n the course of the last few decades, the nonwovens sector of the textile industry has
grown significantly in importance, offering an increasingly diverse range of products and
applications to an ever-expanding marketplace. According to estimates compiled by EDANA, the
Brussels-based International Association Serving The Nonwovens and Related Industries, and the
Cary, N.C.-based Association of the Nonwovens Industry (INDA), worldwide sales of nonwovens
increased from $9 billion in 1994 to $15.9 billion in 2004, and are projected to total $22.4
billion by 2009. Volume-wise, these sales represented a doubling from 2.16 million metric tons in
1994 to 4.43 million metric tons in 2004, with a further projected increase to 6.32 million metric
tons in 2009.
The various segments of this growing global industry will return to Geneva April 15-18 to
participate in the 2008 edition of INDEX, a triennial exhibition sponsored by EDANA, organized by
Geneva-based Orgexpo and held at Geneva Palexpo, where it has taken place since 1984. Billed by
EDANA as the World’s Leading Nonwovens Exhibition, INDEX 08 is expected to draw more than 13,000
professional visitors from around the world — including company executives, research and
development experts, scientists, designers, engineers, buyers, marketers, specifiers and production
specialists — to see the latest nonwovens technologies, application areas and services presented by
more than 500 exhibitors from more than 100 countries, in an exhibition space that measures 50,000
square meters (m2) including more than 20,000 m2 of exhibitor booth space.
INDEX 08 sponsor EDANA will be on hand to assist exhibition attendees and exhibitors, and
distribute information about the nonwovens and related industries .
Exhibitors represent every aspect of the nonwovens industry — from raw materials, machinery
and equipment suppliers to converters and brand owners, in addition to auxilliary and testing
equipment manufacturers, environmental protection, trade associations, publishers and other related
areas. Key industry sectors to be highlighted include automotive, cleaning and hygiene, composites,
construction, filtration, home furnishing, medical and packaging.
“INDEX has become a flagship event for the nonwovens industry, and the number of exhibitors
and visitors expected this year is further testimony to that,” said Pierre Wiertz, general manager,
EDANA. Reflecting the growth and diversification of the nonwovens industry itself, the exhibition
has grown with each new edition, from presenting a mere 87 exhibitors at its inaugural 1973 show in
Basel, Switzerland, to offering the products and services of 465 exhibitors, along with related
activities, to more than 12,000 visitors at INDEX 05.
More than 500 companies from more than 100 countries will exhibit at INDEX 08.
In addition to the exhibition, INDEX 08 will include several special events and activities.
On Monday, April 14, the day before the exhibition opens, members of the global superabsorbent
producers sector will gather for their inaugural Global Superabsorbents Summit.
On Wednesday, April 16, members of EDANA, INDA and the Asia Nonwoven Fabrics Association
(ANFA) will convene for the fourth Global Nonwovens Summit, organized as a forum to promote and set
a unified global agenda for the industry, and enable collaboration and information-sharing among
the associations and their members. The focus of the 2008 summit will be raw materials,
energy and ideas for noncommercial joint efforts.
Another invitational event will be the annual meeting and visit of the European Operating
Room and Nurses Association (EORNA) on Thursday, April 17, which will provide opportunities for
medical nonwovens exhibitors to hear and discuss needs of the medical community as they apply to
Exhibitor product presentations will be given April 15-17 in the Exhibitor Presentation Forum
in Stand 1066, a specially built auditorium on the exhibition floor. Three sessions will be
dedicated to general product categories, and three others will focus on automotive applications,
filtration and nanotechnology.
An apparel exhibition titled “Nonwovens in Action” will feature high-performance nonwoven
fabrics that address social responsibility and sustainability as they relate to the supply chain,
manufacturing and fabric consumption. The free-standing, interactive show, organized in
collaboration with the England-based University of Leeds School of Design, will be on view for the
duration of INDEX.
Research consortiums working within the sixth Framework Programme for Research and Technology
will present their work in INDEX 08’s Innovation Pavilion. Project presentations will include:
ACTECO — Eco-efficient activation for hyperfunctional surfaces, which aims to
develop cost-efficient, ecologically sound plasma processes that can provide innovative properties
for durable hyperfunctional surfaces;
INTELTEX, a project dedicated to developing a breakthrough methodology to produce
intelligent textiles that feature thermal self-regulated textile surfaces, chemical and toxic
substance detection, and continuous measurement of mechanical stresses on the textile structure;
STELLA — Stretchable Electronics for Large Area applications: a new technology for
smart textiles, a platform technology that enables technologies for interconnection, packaging and
assembly for stretchable, comfortable, wearable electronics for applications such as intelligent
textiles and apparel, and personal fitness and health monitoring.
The INDEX 08 Award sculpture, designed by Olivier Strebelle, will be given to six winning
entries to recognize innovation and excellence in nonwovens developments.
