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NONWOVENS

NONWOVENS FOR APPAREL


Nilesh I Yadav
ince the 40's nonwovens are part of the fabric market, but it has only been recently that the volume in the garment and apparel business has become somewhat significant. Primarily, cost and the strength of nonwovens, were at the same time a barrier to its development into the business of fashion. Secondarily the technology of both fiber and machinery limited its growth. With recent developments, companies like Freudenberg and PGI (Polymer Group Inc) have changed the game establishing products like Evolon and Miratec respectively. Nonwoven interlinings The generic term 'nonwoven interlinings' defines materials based on nonwovens that are incorporated into articles of clothing during production to satisfy various functions. The processing methods used can be divided into sewn and bonded interlinings (fusible interlinings). Sewn interlinings are incorporated between the shell and the lining material during the sewing process. Bonded interlinings are fused to the shell, lining or another inlay material by a bonding process (heat sealing process). The ratio of sewn to bonded interlinings is currently approximately 20:80. History of nonwoven interlinings The use of nonwovens as interlinings goes back to the year 1940's. While the first sewable nonwoven interlinings were available in sheet form in 1947, in 1948 production began of yard goods, the form commonly used today. These were fibrous nonwovens bonded by means of an aqueous binder. Nonwoven interlinings are therefore one of the oldest successful applications of nonwovens. Even by 1960, they were dominant on the nonwovens market in Germany, with a share of over 60%. In the mid to late 1950s, the winning streak of fusible nonwoven interlinings began, which today, as we have seen, have a share of around 80% of the total market. The first fusible products were nonwovens bonded with binders until at the start of the 1960's, the first binder-free nonwoven interlinings were developed. They were bonded with thermoplastic fibers by full-width calendering and had a stiff, rather brittle hand. Spunlaid nonwovens, which appeared in the mid-1960's, gained importance in the interlinings sector as 'adhesive nonwovens'. They were made from spun melted filaments and served as a processing aid for bonding textile fabrics. At the start of the 1970 s, the first binder-free nonwoven interlinings came onto the market that was bonded by the thermal bonding principle. Unlike the previous flat calendered products, they had a soft hand. In 1973, the development of the spot calender bonded nonwoven enabled interlinings to break through to other end-use sectors. With this technology, it was possible to expand the possible variations in the construction of nonwovens, giving nonwoven interlinings a previously impossible soft, plump, textile hand. Spunlaced nonwovens developed around the same time had similar aims. These are conventionally laid card webs that are bonded without binders by means of water jets. The first wet-laid nonwovens for use in the interlinings sector also go back to 1973. Here, the fibres are deposited from an aqueous suspension onto a screen fabric in a similar way to paper manufacture and then bonded like a dry-laid nonwoven using binders. In 1988 came the breakthrough to warp-knitted interlinings produced by knitting a pillar stitch construction into a nonwoven. Here, a heat bonded nonwoven is normally fed into a warp knitting machine and stabilized in the longitudinal direction. Practically the whole range of possible and required nonwoven interlinings is now produced using the two main technologies for this purpose, full-width bonding using binders and binder-free spot bonding. Functions of nonwoven interlinings Every nonwoven interlining has a range of functions to fulfill, related to its end- use, that should satisfy both the processor (garment manufacturer) and the purchaser of the garment

Textile Excellence nilesh@textileexcellence.com

October-December 2011

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Technical Textile & Nonwoven Excellence

NONWOVENS
(consumer). Due to the complexity of the factors affecting the production and use of garments, a universal nonwoven interlining is inconceivable. This means that it is necessary for the manufacturer to establish the required properties of the made-up article by close communication with the shell manufacturers and garment manufacturers and by monitoring the consumer market, and from this to determine the specification of the nonwoven interlining. By using the resulting specification, a suitable nonwoven interlining can be developed and constructed for almost any end-use. In general, the functions of a nonwoven interlining can be divided into three main groups: Interlining fabric for shaping and support Shaping and support are the traditional tasks of an interlining fabric. It forms the internal frame of garments (for example jackets and
Fig.1. Shaping & Support with Nonwoven Interlinings

coats) and helps to absorb and bear the static and dynamic stresses to which the garment is subjected in use. The shape given to the clothing for anatomical or fashion reasons should be maintained permanently by the interlining without changing the textile properties of the shell. A nonwoven interlining (front fusing interlining) of this type is primarily used over a large area. Nonwoven interlining for stabilizing &/or stiffening The task of a nonwoven interlining used for stabilizing is to reinforce or stiffen certain parts of a garment in the desired way. Moreover, these areas, often the most visible on a garment (for example collars & cuffs on shirts and blouses), should look good & should not lose their appearance after the care cycle. In terms of their application, these nonwoven interlinings are primarily for use over small areas and aid rationalization as

punched and narrow fabrics. Nonwoven interlinings for providing bulk So-called quilting nonwovens can fulfill two different tasks in garments. The first, as a backing for quilting or embroidery to create a decorative look is determined by fashion. These are normally used over a small area. The second task of providing heat insulation conforms to the rules of clothing physiology. With an entrapment of air of over 90%, these nonwovens make ideal heat insulators and stand out from other textile fabrics in this respect. In this case, the filling material is used over a large or the whole area. The boundaries between the two tasks can be fluid. Functional elements of nonwoven interlinings By using the basic elements of a nonwoven interlining, that is the raw materials (fibers, binders, finishes,

