Archive for October, 2010

New Kimberly-Clark Filtration smart phone tool calculates energy costs of HVAC filters

Saturday, October 30th, 2010

A new mobile smart phone tool from Kimberly-Clark Filtration allows facility and HVAC engineers to obtain critical operating cost data for HVAC air filters.

The mobile analysis tool allows people to compare the energy costs and environmental impact (ie greenhouse gas emissions) of any two similar HVAC systems using different filters simply by entering data into an easy-to-use form. The tool then automatically calculates the energy costs and annual CO2 emissions of each system, showing the impact of filter selection.

“Filters play a major role in an HVAC system’s energy consumption,” explains Lon Edelman, CAFS, market manager, Kimberly-Clark Filtration. “The energy costs to operate an air filter can be up to 80% of the filter’s total lifecycle cost, and ten times the filter’s purchase price. That is why it is so crucial to pay attention to energy consumption, and not just the purchase price of a filter.”
The mobile analysis tool works with a range of smart phones and other mobile devices and is available for free via

Recycler MBA Polymers gets new funding, plans expansion

Friday, October 29th, 2010


Posted October 25, 2010

LONDON  — Industrial recycler MBA Polymers Inc. hopes to build one or two additional plants soon with the $25 million in equity funding it has just secured.

“One of my primary jobs is to figure out how we are going to grow and when,” said MBA founder and President Michael Biddle in a phone interview Oct. 22 in London a day after he accepted The Economist’s Innovation Award in the energy and environmental category for 2010.

With the company’s third plant in Worksop, England, now up and running, “we are ready to build another plant now,” said Biddle. “We don’t have a timetable, but when we find a source of materials that we can recycle and get a deal done, we’ll go ahead.”

He said MBA was looking at Asia and Europe—where the company already has plants, and North America. ““The new plants will probably be in the same range as our existing plants—40,000-80,000 tons,” said Biddle. “We don’t know which one is going to come to fruition first.” (more…)

DAK Americas buying Eastman's PET business for $600 million

Thursday, October 28th, 2010


Posted October 25, 2010

MONTERREY, MEXICO  — Eastman Chemical Co. has agreed to sell its integrated PTA and PET resin business to DAK Americas LLC, owned by Alpek, a division of Mexican conglomerate Alfa SAB de CV, for $600 million in cash, the companies said Oct. 25.

The transaction will probably be completed in the fourth quarter, Eastman of Kingsport, Tenn., added in a news release posted on its website.

“This strategic operation will strengthen our presence in the North American PTA and PET markets, where we supply some of the most important companies in segments such as food, drink and personal care,” Armando Garza Sada, the Alfa board’s president, said in a statement on the Mexican Stock Exchange’s website.

Alfa, which reported 2009 sales of $8.5 billion, is divided into four business groups: Alpek (petrochemicals), Nemak (aluminum auto parts), Sigma (frozen foods) and Alestra (telecommunications).

Its headquarters is in Garza García, a municipality close to Monterrey, in northern Mexico.


“After reviewing strategic options for our Performance Polymers PET business, we determined this action to be the most beneficial to Eastman and our stockholders,” said Jim Rogers, Eastman president and CEO.

“With the path forward for PET now clear, we are dedicating all of our energies to leveraging our solid core businesses and strong balance sheet to deliver value creating growth.”

The sale is subject to regulatory approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions and “is not expected to impact product lines in the company’s Specialty Plastics segment,” the Eastman statement added.

According to Alfa, the acquisition comprises three petrochemical plants with an annual capacity of 1.27 million metric tons, located in South Carolina, the first of which produces PTA while the other two produce PET.

The operation also includes the intellectual property rights to Eastman’s PTA and PET Integrex technology and access to the businesses’ “ample list of commercial relations.”

Alfa estimates that the three plants at the South Carolina complex produced $405 million in sales in the first half of 2010.

Bank of America Merrill Lynch served as financial adviser to Eastman during the transactions.


Improved baby wipes from Akachan Honpo are 100% Tencel

Wednesday, October 27th, 2010

New Water 99% Baby wipes were launched on October 10th to coincide with Babies Day – the date Akachan dedicates to baby’s well being. The premium wipes are available both online and in all Japanese Akachan Honpo stores.

