Superior Protection and Care: RKW Exhibited Latest Solutions for Medical Applications

Optimum protection meets ease of use: At this year’s Medica show in Duesseldorf, Germany, RKW presented its latest range of high-performance films and laminates for surgical and woundcare applications in hall 6, booth D16. The products from the Medicace® and Medifol® brands are offering proven barrier properties and comfort levels.

Reliable infection barriers are key to protecting both medical personnel and patients in their care. The demand for more effective solutions continues to increase and in answer, RKW showcased its portfolio of Medicace® high-performance films and laminates. The multilayer offerings present full barrier properties for end applications such as single-use surgical drapes and gowns, as well as back-table and mayo-stand covers. Furthermore, RKW’s breathable fabric, Gownace, is presented as an option that improves comfort levels for the wearer thanks to its innovative nature. “The Medicace® range underlies RKW’s position as the leading European provider of single-use laminates for medical applications,” says Sophie Litt, Sales Manager Medical at RKW. “We use state-of-the-art technology so that our films and laminates provide highest quality standards and consistency to manufacturers of surgical drapes and gowns. Moreover, they contribute significantly to the safety of the end user.” Medifol® is the brand of a wide variety of embossed films and laminates from RKW that meet the stringent quality requirements in woundcare applications. A reliable single-use wound dressing is critical for healing. At the show, RKW exhibits a portfolio of products that meet the challenges of presenting both liquid barrier properties as well as comfort, flexibility and breathability.

Creative Technological Leadership: Woven Wire Mesh For Industry and Architecture

The driving force is GKD’s technological leadership combined with closeness to the market and customer focus. The combination of state-of-the-art weaving technology, interdisciplinary problem-solving competence and innovative strength give this owner-managed enterprise a unique market status. GKD consistently transfers the product strengths and technical know-how of its individual business units to new sectors and is thus continually opening up new areas of application. Leading companies in the automotive and aerospace industries, in medical and environmental technology, in the chemical, pharmaceutical, food-processing and textile industries, in the paper- and wood-processing industries as well as builders of internationally renowned architectural works are all customers of this medium-sized, internationally active company with its staff of 591 employees.

Industrial meshes / Filtration meshes

Exemplary innovative competence and the courage to keep an open mind for unconventional ideas have characterized the entrepreneurial development of GKD since the company was founded in 1925. The product range of today’s business unit SOLID WEAVE has developed to include everything from mesh for the screening of solids to filter media for solid/liquid filtration, from shielding screens for aeroplane parts to noise-reducing acoustic insulation mesh for aeroplane engines. Classic areas of application include polymer filtration for the production of fibers in the textile industry, filtration in the soft-drinks and brewing industry and process filtration in a wide range of other industrial sectors. And, particularly in the field of high-viscosity fluids, GKD’s mechanically robust mesh constructions are also leading products.

Up to 600 meter long high-precise strips of fine filter media, in which wires just a quarter of the diameter of a human hair are woven, allow GKD wire meshes to be integrated directly into customer-specific automation processes, for example in the automotive industry in highly demanding electronic driving aid applications like ASP, ESP or ABS, or in the inkjet printer sector. Antiturbulence nets for aerodynamic applications, for example, in wind tunnel constructions in the automotive and aerospace industries, are further successful areas of application for GKD meshes. And this business unit has now been given strong, new impetus through the operational startup in 2004 of the world’s most modern technical looms for fine mesh. High-tech filter media, a philosophy of holistic solutions and the capability of supplying complete filter systems for industrial and medical-technical applications will continue to consolidate the leading international position of this sector of the company. As a systems supplier SOLID WEAVE filtration technology and plant engineering develops compact filter systems for specific submarkets in the solid/liquid separation sector. The integrated compact filter system MAXFLOW combines filtration and briquetting in a single piece of equipment. Without the need for filter aids, the system provides particle separation down to the micron range. The patented concept established a new generation of filters that significantly optimise central processes in the metal-working industry.

Process belt meshes

As a core component in a wide range of production processes, process belts manufactured by the GKD business unit WEAVE IN MOTION play an indispensable role in industry. The quality, construction and lifetime of GKD belts are decisive factors for efficiency and cost-effectiveness. Woven plastic process belts are primarily used in solid/liquid filtration in belt filter presses or vacuum filters in fruit juice production, sewage sludge drainage and phosphor extraction. Woven metal process belts made of stainless steel or bronze – also in combination with plastic – are core products for freezing, drying, draining or heating processes. Pizzas are baked on them, mashed potato flakes are dried on them, fruit and vegetables are frozen on them. Self-steering TRACKMATIC® belts made of stainless steel or blends of plastic and metal have proven themselves in textile finishing and in nonwovens production, as well as in the processing of wood and ceramics. Especially in the fast-growing technical textiles market, GKD process belts and meshes set standards for glass, synthetic, mineral and cellulose fiber nonwovens, and in refining, forming and coating processes. In the wood-processing industry, too, process belt meshes made by the Düren-based company are well-established products. Process belts made of metal, plastic or material combinations are used all over the world in the chipboard, fiberboard, laminating and verneering as well as in the pellet manufacturing industries. With a wide and versatile range of proven constructions and promising product innovations, GKD relies in its business unit WEAVE IN MOTION on a consistent niche policy in quality-conscious target markets.

