Brief: Innovation in polymers, treatments and additives offer new possibilities in substrate technology
AGC develops repellent for medical nonwovens
Medical products like surgical gowns, masks, drapes and packaging must be able to repel fluids, oil and alcohol, and quickly release stains when laundered. Those properties are achieved by coating nonwoven fabrics with repelling agents before they are fabricated into clothing. However, repelling agents have had a history of sustainability issues because of their potential to break down forming perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). To address this problem, AGC Chemicals Americas developed Asahi Guard AG-E600, a high-performance, PFOA-free repellent with improved environmental and biological profiles.
AG-E600 repelling agents have been found to be safe and effective for use in nonwoven medical products. They are based on AGC’s patented short-chain C6 polymerization technology, which is nontoxic and does not break down to form PFOA or Perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS). In addition, AG-E600 is alkylphenol ethoxylate (APEO) -free and does not contain longer chain length perfluorocarboxylic acids (PFCAs) or their precursors.
AG-E600 is nonflammable, provides excellent alcohol/oil repellency and water resistance for polypropylene nonwovens, and has high compatibility with auxiliary agents. Medical products formulated with AG-E600 maintain their repelling performance through repeated washings.
Americhem provides new materials for the nonwovens industry
Americhem has recently developed a new version of its mBrace softening additive to the nonwovens market. This is in addition to the initial group of mBrace softeners, which let manufacturers achieve their ideal level of softness by reducing the coefficient of friction, or slip. A new version currently under development imparts a cottony, textile feel. This product is thermally stable and helps the manufacturer deliver a soft touch without impacting other material properties. There is also added flexibility in the use rate, which can be customized to the manufacturers’ specific requirements. This allows the user to ensure optimum softness while eliminating any impact to processing conditions.
Both of the product groups of mBrace technology can be combined with other additives and color in an all-in-one product pelleted product. All of the mBrace products offered in Europe are compliant with REACH regulations and the products are available in a variety of packaging options.
Americhem offers new custom-made color masterbatches for nonwovens producers. Increasingly, brand and product colors are becoming of the utmost importance. Americhem gives producers the ability to add custom color to their products. These custom colors can also be combined with one or more additives for ease of dosing and inventory control. Americhem utilizes its expertise in outdoor products to produce nDuramax UV stabilizers which are critical for any outdoor nonwovens application.
Archroma offers color and specialty chemicals
Archroma, a global leader in color and specialty chemicals, offers a broad portfolio of solutions for textiles mills and nonwoven manufacturers. Featured highlights include: Color, with high-performance Printofix TF pigment preparations; Fire Protection, with Archroma’s non-halogenated Pekoflam range; Repellency and release from PFOA- free C6 chemistry Nuva N to its Smartrepel Hydro range and Coating package solutions, combining Appetan, Lurapret and Texapret polymers together with Archroma’s color and finishing specialties. “The products reflect Archroma’s commitment to delivering responsible products and solutions and underscore our key principle as a company that we continuously challenge the status quo in the deep belief that we can make our industry sustainable,” states Miquel Vila, head of technical service, brand and performance textile specialties, EMEA.
BASF introduces aqueous acrylic binder
With Acronal 2434, BASF has introduced a new aqueous acrylic binder for nonwovens meeting high thermo-dimensional stability requirements. The binder is particularly suitable for nonwovens that are used for construction and abrasive applications. The innovative binder complements the comprehensive BASF product portfolio of binders and resins.
Acronal 2434 is a self-cross-linking acrylic dispersion that lends nonwovens that are exposed to thermal strain high levels of mechanical stability. The binder is suitable for nonwovens made of synthetic fibers such as polyester and is compatible with other cross- linking systems such as melamine and urea resins. It can also be applied with regular foulard systems.
Eastman microfibers offer diversity
Eastman’ Cyphrex microfibers have been developed to satisfy a diverse set of performance needs for increasingly demanding nonwoven applications – especially those in which wetlaid nonwoven and specialty paper producers can benefit from improved strength, uniformity, and reproducibility. Customer-specific development is in progress across a variety of potential end-uses – including, but not limited to, filtration, packaging, highly- durable papers, wallcoverings, and batteries.