The development of this private label brand began already six years ago when Akachan took the strategic decision to minimize the use of lotions and added ingredients in their wipe products. The next stage in this development has been reached with the inclusion of TENCEL fibers.

“We have a clear mission to develop baby wipes which are both gentle to sensitive baby skin and deliver the highest quality performance. As a result of studying possible materials we concluded TENCEL fibers would meet parents requirements”, says Kennichi Fujiwara, General Manager, Akachan Honpo.

TENCEL is made from cellulose – the most abundant and renewable raw material on our planet. By using cellulose from trees Water 99% wipes will biodegrade. Chris Potter, Business Manager Japan for Lenzing says: “The increasing importance of sustainability has positively impacted the demand for cellulosic fibers.”

Chris adds: “The second important driver for our success is the enhanced performance offered by TENCEL in wiping products.” A key purchasing criteria for baby wipes is skin friendliness. This is met by the smooth surface of TENCEL which cleans effectively whilst preventing irritation of sensitive baby skin.

Akachan Honpo wants customers to know and understand more about which fibers are employed in their baby wipes: In addition to the TENCEL logo inclusion on packaging the unique fiber properties are illustrated on accompanying promotional material. This development is important for consumers since it helps them to make an informed decision and understand the difference the fiber choice can make.


IDEA 11 Awards

Tuesday, October 26th, 2010

Awards With six months left until INDEX11, the global nonwovens exhibition to be held in Geneva, EDANA has announced the categories for the event’s awards, which are open to any EDANA member company or exhibitor.
From November 2nd, companies can download an application form from, which must then be completed and returned with samples and supporting details (as applicable), before the 15th January, 2011.
While companies may only submit one product per category, they may enter into as many categories as they wish. Products must be commercially available at the time of submission, and must not have been commercially launched before April 2008. All applications will be treated with full confidentiality.
The award categories for 2011 include:
• Nonwoven roll goods.
• Finished products made from, or incorporating nonwovens.
• Marketing achievement for the most original marketing campaign for a product made from, or incorporating nonwovens.
• Raw materials or component – innovation in a raw material or component (eg polymer, fibre, binder, film, tape), (other than nonwoven) of special relevance to the nonwovens industry and related converted products industry.
• Machinery – innovation in machinery of special relevance to the nonwovens industry
• Sustainable product.
• Sustainable process or management practice. (more…)