Architectural meshes

Up to 1992, few people were aware of the existence of GKD woven metallic and plastic meshes, although they were in use all over the world. The first decorative use to which they were put was as radiator grilles made of aluminium mesh. It was the beginning of the cooperation with the French architect Dominique Perrault in 1993, a collaboration which has continued for over twenty years now, which marked the birth of GKD`s business unit CREATIVE WEAVE. In their first mutual architectural project, the Bibliothèque Nationale de France, GKD explored the potential for woven metallic materials for architecture and realized the production of meshes for twelve different areas of application. Wire mesh panels in widths of up to eight meters make this possible in the dimensions of even the largest-scale architectures. Apart from the weavable width and the variety of materials supplied by GKD, the success of woven wire mesh in architecture is also due to its optical and functional properties: reflectiveness, transparency and opaqueness, flexibility and robustness, permeability to light and air, practically unlimited service life, ease of cleaning, recyclability and functional protection against the sun, draughts, impacts and above all against blast waves and flying fragments from bomb detonations. Reference projects around the world include office and government buildings, museums, hotels, airports and railway stations, cinemas, carparks, bars, restaurants and boutiques, and even sports stadiums and bridges. The variety of applications ranges from external façades, ceilings, walls, partition walls and sunscreen elements to balustrades, column and staircase claddings, floor coverings and object design.

Other milestones in the success story of the business unit CREATIVE WEAVE after the Bibliothèque Nationale de France include the Cycling Arena and Indoor Swimming Pool in Berlin. In the Bibliothèque Nationale, the versatility of GKD mesh’s application potential first became apparent, while the roofs of the two sports halls in Berlin demonstrated its capacities for coverage of immense surface areas. The façade of one of Europe’s largest carparks, accomplished at Cologne/Bonn Airport by Murphy/Jahn, set standards for these areas of application. The optically seamless cladding of a round object was achieved for the Bertelsmann pavilion “Planet-m” at the Expo 2000 in Hannover. The “external skin” of the Expomedia Light Cube in Saarbrücken counts as one of the wire mesh façades with the largest individual elements ever installed. Today, the reference list includes the world’s most prominent architects and internationally renowned buildings all over the globe. Among the latest spectacular architectural accomplishments using GKD architectural mesh are the Louis Vuitton Flagship Stores in Tokyo and Rio de Janeiro, Real Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, the Formula One racing circuit in Shanghai, the Beijing Opera, the tennis stadium in Madrid or the American Airlines Arena in Miami. Consistent expansion of the product’s aesthetic-functional range of use will continue to characterize this sector of the company.

Technological leadership and closeness to the market

Creative technological leadership has always been and will continue to be the driving force of the company. Many of today’s important wire mesh weaves were originally developed by GKD. The producer of high-quality metallic meshes has 693 employees worldwide, 410 of them in Düren, Germany. All business units are autonomous, and operate efficiently and flexibly. Process-oriented organizational forms and flat hierarchies support the company’s consistent orientation towards customer benefit. And GKD also strives for geographical proximity to its market partners – six plants – the headquarters in Germany, the others in the USA, South Africa, China, India and Chile, subsidiaries in France, Great Britain, Spain, Dubai, Qatar and representative offices worldwide. With customer orientation, a consistent policy of ongoing innovation and strategic partnerships GKD ensures the continuing successful development of the company through trendsetting ideas and products.

GKD: From Polymer Filtration To Nonwovens Forming

Over 80% of such nonwovens are used for hygiene sector products like nappies or cosmetic tissues and for disposable products in the medical sector. And this means high standards for the production of spunlaid nonwovens in ever thinner, lighter and more efficient forms. The internationally leading technical weaver Gkd – Gebr. Kufferath AG has a well-established worldwide reputation as an expert when it comes to the spunlaid process. With its all-round competence in consulting, design, production and service, this owner-managed SME is a sought-after partner and solutions provider for the nonwovens sector.

