AIRLAID PULP NONWOVEN PRIMER

Capabilities and End-uses Market Outlook Manufacturing Process

Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INDA wishes to thank the following persons who edited this primer. These editors have extensive experience with this technology and we appreciate their time and efforts in preparing this primer. Fraser Evans President of F. Evans Associates Inc., a Senior Associate of AMEC Forest Industry Consulting, spent more than 30 years at Canfor in pulp and paper marketing. Jeffrey Hurley Manager, Nonwovens Division of Buckeye Technologies responsible for the production and sales of airlaid pulp materials. Formerly Mr. Hurley was with Hoechst Celanese (Kosa). Rob Johnson Principal of Smith, Johnson & Associates, a consulting firm that focuses on the nonwoven industry. Earlier in his career, Mr. Johnson was with the airlaid pulp division of Scott Paper. Ivan Pivko President, Notabene Associates Inc., a consulting firm that focuses on the airlaid pulp and related industries. Mr. Pivko was formerly the President and CEO of Merfin Hygienic Products Ltd., now part of Buckeye Technologies. Ed Vaughn, Ph. D., Clemson University As a professor with the School of Textiles at Clemson, Mr. Vaughn has many years of experience teaching about the nonwoven industry. Inda would also like to thank the following companies for contributing materials for this primer. Dan-Web M&J

AIRLAID PULP NONWOVEN PRIMER
Capabilities and End-uses Market Outlook Manufacturing Process
Prepared by:
Ian Butler, INDA

Edited by:
Fraser Evans Jeff Hurley Rob Johnson Ivan Pivko Ed Vaughn

P.O. Box 1288, Cary, North Carolina 27512 (919) 233-1210, Fax (919) 233-1282, www.inda.org

Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry

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Graphic design and printing by Margaret M. Park PRINTING by DESIGN Raleigh, North Carolina, USA

Copyright© 2003 INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry. All rights reserved. This material may not be reproduced, in whole or in part, in any medium whatsoever, without express written permission of INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry.

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
Introduction: ......................................................................................................... Overview .................................................................................................... 1 History of Technology ................................................................................. 2 Markets: Worldwide Volume ..................................................................................... Industry by Region ...................................................................................... Share of World Nonwoven Production ....................................................... Major End-Markets .................................................................................... 4 4 8 9

Performance Characteristics of Airlaid Nonwovens....................................... 11 Types of Fabrics Available .............................................................................. 13 Fibers and Materials Used in Airlaid Pulp Nonwovens .................................. 16 Success Stories: Absorbent Hygiene Cores .......................................................................... 20 Wipes ......................................................................................................... 21 Surgical Products ....................................................................................... 23 Airlaid Process: .................................................................................................... Process Sequence ............................................................................................ 24 Web Formation ................................................................................................ 24 Bonding Methods ............................................................................................. 25 Future Directions ............................................................................................. 28 Glossary ........................................................................................................... 29

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such as rayon or polyester. While the principal fibers used to produce airlaid nonwovens are fluff pulp made from softwood trees.8-4.5 cm length range and are generally synthetic fibers.INTRODUCTION TO AIRLAID NONWOVEN TECHNOLOGY The head forming section of Dan Web Air Laid Line OVERVIEW The term airlaid pulp nonwoven in this primer refers to a technology that produces a web from short fibers. most often from some form of softwood pulp. other natural and short length synthetic fibers can be used. The process is also referred to as short fiber airlaid technology to distinguish it from the Rando Weber airlaid process that handles longer fiber lengths in the 3. The process was originally conceived as a method of making paper without the 1 .

softer and generally more absorbent with higher absorbent than paper. Canada. such as rosin. now the Rando Machine Corporation. The Technology in Search of Markets.. table-top items and napkins. The main product categories where airlaid pulps are currently used are baby wipes and other consumer and institutional/industrial wipes.use of water. with increased tensile strength and higher abrasion resistance than the paper alternative… even when wet. Denmark and Sweden. The addition of latex resins or thermoplastic bonding fibers yields a material that is more tear-resistant. Honshu of Japan designed a nonwoven technology to make a FOOTNOTE: 1 In his book. 2 . small amounts of agents. The book. details the full history of the airlaid technology from its inception through to current times. In the mid 1960s. Continued high growth of this technology is forecast for many years onto the future. The process yields a paper-like fabric that is thicker or loftier. are added to improve strength. In paper making. Finland. USA. written in a light-hearted manner. is packed with facts and information and is a recommended read for students of the airlaid industry. Japan. plus a lower cost relative to alternative fabrics and nonwovens. the airlaid pulp nonwoven technology uses latex resins. Airlaid pulp is one of the fastest growing nonwoven technologies worldwide with double-digit volume increases during the 1990s. absorbent cores in feminine napkins. In contrast. These attractive physical characteristics. make airlaid pulp nonwovens a very suitable fabric for many disposable products in the consumer and industrial/institutional markets. HISTORY OF TECHNOLOGY It is controversial as to where the airlaid technology really was originally developed. had a hand in developing the airlaid pulp technology. which led to airlaid development projects generally moving parallel one to another.1 The earliest traces of the technology date back to the 1940s when some missionary companies experimented with various fibers and wood pulp on web forming machinery made at Curalator Co. Ivan Pivko of Notabene Associates Inc. UK. various individuals and organizations located in such diverse countries as Russia. To enhance the paper’s strength. thermoplastic fibers or some combination of both to bond the web’s fibers into a fabric. Commencing in the early 1950s or so. Many companies were intrigued by the possibility of making a dry laid web from inexpensive wood pulp or wood pulp/fiber blends. wood pulp is bonded principally by a chemical reaction between the pulp’s natural cellulose and water.

Fort Howard Paper. With further development. Canada plant to pioneer the development of absorbent core materials. While growth was not smooth during the next several years. Fort Howard and American Can operations were merged in the mid 1990s and are now owned by Buckeye Technologies. Kroyer built a second line. Starting with various textile fibers. WI. Chicopee further developed the technology in their Chicago. About the same time. as previously mentioned. Perhaps the key individual that led to the development and ultimate commercial success of the airlaid technology was the prolific Danish inventor Karl Kroyer. This line was shown to many companies that were evaluating the purchase of technology and entering the airlaid pulp business. a 1. Simultaneously and independently to Johnson & Johnson’s efforts. to also install a similar production line. Using an earlier patented invention by a Finnish inventor named Hjelt and possibly some ideas from the Honshu technology in Japan. is still in operation. About the same time. Kroyer’s first sale was an R&D line shipped to Kimberly-Clark’s research center in Neenah. the Scott Paper Company’s R&D was developing an airlaid technology and ultimately installed a modified Rando system at their Dover. now owned by Procter & Gamble. 40 years later. Johnson & Johnson’s Chicopee division (the fabric production division of Johnson & Johnson) was interested in the technology and commissioned their Montreal. DE site. IL plant and by the late 1960s had several lines producing airlaid pulp core material for Johnson & Johnson’s baby diapers bypassing the need for top sheet. These early lines were scrapped when Johnson & Johnson exited the baby diaper industry in North America. WI. The technology was successful and further airlaid developments led to making production lines to produce materials for the disposable Oshibori wipes industry.pulp-based cigarette filter material. Kroyer made significant improvements to the technology to better the look and feel of the product. The plant. 3 . a production line was ultimately sold to American Can in Green Bay.6 meter wide semi-commercial line for United Paper Mills of Denmark. The industry was well launched in North America and the success of the three companies developing consumer wipes is an important milestone marking the growth of the airlaid technology. Scott Paper was developing their proprietary airlaid pulp technology using modified Rando equipment. In 1970. the company moved towards the use of wood pulp and was important in commercializing airlaid wipes made from a mix of pulp and synthetic fibers. And now. The commercial success of American Can’s Bolt consumer wipe product led the companies’ chief competitor across town. the original two production lines are still in production.

which is an important supplier of the airlaid pulp technology. but decided to go on his own. Mosgaard was an engineer and worked for Kroyer at one time. 4 . a principal of Dan-Web.It would be remiss to not mention the work of John Mosgaard. One of his legacies to the industry was the development of the rotary drum former … a technology employed on many airlaid lines worldwide.

