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Laroche produces recycled nonwovens at technical centre

Mar '19
Laroche develops innovative nonwovens from recycled wastes at its technical centre in France. The company is a specialty manufacturer of textile recycling, airlay web forming, and bast fibre processing equipment. The company supplies lines for spinning, bedding and furniture, automotive, acoustic and thermal insulation, geotextiles, filtration, and wipes.

The technical centre has more than €6 million investment in machinery including, from Laroche’s machinery partners, a double belt thermobonding oven from Schott & Meisner and a needle loom from Andritz.

The recycling line can handle both industrial and post-consumer by products including garments, carpets, and tear them apart into fibres and, if needed, separate non fibrous materials such as buttons and zippers. The bast fibre line can decorticate and then further refine/cottonise fibres from flax, hemp, kenaf, and straw. The fibres can then be blended, airlaid, and bonded on one of the three airlay lines; thermobonded, needle punched or resin bonded, the company said in a press release.

“We run approximately 200 trials every year, from 20 to 2000 kilograms of material sent by our customers, often across the oceans. Many of them send a team of experts to witness the trials and guide us towards achieving the results they seek. As for us, confidentiality agreements, signed with our customers, define exactly our commitments. This kind of team work often leads to innovative products and technical solutions,” Marc Moncorgé, head of the technical centre said.

R&D is also strong at Laroche. Benoit Rombaut, head of the R&D department, is working to develop solutions for the future. The current challenge is to develop industrially and economically viable solutions to recycle post-consumer products such as garments, carpets, car seats, airbags, and mattress into usable fibres. These fibres can be used to make insulation felts for the automotive, furniture and building insulation industries. Active research is also underway to turn these fibres back into yarns.

Laroche has recently developed a tailor-made solution for NovaFibers, part of Grupo de Todos, in Guatemala. To test the market acceptance, NovaFibers sent batches of the unsold clothing to Laroche’s technical centre, where they were recycled back into fibres and then into various felts. NovaFibers was then able to build up a market for these felts and subsequently, Laroche designed a complete line for the company. This flexible airlay line with both needle loom and thermobonding oven is now very successfully manufacturing nonwovens for the furniture industry in Central and South America. (GK)

Fibre2Fashion News Desk – India

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