The Rupp Report: Paper And Nonwovens? What A Flushable Idea!

On June 13, 2013, Techtextil, the International Trade Fair for the Technical Textiles and Nonwovens
Industries, closed its doors reporting overwhelming success. According to the organizers, some
1,652 exhibitors from 56 nations presented their products, ideas and visions for the future and the
ongoing growth of technical textiles and nonwovens.

All Smiles

From the show’s very beginning on June 11 up to the last minute, the halls were packed with
visitors. It was simply impossible to ask detailed questions about the show. However, short
discussions with exhibitors proved the positive expectations of the Rupp Report, explained in
previous reports: every company was more than happy with the event. Each booth was virtually a
crowded house up to the last minute with lots of people looking for new products and solutions.
More information about this outstanding event will follow in the next issues of the Rupp Report and

Textile World

Changing Rules

It could very well be that Texprocess had a positive impact on the visitor frequency at the
event. However, Techtextil has experienced a drastic and very positive move toward a one-stop-shop
exhibition. When the show had its beginnings in the mid 1980s, textile machinery manufacturers
didn’t attend owing to old-fashioned regulations by the European Committee of Textile Machinery
Manufacturers (CEMATEX), owner and organizer of ITMA. In a nutshell, the rule said that in times of
a four-year rhythm of ITMA (Europe), no exhibitor was allowed to attend any other show for a
certain period of time before or after ITMA. Luckily, those times are over.

From Strategic Alliances To Total Suppliers

Today, Techtextil is offering its visitors more – including virtually every machine and tool
to produce industrial yarns, fabrics, belts, tents and such – all under one roof. From the very
beginning of the success of technical textiles and nonwovens, this industry worked in exactly the
reverse direction from conventional textile production. Traditionally, there was the established
spinning line, a weaving machine or the finishing equipment to produce well-known and traditional
textile products. On the industrial fabrics and nonwovens side, the customer doesn’t buy a machine,
but requires a solution to produce the targeted products.

Many traditional machinery suppliers realized that with their existing – and limited –
product range, long-term survival of a company could be endangered. Strategic alliances were formed
among partners to provide comprehensive and turnkey production lines. But this situation also has
changed: In the last few years, and especially since the last ITMA Europe in Barcelona, Spain, many
textile machinery manufacturers with a certain product have been taken over by their former
partners, mostly to the benefit of both parties.

Germany-based Trützschler GmbH & Co. KG is one of those companies that has completely
changed and increased its presence and portfolio in the last 10 years, evolving from being a
traditional supplier of only spinning equipment to include being a full-scale supplier of nonwovens
production lines and accessories. Companies like Hollingsworth, Erko, Fleissner, Bastian Winders
and Swisstex have been acquired. Shortly after ITMA Asia + CITME 2012 in Shanghai, The Rupp Report
reported that one of the highlights of the event was the announcement of cooperation between
Japan-based Toyota Industries Corp. and Trützschler to develop, manufacture, and market combing
(See ”
Rupp Report: Toyota´s And Trützschler’s Joint Machinery Project
,”, June 19, 2012)

Paper And Spunlaced Technology

Some weeks ago, Trützschler has announced another smart move toward new boundaries in the
production of nonwovens: a combination of a paper-like wetlaid product and spunlaced technology.
The company has started a collaboration with one of the leaders in the paper machine business:
Germany-based Voith Paper, a division of Voith GmbH
(See ”
Nonwovens, Voith Paper Collaborate On Nonwovens Lines
,”, April 9, 2013)

The Rupp Report wanted to know some more facts about the deal: According to Trützschler, the
dialogue started one year ago. The idea is very simple but very clever: combine two promising
processes – wet-laying and spunlacing. Wetlaid products stand for homogeneous nonwovens, can be
formed with multiple layers, may be made using short 1-millimeter fibers, and are extremely
flexible and able to use fiber blends.

On the other hand, spunlaced products have a soft hand and excellent drapability; are easy to
structure and perforate; can be multilayered; and, last but not least, consist of binder-free webs.

To produce the paper-like web, the machine layout consists of a Voith HydroFormer™ with one-,
two- or three-ply options. The HydroFormer – a well-established line with currently 72
installations – has high fiber flexibility and capacity, and the web can be formed without any
problem. Another advantage is the wide range of tensile strength ratio adjustment. For the bonding,
or spunlacing, Trützschler’s AquaJet is a machine with a special jet head design and optimized jet
strips. The AquaJet, of which some 100 installations are running around the world, works very
effectively and incorporates a bend-proof spunlace drum shell.


The process has very obvious advantages: It’s fast, flexible and suitable for processing
ideal fiber blends, such as 80-percent wood pulp and 20-percent cellulosic fibers for products in a
range from 20 to 150 grams per square meter, with a production speed up to 400 meters per minute.
In times of increasing problems with wastewater disposal caused by all kinds of wipes and other
disposable products, this new process and blend allows the production of very lightweight nonwovens
such as flushable wipes.

Tests using different materials show the advantage of this new product: the Voith-Trützschler
product virtually dissolved after 50 turning cycles, while other samples still show a much slower
rate of disintegration.

There is much more information to come in the future about this promising alliance between
two experts in their field. One could ask, why didn’t this idea appear earlier on the
ever-so-competitive market of wipes and other disposable products?

June 19, 2013