3The market for technical textiles is growing rapidly all over the world. And the strongest growth in this sector is to be found in the nonwovens sector, where the most important areas of application are in hygiene and medical products. Here, there is a particularly high demand for spunlaid products. The driving factor behind this trend is demographic development. On the one hand, increasing life expectancy leads to increasing demand for products tailored to the needs of older people, for example regarding incontinence, wound healing and infection control. On the other hand, the growing world population and rising standards of living in many regions are reflected in an increasing demand for baby-care and cosmetic products. In order to prevail in this highly competitive global market, manufacturers must consistently optimise the efficiency and productivity of the single-stage spunlaid process. Whether for filter media for central filters and spin beams, quench screens and laydown belts, GKD’s mesh constructions and selection of materials – custom-configured to meet the individual requirements of specific equipment and products – make an important contribution towards the integrated adaptation of spunlaid processes to the ever-increasing demands of the converting industry. In the polymer filtration stage, this contribution is primarily through optimised plain dutch weave meshes (ODW) made of stainless steel. Thanks to their special construction, these meshes combine precise filtration with low differential pressure and long service life. The slot-shaped pores on the mesh surface are smaller than the pores inside the mesh. Particles above the cut point are retained directly on the mesh surface. In this way, ODWs also reliably filter out poorly dispersed additives and solid particles. Gel-like impurities in the melt are crushed by the shearing forces that arise. Their precise separation rates, high dirt-holding capacity and low clogging tendency make ODWs eminently suitable for deployment in several aggregates in the spunlaid process. In screen changers, for example, this mesh type is deployed as a multi-layer construction in process-specifically assembled filter discs or cartridges. When designing the mesh configuration, GKD makes use – if required – of its own in-house further development, the integrated simulation environment Weavegeo®. This enables GKD to modulate the mesh configuration precisely to the requirements of the individual application and to simulate the specific process of polymer filtration. The knowledge and insights acquired through the simulation in the laboratory are then implemented on GKD’s ultra-modern technical looms to produce perfectly customised products, cut to size and ready for use. In the central filter, screens consisting of five to six filter layers with separation rates of 10 to 40μm are used, covered with a protective mesh if the particular application requires this. In the spin beam, several layers of made-to-measure, perfectly phased meshes filter the flow of the melt and thus improved the service life of the spinneret. Manufacturing these frame-mounted long filters or filter discs, which can be up to 6 metres in size, calls for a maximum of engineering expertise and precise selection of media to match the specific application so that the filter packet construction ensures that the required level of process success is achieved. Here, too, thanks to comprehensive quality control and automated cleaning of the mesh before cutting to size, GKD guarantees the production reliability that the high-quality spunlaid products demand. Preconditions that are equally beneficial for rectifiers. These screens – arranged on one or both sides of the fibre flow, harden the still-hot continuous filaments by quenching them with cold air before the laydown section. For the construction of such quench screens, large-format honeycomb carrier plates are covered on both sides with specially pre-treated mesh and mounted in a frame. Whether as original equipment or as repair – thanks to its high-precision meshes and coverings, GKD can guarantee the flow homogeneity essential for trouble-free fibre flow. With its electrostatically conductive laydown belts made of meshes from the Conducto® and Conductive® range, GKD is also the partner of choice for the fourth and final stage of the spunlaid process. Due to the bronze wires or graphite filaments woven into their warp, and to their non-marking pin seams, these endless polyester belts substantially increase the safety of the integrated process flow, constantly conducting away – through their contact with the metallic rollers – any electrostatic charge caused by the process itself. In addition to the production reliability the belts provide throught this feature, their efficiency is further underlined by their low fibre penetration, uniform card web formation, customised air permeability, excellent nonwoven discharge and reliable adhesion in the laydown section. Its winning combination of integrated competence in engineering and consultancy and expertise in manufacturing has made GKD an internationally sought-after problem solver for the challenges of spunlaid processes. And comprehensive service from a single source ensures that collaboration with this technological leader is guaranteed to be an enduringly successful experience.

Shima Seiki Participated In Techtextil North America

Known for its pioneering Wholegarment® knitting technology wherein a knitted item is produced in its entirety without seams, Shima Seiki introduces its SWG091N2 compact Wholegarment® knitting machine that features the company’s original SlideNeedle™. Capable of producing small knitted items from safety gloves and compression socks to more sophisticated industrial applications such as tubular shields and harnesses, SWG091N2 offers unique solutions for the automotive, aerospace, sports, medical, safety, outdoor and other markets by knitting items in 3D without seams.

SRY123LP is Shima Seiki’s latest computerized knitting machine that features loop presser beds mounted atop conventional needle beds, providing improved control over pressdown of individual loops. This presents unprecedented capability especially with inlay patterns. Inlay fabric is produced by inserting yarn into existing knit fabric in a weave fashion, opening opportunities for expansion into markets for wovens. Inlay also suppresses typical stretch characteristics of knitted fabrics, and since new materials such as metallic and monofilament yarns can be used for inlay structures, new applications in industrial textiles are realized.

Also on display is the new Yarn Unwinding Option. Normally when knitting with stiff materials such as metallic and monofilament yarns, the yarn has a tendency to kink, making it practically impossible to feed smoothly into the knitting machine. A motorized bobbin actively unwinds yarn to provide smooth and stable yarn feed with careful control over feed amount and tension.

The latest version of Shima Seiki’s “SDS-ONE APEX3” 3D design system was also  available for demonstrations.