Graphene Unlocks New Potential For ‘Smart Textiles’

The quest to create affordable, durable and mass-produced ‘smart textiles’ has been given fresh impetus through the use of the wonder material Graphene.

An international team of scientists, led by Professor Monica Craciun from the University of Exeter Engineering department, has pioneered a new technique to create fully electronic fibres that can be incorporated into the production of everyday clothing. Currently, wearable electronics are achieved by essentially gluing devices to fabrics, which can mean they are too rigid and susceptible to malfunctioning. The new research instead integrates the electronic devices into the fabric of the material, by coating electronic fibres with light-weight, durable components that will allow images to be shown directly on the fabric. The research team believe that the discovery could revolutionise the creation of wearable electronic devices for use in a range of every day applications, as well as health monitoring, such as heart rates and blood pressure, and medical diagnostics.

The international collaborative research, which includes experts from the Centre for Graphene Science at the University of Exeter, the Universities of Aveiro and Lisbon in Portugal, and CenTexBel in Belgium, is published in the scientific journal Flexible Electronics. Professor Craciun, co-author of the research said: “For truly wearable electronic devices to be achieved, it is vital that the components are able to be incorporated within the material, and not simply added to it.”

Dr Elias Torres Alonso, Research Scientist at Graphenea and former PhD student in Professor Craciun’s team at Exeter added “By weaving the graphene fibres into the fabric, we have created a new technique to all the full integration of electronics into textiles.” At just one atom thick, graphene is the thinnest substance capable of conducting electricity. It is very flexible and is one of the strongest known materials. The race has been on for scientists and engineers to adapt graphene for the use in wearable electronic devices in recent years.This new research used existing polypropylene fibres – typically used in a host of commercial applications in the textile industry – to attach the new, graphene-based electronic fibres to create touch-sensor and light-emitting devices. The new technique means that the fabrics can incorporate truly wearable displays without the need for electrodes, wires of additional materials.

Akbaşlar Tekstil Conducts R & D Studies For Electronic Textiles That Control Health Status

Turkey’s largest “integrated textile enterprises” in the area Akbaşlar Tekstil gives great importance to textile R & D activities. It succeed innovations in textile sector by producing heat and cold resistant fabrics in outerwear.

Akbaşlar Tekstil R&D Center; was established in 2015 by getting approval from the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology. The company, which has Turkey’s 12th R & D Center, having a team of 40 people specialized tasks. In the company’s R & D Center; production and process development, product development, design, patent, chemistry analysis and physical testing units, women’s outerwear, sportswear and defense industry pro- jects are being carried out.

Serving the group of women’s outerwear and sport technical textiles, the company works with sustainable fiber products in outerwear. Akbaslar Textile takes care to use chemicals containing natural raw materials in its products. The company that keeps pace with technology and makes innovations; wind and water impermeable, providing moisture transfer, produces products create air conditioning effect that heat and cold resistant. At the same time, the company produces towel fabrics that can quickly absorb water and evaporate quickly. In addition to working on women’s outerwear and sportswear, Akbaşlar Tekstil has been conducting R&D studies on electronic textiles recently. The company carry out works on products that measuring and analyzing one’s vital functions and monitoring the health status of the person in electronic textile. The product produced by the company as a result of R & D activities will provide pulse, heartbeat and breath control. Aiming to increase the number of patents and utility models in electronic textile products, Akbaşlar Tekstil aims to realize EU projects among its targets.

Lenzing’s New Brand VEOCEL™ Responds to Increasing Concerns for Sustainability in the Nonwoven Market

Producing quality fibers from renewable wood raw materials with environmentally friendly and innovative technologies, Lenzing Group has conducted a survey with 3.900 women consumers of wet wipes and hygienic products living in Europe, North America and Asia.

The survey was conducted by SSI, an independent market research company. When consumers in the survey were asked which environmental concerns were more important for them, biodegradability (over 60%) and recycling (approx. 45%) was the top answers.

Eco-friendly production is an issue, not only the consumers, but also the manufacturers and brands focus on. Especially the manufacturers of wet wipes and toilet wipes are making significant investments in this area in line with the increasing awareness on the flushableness and durability of fibers obtained from petrochemicals. Setting the global standards in fibers,Lenzing has taken a very important step in this field last year. The group’s brand, VEOCEL ™, positioned in the nonwoven industry, has announced the Eco Disperse technology, which enables production of flushable toilet wipes.