000 tonnes in 1992 to almost 354.MARKETS WORLDWIDE VOLUME Airlaid pulp nonwovens have shown strong growth during the 1990s with the production of these materials almost tripling from 116. Worldwide Airlaid Pulp Production (thousands of tonnes) Source: INDA estimates 5 .000 tonnes by 2007. Considerable production capacity has been added in several world regions and our expectations are that the technology annual output of airlaid pulp materials will rise to about 720.000 tonnes by the end of 2002.

Middle East and China. but considerable airlaid pulp capacity is being added into other world regions.INDUSTRY BY REGION The major producing regions of airlaid pulp nonwoven materials are North America. Growth continues in these three markets. Airlaid Pulp Production by Region (thousands of tonnes) Source: INDA estimates 6 . Europe and Japan. made from the fast growing Loblolly and Slash Pine located in the southeastern United States. particularly South America. These three regions together produce and consume about 90% of the world’s airlaid pulp materials. The trees are grown on vast plantations to produce wood pulp and lumber. a wood pulp with many desirable properties. North America has been the leading producer of airlaid pulp nonwoven in part due to the close proximity of southern pine.

Disposable wipes made of airlaid pulp compete directly with 7 .000 tonnes. Airlaid pulp imports were considerable as demand was higher than the industry’s ability to supply. but the larger production installations are in Germany.000 tonnes. the North American industry was in an oversupply situation. is the largest market for airlaid pulp nonwoven worldwide. France. at the same time demand from the wipes industry for airlaid pulp materials rose swiftly with the many new product introductions. A large market potential is absorbent core material for baby diapers and further use in adult incontinent diapers. However. which had considerable knowledge and marketing savvy that helped to successfully develop and grow the market for the new air laid ventures. The major end-markets for airlaid pulp are fairly similar. The combined production output in 2001 was approximately 126. Sweden. This was an enormous volume addition considering that the total North American airlaid pulp production in 1990. which includes the U.North America The North American industry. Western Europe has six significant producers and several smaller companies making product on 16 production lines. and Canada.000 tonnes as shown in the previous figure. At time of writing this primer. Also. Similar to the North American situation. during 2001and 2002 the North American industry added capacity totaling about 100.S. Several countries have the technology. Europe Europe was the birthplace of this technology. except that the volume share sold to the European wipes industry is less than that sold into the North American wipes market. there are nine airlaid pulp producers making products on an estimated 20 production lines. This is due in part to the proximity to a vast wood pulp supply and in part to the early entry of several major airlaid pulp producers.000 tonnes per year. These new airlaid pulp operations were owned by parent companies that produced paper and paper wipes. Italy and Ireland. In North America. just a decade earlier. We expect the demand for airlaid pulp will continue to expand. Driving this growth will be the further adoption of airlaid pulp as an absorbent core and the expanding use as a wipe material. airlaid demand has risen rapidly matched by a subsequent rise in production capacity. was just slightly in excess of 50. The tight supply situation was caused by the growing use of airlaid pulp as an absorbent medium in feminine sanitary napkin products and training pants. Airlaid pulp production from these companies during 2001 was about 120.

there were at least domestically built lines installed based upon the Dan-Web rotary former technology. A large market is cigarette filter media and another unique and significant market is the volume consumed by oshibori wipes. Considerable airlaid capacity was added to China in 2002 with the start-up of a single production line that will be devoted mainly to producing absorbent core. China is the world’s third largest producer of newsprint and wood pulp availability is not an issue for producers in the region. Taiwan and Middle East. and the nation’s actual output runs about two-thirds that figure. while airlaid pulp is used as an absorbent core in feminine products. demand for these types of wipes is low. are a luxury item and as discretionary income is low. Asia-Pacific The airlaid industry is most developed in Japan. there are a few production lines scattered around the world in South America. airlaid pulp’s largest end-use. Furthermore.hydroentangled nonwoven materials and European consumers have shown a preference for hydroentangled wipes in some applications. The reason for the slow development in these other regions is because wipes. but also capable of producing material for the wipes industry. 8 . Another line of similar capacity is scheduled to come on-stream in 2003 and (at time of writing. Other World Markets Outside the previously mentioned regions.000 tonnes by the middle of the decade.000 tonnes. These large capacity expansions are expected to drive the country’s annual capacity to above 60. There are four airlaid producers in Japan making product on at least eight production lines. Airlaid pulp is sold to a variety of markets similar to those discussed for North America and Europe. absorbent cores can also be made from a formed fluff during feminine napkin production. Total annual airlaid capacity in Japan is estimated at 30-35.

absorbent cores and wipes. By 2001.000 tonnes. Considerable expansion has already occurred in North America and China. Airlaid Pulp Share of World Nonwoven Production (thousands of tonnes) Source: INDA estimates 9 .000 tonnes. equivalent to 8% of total world nonwoven production. are expected to drive this technology’s share to 13% of world nonwoven output by 2007 with output exceeding 700.000 tonnes. For the future. airlaid pulp’s production had tripled to about 300. representing between 5. airlaid pulp demand by its two major markets. but several high capacity projects are in the late planning stages in Europe and other world regions. worldwide production of airlaid pulp totaled close to 100.5-6% of total nonwovens production.SHARE OF WORLD NONWOVEN PRODUCTION In the early 1990s.

Pre-moistened toilet tissue has been launched by several major consumer products companies and could become a significant new product category. household and industrial). The wipes industry is the second largest market for airlaid pulp in North America. A portion of the growth forecast to 2007 includes this expected shift to airlaid pulp cores. Baby wipes are the largest wipes’ segment and consume 26% of airlaid pulp produced. medical dressings and oshibori wipes. protective-cushioning materials for packaging. are more cost effective than conventional fluff pulp cores. Other consumer product introductions now account for a significant share of the business and have driven increases in airlaid volume. table cloths). Airlaid pulp cores that contain super absorbents are thinner. While there are some baby diaper and training pant products on the market with airlaid cores. personal. Growth of airlaid pulp in this market has been exceptionally strong for several years as the industry expanded and new categories of wiping products were introduced to the consumer. more absorbent and depending upon how measured. It is our opinion airlaid will extend into the baby diaper industry as more airlaid production capacity comes on stream. but these higher costs are offset to some extent by lower costs due to the thinner products requiring less packaging. industrial and institutional markets. A major issue in switching to an airlaid core is the immediate higher cost faced by the diaper producer. training pants and feminine care products account for 44% of all airlaid pulp consumption. lower transportation and warehousing. filtration media. the technology still has not penetrated these two markets to a significant degree. for example). tabletop items (napkins. Absorbent core materials and wipes account for almost 80% of airlaid pulp volume in the North American market. Emerging product applications include wet toilet paper. Some research indicates improved baby diaper performance and a product that is more comfortable. Absorbent cores in adult incontinence. There are a number of disposable mops that use airlaid cores 10 .MAJOR END-MARKETS The major end markets for airlaid pulp materials include wipes (baby. new composite wiping materials and food soaker pads (used under retail chicken packaging. Airlaid pulp material is more expensive on a per kilogram basis compared to conventional fluff pulp cores. Another high growth wipes category is floor-cleaning products. absorbent core materials.

