International Nonwoven Disposables Association Goals and Plans – 2021
Written by Dave Rousse, INDA President
Published in the January, 2021 PFFC (Paper, Film & Foil Converter) Magazine
Learn more about the role of INDA and what its goals and plans are for the future with this Q&A from Dave Rousse, INDA president:
Rousse: INDA is the trade association of the nonwoven fabrics industry formed in 1968 to advance the growth and interests of the young industry at the time after the International Nonwoven Disposables Association. In the early 1970s we supported the establishment of EDANA in Europe and welcomed durable nonwovens into the fold, but the name “INDA” had taken hold so we continue to use it without attaching meaning to the letters. Our role now is to help our industry and our member companies be successful. INDA helps its 370 members succeed by providing the information they need to better plan and execute their business strategies.
We provide technical training at various levels, publish market statistics and data to enhance decision-making, manage critical issues impacting market sectors, organize events that add program value and connect similar interests, and involvement and provide relevant government regulatory and legislative advocacy.
What specific services does the association provide to its members and how does the offering expand?
Rousse: INDA’s market research and trend reports are trusted around the world for their accuracy and reliability. One of the most valuable reports INDA provides is the member-only report on the North American Supply/Demand balance. This is a full survey of industry producers, market suppliers, and producers for internal consumption. Additionally, we publish Outlook reports providing decisive five-year forecasts by industry sector. Along with a North American forecast edition and, with EDANA, INDA publishes a separate Worldwide Outlook for the Nonwovens Industry, both segmented by sectors and geography. We also produce the Global Nonwoven Wipes Industry Outlook and, with EDANA, the Global harmonized test methods and flushability guidelines to address the nonwoven R&D community and other stakeholders.
Beyond those publicly available Outlook reports and the member-only Supply report, we offer members the quarterly INDA Market Pulse, a report that provides members with an exclusive overview of the current state and direction of the North American Nonwovens industry, including economic viewpoints. The publication provides a consensus outlook of economic, energy, and end-use market forecasts. The INDA Price Trends Summary is another INDA member benefit that provides a monthly summary of price analyses for Roll Goods, Staple Fibers, and Polymers.
What new services did INDA plan for 2020?
Rousse: INDA is always open to new partnerships to advance the industry. We recently acquired two publications to extend our reach and voice in two important areas. We have International Filtration News to expand our reach into this important sector, and International Fiber Journal to elevate the role material science will play in developing more sustainable approaches to the single use disposables so prevalent in our industry. With our new INDA Media, we intend to provide some thought leadership, expose new developments, relate them to the challenges going forward, and to expand INDA’s presence and service in important areas.
How do your activities reflect the dynamics of the nonwovens industry?
Rousse: As an association, we have the standing to provide industry recognition to innovations and individual service so important to our industry’s growth. We do this through our Innovation Awards programs attached to our conferences, and our IDEA® event. Our events foster Thought- Leadership in the sectors that we address. Our conferences are peppered with industry experts looking forward to future growth, articulating unmet needs, interpreting market signals, and presenting innovative thoughts, developmental concepts, and trends. This progressive methodology has been very important in the success of our conferences. The content is serious and the networking continues the discussions. And we try to inject a little fun as well.
What are the sustainability programmes is INDA working on in the moment?
Rousse: Our industry recognizes the need to move from a “Linear Economy” toward a more “Circular Economy” through recycling, reclaiming and reuse. We believe advancements in material science will be a great help in this area, and are seeing interesting new developments in bio-based polymers and polymer combinations to advance in this area. Our drivers are an increasing concern about single use plastics and their persistence in the environment. INDA’s conferences will continue to provide cutting edge content on this growing topic.
What are new important developments in terms of R&D and innovations in the nonwoven sector?
