Interview with Mr. Dave Hill

Mr. Dave Hill
Mr. Dave Hill
Business Development Manager
TT: Tell us about the properties of the super absorbent fibre developed by you?

The chemistry on which SAFTM is based has been extensively tested to establish its safe for use status in application areas requiring a high degree of toxicity and regulatory approval. Studies have included allergenicity, irritation, dermal, genetic, reproductive, and ingestion research. Technical Absorbents (TAL) manufactures its own patented polymer system to produce SAFTM– an aqueous solution which is extruded into a hot air stream in order to dry and cure the polymer, resulting in the formation of SAFTM filaments. These are then cooled, and precision cut into a range of staple lengths before being dried, cross-linked, conditioned and baled for dispatch. The manufacturing process is extremely versatile, allowing for precise tailoring and control of all required fibre parameters. In-house quality control systems ensure fibre is produced to exacting specifications.

TT: In which applications does it find use in the nonwovens and technical textile sector?

SAFTM is truly a versatile super absorbent product. The number of applications that already benefit from this absorbent technology is immense and extremely diverse. Ongoing innovation in the polymer chemistry of SAFTM, together with implementation of advanced fibre processing techniques, is leading to the design of new fabrics and yarns that deliver world-class super absorbency performance. SAFTM can be converted into a multitude of fabric and yarn structures for use in disposable hygiene, advanced wound care, food packaging, coolant apparel, agrotextiles, geotextiles, filtration and underwater cable applications.

TT: What newer applications will contribute significantly in coming years and how do you foresee the market for the fibre in the near future?

TAL is making big strides into the coolant market with both its KoolEvapTM and KoolSorbTM fabric technologies. Advanced wound care and the filtration markets are also areas in which it is becoming increasingly involved. Coolant KoolSorbTM fabric is a patent-pending KoolSAFTM (the specific product brand of SAFTM for the coolant market) technology. It can be converted into a wide range of garments, which are worn next to the skin under heavy clothing. The fabric stimulates the dissipation of heat and moisture through the rapid absorption and containment of body sweat. The material in touch with the skin remains relatively dry and conducts heat away from the hot areas of the body. This results in a cooling effect of up to 6°C for the wearer – directly reducing the risk of heat-stress. Garments made using this technology can be laundered multiple times. KoolEvapTM is a KoolSAFTM-containing absorbent nonwoven, used in the design of three-layer absorption cooling fabrics. It is sandwiched between two other fabric layers. When soaked, the KoolEvapTM core holds and contains the water from which the evaporation occurs. The outer and inner layers can be tailored as required to suit garment design. The final three-layer fabrics can be converted into many apparel forms, which are designed to be worn over undergarments. The wearer pre-soaks the garment with water and through evaporation, it provides the wearer with a cooling effect and helps reduce the risk of heat-stress when working in hot conditions. Items made using this technology can be reused through multiple wetting and drying cycles. Medical MediSAFTM - based medical fabrics have been extensively developed for use in advanced moist wound care dressings. Such products provide a therapeutic effect and aid healing, especially when used in the treatment of wounds with high exudates, e.g. chronic wounds and burns. Moist wound care dressings are designed to present correct moisture conditions around the wound, but not result in actual wetting. The integration of a MediSAFTM-based fabric, results in the rapid uptake and retention of exudates from the infected area. This is essential in creating an optimum environment to aid the healing process, and prevent further bacterial growth. Filtration A significant reason for the majority of oil and fuel system failures is the presence of high water levels in dissolved, dispersed and free water. FilSAFTM - based filter media fabrics can remove both dispersed and free water to very low ppm levels at industry leading rates. This leads to reduced fuel and oil degradation and provides the required filter quality for efficient machine operation.

TT: What markets are you currently exploring and which could be the ones in the future?

New ideas and opportunities are being presented by current and potential customers all of the time. TAL receives enquiries from all different industries that need help finding an absorbent solution.

TT: Considering that the global nonwoven industry is posting healthy growth rates, how do you foresee the scenario by 2015?

The future for TAL and SAFTM is extremely positive. The company has many new development projects underway and they continue to roll in. TAL prides itself on being an innovator and a leader in research and development. This is recognized within the industry, and the company will continue to push boundaries and explore new opportunities for its super absorbent technology.

Published on: 07/07/2012

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of