Flushable Products

Wolfgang Plasser, Global Business Management Vice President at Lenzing AG Nonwoven Group, said that they are continuing their work with the VEOCEL ™ brand in the nonwoven market since June 2018. Plasser said, “The VEOCEL™ fibers are certified clean and safe, biodegradable, from botanic origin and produced in an environmentally responsible production process.” The most important advantage of the Eco Disperse technology products, which are considered to be the most advanced fibers in the brand’s portfolio, is that the product is completely soluble after mixing with the water thanks to its short cutting length and strong fine diameter. These features make it possible to flush products such as wet wipes. Wolfgang Plasser, Global Business Management Vice President at Lenzing AG Nonwoven Group, said that “You need to pass a series of seven tests to reach flushability level and to be able to claim that your product is flushable.” These groups of tests were launched by INDA and EDANA together in the US and Europe under what is referred to as GD4. This gives a guideline to players in the flushable nonwovens market. The application requires to meet two targets. One is to be able to do the cleaning job and the other is to disintegrate completely while flushed without blocking the sewage systems. This was a tricky thing and took us a while to develop such a product.”

Designed to be used in wet toilet wipes, this fiber contains nonwoven fabrics with 20% of the new Veocel Lyocell fibres and 80% of wood pulp. The fiber could reach 90% disintegration within 30 minutes, faster than the passing INDA/EDANA benchmark.

It can also be used in the baby wipes!

Stating that as Lenzing they focus on 100% biodegradable, single-use nonwoven segment, Wolfgang Plasser said that the wet wipes products come to the fore in the category of single-use products. Plasser also said that they foresee that the VEOCEL™ with Eco Disperse technology, which has a wet strength of about 50% higher than viscose fiber, will be used in non-flushable industrial products and baby wipes in the coming period.

A sustainable alternative

Uğur Uyansoy, Nonwoven Segment Business Development and Sales Manager at Lenzing Elyaf AŞ., said that “Turkey is a developing market in the nonwovens and is open to sustainable solutions. Thanks to their botanical origin and their biodegradability, the VEOCEL ™ fibers are an eco-friendly and sustainable alternative. Our fibers can be used in the body wipes, wet wipes, baby wipes, wet toilet wipes, and even for the surfaces in addition to beauty products such as make-up cleansing wipes. The added value benefits of the VEOCEL ™ Lyocell fibers, such as high absorbency, natural smoothness and biodegradability can gain a different perspective for the nonwoven market.”

Lenzing Ranked first by Canopy for Sustainable Wood Sourcing

The Lenzing Group has once again been rated the number one producer of wood-based fibers (out of 31 globally) in the world with respect to the responsible procurement of wood, the key raw material in cellulose fiber production. This is the conclusion of the Hot Button Report published recently by the Canadian environmental organization Canopy.

“We are proud of this top ranking. It underpins our role as a leader in sustainability and gives our customers confidence that we have the right practices in place to prevent the use of wood and pulp from ancient and endangered forests”, says Stefan Doboczky, Chief Executive Officer of Lenzing. “Sustainable wood and pulp sourcing has long been given the highest priority by the Lenzing Group. Forest protection is crucial for Lenzing, not least because of the loss of biodiversity and climate change, which are becoming ever more important issues.” Responsible sourcing and sustainability are key elements of Lenzing’s corporate strategy. They help preserve global forests and prevent deforestation, which in turn make a substantial contribution to climate protection.

The Hot Button Report proves once more that there is a low risk for buyers using Lenzing fibers. Lenzing was one of the first wood-based fiber producers to complete and publicly release the results of its CanopyStyle Audit in 2017 confirming this. In 2019, the company will complete its second annual audit.

LENZING’S ACHIEVEMENTS IN SUSTAINABILITY

In 2018, Lenzing adopted additional due diligence measures when sourcing from high-risk countries, a decision positively noted by Canopy. Lenzing’s innovative TENCEL™ Lyocell fibers with REFIBRA™ technology, in which cotton scraps are partly used as a raw material, have been welcomed by the market as a product that takes pressure off the use of wood as a raw material. REFIBRA™ technology is the most advanced concept in the wood-based fiber market that clearly incorporates circular economy features on a commercial level.

Canopy also praised Lenzing for using its influence to help advance a conservation legacy in the heart of Canada’s boreal forest. Lenzing communicated its support and encouragement for formal protection of the Broadback Forest to government and First Nation decision makers.