Nonwovens Take A Bite Out Of Bed Bugs

Monday, October 25th, 2010


Associate editor

Photo take by: M.F. Potter, University of Kentucky.
If you think applications for nonwovens have already reached a plateau, think again. Nonwovens’ newest role: getting rid of bed bugs.
Bed bugs, which were considered eradicated about 50 years ago, are back with a vengeance. Almost daily there is another report in the lay press about bed bug infestations in a clothing or department store, hotel, movie theatre or office building. Hospitals have also reportedly had bed bug infestations.
“With increased international travel, the banning of potent residual insecticides such as DDT, and a lack of vigilance by the public, these blood-sucking critters are making a comeback with a vengeance,” said Michael Potter, professor of entomology at the University of Kentucky.
According to the International Sleep Products Association (ISPA), bed bugs can live in almost any crevice of any household item including sofas, chairs, nightstands, dressers, along the edge of baseboards, wall-to-wall carpeting, cracks in wood molding, ceiling-wall junctures, behind wall-mounted picture frames, clocks and phones. In mattresses, they tend to congregate along the seams and edges. They also hide in box springs, bed frames and headboards.
Several companies are already offering nonwoven products for mattresses and box springs that are aimed at preventing bed bug infestations. Still others are in discussions with researchers to see if they can develop a nonwoven product to eradicate bed bugs.
Protect-A-Bed, North Brook, IL, manufactures a polypropylene mattress encasement dubbed the” Bug Lock Encasement.” Mike Simpson, Protect-A-Bed’s director of marketing said, “We’ve applied some of our high-end technology to our encasements with our new patented bug lock on the zipper. Underneath the top layer of the encasement we put our miracle membrane to make it waterproof. We tested our regular encasements with entomology labs to make sure they were entry and escape proof—so bed bugs couldn’t get in or out of the encasement. We came up with a locking mechanism at the end of the zipper so that at the last three inches it locks that zipper in place. Underneath the very top layer we applied our miracle membrane, which is a polyurethane coating. It is air vapor porous, but you can’t stain your mattress because it’s waterproof.”
Noting that the ten-year-old company began developing products for bed bugs four years ago, Mr. Simpson said, “We developed our original encasement for allergies which would lock out dust mites. Then the bed bug problem came along and we immediately shifted gears and tested it to make sure it was bed bug proof. Most of the encasements we have are completely bite proof. We saw our sales pick up with pest control agencies, hotels and now with consumers.” The company distributes its products to 30 countries and is seeing growth in the U.S. and the U.K.
Pointing out that the encasement should be left on a mattress for one year or more, Mr. Simpson said, “Bed bugs can live long without feeding.If you take the encasement off before that time, they can reinfest your home. Entomologists tell us that 65% of the bugs will live in the mattress or around the headboard. Their favorite spot is the box spring because it’s wide open. Our nonwoven product is used more on the box spring because it’s not as durable as the polyester encasement we have for the mattress. We have a nonwoven for the boxspring and a nonwoven for the mattress.”
Protect-A-Bed sells a Bedbug Kit that includes the nonwoven box spring encasement and Allerzip, a woven mattress encasement and two woven pillow protectors.
When queried whether he foresees the development of pillowcases made of nonwovens to ward off bed bugs, Mr. Simpson said, “We haven’t done that yet. Nonwovens are good for what we use them for. Even the people who have major issues like the hotels really like it. There’s a lot of research being done into covers for couches and chairs and other things that repel the bugs. I’ve had apartment complexes call me saying they have a new pest deposit policy. When your furniture is going in you have to encase your mattress prior to bringing it in.”
Clifton, NJ-based Twelve Steps To Heaven offers nonwoven box spring encasements and polyester mattress encasements. Twelve steps To Heaven’s president Dale Wagner said, “You can’t use a nonwoven encasement for mattresses because if you put it on your bed and you toss and turn, eventually it will start tearing because the fabric is stiff. If you put a nonwoven encasement on the boxspring, you put it on once and you can leave it there.A lot of hotels like the nonwoven box spring encasement because it’s less expensive than the polyester encasement. I come across a lot of people who don’t like the nonwoven. If I bring a sample, they open it up and say, ‘It’s coarse’ and a lot of them get turned off.The nonwovens do work well for the box spring, but for the mattress encasement you really can’t use them.”

Twelve Steps To Heaven also sells a nonwoven encasement for luggage. “When you get to the hotel, you put the suitcase in the protector and zip it. If you take the stuff out of your luggage and put it in the drawer you may get the bed bugs and end up taking them home,” said Mr. Wagner.
One chemical manufacturer exploring nonwovens solutions for bed bugs is Milliken & Co. Pat Carroll, sales marketing director for Milliken’s nonwovens mattress area said, “Based on what our research people have been looking into, there aren’t any chemicals that will kill the bed bugs that are legal with the Environmental Protection Agency( EPA). We are doing a lot of work and investigation into what can be done short of some of the remedies such as freezing or ‘frying’ bed bugs. You can put a Gore-Tex coating or any coating on a fabric to make it airtight. If you put it on the mattress all it will do is keep bed bugs from getting into crevices of the mattress. You also have sheets and pillowcases on top of your mattress. The problem with bed bugs is they will go underneath the bed—between the foundation and mattress. They’ll hide along the bed railings. They may never appear as long as no one gets in the bed. We are actively looking at methods we could bring to market that could have an impact on helping to control bed bugs. If you put a raincoat on a mattress and seal it up, bed bugs aren’t going to get into the mattress, but that doesn’t mean bed bugs won’t be in the room or in the carpet. Obviously there would be a market. We are actively working with our PhD’s looking at what alternatives there are. We don’t want something to market that could be harmful. Everybody’s challenge is going to be is the environment friendly way of trying to come up with a solution that doesn’t create some other kinds of issues with health. If you found something that would kill a bed bug and prevent them, How long do you have to go though testing to make sure it doesn’t have any impact on children or people? It’s really going to be a tough nut to crack.”