OTHER MARKETS Table 1 A Selection of Other Airlaid Pulp Markets Disposable Handkerchief Filtration Media Protective Packaging Fabric Stain Remover Pads Meat packaging soaker pads Moist toilet tissue Cosmetic pads Protective layer in liquid packaging 11 . Inc.World Airlaid Pulp Applications (2002 based upon tonnes) Source: Notabene Associates.

industrial and institutional cleaning. thus the producer can afford to make an airlaid product thicker for a given weight than most competitive materials. 12 . The same absorbency property makes this material a leading absorbent core for disposable hygiene products as well as core materials for medical dressings and sponges. there is actually direct skin contact. The convenience. but the material can be engineered with stiffness that can improve the fluid acquisition performance. cost and hygienic benefits of a disposable wipe made from airlaid pulp are important reason why airlaid pulp replaces traditional cloth wipes and other materials. Of course. household. In some absorbent products. Wood pulp is an inexpensive fiber relative to most alternate fibers. airlaid pulp is a leading wipes material used by baby wipes. incontinent pads and medical materials. The softness of the material is an important reason for its use as an absorbent core in products such as feminine napkins. The airlaid process yields a web structure with a myriad of microscopic voids in which water or other liquids can be trapped and retained. Because of these properties and its reasonable cost. Softness Airlaid pulp nonwoven is inherently soft due to the wood pulp fibers used and the various emulsions used to bind them. The absorbency properties of fluff can be increased dramatically by adding superabsorbent materials to the fluff pulp. Airlaid producers can produce material that is strong when wet and yet still soft. Bulk and Absorbency One of the most attractive features of airlaid pulp is its bulky or lofty nature.PERFORMANCE CHARACTERISTICS OF AIRLAID NONWOVENS The following provides some of the key attributes of airlaid technology using wood pulp. Most core material is soft. the airlaid producer can modify the pulp’s characteristics to meet the user’s specific needs.

In a price per kilogram basis. such as cosmetic remover pads. which have been cultivated specifically for the making of construction lumber and fluff pulp. are flushable and biodegradable under the right conditions. Sustainable and Biodegradable Fluff pulp is a natural fiber made from trees grown on massive tree plantations. Natural. For example. bathroom and windows. The synthetic fibers also aid the airlaid web to retain its bulk when wet. Short fibers generally yield a low strength fabric. alcohol prep pads. The binder and fibers result in an airlaid pulp material that is stronger than paper while retaining its softness. 13 . while paper’s strength retention is much lower. such as premoistened baby wipes and premoistened toilet wipes. Airlaid pulp nonwoven’s strength is improved by using resin binders and adding crimped synthetic fibers to the pulp blend. Abrasion Resistance One of airlaid pulp’s significant competitors in wiping products is paper toweling. Many products. Value The fluff pulp used by the airlaid process is made from a variety of trees. fluff pulp is one of the least expensive fibers in comparison to most other forms of natural and synthetic fibers. and fine polishing cloths. All these end uses require a material that will retain its strength when wet.Wet Strength Premoistened wipes are impregnated with various solutions used to clean babies. Wood pulp fibers are short and naturally bulky. Airlaid producers can use soft latex binders for products where softness is desired. typically an airlaid web will retain about 50% of its strength when wet. The use of resin binders improves the abrasion resistance as well as the strength. kitchen.

LATEX BONDING In latex bonding. In this system. It is fair to say that now most airlaid pulp production is multi-bonded. which combines latex bonding and thermal bonding to increase the end products strength and reduce dust from loose fluff pulp. as the spray is unable to penetrate deeply into the fibrous web to bond it. A new bonding system gaining is commercial importance over the past few years marries an airlaid pulp web with a carded web usually made from synthetic fibers. Until the past few years. The difference between the two processes is that air lacing uses loose fluff pulp while spunlacing uses a preformed pulp tissue.TYPES OF FABRICS AVAILABLE There are several methods used to bond airlaid pulp webs. this method was the principal form of binding fibers and accounted for most of the world’s production. The sprayed web is then transported to a drying system that drives off the moisture and the binder reacts with the cellulose to form a bonded network of fibers This process is most suitable for webs with a low basis weight. A newly termed word for this composite process is air lacing. End-products that use this form of bonding include premoistened and dry wipes. a large portion of cores used by feminine hygiene products and meat packaging soak pads. In fact. some medical products. the hydroentangling process bonds the two webs of fibers into a single homogeneous material. say up to 50 gsm. table top items. the web of pulp fibers is bonded together by a latex resin that is applied by a spray system. The first and earliest form of bonding used latex resin to bind the fibers. During the 1990s. a situation where the web splits down the middle into two pieces. the use of thermal fusible synthetic fibers to bind the web’s fibers became the dominant system. Attempting to bond a web that is overly thick can lead to web delamination. this process is similar to spunlaced material made from a pulp tissue hydroentangled (bonded) to a web of synthetic fibers. 14 .

MULTI BONDED Many webs today are multi bonded. which is bonding the web by means of high-pressure calenders. The web is transported to a heated oven that melts the fiber’s polyethylene sheath. The purpose of latex spray is primarily dust control … to reduce the amount of loose fiber or lint generated in subsequent converting processes. Generally the web of loose fibers is lightly calendered to a specified thickness. POINT BONDED A recent development is the point bonded method of bonding the airlaid pulp web. which is a combination of latex bonded and thermal bonded. The heat and pressure of the calenders rolling together essentially fuses the pulp fibers 15 . which forms bonding points between the bicomponent fibers and the pulp. such as superabsorbent powders Thermal bonded materials are suitable for any weight of material above 50 grams. In the point bonded method the web is put through an engraved calendar bonding system. depending upon the end application. floor cleaning wipes or medical dressing products. Thermal bonded materials are typically used as absorbent cores in absorbent hygiene.THERMAL BONDED Thermal bonded airlaid materials are bonded by means of thermoplastic fibers that are intimately blended with the fluff pulp. This technology is also referred to by various names. Crimped bicomponent fibers of 4 mm or 6 mm in length are blended homogeneously into the wood pulp forming a three dimensional web. but are definitely necessary for fabric weights above 120 gsm. the most common being Xbonded. The fibers are either a polyester or polypropylene core fiber with a polyethylene sheath containing an additive to improve the adhesion to the cellulose fibers. The bonding will help hold in place any other materials in the pulp/fiber blend. The web’s exterior layer receives a light application of latex binder and the center of the web is bonded by use of thermoplastic fibers that fuse to the wood pulp and each other during drying/curing of the web. hydrogen bonded and pressure point bonded. The amount of bicomponent fiber added to the web can range from 5-35% of the total pulp/fiber blend. Generally bicomponent fibers are used. Airlaid materials that are bonded exclusively by thermal bonding are not suitable for some end applications due to surface dust and loose pulp fibers.

if present in the web. An airlaid pulp web can be also calendar bonded by using smooth. surgical apparel and drapes. a lightweight. There can be some additional fusing from bicomponent fibers and superabsorbent materials. Air lacing is essentially the same. unengraved calenders. Substitution of a portion of the synthetic fibers with lower cost fluff pulp fibers yield as material that is very competitive in cost and performance to a hydroentangled fabric that is made exclusively from synthetic fibers. except that the process joins an airlaid web of pulp fibers (unbonded) to a carded web of synthetic fibers. Air laced materials have the look and feel of traditional textiles and major endapplications include wipes. The resulting material is stiff. tissue paper is married to a web of carded synthetic fibers by high velocity jets of water that entangle the two materials into a composite. AIR LACING Air lacing is a relatively new technology that is expected to increase in importance. industrial disposable apparel and table top items. The term air lacing really refers to more than just the bonding method … as it also describes the type of nonwoven materials derived from the process. Air lacing has its roots in the hydroentangling (or spunlacing) technology. In the hydroentangling process. There are several advantages to the air lacing technology: • • • The air laced nonwoven is an inexpensive composite material with good absorbency and higher tensile strength than an airlaid web. 16 . boardy and will resemble paper. The blending of wood pulp into the air laced material improves the web’s uniformity.together at the calenders’ engraved points.

