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G: Pockets | July 2014

Challenges for nonwoven materials

Three big challenges were highlighted by Dr Bryan Haynes, Director, Global Enterprise Research and Engineering, Global Nonwovens, Kimberly-Clark for effective utilisation of nonwovens in the medical and consumer product sectors.

Dr Haynes in delivering his keynote talk at the recent NET Innovation in Nonwovens Conference (NETInc) of TAPPI held in Nashville emphasised the importance of market differentiation; raw material cost and scalability. These major issues have to be taken into consideration by the nonwovens medical and consumer products industry. Dr Haynes said by differentiation in product design, developing composites for new functions and creating novel materials, new opportunities will evolve for the nonwoven industry.

Investment in new process technology that could develop new nonwoven products should be the way forward. Although incremental development is good, emphasise should be placed on new and disruptive technologies, said Dr Haynes.

Sustainability and recycling should also be taken into consideration. Finally, Dr Haynes commented on the importance of taking laboratory products to commercial reality. Partnering to develop disruptive technologies should be an important mantra for the nonwovens industry. The keynote session was chaired by Uday Raval, Chairman of NET Division of TAPPI.

By: Seshadri Ramkumar, Texas Tech University, USA

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