Spunmelt: trends and technologies
The spanmelt technology combines the production capabilities of a variety of nonwoven semi-finished products with various target characteristics and fields of application. The properties of nonwoven fabric produced on the "spanmelt" lines are determined by the types of raw materials used, a combination of extrusion technologies, molding and bonding of the original canvas, as well as the technical characteristics of the equipment used. In recent years, there has been a trend of "universalism" in mechanical engineering, which is justified by the requirements of manufacturers of nonwovens to machine builders. Manufacturers of nonwovens understand that with the rapidly changing demands of the market, it is more expedient to operate equipment that allows the production of several authentic types of nonwovens than a single monopolymeric product of the same type in an assortment of different surface densities, colors and applied additives.
The Chinese manufacturer of nonwovens, Uniquetex, is installing two nonwovens production lines at its facility in Grover, North Carolina. The production site was founded in 2016 and is fully owned by one of the largest nonwoven fabric companies in China - Foshan Nanhai Beautiful Nonwoven Co., Ltd. (BTF).
Two new lines will be put into operation by the end of 2022. The first of the newly installed lines is a three-girder spanmelt line (configuration is not specified) with a width of 3.2 meters and a capacity of 8000 tons. This line will be installed at the existing site of Uniquetex, where the company already operates two lines installed earlier: double-girder lines with a width of 2.4 m and 3.2 m. The second line will be located at a completely new facility designed specifically for the installation of a 4.2-meter SMMS Reifenhäuser Reicofil (RF3) line with a capacity of 15,000 tons/g.
As part of the development program, Uniquetex plans to invest US$ 32 million in additional two lines over the next five years. As a result, the company's North American site will have six production lines and 150 employees. Two recently confirmed investments will increase the company's productivity to 38,000 tons. The company's products are focused on the markets of industry, hygiene, healthcare, household goods and technical textiles.
Based on the marketing research conducted by the company on an ongoing basis, the management of Uniquetex admits that future investments may be focused on the production of polyester and two-component nonwovens with a variation of bonding methods and other thermomechanical processing.