The harder growing season in northern climates yields a wood with much thinner fibers and cell walls compared to their southern counterparts. spruce and pine. The trees most commonly harvested to make fluff pulp are the Slash and Loblolly pines. softness and is readily dyeable. a fertile plantation acre of land will grow about two cords of wood per year. such as baby diapers. Indeed.FIBERS AND MATERIALS USED IN AIRLAID PULP NONWOVENS PULP FIBERS The prime fiber used in the airlaid technology is fluff pulp. is grown on millions of acres in tree plantations throughout Florida. Large quantities of fluff pulp are also used to make the absorbent cores in absorbent products. Trees on these plantations reach maturity in a relatively few years due to the favorable climate and fertile conditions. which accounts for higher volume. Fluff pulp is a natural cellulosic fiber that has the advantages of low cost. which are available in many regions globally. hemlock. pulping and bleaching process used and whether or not chemical additives have been added to the pulp to affect processing. To give some measure of growth of these southern pine tree varieties. geographic growing area. fluff pulp is obtained from southern varieties of pine trees. In North America. almost 50% more than a northern pine species. Southern pines produce thicker fibers and their pulp is preferred in applications where good absorbency properties are required. Fluff pulp is a generic name referring to pulp that is obtained from several renewable plant sources including eucalyptus. feminine napkins and other related products. Slash pine. southern Georgia and to a lesser extent in neighboring southern states. The pulp’s physical and chemical characteristics will vary depending upon the species of the tree used. Most fluff pulp used in the airlaid process is obtained from pine trees. opacity. a tree reaching 30 years can be harvested for construction lumber. excellent absorbency. The northern 17 . flax. The morphology of southern pine is quite different from northern pine species due to the longer growing season and “softer” climate in the south. while younger trees are used for pulping purposes.

bicomponent synthetic fibers are the main fibers used to bind the pulp fiber web. As indicated previously in the Thermal Bonded section. generally polyethylene (PE). As well. northern pine pulp is much less absorbent than southern species of pine. This figure has been relatively static for several years. such as maleic anhydride.8 million tonnes of the 3. The reason is that airlaid pulp used as a core material is replacing fluff pulp in the core area.pines are more ideally suited for lumber production and for certain printing and writing papers. In Europe. Moreover. surrounding a higher melting temperature core such as polypropylene (PP) or polyester (PET). so there is no net gain. SYNTHETIC FIBERS Synthetic fibers are used as bonding fibers in airlaid pulp nonwovens and are an important component of the air laced nonwoven process. some quantities of pulp are produced in the Scandinavian regions where forests are also cultivated specifically for lumber and pulp for paper production. producers meets about 2. While there are a variety of pulp sources. especially those requiring a strong web that will be subjected to the stresses of high speed printing. driven by the growth of adult diapers in mature markets and development of absorbent hygiene industries in emerging markets. total pulp demand is expected to rise. These sheath/core combinations are usually written as PE/PP and PE/PET. Bicomponent fibers are opened by a separate opening devise and are fed to the web formation system where they are intimately blended with the wood pulp fibers. It should be mentioned here that although our forecast is for a doubling of airlaid pulp production over the five-year period between 2002 and 2007. The worldwide demand for fluff pulp by absorbent cores and airlaid pulp production was about 3. this does not mean a doubling of fluff pulp volume. Fiber length can vary but most is in the 4-8 mm range. southern pine from U. is compounded into the PE prior to spinning the bicomponent fiber to improve the covalent bonding with the cellulose fibers. despite of the increased use of absorbent fluff by emerging world markets. However.6-2. The reason for no increase is because the use of superabsorbent polymers within the absorbent core has lowered fluff pulp demand. due to the thinner pulp fibers. The longer lengths generally yield a higher strength airlaid fabric than one made with shorter length.5 million tonnes of demand or roughly three/quarters of the total. the switch to lower weights of airlaid nonwoven cores has lowered pulp demand. The bicomponent fibers commonly used to bond these webs are a low melting temperature sheath.S. 18 . Generally an additive.5 million tonnes in 2002.

Air Laced Webs As covered previously. such as wood pulp or cotton. These are generally referred to as superabsorbent powders (SAP). Relevant to airlaid materials.2 Further. FOOTNOTE: The amount of pulp used within the average baby diaper in the 1970s and 1980s was about 45-50 grams. Superabsorbent materials are available in a powder or granular form that are added to the fluff pulp in the forming process prior to the pulp being bonded. The use of superabsorbents reduces the amount of fluff pulp required and the resulting products are slimmer. lighter weight and easier fitting. As with SAP. the latex resin is dissolved or is in a colloidal dispersion within water. 2 19 . LATEX Latex is a resinous bonding agent used by several nonwoven technologies. The range of binder materials is wide and the more important are butadiene polymers. which is then sprayed or foamed onto the web.8-4. depending upon the liquid being absorbed and time. training pants. The materials can absorb liquids anywhere between 10 and 100 times their own weight. the air laced nonwovens technology blends a carded web. The use of superabsorbent fibers (SAF) is increasing. generally of polyester or rayon fibers. whereas today the amount used is 15-20 grams per unit. acrylic polymers and vinyl polymers.2 cm range. with fluff pulp and then bonds the webs together by hydroentanglement. the slimmer size allows for smaller packaging sizes thereby reducing transportation and warehousing costs. baby and adult diapers. SUPERABSORBENTS Super absorbents are sorbent materials that can absorb many times the amount of liquid ordinarily absorbed by cellulosic material. Latex acts as the glue that holds the loose web of fibers together. The carding technology generally uses fibers in the 3. these fibrous polymers that can absorb liquids 10-100 times their weight and are mixed into the fluff pulp at web’s forming heads. These materials are used extensively in airlaid pulp materials that will be used as absorbent cores in feminine napkin.

particularly with moist cleaning wipes Color 20 . Below are some of the fabric’s characteristic that are influenced by the latex binder: • • • • • • • • Draping qualities Fabric strength/resilience. hydrophilic or hydrophobic properties Aesthetic properties such as softness or “hand” Anti bacterial or anti fungal properties Chemical resistance. especially when wet Elasticity Absorbency.The latex binder has a major influence on the physical properties of the final airlaid fabric. Thus. the requirements of the finished product or end-use determine the selection of the type of bonding agent.

more discrete and capable of handling a larger volume of urine. feminine sanitary products and similar products is to acquire the urine or other bodily fluids and act as a reservoir to hold it. Adults appreciate airlaid cores. 21 . as the hygiene products are thinner. However. training pants. Absorbent product manufacturers are also reviewing the replacement of machine-formed absorbent cores with the airlaid pulp nonwoven in baby diapers. but increasingly superabsorbent polymers are being added to the core to reduce the amount of fluff pulp required and be a more effective means of holding larger quantities of bodily fluids. Absorbent cores have until the past few years been formed on the production line making the product (diapers. By 2002.Success Stories ABSORBENT HYGIENE CORES A key component of an absorbent hygiene product is the absorbent core. etc. The product is more acceptable to children at the potty training stage as the thinner training pants have an appearance similar to regular underwear. The function of the absorbent core in baby diapers. Fluff pulp has always been the key component of the core.). almost all feminine hygiene products were using airlaid cores exclusively or the plants were being converted over to use airlaid material. These thinner cores are now finding their way into adult incontinence and training pants products. the development of airlaid nonwoven cores has led to a new generation of thinner feminine hygiene products that have ultra thin cores. feminine napkins.

