STFI to present latest nonwovens research at INDEX in Geneva on April 18-21; projects include VliesSMC battery housing made from recycled carbon fibers with Fraunhofer, BioHyg reusable viscose pad for baby, feminine, adult incontinence hygiene

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LUDGWIGSBURG, Germany , April 11, 2023 (press release) –

Sustainable nonwoven developments for Geneva

The world's leading nonwovens trade fair INDEX TM 23 invites you to Lake Geneva from April 18th to 21st, 2023. A trade fair team from the Saxon Textile Research Institute (STFI) will be presenting the latest from nonwovens research at the STFI. Among other things, a bio-based hygienic nonwoven, the recycling of high-performance fibers using the VliesSMC project as an example, an innovative hose liner system and water jet nonwovens made from recycled fibers will be on display.

Bio-based hygienic nonwoven: BioHyg

The starting point for the innovation was the search for a washable and therefore reusable absorbent pad made from completely bio-based materials for use in baby, feminine and incontinence hygiene. The focus was on two main requirements: Fast and efficient liquid distribution and high absorbency should minimize rewetting and leakage. Both are guaranteed by special viscose fibers from Kelheim Fibres, which have been making this essential contribution to absorbent hygiene products such as tampons for many years.

The advantages of nonwovens in combination with special viscose fibers in terms of absorbency (e.g. through more open-pored structures) have been perfectly transferred from the field of petrochemical to the world of bio-based fiber materials. However, there is another challenge for reusable products: They must remain stable through washing and through multiple cycles of use. To ensure this, an innovative non-woven construction was developed at the Saxon Textile Research Institute. The developed nonwovens close the technological gap of sufficient dimensional stability and the least possible fiber damage through the strengthening mechanisms. The developed nonwoven layers can be used as a stand-alone solution as a single-use product with bio-based materials or integrated into a washable composite structure, such as the diaper from start-up Sumo. With the Sumo cloth diaper, the liquid management of the absorbent pad sets new standards. The new solution brings together the worlds of hygiene and sustainability, proving that high-performing reusable absorbent products can be developed without using fossil-based materials. The research cooperation from STFI with Kelheim Fibers GmbH and Sumo GmbH received the 2022 Techtextil Innovation Award in the "New Concept" category for the development of a bio-based hygiene nonwoven - a good example of how research and industry are breaking new ground in sustainability through cooperation in the open innovation approach.

Recycling of high-performance fibers: VliesSMC

The STFI points to the INDEX TM23 Innovations in the recycling of high-performance fibers. A battery housing will be exhibited that was developed together with the research partner Fraunhofer ICT, Pfinztal. Detailed investigations into the use of recycled carbon fibers in the SMC process chain were carried out at the STFI, Chemnitz. For this purpose, nonwovens were first developed that make it possible to feed the recycled carbon fibers to the SMC system. The SMC semi-finished products produced could then be processed using both the compression molding and extrusion processes. The comparison with conventional SMC products showed that comparable characteristic values ​​could be achieved with a lower fiber volume content. Future-oriented materials are also offered by developments in the field of renewable raw materials in combination with bio-based resin systems.

Innovative hose liner system

The aim of the research project was to develop an improved pipe liner system for trenchless pipe rehabilitation. In particular, the force absorption in the longitudinal direction, the ability to bend bends without wrinkling were improved and the use of materials and the pore volume of the textiles were optimized for the best possible soaking with resin. The project included nonwoven development, liner coating and application of UV crosslinkable resins for curing. At the INDEX TM 23, the STFI is presenting a demonstrator that shows a fleece-based pipe liner with a coating, which in turn was impregnated with a UV-crosslinkable resin and cured using UV-LED lamps.

From recycled fibers to hydrojet nonwovens

On the occasion of the INDEX TM 23, the STFI will be exhibiting nonwoven structures that have been mechanically recycled using a tearing machine and then consolidated using the water jet process or stitch-bonding technologies. The nonwovens are characterized in particular by their soft feel and unique look. Whether wet-strength wipes, classic pile fiber nonwovens with padding and insulation properties or sustainable needled nonwovens; through the use of tear fibers in combination with established fleece formation processes, new applications for old textiles are found at the STFI and material cycles are closed.

We would like to exchange ideas with you about the possibility of joint research projects and suitable funding programs.

Have we piqued your interest? We look forward to exciting talks at the trade fair with you. Visit us at INDEX TM 23 at booth 1369.

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