While many trade associations continue to revise their formal definition of nonwoven materials and fabrics, one thing is for sure: the definitions exclude papermaking. But why? Sure there is market pressure surrounding papermaking that seems to have no effect on the nonwovens industry. But if nonwovens producers distance themselves too far, they risk missing out on the process improving efficiencies developed for and perfected in the pulp and paper industry.
As a global leader in the development and supply of papermaking technologies and equipment, Kadant’s innovations have been extended to a variety of process industries beyond pulp and paper. A recent visit to a nonwovens producer revealed that we can help both the spunbond and meltblown manufacturing processes in addition to the wet-laid process, which is closely related to papermaking processes. A few examples are provided below.
FABRIC CLEANING SYSTEMS
Spunbond and meltblown nonwovens are formed on a conveying fabric. During our recent visit to the producer, we learned the problems nonwovens producers experience with current conveying fabric cleaning systems are similar to those problems found with cleaning systems used to clean paper machine fabrics:
- The traversing head is not properly synchronized with the speed of the fabric.
- The electrical control system often fails due to the operating environment.
- The water jets and spray nozzles are not properly aligned to ensure effective dirt and fiber removal.
In addition to continuously cleaning the press rolls and calender rolls used in the thermal bonding process, a properly placed doctor blade (commonly used in the pulp and paper industry) can keep partially bonded webs from separating and wrapping around these same rolls. Also, precise vacuum boxes and poly wear services serve a vital role in web forming.
Kadant’s array of products initially designed to optimize the papermaking process can do the same for the nonwovens manufacturer. For example, the M-clean™ cleaning system effectively cleans both the surface and deep in the fabric, while ensuring that all removed contaminants are collected and discharged outside the machine. It uses a method of high-pressure water in combination with an effective evacuation and air knife system to ensure optimum cleaning. Its construction and control system is robust, designed for high temperature and moist environments.
ROLL CLEANING SYSTEMS
Our family of doctor blades and doctor blade holders set the bar for roll cleaning and contaminant removal. The patented VeriLite™ roll cleaning assembly and the VeriKleen™ roll cleaning assembly were specifically designed for the narrow rolls commonly used in nonwovens manufacturing and leverage our advanced blade technology to provide high-performance, cost-effective, and safe roll cleaning.
FIBER AND WATER RECOVERY SYSTEMS
And when it comes to reusing process water, there is no one better suited to optimize your system. Separating reusable water from fiber, dirt, and debris is what we do and the patented RotoFlex™ resource recover strainer can help you recover valuable resources and be green with its low-energy requirements!
To learn more about Kadant’s nonwovens product offerings including vacuum systems, showers, spray nozzles, and more, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.