Mr. Carroll pointed out that there are allergen type barriers which encase mattresses. “They may end up being something that is better than nothing, but is it killing bed bugs and their next generation? Insects have short life spans but they procreate quickly and lay a lot of eggs.”
Another company that would like to offer a solution for bed bugs is nonwovens producer William T. Burnett. Mike McAlister, plant manager at William T. Burnett said, “We are only in a discussion stage among ourselves. All of the major producers are discussing and trying to come up with ideas that would help alleviate the issue.”
Precision Textiles, Totowa, NJ is offering a box spring protector encasement that is made from spunbond polypropylene material. The company also offers a mattress protector made of a nonwoven high loft material that is quilted between a plush terry fabric and a quilt backer nonwoven.
Shaile Dusaj, director of sales and marketing for Precision Textiles said, “Encasements made of soft and smooth surface fabrics work better for bed bug problems. Since the box spring is not the sleeping surface, the feel of the surface is not important. The mattress and box spring encasements can be used either as a proactive or reactive approach. Mattress and box spring encasements are recommended to keep new mattress sets free of bed bug infestations. After bed bug infestations and treatment these are recommended to make sure that any bed bugs that have survived the treatment are trapped. In the absence of any food they will die.Using the proactive and reactive approaches lets your mattress set last longer and keeps it safe from bed bug infestations.”
Precision’s nonwovens products for bed bug infestations are manufactured in China and sold mainly in the U.S., with some sales in Asia and Europe. Since the beginning of the year Precision has sold 600,000 units of its bed bug infestation products.
Can nonwoven dust mite barrier products for mattresses and pillows be effective against bed bugs?
Terry O’Regan, Freudenberg Industrial Business Segment Manager for Freudenberg Spunweb Co., which offers a nonwoven dust mite barrier material called Evolon said, “Bed bugs live in seams and folds or under the roping used to edge mattresses, furniture and headboards–basically anywhere that is dark. Dust mites live inside the mattress and pillow. Barriers like Evolon trap the mites inside them. A flat sealed seam mattress cover made of Evolon could keep bed bugs out of the mattress, but the rest of the room will still have the problem.”
Mr. O’Regan continued, “Dust mites are an allergy issue. They are very separate and distinct problems. We have a very active business in Europe and a growing business in the U.S. for dust mite protection. A dust mite is six to eight microns in size. It’s very tiny. Up until Evolon was created, the only way to make a mattress cover or pillowcase dust mite barrier was to put a film on it, which made it ‘plasticy,’ noisy and hot. Because of the way Evolon is made it will filter down to about two microns so when you put it over a mattress or pillow the dust mites can’t get out.Dust mites are typically in mattresses, pillowcases and carpets. Bed bugs are larger. Typically they don’t live in a mattress. How do you deal with a bug that doesn’t live in a specific area? You can put a barrier up against it. If you take a fabric headboard, and roping around the edges they’ll live behind the roping or in the seam where the roping goes around the mattress. They are fairly large to see with a naked eye. I don’t see any textile application, nonwoven or otherwise that can be a barrier for bedbugs. They are going to live wherever they can get ‘dark.’ You have to exterminate the room in one fashion or anther to get rid of them. You can encapsulate the mattress but that doesn’t mean the room will be free of bed bugs. Encapsulating a mattress is typically a dust mite barrier material, not a bed bug barrier material.Putting a mattress case on a mattress is not going to solve the problem.”


Luvs Baby Diapers Unveils New Look

Sunday, October 24th, 2010

Procter & Gamble’s Luvs baby diapers has unveiled a new look for their diapers, which will offer consumers upgraded packaging features and a new Heavy Dooty Protection diaper design. Both innovations are scheduled to hit retailer shelves nationwide this fall.

The new additions are purely aesthetic and will not affect the performance, quality or value parents expect from the Luvs brand, according to the company.

After soliciting feedback from current users, Luvs will be replacing the backsheet currently found on their diapers with an adorable, new monkey design – a look that is preferred three-to-one over current designs by those surveyed – enhancing the diaper-changing experience for parents. Consumers will also be treated to a diaper packaging upgrade that will consist of new, updated photography and an added back package panel that will provide parents and caretakers with additional product information.

