businesses, in general, rely on high volume production which is highly
engineered and, because of competitive pressures, there is a constant need to
innovate to ensure high quality, in-specification products are produced at the
minimum cost. The industry is driven by technology developments in machinery,
process control and materials and, to have a sustainable future, nonwovens
enterprises need to be at the forefront of these developments.
is a nonwoven fabric?
fabrics are broadly defined as web structures bonded together by entangling
fibres mechanically, thermally fusing the fibres or chemically bonding the
fibres. Nonwovens are defined more exactly by various bodies one of the most
often quoted is the International Nonwovens & Disposables Association
(INDA) definition: Nonwovens are a sheet, web, or bat of natural and/or
man-made fibres or filaments, excluding paper, that have not been converted
into yarns, and that are bonded to each other by any of several means.
various methods for bonding are:
Adding an adhesive.
Thermally fusing the fibres to
each other or to the other melt able fibres or powders.
Fusing fibres by first
dissolving, and then re-solidifying their surfaces.
Creating physical tangles or
tuft among the fibres.
Stitching the fibres or
filaments in place.
are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require converting the fibres to
yarn. Nonwoven fabrics are engineered fabrics that may be single-use disposable
or a very durable fabric. They are used in numerous applications, including;
baby diapers, adult incontinence products, wet wipes, surgical drapes and
covers, liquid cartridge and bag filters, face masks, air-conditioning filters,
soil stabilizers and roadway underlayment, erosion control, drainage systems,
insulation (fiberglass batting), pillows, cushions, and upholstery padding,
carpet backing, automotive headliners and upholstery, house wraps, and
disposable clothing (foot coverings, coveralls).
manufacturing can be described in simple terms as a series of manufacturing
steps consisting of forming a fibrous web, entangling or bonding the fibres in
the web to impart mechanical integrity to the structure and
finishing/converting the fabric to impart some special properties to the fabric
that the customer specifies. The manufacturing steps are described below:
characteristics of the fibrous web are a key determinant of the physical
properties of the final product. The choice of methods for forming webs is
determined by fibre length. Initially, the methods for the formation of webs
from staple-length fibres were based on the textile carding process, whereas web
formation from short fibres was based on a wet laid process similar papermaking.
These technologies are still in use, but methods based forming a web directly
from filaments immediately they exit an extruder (Spun laid) have also been