INDEX 08 Awards
The INDEX Awards are presented during a special ceremony at each exhibition to recognize and
reward innovation and excellence in nonwovens developments. This year, the awards will be
given in six areas: 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 components — innovation in a raw material, such as a
fiber or binder, having particular relevance to the nonwovens industry; machinery — innovation in
machinery having particular relevance to the nonwovens industry; and humanitarian contribution — a
new award for a solution or product utilizing nonwovens that has made a significant humanitarian or
Entries will be judged by a jury comprised of former company marketing and research and
development professionals, media representatives, academics and European policy makers. Winners
will receive a diploma and a bronze sculpture designed by Olivier Strebelle, a noted Belgian
sculptor whose works are found in major cities worldwide, and who will design a sculpture series
for the new Olympic Museum and Park in Beijing for the 2008 Olympics in that city.
Innovation, Diversification Are Keys To Growth In Nonwovens
In preparing this preview of INDEX 08, Textile World spoke with EDANA General Manager Pierre
Wiertz to get his perspective on the state of the global nonwovens industry and how its growth is
reflected at INDEX.
“The entire nonwovens industry has grown, with a broader range of end-uses covered,” Wiertz
said. “It used to be more hygiene, medical and disposable applications. Now, especially in the last
INDEX, it has shown very good growth in automotive and industrial applications — and filtration is
also very important.”
While some manufacturers tend to go to more specialized shows for civil engineering and
building applications, Wiertz said, “Automotive and filtration showed the highest growth between
INDEX 02 and INDEX 05 — up to 20 percent in terms of visitors interested specifically in nonwovens
for durable applications.”
Wiertz noted that filtration has a very broad range of applications, including food and
liquids, heating and air conditioning, automotive, surgical, face masks and other uses related to
air and water quality.
Looking into the future, Wiertz remarked: “The industry has no choice but to innovate and
diversify into new applications. Traditional applications such as hygiene and medical are soon
going to reach maturity, if not decline. Factors include the demographics associated with a high
degree of penetration of those products in industrialized countries — with single-use absorbent
products such as baby diapers and feminine hygiene products reaching up to 90-percent market
penetration, plus stagnating or decreasing birth rates and populations. The one area of growth is
in adult incontinence products for the aging population, and that does not entirely compensate for
the stagnation and possible decline of the other two markets.”
Wiertz also mentioned the continuing diversification of personal care products. “There are
all kinds of wipes for convenience, and there are healthcare products like cold and warm packs for
pain relief, for example. Nonwovens play a key role in all of those,” he said.
Globally, Wiertz said developing and emerging countries offer good growth opportunities. “
There is still a huge gap between the industrialized and emerging countries,” he said. India
consumes 100 grams per capita, and China’s per capita consumption stands at 0.73 kilogram (kg);
while Europe, Japan and North America consume 2.67, 2.8 and 3.78 kg per capita, respectively.
Developing countries’ market share totaled 29 percent in 1994 and is projected to grow to 42
percent in 2009.
And what about the environmental impact of disposables production and use? “We’ve
demonstrated this has decreased dramatically over the last 15 years or so, thanks to innovation by
reducing weight and volume, packaging and the raw materials used,” Wiertz said. Statistics related
to the impact of European production and use are found in EDANA’s 2007-2008 Sustainability Report
on Absorbent Hygiene Products.
INDEX 08 Exhibitors: A Sampling Of Offerings
Brückner Plant Technologies, Germany, will offer its range of nonwovens
technologies, including the Power-Therm DT dryer, which offers energy savings and improved
productivity in the thermal and chemical treatment of nonwovens.
Ciba will present new vis-breaking technology that enables economical production
of high-quality meltblown nonwovens made with spunbond polypropylene; as well as enhanced effects
for nonwovens including Ciba®
Irgasurf® HL 560 hydrophilicity additive, Flamestab® NOR™ 116 halogen-free flame retardant
for polyolefins, Chimassorb® 2020 light and thermal stabilizer; and Cromophtal® and Irgalite®
DiloGroup, Germany, will have representatives on hand to discuss possibilities for
a range of nonwovens applications that can be produced using the machinery of its subsidiaries
DiloTemafa, DiloSpinnbau and DiloMachines.
Polyolefin staple fiber supplier
FiberVisions, Denmark, and its ES FiberVisions bicomponent fiber-producing joint
venture with Japan-based Chisso Corp. will showcase cost-effective solutions using their fiber
technologies to address trends such as eco-friendly processing, lightweight fabrics and added
A nonwoven sample from Fleissner GmbH’s new SteamJet line
Fleissner GmbH, Germany, will show its SteamJet line, newly developed in
collaboration with the Germany-based Saxon Textile Research Institute, for bonding of nonwovens
using overheated steam jets; in addition to various versions of its AquaJet spunlace technology,
and Fleissner bonding and finishing lines. The company also will highlight its cooperation with
Germany-based Erko-Trützschler to provide complete nonwovens production systems.
Martin Automatic Inc., Rockford, Ill., willl present its patent-pending MDR
(magnetic driven roller) system for handling light webs at reduced tension levels and increased
Rieter Perfojet will offer video presentations on its Jetlace® Essentiel spunlace
technology, Perfobond™ spunbond system, its new meltblown system and Spunjet® technology. The
company also will provide shuttle bus service between the Palexpo and its technical center in
Montbonnot, France, to provide an opportunity for visitors to participate in trials using Rieter