“Here at Luvs, we understand that even when using a great, reliable product, diaper duty isn’t always the most pleasant task to undertake so we’re always searching for ways to make the diaper-changing experience more enjoyable for parents – and their kids,” said Dominic Iacono, brand manager for Luvs baby diapers. “We’ve listened closely to consumer insights and we’re thrilled to offer parents a new look with Ultra Leakguards and the Heavy Dooty Protection design – all the while knowing that these new changes will not compromise the great quality synonymous with the Luvs brand and the trust that parents have placed in our products.”

Luvs Ultra Leakguards baby diapers deliver premium leakage protection that locks away wetness from baby’s skin, as well as a money-back guarantee. Luvs baby diapers are available in sizes newborn to six at mass, discount and grocery stores where baby care products are sold.


US Nonwovens Completes Phase II Expansion And Modernization

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Brentwood, N.Y.-based U.S. Nonwovens Corp., a manufacturer of personal and home care products for retail and institutional markets, has concluded Phase II of its North American Capacity Expansion and Modernization Program — a $32 million investment that included adding 500,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution space; installing state-of-the-art fully automated blending, converting and robotic packaging lines and molds; and improving production of the nonwovens line at its Brentwood Mill location. According to the company, all upgrades include high-level control and automation systems.

“Our ability to satisfy customer demand across the retail and institutional markets, with the unforeseen 3X surge for disinfecting products as a result of last year’s H1N1 Swine Flu outbreak is a testament to our commitment of having Open Surge Capacity available for our customers,” said Robert Stein, director of corporate communications, U.S. Nonwovens.

The company reports that Phase III of the program has already begun, and upon completion will provide increased annual capacity as well as skill sets to meet future customer demand along with unpredictable surges in demand.


Freudenberg Nonwovens Introduces Lutradur® ECO, Restarts Idled Spunbond Line

Friday, October 22nd, 2010

Durham, N.C.-based Fr

eudenberg Nonwovens — a maufacturer of nonwoven fabrics and a part of Germany-based Freudenberg Group — has introduced Lutradur® ECO, a polyester nonwoven fabric made from 100-percent post-consumer recycled (PCR) plastic. Since the Lutradur fabric’s introduction, Freudenberg Nonwovens has steadily increased the amount of PCR plastic from 15 to 90 percent (See ” Freudenberg Nonwovens Debuts Lutradur®, Wins Supplier Award,” May, 20, 2008).

Lutradur ECO is the first product to be made exclusively from PCR plastic.

Both Lutradur and Lutradur ECO find applications in end-uses that include building and construction substrates, wallpaper and carpet backings, automotive floor mats and carpeting, landscaping and weed-blocking materials, and specialized filtration devices. Customers in construction, landscape and filtration businesses can achieve Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) credits when selecting a sustainable Lutradur fabric because of its PCR content and environmentally conscious production methods. (more…)

Blackstone To Acquire PGI

Thursday, October 21st, 2010

Charlotte-based nonwovens producer Polymer Group Inc. (PGI) has agreed to be purchased by an affiliate of Blackstone Capital Partners V LP, a New York City-based private investment and advisory firm. The total value of the transaction is not clear, but holders of PGI common stock will receive approximately $15.25 per share upon closing, plus a ratable share of additional monies upon their release from an escrow account that will be set up to cover certain potential tax-related obligations. The transaction is expected to be finalized before the end of first-quarter 2011.

“The sale to Blackstone is the culmination of our strategic review process and we believe that this transaction represents the best value alternative available to our stockholders,” said Veronica “Ronee” M. Hagen, CEO, PGI. “Blackstone is committed to supporting our strategy of continued growth and investment in proprietary capabilities in our markets around the globe. The leadership team and all of the employees of PGI are excited to begin the next chapter at PGI and to maintain our position as a global industry leader.”

“Polymer Group is an attractive company because of its leading position in the nonwovens industry and its strong footprint in high growth developing markets,” said Chinh E. Chu, a senior managing director of Blackstone. “The Company has a talented management team, which we believe has much to achieve with our support and financial resources.”