Rousse: The market we are in is very dynamic, so we need to be continuously alert to new demands, new unmet needs, and new ways to meet those needs. Nonwovens are engineered materials that provide solutions to material science challenges. There will always be new challenges to be met, and nonwovens are successful because they are a very versatile, nimble platform that is receptive to new materials, new processes, and new technologies. Our job is to make it easy for resources to connect to facilitate the new developments and to execute well the management of the services and activities that deliver these connections. Last year, we celebrated our 50th Anniversary as the trade association leading the world of nonwovens. We need to stay sharp for the next 50 years.
Would you like to mention any of your specific training program that would demonstrate the benefit INDA brings to its members?
Rousse: INDA and North Carolina State University’s Nonwovens Institute offers members and professionals a jointly organized series of nonwoven short courses with The Professional Development Series of Nonwovens Courses. Starting with the nonwovens basics, the educational content and rigor level increases to intermediate and caps off with advanced series of product development, advances in filtration and fabric property development, spunbond and meltblowing technology. INDA also offers specific product courses in Absorbent Hygiene, Filter Media Training and a WIPES Academy 2-day course. This joint venture harmonizes and unifies each organization’s separate nonwoven training courses into a single series. The series gives industry professionals targeted and flexible short course opportunities to gain knowledge in the field of nonwovens and advance their career development goals. INDA also provides on-site training for Member companies. We are able to customize a curriculum with our Members Human Resources, Engineering and Plant Management that train their employees, and suppliers about specific nonwoven applications, product components, and sectors needed for new employees or seasoned professionals across multiple departments..
What would INDA like to achieve in the near future as an organisation to promote sustainability?
Rousse: The general issue of “Plastics in the Environment” is growing in public awareness with increasing calls by non-governmental organizations (NGO’s) on producers and users to do something about it. At the same time, there are a growing number of legislative initiatives at the state and municipal level to ban or regulate certain single use plastic items and additional activity at the Federal level, in Europe, and in other parts of the world.
As policy makers strive to responsibly advance circular economy principles that improve the disposability of single use plastic products, it is important to distinguish between the indulgence of convenience (such as sipping straws and grocery bags) and the necessity of convenience, such as in providing efficacy in personal, household and institutional hygiene. Baby care and elderly care rely on the convenience of disposable wipes. Home hygiene as well. Consequently, as policies are being developed on plastic materials, we encourage the determination of the appropriate balance between the benefits provided by such materials, what alternatives exist that can still deliver on consumer expectations, and the environmental costs of their use and disposal. Nonwovens manufacturers and brand owners will be partners in this endeavour.
Written by Kelly Robinson, Contributing Writer for PFFC Magazine
Published in the October, 2020 PFFC (Paper, Film & Foil Converter) Magazine
Treaters are often used before lamination to improve adhesion and before coating to improve wettability and adhesion. (See the PDF of the Article below to see Figure 1.)
The functions of the four key components of a corona treater (See the PDF of the Article below to see Table 1 for more details.)
High Voltage Electrodes
The best practice is to install powered static bar SBCT in Figure 1 on the web exiting the corona treater facing the treated surface. Corona treaters can deposit large amounts of static on treated surfaces. This static is an unwanted by-product of treatment. Dissipate static on the web from corona treaters using a powered static bar installed on a web exiting the corona treater facing the treated surface.
How to Guide: Improve Efficiency on Winders, Unwinders & Slitters
Published in the November, 2020 PFFC (Paper, Film & Foil Converter) Magazine
Contact and separation between two surfaces creates static electricity, which results in process problems and safety concerns when static reaches shock levels. The challenge is that static electricity causes severe problems throughout winding and unwinding applications, whether running plastic, film, paper or textiles. Both AC or DC type of anti-static ionization systems generate an electrical field, which causes the air molecules in the vicinity of the ionizer to break down into positive and negative ions. Because opposite polarities attract, any static charge material or product passing near the ionizer will attract ions of the opposite polarity until the charged material is neutralized.
But, the greatest influence over static bars performing well is “distance to target”. Due to AC ionization requiring a static bar to be mounted within inches of a web to effectively neutralize the static charge, this can be a problem if you can’t mount the bar close enough to the moving web.
