problems surrounding single-use plastics, the hygiene sector is seeing an elevated demand for reusable merchandise. “Because of this, many firms are innovating and desirous to develop new or enhance current product ranges,” he provides.
At present, the main focus of Technical Absorbents’ needlefelt is washable materials utilized in reusable hygiene merchandise attributable to their uniqueness. Nevertheless, Dr. Paterson says there are lots of different alternatives for SAF needlefelt materials, similar to inside medical and filtration functions. In reality, a brand new vary of materials aimed on the filtration market are additionally in improvement. “These laminated materials will improve our providing into the water-removal sector,” he feedback.
SAF materials will be tailor-made to satisfy improvement wants, for instance, roughly needling so as to add or cut back integrity and in addition to change absorbency capabilities of a cloth. “Attributable to SAF being a fiber, its distribution inside materials is constant and extra containment isn’t required to maintain it in place,” Dr. Paterson explains.
In line with Fano of Autefa Options, in needlepunch there’s a normal development for light-weight materials, reaching similar product properties with much less materials. “Our clients require machines and features which can be capable of produce light-weight materials with none compromises relating to materials power,” he says. “With the improved high quality opener, the opening of the fibers is extra versatile and appropriate for any fibers that the market is proposing. Autefa Options opening line for low soften fibers permits clients to have the identical mechanical and rigidness traits with much less proportion of these sort of costly fibers.”
Autefa considers development in needlepunching know-how to be steadily sturdy. At present there are decrease automotive requests, however synthetic leather-based—additionally by way of sustainability—remains to be sturdy. They’re additionally seeing rising demand for filtration and hygiene functions. “Sustainability is a big matter, worldwide,” Fano feedback. “Prospects are utilizing substitute fibers like recycled PET fibres, carbon fibers, reclaimed fibers in addition to numerous pure fibers. Within the building and automotive market, recycled supplies for environment friendly thermal and acoustic insulation are key components that contribute to power saving and to the discount of pure sources consumption.”
Concerning its know-how, product high quality in Autefa Options’ needlepunching strains will be monitored and improved with the corporate’s patented 3-level Closed Loop Management System. A scanner determines the load distribution of the ultimate product whereas the management system corrects the profile within the crosslapper and the feeding part of the cardboard. The crosslapper Topliner together of Net Profile Management WebMax prevents the elevated weight of the material within the edge areas. This eliminates the normal “smile” impact on cross-directional weight distribution. WebMax profiling can also be built-in into the 3- degree Closed Loop Management System, which ensures that the material is profiled equally in each materials route and cross route. “This leads to a superb uniformity within the material and, due to a substantial saving of supplies, a discount in materials prices,” Fano explains.
Moreover, Fano says an improved and even floor high quality has been set as a key goal by the shoppers. Subsequently, for needlepunched nonwovens merchandise Autefa Options affords the service of a personalized needle board sample. The needling simulation software program i-Level 3.0 will increase the capability and the standard of needlepunched materials. This personalized design of needle sample, which takes additionally draft and shrinkage into consideration, reduces the method optimization time on buyer website. “The newest improvement was designed for a excessive needle density for quicker manufacturing velocity with nearly no needle marks on the felt floor,” he provides.
For DiloGroup, the corporate’s experience in needlepunching know-how is the strongest pillar of its portfolio. Nevertheless, the corporate additionally provides full strains utilizing completely different consolidation applied sciences like thermo-bonding, water entanglement or chemical bonding along with its companions. “Because the mid-fifties, Dilo has developed its particular needlepunching engineering know-how with many modern contributions for the additional improvement of this course of, be it particular person machines, course of or product associated advances,” Dilo says. “Amongst these, the round needling course of RONTEX, structuring and patterning methods DI-LOOP and DI-LOUR will be named, in addition to achievements and options to hurry up the needlepunching course of significantly with stroke frequencies of over 3000 per minute and throughput speeds of roughly 100 m/min with the Hyperpunch mode.”
Dilo says these efforts have performed a big function in retaining needlepunching a contemporary instrument matching the quick tempo of developments within the nonwovens business normally. “Many observers within the business, at institutes and among the many press, had developed doubts within the eighties and nineties whether or not needlepunching would stay an important drive amongst fashionable applied sciences like spunbonding, or water entanglement for instance,” he continues. “Whereas Dilo noticed it fairly otherwise as a result of needlepunching is probably the most versatile know-how for any fiber materials, any staple size, any fineness, weights from 30 to three,000 g/m2 and, due to this fact, because of the infinite parameter combos affords a most engaging method to create quite a few nonwoven merchandise on a staple fiber foundation.”
