No day without nonwovens
They are everywhere, absolutely everywhere – but seriously: e v e r y w h e r e. But don’t worry, they are on the good side.
“We encounter nonwovens from mornings to evenings. But we virtually never notice them”, said Miriam Häublein, Head of the Marketing Department of Techtextil exhibitor Sandler, one of the world’s 20 biggest nonwovens manufacturers. Naive question: what is a nonwoven, Ms. Häublein? “A nonwoven is a fabric made up of loose fibres that are compacted together by a variety of methods – mechanical, heat or a jet of water.” To demonstrate the range of applications in everyday life, Sandler declared the subject of ‘House and Garden’ to be its visual trade-fair motto.
A good choice because even the ‘Desperate Housewives’ would have been able to find a great variety of nonwovens in, for example, cushions, mattresses, upholstered furniture, wet wipes, plasters, vacuum-cleaner bags and air-conditioning units, not to mention under their floor covering (footfall sound insulation), as insulation around pipes (heat protection), on the walls (nonwoven wallpaper) and even IN (sound protection) and ON their walls (roof insulation: see cover picture: ‘Materials in cuddling mode’). “And new areas of application for nonwovens are coming into being all the time”, says Häublein. And she’s right – for example, in the apparel sector.
Small fibreball padding instead of down
Many consumers swear by down as thermal insulation for warm and light sportswear and outdoor jackets. “Now, we have an interesting alternative using nonwoven material”, says Dr Gunter Scharfenberger, Head of Apparel Development at Freudenberg Performance Materials. Based in the south German state of Baden-Württemberg, the nonwovens manufacturer has developed a new kind of padding made from nonwoven fibreballs, which combine for the first time the advantages of loose down fillings (soft and fluffy) and cohesive padding (easier processing). “It is the world’s first padding made from interconnected fibreballs”, says Scharfenberger. According to the company, the thermal insulation of the material is up to 80 percent higher than conventional padding – yet as light as down.