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Improving processability for enhanced diaper softness

As more companies begin producing Bico nonwovens, issues surrounding their transportation and their final properties are increasingly becoming a challenge.

Through Dow and Albany International’s partnership, which brought together Dow’s material expertise and Albany International’s new belt construction, they have improved the transportation properties of PE-based nonwovens on conventional spunbond lines.

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Value chain collaboration drives innovation at Dow. Thankfully, Albany International, designers and manufacturers of a full line of custom belting products for forming, conveying and drying nonwoven webs, agrees.

Bernd Nordhus-Westarp, Albany International’s Vice President Sales, Marketing, Application Europe, Middle East, Africa and Asia, explains, “We were approached by a customer who was looking for a solution that would fit better in Bico PP/PE filaments. Given Dow’s commitment to value chain collaboration and material knowledge in PE solutions, it was only logical to partner up with Dow. We started discussing how to find a solution to improve the handling of Bico fibers during spunbond production about a year ago and it has been a very fruitful partnership.”

In the production of Bico nonwovens, a SPIN belt is normally used to collect the loose fibers and transport them to the calendar roll for bonding. Typically these belts are designed for PP nonwovens and when PE-based nonwovens are produced, the grip between the belt and the fibers is no longer optimal. This oftentimes leads to issues during transportation and poor properties in the final nonwoven. It was these transportation and properties issues that Dow and Albany International were brought together to address – Dow provided the right PE materials expertise and Albany International identified the right belt construction that would work well with Dow’s products.

Fabricio Arteaga, Dow’s Global Nonwovens Application Technical Leader, highlights, “This transportation issue has become more prominent in recent years as more nonwoven companies have begun producing Bico nonwovens. It only made sense to look along the value chain to improve existing performance and tackle these issues together as this is a wider industry challenge.”

Dow’s EMEA Nonwovens Application Technical Leader, Aleksandar Stoiljkovic, adds, “This partnership has been very positive for both of us. It has been clear from working together that we are both very committed to working collaboratively across the value chain to deliver the best possible solutions not only for our shared customer base, but the end user so they can enjoy a smoother and softer diaper experience. It’s great to know that we have improved the production processes of Bico spunbond nonwovens for the greater hygiene market.”

By collaborating, we’re able to benefit the entire industry together.

Bernd Nordhus-Westarp Regional Vice President Sales & Marketing, Albany International