The filament and infinite fiber foundation for needled spunbond materials can also be fascinating and necessary at larger weights. As a result of achievements in productiveness and product high quality, at very low power consumption charges, needlepunching has overcome the potential stigma of being an outdated or quaint know-how, he provides. “Quite the opposite, the success of needlepunching is documented and confirmed in professionally researched statistics, which describe the order of necessary applied sciences by important parameters like annual manufacturing. Solely not too long ago, water entangled materials has taken over because the manufacturing chief. This may in all probability solely be legitimate for a restricted time frame once we take into account the power consumption per kg of product and different non-favorable knowledge of excessive water consumption, a big carbon footprint, very restricted software areas and restrictions for larger weights or bigger fiber diameters.”
Water entangled merchandise within the medical and hygiene areas will definitely stay necessary, he provides. Nonetheless, Dilo is continuous to supply intensive needling for this subject with needle densities per board of over 20,000 per meter. Its current improvement efforts will take into account as much as 55,000 needles per meter per board with the intention to simulate the consequences of water jets, which have been confirmed favorable for hygiene materials used as wipes for private care.
Moreover, Dilo has developed a brand new airlay course of the place an array of small neighboring particular person web-forming heads are utilized with the intention to create three-dimensional buildings of needled nonwovens with a minimal consumption of fabric and a most use of the fiber materials which is individually and domestically positioned at spots of excessive stress or excessive pressure, significantly for molded elements utilized in a automotive the place fiber mass financial savings are essential. “The method will be simply in comparison with a 3D printing course of primarily based on staple fiber,” Dilo says. “The 3D Lofter can place fiber in tracks as small as 30 mm presently and, due to this fact, has a decision to a matrix of sq. spots roughly 30 x 30 mm.”
For Andritz Asselin-Thibeau, three principal improvements have been launched not too long ago. The cylinder pre-needler PA.3000, with greater than 70% additional surface-impact needling capability, has been particularly designed for markets requiring merchandise with a high-quality visible facet along with the draft-free benefit through the pre-needling stage. Because it operates with out inner draft, it is a perfect resolution for processing fiber mats due to new capabilities to freeze the material evenness. It’s good for processing light-weight merchandise, specifically for 50-80 gsm materials, at excessive velocity and an prolonged width of as much as 6.75 m.
“Cylinder pre-needlers are very fashionable with producers of nonwovens,” says Dumon. “In reality, a few of our clients wouldn’t take into account a line with out them. They’ve many benefits and can be utilized in all forms of functions, and what producers actually like is the straightforward, trouble-free operation they carry. The PA.3000 is an evolution of the identical rules, however quicker and with a better capability.”
Subsequent, Andritz’s ProWin system is the mixture of two improvements, ProDyn and ProWid, which allow producers of nonwovens to maximise weight profiling at crosslapper supply concurrently growing course of speeds by as much as 15%.
“As is already well-known, maximizing evenness throughout the online width is a serious problem in nonwovens manufacturing on needlepunch strains, and the final word aim is to have a good product on the finish,” Dumon explains. “This not solely offers higher high quality however can also be necessary on the subject of fiber financial savings – greater than 7% fiber financial savings will be achieved.”
With ProWin, Andritz has mixed its in-depth course of information of needlepunch strains with modern software program to synchronize actions throughout the road. It has devised a method to cut back fiber deposits on the edges of the online routinely and thus remove the “smile” impact throughout the online. ProWin permits producers to manage fiber deposits autonomously throughout your complete width of the online.
As an extra profit, the ProWin balanced weight profiling correction know-how contributes considerably in direction of decreasing card and crosslapper acceleration throughout high-speed operation. The noticeably smoother operation achieved is predicted to scale back upkeep prices over time.
In the meantime, Andritz’s SDV-2+2 Double-Velour needleloom has been purpose-built to satisfy necessary challenges within the automotive business. “It’s agreed that the velour ‘loop’ high quality is improved when the loop is shaped instantly after the pre-needling course of,” Dumon explains. “Therefore, the best line set-up is to have the velouring needleloom in a single line with the carding and pre-needling gear. Then come the financial constraints of such a course of. The carding unit can simply produce twice as a lot as a single (two-board) velouring needleloom can deal with. To be cost-competitive, the double-velouring SDV-2+2 is a should, with a manufacturing velocity of 10 m/min or extra relying on the material needling density.”
The SDV-2+2 double-velour needleloom handles velouring and in addition applies a mechanical consolidating layer with an extra unwound layer between the 2 needleloom frames.
With a working width from 2.28 m to five.3 m, the SDV-2+2 can be utilized inline or offline and permits as much as 2000 strokes per minute. The random needling sample offers higher flexibility by way of superior pitch with no marking. An inline course of is often most popular by producers utilizing the strains predominantly for velour manufacturing.