Consumer wipes have had significant growth that spanned the 1990s. the baby wipes’ market growth has slowed in recent years as the market reached maturity. automotive cleaners. absorbency and strength. moderate strength and good absorbency. but airlaid pulp has the advantage of low cost. cleanliness compared to conventional reusable textile wipes and higher strength and absorbency than paper wipes. used at diaper change time. furniture polish wipes. The household segment has grown rapidly over the past several years and includes anti-bacterial wipes used in the kitchen and bathroom areas. mop heads. In part. Baby wipes. This consumer wipes business is large and growing in North America and valued at more than a billion dollars at the retail level and consuming more than 1.5 billion square meters of nonwoven wipes materials. Europe and Japan. general cleanup and dish cloths. airlaid nonwovens offer the advantages of lower cost. Consumer wipe products have proliferated during recent years and are generally classified into three categories of product: baby wipes. 22 . However. Several nonwoven technologies are used in making disposable wipes. incontinence wipes. cosmetic. cosmetic wipes and moist tissue … all products that have shown significant expansion. CONSUMER WIPES The airlaid pulp technology is a major part of the premoistened disposable wipes business.Success Stories WIPES While several types of nonwoven technologies are used in making disposable wipes. which includes body wipes. personal wipes (such as. bulk. the decline of baby wipe growth can be attributed to its cannibalization by these non-baby wipe products. the declining growth of the baby wipe segment has been offset by the growth performance of the personal wipes segment. In industrial wiping applications. are the leading consumer wipes segment accounting for almost 60% of all consumer wipes volume in terms of nonwoven fabric consumed. Some of these personal wipes segments have displayed explosive growth with numerous product introductions. airlaid nonwoven have captured a significant share of the total business because of its low cost relative to the competing materials plus the physical attributes of softness. In the developed markets of North America. incontinence and general purpose) and household cleaning wipes.

INDUSTRIAL AND INSTITUTIONAL WIPES Nonwovens are replacing disposable rags. such as the “hard surface” and anti-bacterial wipes designed to clean and disinfect the kitchen and bathroom areas.Due to its softness. which is a warm premoistened hand towel used before eating. 23 . Occasionally. aerospace and many other production areas. automotive. The oshibori is a popular custom spreading to other cultures. bulk. travelers will find oshibori wipes provided on western culture airlines. such as printing. Airlaid is versatile and is used in some household wipes. airlaid pulp is used widely in premoistened baby wipes. Airlaid pulp is attractive due to low cost. A large market for airlaid nonwoven in Japan is the “oshibori” towel. shop towels and paper wipes in general manufacturing. absorbency and product consistency. Airlaid nonwovens are used for many household consumer wipes.

S. single-use surgical apparel. The healthcare industry uses a variety of nonwoven materials in their singleuse products. 24 . which must be laundered and have a limited life to retain their barrier properties. The costs of these single use items are competitive with reusable gowns. hospitals and about 40% in Canada and some northern European countries. The similar air laced technology is expected to be a major source of nonwoven material for the surgical and related markets. Single-use products are inexpensive and provide good value in protecting medical personnel and patients against the spread of infectious diseases or other pathogens transmitted by bodily fluids or blood. patient drapes and other single-use products. Europe and Japan. Single-use surgical apparel accounts for approximately three/ quarters of surgical apparel in U. Hydroentangled nonwovens have been a key supplier to this market.Success Stories SURGICAL PRODUCTS Nonwovens are used widely by the medical systems in North America. Many healthcare providers prefer sterilized.

the fiber is opened. then the web is formed and the third and final step is the bonding. hydrogen bonding or any combination of the processes PROCESS SEQUENCE The process for making an airlaid nonwoven is similar to that of making a carded web and nonwoven. Post treatment to the airlaid nonwoven is a possible fourth step prior to converting the nonwoven into a finished product. The page opposite illustrates the technologies of the two principal machinery producers: Dan-Web and M & J. 25 . thermal bonding.AIRLAID PROCESS Full swing line Latex spray bonding. both located in Denmark. First.

Generally a production line will have multiple web former systems. the web former is a coarse screen into which the fluff pulp is fed. M&J Fibretech of Denmark builds this technology. An agitator forces the pulp through the screen and the pulp falls like snow to the collecting screen below. WEB FORMATION The loose pulp delivered from the hammermills is fed into the web formation device. Other additives. For example a bottom layer of an absorbent core web could contain more superabsorbent and so become a larger reservoir. Drum formers do not always have a nit return. The bleached white pulp is quite thick … a millimeter or two … and has a cardboard-like feel. There are two web formation technologies. the fibrous pulp is kept in place by a vacuum below the collection screen. There are two cylinders in each forming head that are counter-rotating at high speed and each has an agitator inside to randomize the fiber distribution. Dan-Web. a device that has a series of hammers rotating at high speed to separate the compressed pulp into loose individual fibers. 26 . This material is fed into a hammermill. A second web formation system uses a drum former. In drum forming. the web moves onto subsequent formers for additional layers of pulp. fluff pulp is purchased in a highly compressed roll form.FLUFF PULP DEFIBRATION The first step in the process is fluff pulp defibration. The loose pulp is then transported pneumatically to the web forming system. relying on high defibration at the hammermills to eliminate the nits or fibers that have bundled together in the process. thus giving them an ability to have a layered material where the function of some layers can perform different tasks. To save space and shipping costs. the pulp passes through a series of holes or slots that are in a cylinder that spans the width of the collection screen. In one system. Airlaid production lines usually have provisions to vary the additives for each former. The Danish producer. In either system. builds this technology. such as bicomponent fibers or superabsorbents are also fed into the web formers for blending with the fluff pulp. After passing one former.

3 27 . Embossing patterns could be a company logo or teddy bears and such for baby wipes.3 FOOTNOTE: Embossing can also be done after the oven bonding procedure if the web is a thermally bonded structure. especially a web with a high level of bicomponent fiber.Three-head forming system from M&J WEB CONSOLIDATION Prior to bonding. Compaction is a light calendering to provide some integrity or cohesiveness to the web. which includes compaction and embossing. the web goes through a small step. embossing of the web is usually done. particularly if the web is to be latex bonded only. At this stage.

