Impressive Nonwoven Fabric Manufacturing Process

The oldest and simplest textile fabric called nonwoven fabric. New modern Nonwoven fabric brought a revolution in the textile industry in the last few decades. Let’s jump into our topic, Nonwoven Fabric Manufacturing Process.

Impressive Nonwoven Fabric Manufacturing Process
Nonwoven Fabric Manufacturing Process

Ever versatility nonwoven fabric can provide the most innovative, cost-effective, and produce numerable business opportunity. After knowing about the properties, you might have an interest in the nonwoven fabric manufacturing process. Look into the flowchart and then we will go for the details of the nonwoven fabric manufacturing process.

Nonwoven Fabric Manufacturing Process

Nonwoven Fabric Manufacturing Process Flow Chart:

Preparation of the fibre

Web formation

Web bonding

Drying

Curing

Finishing

Flowchart: Nonwoven fabric manufacturing process flow chart

Nonwoven Fabric Manufacturing Process:

A. Preparation of the fibre:

Preparation of the fibre is mainly based on what fibre you choose to produce non-woven fabric. In most of the case, industry prefers polyester to produce the nonwovens. Besides some other fiber are used to manufacturing nonwovens these are:

Nonwoven fabric raw material

  • Polyester (mostly used)
  • Olefin
  • Nylon
  • Cotton
  • Rayon
  • Acrylic, acetate, vinion.
Selection on Raw Material according to:
  1. Physical and chemical properties
  2. Expected performance in end uses
  3. First-Quality fibres
  4. Staple/ Filament/ Blend
  5. Ultimate cost of end product/

B. NonWoven Fabric Web Formation

NonWoven Fabric Web Formation
Figure: NonWoven Fabric Web Formation

In this context we will go for mostly used two:

  1. Dry laid webs
  2. Wet laid webs

i. Dry-Laid web:

parallel lapping carding method
Fig: Parallel lapping carding method

It is one of the old techniques. Even dry-laid web is very similar to felting. In the following, we will also talk about the felt fabric manufacturing process in detail. Web lappers and carding machines are used to layer the fibrous batt in the production. By using heat, moisture, and agitation, the fibrous web layers will be subsequently felted.

Fig: parallel lapping carding method

aerodynamic lap forming
Figure: Aerodynamic lap forming

Short-staple fiber within the range of 20–60 mm or, the long-staple fiber in the range of 50–150 mm is produced by carded webs. By these processes, staple fibers prepare, blend, and layer the fiber batt in a dry state. fibers are collected into a web form in dry-laid web formation by parallel lapping, cross-lapping, or aerodynamic lap forming. Then it gets webs bonded.

ii. Wet-laid web formation: 

It regarded as being similar to conventional papermaking processes. But the technique uses chopped synthetic and staple fibers. The wet-laid web formation continues to attract attention in the textile industry to prepare advanced nonwovens products.

Webs forming by Wet Laying
Figure: Webs forming by Wet Laying

Fig: Webs forming by Wet Laying

It’s designed to fabricate short fibres to be dispersed in a liquid. The technique is the most suitable for large-scale disposable industry production. Such as sanitary pads, napkins, surgical gauze, aprons, gloves, and so on.

C. Web Bonding:

Nonwoven fabric Web Bonding
Figure: Web Bonding

i. Chemical bonding, with either latex or chemical reagents.

The most common method of bonding process of a web is a chemical binder which is used to form a web and cured. Latex is the most commonly used binder due to economically cheap, available, easy to apply as well as very effective. There are a lot of methods are used to apply binder such as print bonding, saturation bonding, spray bonding, foam bonding, and so on.

ii. Thermal/ heat bonding, with either hot air / calender.

The thermal bonding or heat bonding process is done by using heat to bond. It stabilizes a web structure. That consists of thermoplastic fiber. It is the most unique leading process used by the cover stock industry for producing sanitary pads and baby diapers.

Thermal/ heat bonding, with either hot air / calender
Figure: Thermal bonding or heat bonding process

Here, the most suitable fiber for that is Polypropylene, having a low melting point of 165 degrees Centigrade (approx.). In heated calendar rollers, the fiber web is passed between them. There the web is bonded. Embossed rolls are the most desired method used to get softness and flexibility to the fabric at the industry level. Sometimes it uses smooth roll bonds on the entire surface of the fabric to increase the strength. But it reduces drape and softness.

iii. Mechanical bonding, by either needle punching/ hydro-entanglement / stitch bonding method

Mechanical bonding

In mechanical bonding, needle punching or hydroentanglement method are used. Needle punching is a process of bonding web structures mechanically. It’s interlocking the fibres through the web.

