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Report | June 2014

Staple FORCE S 1000: MMF in small volumes for nonwovens

With a specially designed production line, Oerlikon Neumag is addressing the growing need of manufacturers of polyester and polypropylene staple fibres to also be able to make small production units in a cost-effective manner. Staple FORCE S 1000, which was recently unveiled at the industry trade fair INDEX in Geneva, Switzerland, achieves this with an exceptionally high production speed of 1,000 m per minute along with simple and fast handling, which shortens changing times and significantly reduces surplus quantities.

With a production capacity of 15 tonne per day, the system appeals not only to manufacturers of manmade fibres as it enables them to deliver on demand and expand to markets for special applications. Manufacturers of nonwovens can also directly profit from Staple FORCE S 1000. The system facilitates the cost-effective integration of fibre production into in-house production. "Moving forward, we intend to apply our broad technological expertise in manmade fibres to achieve further growth with machine and system solutions for special applications," explains Stefan Kross, CEO of the Oerlikon Manmade fibres segment.

The global market for manmade fibres, such as polyester, polypropylene and bicomponents, used in the production of nonwovens grows around 5 per cent each year. In 2015, total demand is expected to amount to 3.2 mt for carded nonwovens alone. They are primarily used in geotextiles for civil engineering, in filtration materials, for application in the automotive industry in insulation and interiors, and for numerous special applications.

The market requires both smaller production quantities that can be delivered on short notice and cost-effective manufacturing processes. Up until now, these requirements were incompatible. While demand requires average daily production of 15-20 tonnes of fibres per production line, todays production lines are designed to produce significantly larger quantities, which makes them less flexible. "With the Staple FORCE S 1000, we can close the gap between demand, which is focused more on daily production, and cost-efficient production. At the same time, by integrating fibre production into operations, we enable downstream manufacturers to better coordinate product development and also improve quality control," says Stefan Kross, CEO of the Manmade fibres segment.

FORCE stands for "Fibres on Request and Compact Engineering"

The key to cost-effective, flexible operation is the systems compact design. The Staple Force S 1000 (FORCE stands for "Fibres on Request and Compact Engineering") is designed for simple, fast handling. It offers significantly faster changing times compared with conventional production lines. This in turn markedly reduces waste. Another central component of the systems cost efficiency is its production speed. At 1 000 meters per minute, it achieves speeds not seen before in one-step processes.

To this end, Oerlikon Neumag adapted a stretching process that has been successfully used in carpet yarn plants for years. By omitting the steam and water-bath processes, the new procedure uses significantly less energy and water, which saves money and is better for the environment. The additional investment costs are also minimal. The extremely compact system only takes up 450 square meters of floor space and can be installed on a standard industrial floor. Special machine foundations are not required. "With Staple FORCE S 1000, were setting new standards for synthetic staple fibres in terms of cost-efficiency, flexibility and compactness," Stefan Kross says.

"The Staple FORCE S 1000 is directed at downstream integrators, who in future want to produce the fibres for their products in-house, enabling the nonwovens producer to produce and further develop his end products without disclosing know-how and without quality fluctu

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