Orion Engineered Carbons Announces Investment In Acetylene Carbon Black To Drive Technological Strength In Batteries And Other Premium Segments

Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. (NYSE:OEC), a worldwide supplier of specialty and high-performance Carbon Black, announced on November 1, 2018, that it has reached an agreement to acquire Acetylene Carbon Black manufacturer Société du Noir d’Acétylène de l’Aubette, SAS [SN2A] from LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V. and its French affiliate. SN2A was founded in 1987 and is headquartered at Berre l’Etang, near Marseille, France.

Acetylene Black is an ultra-pure premium Specialty Carbon Black distinguished by its high electrical and thermal conductivity. Lithium-ion batteries and high-end electrical cables are key applications for this material.

“SN2A brings us a skilled team, proven technology and an operating plant. With this platform we are going to significantly strengthen our capabilities in the lithium-ion battery market and broaden our position in other attractive markets,” said Corning F. Painter, Chief Executive Officer of Orion Engineered Carbons. “This bolt-on acquisition is a perfect fit with Orion’s focus on Specialty Carbon Blacks. We look forward to welcoming the SN2A team to Orion and bringing Acetylene Black into our portfolio.”

The agreement with LyondellBasell includes provisions for a secured long-term feedstock supply. Orion plans to strengthen production capabilities at the Berre l’Etang facility.

The transaction closed on October 31, 2018.

About Orion Engineered Carbons S.A. (NYSE: OEC) Orion is a worldwide supplier of Carbon Black. We produce a broad range of Carbon Blacks that include high-performance Specialty Gas Blacks, Furnace Blacks, Lamp Blacks, Thermal Blacks and other Carbon Blacks that tint, colorize and enhance the performance of polymers, plastics, paints and coatings, inks and toners, textile fibers, adhesives and sealants, tires, and mechanical rubber goods such as automotive belts and hoses. Orion runs 13 global production sites and four Applied Technology Centers. The group has approximately 1,409 employees worldwide. For more information visit our website www.orioncarbons.com.

Oerlikon to Cooperate with Shaoyang

Oerlikons business unit Nonwoven will cooperate with the Chinese machine and plant manufacturer Shaoyang Textile Machinery for nonwoven solutions in the hygiene market.

The aim of both cooperation partners is to jointly advance the international sales of Spunmelt lines for hygiene applications in the field of disposable nonwovens outside China. Oerlikons business unit Nonwoven will be responsible for the entire project in the future. To this end, the Neumünster-based company will contribute its know-how in plant engineering to the partnership.

Additionally, Oerlikon acquires the CE certifications of all exported Shaoyang Spunmelt lines. Oerlikon will also be responsible for product and process guarantees and will provide worldwide customer services outside China. Shaoyang Textile Machinery, on the other hand, supplies the Spunmelt plant technologies. “With Shaoyang Textile Machinery, we have found a renowned Chinese plant manufacturer with extensive know-how in the construction of Spunmelt plants for hygiene applications, which achieves international standards with its nonwoven qualities,” explains Oerlikon Manmade Fiber Segment CEO Georg Stausberg.

Rainer Straub, Head of Oerlikons Nonwoven Business Unit, adds: “The partnership enables us to gain a foothold in the highly competitive hygiene market. Our many years of engineering experience guarantee our customers production lines according to international standards for high-quality nonwovens”.

 

New Solutions for Nonwoven and Finishing Technologies from Andritz

International technology Group Andritz presented its innovative nonwovens and textile finishing technologies for the Asian markets at the ITMA Asia + Citme 2018 Fair.

In response to market demands, Andritz has yet again raised the bar for turnkey and customized solutions for drylaid, spunjet, thermobonding, and wetlaid, as well as for conversion of absorbent hygiene products. Andritz offers unique technologies tailored to each customer’s individual needs.

Andritz Air-Through Bonding Technology – A New Solution For The Hygiene Market

Air-through bonding lines are the preferred choice for producing nonwovens with the best quality of  softness and bulk for acquisition and distribution layers, top sheets, and back-sheet products. With Andritz carding machines and the new flat belt oven, customers benefit from high production capacities and high-performance fabrics from 16 to 80 gsm, produced with bicomponent fibers. Several Chinese customers have already invested in Andritz aXcess carding machines, which provide perfect web uniformity. In addition, the CETI (European Center for Innovative Textiles) in Lille, France, has recently installed an air-through bonding oven from Andritz. Customers can compare the technical results obtained from two different options: bonding with the flat belt oven or with the drum (both supplied by Andritz). If customers would like to see the new solution for themselves, they are most welcome to conduct trials at the CETI (European Center for Innovative Textiles) in Lille, France.