Fig.2. Nonwoven to aid Rationalization (Punched & Narrow Fabrics)

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Technical Textile & Nonwoven Excellence

NONWOVENS
Fig.3. Nonwoven interlinings for providing bulk & heat insulation

Protection against falling Protection against drowning Textiles for protecting objects serve purposes in property protection such as fire-proofing and flame proofing, protection against vandalism (protection against cutting), moisture protection and protection for equipment/structural elements, clean-room textiles as well as protection against electrostatic and electromagnetic fields. Heat protective clothing The latest developments are nonwovens made from temperature and flame-resistant fibrous materials with a high protective function against the effects of heat and flames. They protect people and property against thermal risks and are being used increasingly in firefighters clothing, welders protective clothing, combined fire and chemical protective clothing, on public transport, for example planes, trains, in seating and beds as well as in the public and private sector. An increasing number of inherently flame-resistant fibrous materials are available for producing such nonwovens. An important criteria is the LOI value (Limited Oxygen Index), see Table 2 on the characterization of flammability. By blending appropriate fibers, the different requirements of the respective enduse sector can be met. Chemical methods are not suitable for reinforcing nonwovens as they reduce the LOI value. Such webs are usually reinforced mechanically. The company Freudenberg in Weinheim has developed the Vilene Fire Blocker product range, based on water-jet reinforcement, consisting of an optimal blend of melamine fibers, metaaramid (Nomex) and para-aramid fibers (Twaron). They are heat and flame-resistant, non-melting or dripping, dimensionally stable, air permeable, soft, with a good drape as well as abrasion resistant. They are used for lightweight single or multilayer insulation linings and as substrates for water-proof barriers (SYMPATEX & GORETEX).

hot melt adhesives), by combining them together and using the different manufacturing possibilities, such as web formation, finishing, application and formulation of the hot melt adhesive, it is possible to design the individual properties and therefore to fulfill any function. These basic elements are therefore functional elements for the nonwoven interlining. The relationship between the functional elements and the properties can be represented in a matrix. The aim of such a matrix is: (See table 1) To supply data on which functional elements are relevant for a property To provide the basis for specifications for stages carried out by external manufacturers

To provide the stimulus for new or improved technical equipment

Nonwovens for protective clothing Protective and safety textiles of the most diverse kinds are classed as technical textiles with a high-tech character. They have a growing market importance. Protective clothing occupies first place among technical textiles in Europe. It is used to protect people and/or property. For protection at work, protective textiles are used mainly in personal protective equipment (PPE) in the following. Protective clothing (body protection) Protective gloves Protective headgear Protective footwear

Table 1. Relationship matrix for Nonwoven interlinings

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Technical Textile & Nonwoven Excellence

NONWOVENS
Table 2: LOI Value of Fibrous Material Fibre Meta Aramid Para Aramid Preox Fibre Melamine fibre Phenolic fibre Modacrylic fibre Viscose FR PBI Polyamide imide Polyimide LOI Value 28-32 29-32 56-58 32 31-33 28-30 28 40 32 38 thetic products, e.g. for footwear manufacture (shoe upper materials and linings). Its dominance does not only result from promotion of "genuine leather", but also from the beneficial hygienic properties in wear, which are expressed by high values of water vapour permeability and water vapour absorption as well as by the expansion behavior. Latest Developments, from late 90's to today PGI marketed its newly developed Miratec to be produced in Benson, North Carolina. At that point the process was described as: extraordinarily high-pressure water to manipulate fibrous web bringing them directly to a finished product with no labor between, being the non-fraying characteristic of Miratec fabric the only visual difference from woven or knitted fabrics. Expected end-uses were: Home furnishings, automotive fabrics, commercial uniforms, protective garments, children's wear, durable medical products and window treatments. Also in 1998 Xymid LLC, Delaware, was formed and is made up or growing business that had been started by DuPont Co. The majority ownership and management of the company is by an individual who had been responsible for the business (and others) when with Dupont. Xymid is based on proprietary technologies not found in traditional wovens, knits or nonwovens. Some of the products are based on processes and products that were developed by DuPont's fibers, nonwovens and composite groups. The versatility of the techniques enables the inclusion of many different fibers into one fabric. Xymid wearforce fabrics combine bulkable yarn such as Lycra with polyester for comfort and nylon for durability. Wearforce "G" fabrics are combined with high wear performance laminate to provide good griping surface and high wear resistance. The composite fabrics are resin impregnated for high abrasion resistance and moldability. LANX fabric systems produce chemical and biological protective fabrics and apparel for military and emergency response applications. Zyflex LLC Thermal Sportgear consists of a line of gar-

Nonwoven support materials for footwear Coated textile support materials summed up under the term 'artificial leathers' - compete with genuine leather in most diverse applications, e.g. as shoe upper and upholstery cover materials. The structures of leather and traditional artificial leather differ from each other fundamentally. While leather consists of a

Fig.5. Evolon Microfilament Technology

Fig.4. Work from Lincoln Research Center in New Zealand Footwear accessories

collagen fibre tissue, the density of which increases continuously towards the grain side, artificial leathers are layered materials composed of textile supports and - mostly several - polymeric layers. Natural leather prevails in application, in spite of multiple and diverse efforts made in the last decades in order to use plane materials produced from high- grade syn-

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Technical Textile & Nonwoven Excellence