Since the initial launch in 2013, Eastman has continued to expand its portfolio of Eastman Cyphrex microfiber products through the pairing of continued advancements in our world-class technology and proprietary microfiber processes – a technology which enables microfibers comprising of unique combinations of sizes, shapes, and materials – with needs and insights gained from external market connect across the nonwoven and specialty paper value chains.
It is the need for innovation within the nonwovens industry that drives customers to continually seek new material inputs which allow them to access differentiated performance in their products without requiring that they make significant process and/or operational changes to do so.
After launching the Eastman Cyphrex microfibers platform with a pair of differently- sized round microfibers, specifically Cyphrex 10001 and Cyphrex 10002, which initially targeted filtration applications, ongoing conversations with leaders in the nonwovens industry suggested a need for a synthetic fiber that could be compatible with an added value to materials with a high content of cellulose pulp – i.e. so-called specialty papers.
Exxon expands polymer range
ExxonMobil Chemical has introduced new grades of low viscosity Vistamaxx performance polymers for hygiene and assembly hot melt adhesive applications. Vistamaxx 8780 and 8380 grades expand the adhesive application options of Vistamaxx 8880 which became commercially available in 2015. These three low viscosity polymers enable the formulation of high-performance, low odor, low density hot melt adhesives used in packaging, hygiene and assembly applications. Based on ExxonMobil’s proprietary metallocene technology, Vistamaxx polymers enable the development of a new generation of low odor, minimal color, premium hot melt adhesive formulations that offer trouble-free application.
Vistamaxx 8380 is also well-suited for hot melt adhesives used in assembly applications, such as woodbanding, lamination and automotive. It allows thermally stable formulations with improved adhesion and heat resistance compared to APAO- and EVA- based formulations, while providing low odor and minimal color. Formulations can obtain polymer loadings of 70-90%, resulting in lower density and higher mileage as a potential source of added value for assembly adhesive consumers.
Vistamaxx 8880 is well suited for packaging applications including case and carton sealing. It enables formulations with polymer loadings as high as 90%, about double that of formulations using ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) or MCN-PE. This leads to significantly lower density, lighter weight formulations, which can provide added value as less product is used to create a stronger bond enabling more boxes to be secured with the same amount of adhesive.
Omnova offers binders, finishers
For nonwovens, many factors affect selection of fibers, web forming, and bonding processes, including process efficiency, product performance, application needs, consumer requirements, and cost in usage. Omnova’s polymer bonding and finishing/ surface treatments deliver greater flexibility when making these important decisions. In the current volatile raw material scenario, nonwovens converters are looking for flexibility in using different fibers and polymers. In spunlace (hydroentangled) wipes, the raw material blend is typically composed of 50% absorbent fibers (viscose) and 50% non-absorbent fibers (polyester or polypropylene), depending on raw material pricing dynamics and current conditions have reduced the percentage of viscose in many wipe products, which can negatively affect absorption capacity and softness.
However, by using Omnova’s new innovative SoftWick SF20 finishing treatment, a wipes producer would be able to reduce quantity of viscose fibers and yet achieve similar to improved performance. SoftWick SF20 would help provide better wicking and utilization of the maximum surface thus improving overall absorption capacity of the wipe. Furthermore, SoftWick SF20 would help achieve more soft hand for the wipe. Additionally, in spunlace wipes, Omnova’s Sunbond binders can help improve wet tensile strength of household and industrial wipes.
Additionally, softer products and sustainable solutions (environmental consciousness) are prominent trends in absorbent hygiene end use applications. With viscose prices on the rise due to global supply shortage and very few capacity additions on the horizon, cotton could play an important role in nonwovens. Cotton is stronger than pulp and viscose, and is highly hydrophilic. Cotton has a very favorable perception as a material (especially in Asian countries) since it is considered as an indicator of softness and being environmental friendly. But, the higher the cotton content, the weaker the fabric becomes since there are fewer bonding points. Thus thermal bonding, needle punching and hydroentangling would not prove to be effective bonding techniques for providing required fabric strength. Polymer bonding, however, could be the most effective fiber bonding technology, enabling broader use of cotton as a raw material.