Full Drylaid Processes Offer With The Andritz Axcess Range

Thanks to its aXcess portfolio, Andritz offers the full range of drylaid processes for medium production capacities. During the past few months, Chinese spunlace producers have invested in several aXcess lines with direct-line and crosslapped configurations manufactured by Andritz Wuxi. This booming market goes hand in hand with new trends such as the development of the facemask industry and continues to be driven by the growth of wipes applications.

In the medium-capacity needlepunch area, Andritz signed a cooperation agreement in 2017 with ShanTou SanFai Nonwoven Machinery, a leading supplier of needlelooms in China. This cooperation fits together perfectly, uniting the advantages of proven technologies and providing reliable solutions for a wide range of applications in the needlepunch industry. The Andritz aXcess range for web forming and SanFai’s needlelooms offer a big advantage in terms of investment security, innovation, and quality, and this combination also meets the increasing demands of a strong, growing market.

To better serve the local market, Andritz Wuxi focuses on in- creasing efficiency and shortening delivery time – from project management and design, to service work.

New Development In Textile Calendering

With the latest development in textile calendering, Andritz in co-operation with Rolf Ramisch, who has over 45 years of experience in this specific business and commands excellent expertise in deflection-controlled roll technology, is again raising the bar for the textile calender market.

The new teXcal raconip calender is versatile, operator friendly, and provides IIoT (Industrial Internet of Things) features for a smart production process. Sensors on the machine collect and archive all machine data and send them to a monitoring system. This intelligent production equipment offers a transparent and optimized process as well as a forecast for maintenance planning. In addition, the calender includes an optimized, deflection-controlled roll with unrestricted profiling possibilities over the entire roll width.

This ensures maximum production flexibility and reproducible product properties – e.g. absolute flatness and ideal air permeability for technical textiles.

Dilo: Lines for Artificial Leather, Geotextiles and Hygiene Articles

DiloGroup delivers complete lines for the production of needled staple fibre nonwovens. In its 116 years of history, Dilo has always set new standards. Innovative technologies such as DI-LOOP, DI-LOUR and Hyperpunch have opened new markets and contributed to their growth.

To further develop the Asian market, Dilo has opened a subsidiary in India near New Delhi. This enables a closer relationship to customers as well as faster support for sales and service.

DiloGroup delivers complete lines for the production of needled staple fibre nonwovens. In its 116 years of history, Dilo has always set new standards. Innovative technologies such as DI-LOOP, DI-LOUR and Hyperpunch have opened new markets and contributed to their growth. Current developments offer custom-made lines which do not only increase capacity but also fulfill endproduct property requirements.

Hyperlayer

The production of very light-weight hygiene products on water-entanglement lines requires a high web quality and a low area weight. At the same time, the Asian market requires a balanced MD/CD strength ratio. To realize high productivity with these demands, Dilo has resumed and revised the principle of the camel-back crosslapper. The kinematic solution of the Hyperlayer lays down the web gently and precisely even with a small number of layers.

As the web is guided through the complete laydown process on both sides, highest production speeds (web infeed speeds up to 200 m/min), precise edges and a minimum of draft can be realized depending on the fibres used.

Compact line, carbon recycling

A positive trend to lightweight construction in recent years has led to the substitution of metal structures by carbon composites in large quantities. With its new compact line, Dilo has contributed significantly to the recycling of composites. Recycled carbon staple fibres are reprocessed into felt and can then be further converted to new structural elements. In contrast to most staple fibres, carbon fibres have characteristics (smooth surface, no crimp, low cross strength) which require adaption of web forming within the carding machine. Withits compact card (DCL) Dilo has met these challenges and introduced a stable web forming process. The compact line also meets the requirements for a production of small quantities of needle felts made from other high quality special fibres like ceramics or PTFE. Dilo presented the compact line first in 2015. It is now in use in industry and research. With a card working width of 1.1 m and a layering width of 2.2 m, it requires a floor space of only 60 m².