Another process is used called Hydro entanglement. The process is used by fluid forces to lock the fibres together. fine water jets directed to achieve through the web. It’s supported by a conveyor belt. When the water strikes the web and the fibre is deflected, entanglement occurs. Continuous vigorous agitation within the web creates the fibres to turn into the entangled.

Besides, stitch bonding method is used consolidating fiber webs with knitting elements to interlock the fibres. Mainly home furnishings industry uses these fabrics. On Geo-textiles, vacuum bags, and others applications it used stitch-bonded fabrics. It’s taking the place of woven fabric, due to its faster to produce as well as cost of production considerably less than others.

The bounding agents have such a great influence on the properties of the fabric that the requirements of the finished product determine the choice of bonding agent. The following characteristic feature of nonwoven fabrics decide which bonding agent is most suitable:

Characteristic Feature of Nonwoven Fabrics
  • Strength or stretch (resistance to pilling, tearing and ripping).
  • Elastic tenacity and bend ability (spring elasticity).
  • Handle and draping qualities.
  • Washing and dry-cleaning fastness.
  • Resistance to chemicals.
  • Resistance to air and Oxygen.
  • Resistance to light and heat.
  • Flame resistance property.
  • Hydrophilic or hydrophobic properties.

D. Finishing Treatment

Today drying and curing considered in the finishing treatment in the nonwovens manufacturing process. Finishing treat provides a great opportunity to diversify usual nonwovens outputs.  Different raw materials and techniques are used to diversify in the manufacturing process. It helps to enhance the specific performance of nonwovens fabric.

Additional finishing has given to chemical and physical treatment like calendering, embossing, and flame retardance. Some treatments are applied during production, and others can be applied in separate finishing treatments.

Felt Fabric Manufacturing:

Felt Fabric is a pressed, dense, matted non-woven fabric formed by the interlocking of particular unspun fibres. It’s doesn’t need spinning, even weaving or knitting. It produces by the combination of heat. The moisture and pressure are required for the entanglement of individual fibers. The tangled mass forms a natural, self-tightening felted matt.

Felt Fabric widely used in Geo-Textiles
Felt Fabric widely used in Geo-Textiles [Textile Today]

Felt is widely used in Geo-Textile applications such as in Road construction, railway Construction, River Bank Construction as well as used in producing mattress, floor cover, and so on.

Felt Fabric Manufacturing Process:

1. Loosened and fluffed up of the fibres to give them individual mobility. It may comb or card which imposes a certain degree of directionality.

2. Spread out the prepared fibre in a pile of proper shape and thickness.

3.. The pile is arranged by alternating mutually perpendicular layers. it is called laying the batt of blanket.

4. The batt then undergoes a hardening process. There heat, water pressure, and sometimes chemical treatment are applied.

Steam and hot water are usually spread through the wool. And it is rolled, kneaded, pounded and vibrated until the entanglement occurs.

5. At last fulling is done to get a denser and stronger fabric. It requires more moister, heat and pressure. The felt turn out more and more solid, by interlocking, entangling, and shrinking and so on.

6. Finishing process is done by sharing, singeing and sanding the felt surface to make it smoother. It is quite at the opposite extreme brushing it to make it coarser and shaggier. 

Here, we are going to provide characteristics of nonwoven fabric, so that you got a clear idea about; why nonwoven fabric is getting popular day by day

Common Characteristics of Nonwoven Fabric

Nonwovens have common characteristics, which allow them to high deliver high-performance across a huge range of applications.

Specific Functions and characteristics of nonwoven:

  • Strength
  • Softness
  • Absorbency
  • Liquid repellence
  • Resilience
  • Stretch
  • Flame retardancy
  • Bacterial barrier and sterility
  • Wash ability (selective product)
  • Filtering and so on.

Specialty of Nonwoven Fabric Product:

Fusible Non-woven:

  • Produced by applying high activated resin-coating
  • Placed between garment-layers to provide body, shape, support, additional strength and foundation.
  • Somethings produce a stiff/ broady hand and differential shrinkage between the separately joined fabrics

Other special product:

Film fabrics, coated fabric, artificial suedes and leathers.

You May Like:
References:
  • Nonwovens Technology by Jahangir Alam Sujon
  • Nonwoven Technologies: A critical analysis by Vignesh Dhanabalan and Daniel Karthik.
  • Understanding Textile for a merchandiser by Engr. Shah Alimuzzaman Belal, C. Tex. (UK)
  • https://www.textiletoday.com.bd/types-non-woven-fabrics-manufacturing-processes-applications/
  • https://www.textileworld.com/textile-world/nonwovens-technical-textiles/2012/05/introduction-to-nonwovens-technology/
  • https://textiledetails.com/what-is-fibre-and-fabric-difference-between-fibre-and-fabric/
  • https://textilelearner.net/characteristics-of-nonwoven-fabric-uses/

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