In this type of system. Latex Bonding There are two methods of applying the latex binder to the web. At time of writing. The second method of binder application does not flip the web but applies the binder spray from the bottom side of the web prior to the second drying oven. which can contaminate nearby equipment and requires diligent maintenance. Drum drying results in a stiffer product resembling paper.BONDING METHODS As covered in a previous section. Most airlaid webs are dried using a through-air drying method. but the main reason is cleanliness as in a spray system there is always some over spray. there are five principal bonding methods: latex bonding. A second spray of binder is applied to the bottom side. which softens and melts the sheaths of the bicomponent fibers to the point where they bind or fuse together the various web components. the compacted web is carried on the forming screen and first sprayed with a latex resin on one side. Thermal Bonding The web of wood pulp and synthetic fibers is transported to a through-air oven. multi bonding. In this system. The web is fed through a series of heated drum rollers that drive off the water content. In one system. heated air is passed through the moist web evaporating the binder’s water content. already sprayed and cured side of the web in place against the top of the drying wire. Drum drying is used on a small percentage of airlaid materials. the web is led into a bath of latex resin that is in a foamy state. The web is dried in an oven and then flipped to its reverse side to receive a second a binder spray. The web is calendered to correct the web’s thickness. 28 . point bonding and air lacing. only a few firms were using this technology and it is limited to heavier materials generally exceeding 100 gsm. A relatively recent development is the use of foam bonding. cooled and led to the wind up system. Fabrics containing a higher percentage of fluff pulp in the mix require more residence time in the dryer. The web goes through a second drying operation. which cures the binder and is then sent to the slitting/wind up system. Through-air drying produces a bulky and soft fabric. There are several advantages using a foam application system. thermal bonding. the second drying oven which has an “up” air flow holding the dry. Rather than spraying the latex.

The intensity of the water streams on the supported web entangles and interlocks the fibers to yield a cohesive nonwoven material. Air Lacing In the air lacing process. the purpose of multi bonding is to reduce the lint and dust generated during conversion to a finished product.) The combined webs are bonded together by the hydroentangling bonding process. an airlaid web of wood pulp is married to a web formed by another nonwoven web formation technology. The web’s center portion is thermal bonded and a light latex bonding is sprayed on both sides of the web and dried. The material is subsequently dried and the finished nonwoven material has good aesthetic and physical properties of softness. The applications include premoistened and dry wipes. (See the following drawing. 29 . Hydroentangling is a bonding method where streams of high-pressure water emitted from closely spaced nozzles are directed at the fibrous web. such as carding or spunlaid. As explained earlier. medical and other protective apparel. depending upon the final application. drapability. absorbency and tensile strength. The blending of wood pulp with synthetic fibers generally ranges from a 60/40% blend to a 40/60% blend.Multi Bonding Multi Bonding is a combination of both systems.

such as less packaging. less raw materials and the elimination of hammermills and superabsorbent feeders in the production plant. Several producers of training pants and adult incontinent products around the world are now using airlaid pulp cores. Until the development of the airlaid core business. by far. More importantly.FUTURE DIRECTIONS Airlaid pulp technology has a bright future. Worldwide. Over recent years. Airlaid pulp cores caught on quickly after introduction and now dominate the feminine napkin market in many world regions. the expanding use of various consumer and industrial/institutional wipes has driven the wipes industry with annual growth rates in the 6-7% per year. is the superior thinness of diapers made with airlaid cores. bulk and absorbency at an economical price makes this an ideal material for many product applications. less warehouse space. it is most probable that only a portion of baby diapers will be converted to airlaid cores in those product segments where the purchaser is performance and style and less influenced by cost. wipes were. replacing the traditional production line formed core. lower shipping cost. We expect baby diaper producers will shift a portion of their diaper production to airlaid pulp cores. this technology has exhibited rapid growth over the past decade and the growth rate is anticipated to continue. the most important market for airlaid pulp material. The product’s physical aesthetics of softness. improved product performance. In the short term. say as with premium products or new born products. Wipes will remain an important end-market for airlaid pulp. But there are many advantages associated with switching to airlaid cores. 30 . Airlaid pulp is an important material used by the industry because of its relatively low cost and is expected to benefit from the industry’s expansion. Leading the growth has been the increasing use of airlaid pulp cores by the absorbent products industry. Absorbent cores made from airlaid pulp are more expensive on a per kilogram bases than the traditional production line formed absorbent core. possible superior performance.

The web can be bonded with resin and/or thermoplastic resins dispersed within the pulp. Bacteriostat: Chemical additive that limits or prevents the growth of bacteria. The term also includes slitting to narrower widths and rewinding to desired roll lengths. Air forming: See Airlaid. smell and sound. drape.GLOSSARY Absorption: A process in which one material (the absorbent) takes in or absorbs another (the absorbate). which speeds the transport and distribution of fluids throughout the absorbent core. Acquisition and distribution layer: (also referred to as sub-layer) a nonwoven wicking layer under the top sheet (or face fabric) of an absorbent product. texture. printing and dyeing. 31 . Airlaid nonwoven: An airlaid web that has been bonded by one or more techniques to provide fabric integrity. wood pulp. The liquid or a gas is absorbed into a porous substance and retained. Adhesion: The force that holds different materials together at their interface. Aesthetics: Properties of fabrics perceived by touch. rustle. Examples are hand. After treatment (Finishing): Chemical or mechanical processes carried out after a web has been formed and bonded to enhance functional or aesthetic properties. Airlaid web: A web of fibers produced by the airlaid process. Examples are embossing. Airlaid process: A nonwoven web forming process that disperses fibers into a fast moving air stream and condenses them onto a moving screen by means of pressure or vacuum. such as flame retardancy and softness. softening. sight. crêping. Additives: Chemicals added or incorporated into materials to give them different functional or aesthetic properties. Airlaid pulp: An airlaid nonwoven that is produced with fluff. color and odor. Air laying.

thereby acting as a binder. Examples are ounces per square yard and grams per square meter. will separate into finer denier fibers.Basis weight: The weight of a unit area of fabric. or in liquid form (emulsion. 32 . The bonding may be all over or restricted to predetermined. Binder fiber: Fibers with lower melting points than other fibers with a higher softening point or non-melting fibers. which may not be thermoplastic.g. Bicomponent fibers: Fibers made of two different polymers extruded into one filament (core within a sheath or side by side are examples). Binder content: The weight of adhesive used to bond the fibers of a web together – usually expressed in dry weight as a percent of the fabric weight. adhesives or solvent) or physical (e. mechanical entanglement or thermal adherence). A solvent (e. Some binder fibers can be bicomponent. water) can activate some binder fibers. Binder: An adhesive substance used to bind a web of fibers together or bond one web to another. Blend: A combination of two or more fiber types in making yarn or fabrics. such as the hydroentangling technology. Biodegradable: The ability of a substance to be broken down by bacteria. Upon the application of heat and pressure.g. dispersion. solution) to bond the constituent elements or enhance their adhesion. A second type of bicomponent fiber is splittable and with some form of mechanical energy applied. Bond strength: Amount of force needed to separate layers in a laminated structure or to break the fiber-to-fiber bonds in a nonwoven. film or fiber). discrete sites. foam. these fibers soften and adhere to other fibers in the web.g. Boardy: The quality of stiffness in describing the hand of a fabric. The adhesive can be in a solid form (powder. Bonding: The process of combining a fibrous web into a nonwoven fabric by means of resins (e. One type of bicomponent fiber is produced using two polymers so chosen that one component softens at a lower temperature to act as a binder while the other component maintain the web’s structural integrity.