Hypertex

Nonwoven filter media consist of a sandwich structure which combines the filtration characteristics of felts with the high strength of yarns or filaments. The HyperTex process allows the production of reinforced felts online and eliminates an additional stage for producing the scrim. In the HyperTex process Dilo combines a scrim fabric machine of Messrs. OnTec with a Hyperpunch needleloom. The structure derives its strength from needling scrim, upper and bottom felt together. Very high production speeds up to 40 m/min can be reached. Infinitely variable mesh sizes in the scrim and a wide variety of different reinforcing yarns offer a great flexibility to the customer. The high efficiency in regard to fibre and energy consumption and the low space re- quirement are further significant advantages of this technology.

Starlinger: Recycling Specialist in Research Project for the Separation of Mixed Textile Waste

Within the textile network PlasTexTron©, Starlinger recycling technology is searching for an ecologically and economically sound solution for the recycling of mixed textile waste of multi-material composition. Three universities and eight Austrian companies are involved in the COIN-project TEX2MAT, which is led by the Plastics Cluster of ecoplus, the business agency of Lower Austria, and funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMDW).

The project TEX2MAT addresses the recycling of different kinds of old textiles that consist of a mixture of polyester and cotton. The first step is the enzymatic separation of polyester and cotton in a procedure developed by the Viennese University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences; after appropriate reprocessing, the materials are reused in new products. The input material is supplied by the com- panies Herka Frottier, Salesianer Miettex and Huyck.Wangner Austria (Xerium Group), which are all located in Lower Austria. Starlinger recycling technology – a business unit of Starlinger which manufac- tures recycling lines and has already developed solutions for closed loop production in the field of polyester textiles – provides recycling services and expertise for the project. To achieve an optimal result, regular controls of the material properties are performed by the University of Leoben.

The project partners are working on specific case studies:

  • Mixtures of polyester and cotton from the production of towels as well as old textiles in the form of bed linens and working clothes are shredded by Starlinger recycling technology in Weissenbach and then undergo enzymatic treatment at the Technical University of The goal is to develop a sample process for closed loop production.
  • Technical nonwovens made of polyamides are shredded and turned into regranulate by Starlinger recycling technology; Thermoplastkreislauf GmbH then adds substances such as glass fibers, additives and/ or colors as needed (a process commonly known as compounding). The companies Multiplast Kunststoffverarbeitung and Fildan use this customized material in the production of highly technical plastic parts such as components for fire extinguishers or bra

The project TEX2MAT started in November 2017 and will be running over the course of two years. The project partners meet in regular intervals to align the individual steps and discuss the overall progress.

 

ANDRITZ and BCNonwovens celebrate successful long-term partnership

International technology Group ANDRITZ and BCNonwovens, Spain, have been working together successfully as business partners for the past 15 years. This cooperation started in early 2003 right after BCNonwovens was founded.

By offering state-of-the-art technology, including tests and trial runs at ANDRITZ’s technical center, and providing comprehensive expert know-how, ANDRITZ has supported and helped the family-owned company BCNonwovens to become one of the leading producers of spunlace fabrics for the wipes market as well as for medical and industrial applications.

BCNonwovens is now running two ANDRITZ spunlace lines successfully, producing high-quality products that are sold globally. To cope with the demand for higher productivity and product quality as well as for lighter products and patterned webs, BCNonwovens’ R&D team and ANDRITZ process engineers were able to retrofit the existing lines to bring products up to the standard currently requested by the markets. Sergio Rosales, R&D Director of BCNonwovens says: “Thanks to ANDRITZ, we have been able to test the latest innovations available on the market and adapt them to our production lines.” As BCNonwovens has always been commited to responsible and sustainable production, the company has installed ANDRITZ’s proven neXecodry system, thus achieving a significant reduction in consumption of water and gas.

Didier Vulliet, General Director of ANDRITZ Perfojet, says: “For years we have been building a strong partnership with BCNonwovens. They used our ANDRITZ spunlace pilot line for validation of new products or implementation of new fibers, and we were able to test new developments under industrial conditions.”

ANDRITZ is accompanying BCNonwovens in the development of new products with new fibers and features that are increasingly innovative or meet the demands of converters with ever more relevant end-products. Miguel Vinas Pich, CEO of BCNonwovens, concludes: “ANDRITZ has been supporting us for years in our development, which has been allowing us to offer our customers some of the most competitive and highest quality products in the world.”