glazing and embossed patterns. Chemical bonding: See Resin Bonding. Capacity: It is the maximum production output a nonwovens machine is designed to deliver. Carded nonwoven: A nonwoven produced from a carded web that has been bonded by one or more technologies to provide fabric integrity. Some other cellulosic fibers are flax. Cellulosic fibers: Made from plants that produce fibrous products based on polymers of the cellulose molecule. Card: A machine designed to separate fibers from impurities. of which one or both are heated. Calender bonding: Thermally bonding a web of loose fibers by passing them through the nip of a pair of calender rollers. Plain or patterned roller may be used. align and deliver them to be laid down as a web or to be further separated and fed to an airlaid process. Wood pulp is made by mechanically and chemically separating wood fibers. embossed with a pattern or porous. (see Point Bonding) Calendering: A mechanical finishing process used to laminate and to produce special surface features such as high luster. Card clothing: The wire teeth or serrated flutes that cover the working surfaces of a card. The machine consists of a series of rolls and drums that are covered with many projecting wires or metal teeth.Calender: A machine used to bond sheets of fabric or film to each other or to create surface features on these sheets. It consists essentially of two or more heavy cylinders that impart heat and/or pressure to the sheets that are passed between them. The fibers in the web are aligned with each other predominantly in the machine direction. generally wood pulp. 33 . The rollers can be mirror-smooth. Cotton plants produce separate cellulose fibers. in a solution and extruding the solution through spinnerets into a chemical bath that regenerates the filaments. Carding: A process for making fibrous webs in which the fibers are aligned either parallel or randomly in the direction that the carding machine produces the web (see Machine direction). jute and ramie. Rayon is made by dissolving vegetable matter.

Composite material: Combination of two or more distinct materials having a recognizable interface between them. and the resistance of a component of a laminate to being torn apart when the adhesive interface in the laminate is being stressed. usually by heating. Coform: The formation of a nonwoven web through the concurrent use of elements from at least two different web formation technologies. wetting agents and stain and water repellents. coating. or solvents. The setting may occur by removing solvent or by cross-linking so as to make them insoluble. binders or plastics are set into or onto fabrics. Composite nonwoven: Term used when the essential part of the composite can be identified as a nonwoven material. Chemical properties: The response of a fiber to chemical environments such as acids. Curing: A process by which resins. chemical finishes and printing. Cohesion: The resistance of like materials to be separated from one another. Converter: An organization that takes nonwoven fabrics supplied in rolls and provides and an intermediate processing step. which is followed by drying or curing. the resistance of a web to being pulled apart. Examples are the application of antioxidants. If the essential part can not be identified. Examples are: The tendency of fibers to adhere to each other during processing. The fabric is then shipped to the finished products manufacturer.Chemical finishing: Processes that apply additives to change the aesthetic and functional properties of a material. to cause them to stay in place. Clump: A knot of fibers in a web resulting from improper separation of the fibers. dyeing. It is one-tenth of a tex (see Tex). bases. 34 .000 meters of a fiber. the term composite nonwoven is used when the mass of the nonwoven content is greater than the mass of any other component material. flame-retardents. Coating: Application of a liquid material to one or both surfaces of a fabric. Decitex (Dtex): Weight in grams of 10. such as slitting.

See also Long-Life products. carpeting. geotextiles and roofing material markets. The larger of these markets include apparel interlining. The main characteristic of these markets is that the end products have a long life and are more or less permanent.000 meters of the material. Emulsion: A suspension of finely divided liquid droplets within another liquid. The wetted. Disposables: A general classification of end-markets where the product made from the nonwoven has a relatively short life. home furnishings and bedding construction materials. 35 . Durables: A general classification of end-markets for nonwoven materials. It can be calculated by dividing the denier by nine. Drape: The ability of a fabric to fold on itself and to conform to the shape of the article it covers. Drying cylinders: Drying cylinders are used by the resin bonded process. Low numbers indicate a fine fiber sizes and high numbers indicate coarse fibers sizes. Dry forming or dry laying: A process for forming a web from dry fibers by using carding equipment. At least one of the rolls is usually heated. Dry laid web: A web of fibers produced by the dry laying process. Denier: The measure of a weight per unit length of a fiber. Air laying refers to the formation of random webs with a stream of air. and where one or both rolls has a raised design. loose web is passed over the heated revolving cylinders to drive off the water leaving the cured resin that bonds the web. Denier is numerically equal to the weight in grams of 9. automotive. wipes. fabric softener. A tex is numerically equal to the weight in grams of one kilometer of fiber. medical apparel and associated items and filters. Embossing: A process whereby a pattern is pressed into a film or fabric. Examples of some of the major categories are cover stock for baby diapers and sanitary napkins. usually by passing the material between rolls with little clearance. The tex system is used in countries outside the United States. Dry laid nonwoven: Dry laid web of fibers that has been bonded by one or more bonding techniques to produce a fabric with integrity.Delamination: Tendency of a fabric to be pulled apart (layer separation) by normal surface forces or shear tensions.

Fusing: Melting or bonding together of fibers or fabrics. Hydroentangled: See Spunlace bonding ISO: Acronym for the International Standards Organization based in Switzerland. Hydroentangling.Entanglement: A method of forming a fabric by wrapping and knotting fibers in a web about each other. the orientation (random or parallel) of fibers and the uniformity of their arrangement. resilience and drape. Fabric: A sheet structure made from fibers. Typically used as binders. have diameters greater than 10 microns. firmness. 36 . and mass-per-unitlength (linear density) values in the order of one gram per thousand meters. Filament fibers: Filaments are extruded fibers produced from a variety of polymers. interlooping (knitting). Materials that can be spun into yarn or made into fabric by interlacing (weaving). to change their properties. so as to bond the fibers. Finish: Substance added to fibers and textiles. Latex: Either a naturally occurring milky appearing fluid from which rubber is made or a dispersion of a synthetic polymer in water..g. Fiber distribution: In a web. the term filament fiber changes to “staple” fiber. Filaments are continuous fibers that are produced by forcing a molten polymer through a spinneret.8 cm. If cut to a shorter length. gsm: Grams per square meter gsy: Grams per square yard Hand: Qualities of a fabric perceived by touch. stretch. say 3. e. Discontinuous fibers are referred to as “staple fibers” with lengths designated in inches or millimetres. softness. in a post-treatment. Fiber: A unit of matter characterized by a high ratio of length-to-width. by mechanical means. are longer than one inch. See Hydroentangling. or by the use of jets of pressurised water. filaments or yarns. Typical textile fibers have length-to-width ratios in the order of 1000 to 1. Examples are lubricants and flame retardants. Filament yarn: A yarn made of continuous filaments assembled with or without a twist. or interlocking (bonding).

Nip: The line of close contact between two calender rolls between which a fabric or web passes. :On-stream: See Start-up. wool. Physical property: The response of a fiber to physical forces. Neps: Small knots of tangled fibers that were not separated before forming the web. Initially. Machine direction: The long direction within the plane of the fabric that is in the direction in which the fabric is being produced by the machine. Nonwoven fabric: A fabric made directly from a web of fiber.25 inch to 6 inches for crimped fibers up to continuous filament in spunbonded fabrics. Loft: The properties of bulk and resilience of a fabric or batt. the fibers may be oriented in one direction or may be deposited in a random manner. Long-life nonwoven: Synonymous with Durable nonwoven. In a nonwoven. Man-made fibers: Another term for synthetic fibers. 3) or by bonding with a bonding medium. Opening: A preliminary operation whereby staple fiber is separated sufficiently from its lap or baled condition so that it can be fed to the web forming part of the process. cotton. This web or sheet is then bonded together by one of the methods described above. 2) by fusing of the fibers. 37 . vegetables or minerals. Examples are silk. such as starch or synthetic resin. Fiber lengths can range from 0. without the yarn preparation necessary for weaving and knitting. flax. Natural fibers: Fibers made directly from animals. the assembly of textile fibers is held together 1) by mechanical interlocking in a random web or mat.Latex Bonding: See Resin Bonding. ramie and asbestos. jute. Lint: Particles and short fibers that fall off a fabric product during the stresses of use. the case of thermoplastic fibers.

carpeting. such as geotextiles. Polypropylene has a relatively low melt temperature that restricts its uses in many nonwoven markets. wipes. Major nonwoven markets for staple and spunlaid polypropylene include cover stock. Crosslinked polymer describes a substance in which there are molecular links between chains. The principal physical properties of rayon are moderate strength. automotive carpeting. automotive and various other durable markets. which results in a larger area volume yield per kilogram or pound of resin or staple fiber compared to competitive fibers. Polymerization is the process for making these polymers. The cellulose is dissolved into a viscose solution and then extruded through a wetspinning system to coagulate the filaments. softness. hydrophilic and ease of dyeing. The physical properties of polyester fiber are excellent strength. as well as manufactured fibers composed of regenerated cellulose in which the substitutes have replaced not more than 15% of the hydrogen atoms of the hydroxyl group (FTC definition). olefin fiber made from polymers or copolymers of polypropylene. Polyolefin: A fiber made of long-chain polymerized olefin of at least 85% weight. softness. Rayon fiber: A manufactured fiber composed of regenerated cellulose.Polyester fiber: A manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight of an ester of dihydric alcohol and terephthalic acid (FTC definition). 38 . propylene or other olefins. Spunlaid polyester is found in fabric softener substrate. high abrasion and resilience with good chemical resistance to acids. geotextiles. Polymer: A liquid or solid substance made by chemically linking macromolecules together in chains. and chemical resistance to strong acid and alkalis. medical apparel and related. and durable nonwovens. modified bitumen roofing and various durable end-markets. Pulp: Short cellulose fibers made from wood or cotton. automotive and carpeting. the major source being wood pulp and cotton linters. but it has good strength properties. Major end uses for polyester staple fiber are fiberfill. One attractive physical characteristic of polypropylene is its specific gravity of less than one. solvents and oxidizing agents. High polymer denotes substances made from very long chains. Rayon is manufactured from the cellulose found in vegetable matter. Polypropylene fiber: A manufactured. blankets. The major nonwoven market is wipes. from such monomers as ethylene. luster.

Latex resins (adhesive) are applied to the web by a variety of methods: dipping the web into the latex and removing the excess. This is sometimes referred to as “latex bonding”. The resin is usually in a water-based solution. SSMMS. continuous filament web. The materials are often used in plastics or production of synthetic fibers (see Polymer). SMMS. Spunbond nonwoven. Resin bonding: A common method of web bonding by using chemical agents. carded system. Spunbonded nonwoven: A fabric formed from spunbonded process that has been bonded by one or more methods to provide fabric integrity. which may include adhesive resins and solvents. but small quantities of spunlaced bonding are done on production lines that use a wet laid forming process. :Spunbond/Melt blown composite: A multiple layer fabric that is generally made of various alternating layers of spunbond and melt blown webs: SMS. Roll goods: Fabric rolled up on a core after it has been produced. spraying. foaming or printing bonding. The term is often interchanged with “spunlaid”. is generally produced from a web made up of staple fibers from a dry formed. etc. 39 . Spunbond. Spunlace bonding. It is described in terms of fabric weight and the width and length of the material on the roll. The web or fabric may have other bonding methods in addition to spunlacing. Spunlaced bonding: The method of bonding a web by interlocking and entangling the fibers about each other with high velocity streams of water (synonymous with Hydroentangling). Most common is resin bonding. This is to differentiate this web forming process from the other two forms of the spunlaid web forming. so this bonding process requires heat to remove the water to dry and set the binder into the fabric. which are melt blown and flashspinning. Spunbonded: A spunlaid technology in which the filaments have been extruded.Resin: Any of a group of solid or semi-solid materials made by chemical synthesis. Spunlacing. not to be confused with spunlaid. but the industry had conventionally adopted the spunbond or spunbonded term to denote a specific web forming process. Short-life nonwoven: Synonymous with Disposable nonwoven. A recent technical development is the production of a spunlaced nonwoven from a spunlaid. drawn and laid on a moving screen to form a web.

with or without pressure. Thermoplastic: A plastic that melts when heated. which include wool.8 cm in length. discrete sites (e.g. choir.8-4. cotton. The bonding may be applied all over (e. 40 . point bonding). vary considerably.g. fusible powders. The material may be in the form of homofil fibres. Synthetic staple fibers used in the needlepunched process are generally about 3. Thermal bonded/Thermobonded: A web of fibers bonded by a thermal bonding (thermobonding) process. The fiber lengths of natural fibers. Synthetic fiber: A man-made fiber. through or area bonding) or restricted to predetermined. Tear strength: Resistance of a material to being torn. bicomponent fibers. as part of the web. Tex: A metric measure of the weight per unit of a fiber. It measures the stress a material can bear without breaking or tearing. Superabsorbent: A sorbent material that can absorb many times the amount of liquid ordinarily absorbed by cellulosic materials. The work “staple” is used by the textile industry to differentiate cut fibers from continuous filament fibers. Spunlace is synonymous with hydroentangling. Thermal bonding/Thermobonding: A technique for bonding a web of fibers in which a heat or ultrasonic treatment. cotton and rayon. such as that used in the spunlaid process.Spunlace nonwoven. such as wood pulp. is used to activate a heat-sensitive material. Staple fiber: Refers to natural or synthetic cut fibers. usually from a molten polymer or from a polymer in solution. Tensile strength: The strength of a material when subjected to either pulling or to compressive stress. Start-up: The time when a new production line is finally put into commercial production after the production line is commissioned. This term is synonymous with “on-stream”. It is also equal to the denier divided by 9 (see Denier). jute and several others. Spunlaced nonwoven: A fabric produced by the spunlaced technology. It is numerically equal to the weight in grams of one kilometer (1000 meters) of the material.

Web: A sheet made by laying down and assembling fibers or by creating holes or cracks in a plastic film. such as diapers. Weak web: A term generally used in the context of web formation in a carding process. Yield: The number of square meters (square yards) produced by a kilogram (pound) of fiber or resin. such as poor fiber finish or humidity problems.Thickness: The dimension of a sheet or lamina measured perpendicular to the plane of the sheet. There are two basic systems: blowing hot air through the web in a conveyor oven or passing heated air through the web on a rotating drum (illustrated below). This method is sometimes referred to as air-through bonding. paper airlaid pulp nonwovens and the absorbent cores of products. Fabrics made from bicomponent fibers or blends of bicomponent and regular fiber are often bonded by through-air bonding systems. Through-air bonding: A bonding system that that uses high temperature air to fuse the web’s fibers. 41 . This situation can be caused by a number of factors. sanitary napkins and adult incontinence pads. It refers to the low cohesion of the fibers to one another and thus the web does not have the strength to transfer from one working component to another in the carding process. Throughput: Amount of output or production per unit time. Web consolidation: See Bonding Wood pulp: Cellulosic fibers used to make viscose rayon.

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