Static Clean offers cost-effective solutions to all these problems. The all new 24vDC long range bar with its revolutionary built-in intelligence are ideal for dealing with static electricity on winders. The 24vDC style long-range technology has been the most significant development in the static industry. On most new converting equipment, the 24vDC static bars can operate at higher speeds and distances from 200mm to 1500mm from the web. Bars are also available for shorter ranges.
The 24vDC static eliminators are designed to compensate for the changing geometry of the roll and provide a consistent level of static elimination by reacting to the static charge and emitting the quantity and polarity of ions to neutralize it. The combination of long-range intelligence with intense ion generation creates static eliminators for the most demanding applications.
In physics and engineering, fluid dynamics is used to describe the flow of fluids – liquids and gases. For the sake of this discussion, it includes the subset of aerodynamics, which is the study of air and other gases in motion. Many clean room consultants chagrin at the idea of using compressed air movement inside of a clean room that was developed using Laminar Flow techniques. Laminar air flow by design is intended to be slow, smooth regular paths of an air pattern traveling from entrance to exit. The air then travels back through the pre-filters, to the laminar flow filters and back into the room as part of the air change rate per hour. Laminar air low patterns are important to keeping particulate moving out of the clean room, but what if products being process inside of the clean room are already contaminated with particles that could come from people, other items that were brought into the space or that were created by the process itself.
In order to clean particulate from a device, component or packaging material, compressed air devices are necessary. The air devices are typically in the form of ionizing air guns, blowers, nozzles or air knives. These air tools cause turbulent flow, which is fluid motion that agitates the parts and creates eddies, which are violent swirling motions caused by the position and direction of turbulent flow. Eddies can transport mass, momentum and energy across different regions of the flow, with a result being clean, static-free parts. Heat transfer also happens in turbulent flow. So why is heat important? With heat, the flow resistance decreases, making it easier to clean parts. The process of laminar flow becoming turbulent is known as laminar-turbulent transition. It is also known as transitional flow.
Is there a happy medium between using compressed air and maintain an acceptable level of laminar flow? Can we agree that compressed air is a requirement and that compressed air is turbulent? Static Clean believes in the idea of “Controlled Turbulence”. The placement of Static Clean Particle Trap® Systems, in conjunction with compressed ionizing air devices means that the turbulence is localized, particles are captured and removed from the process and the products and parts are clean. By using an ionizing air gun or similar device in front of a Particle Trap®, the debris is directed into the flow of these source capture systems and delivered into the filter media and not back into the clean room to re-contaminate cleaned parts.
Particle collection efficiency by a filtration device usually brings a common question. What is the ISO number that is associated with HEPA filters used in the Static Clean Particle Trap® series products? A recent request from a customer asked this exact question. Our answer in response was that the ISO rating on our HEPA Filter is ISO 40E-99.99% at MPPS. Obviously, the customer with the questions knew what to ask and was technically astute, but to a novice it may seem confusing, so first let’s establish what MPPS mean. It is the Most Penetrating Particle Size. Larger particles are unable to avoid the special filter media in a HEPA filter and they become embedded in the filter material. The smaller particles become the MPPS, which gives the HEPA their rating. For more critical filtration needs, ULPA filters are available and could have an efficiency of 99.99995% at MPPS.
For the world of static control, and filter efficiency of the Static Clean Particle Trap® Systems, we are mostly talking about HEPA filtration. But filtration only tells a part of the story. Although you can perform tests to validate HEPA filters and modern particle counters can provide information on airborne particulate, it doesn’t tell the story on how clean a medical injection molded plastic part may be or how many particles are on a catheter or the tray or package that is going to house the medical device. Yes, there are liquid particle counters that can verify all particle sizes, but real time production of high-volume parts means that, at best a visual inspection on the fly is the standard.
Most of the Medical Device Manufacturing is done in an ISO Class 7 or ISO Class 8 cleanroom, with an emphasis on ISO Class 8. Federal Standards FS 209E and ISO 14644-1 require specific particle measurements to verify the cleanliness of the clean room or clean area. When talking about an ISO Class 8 environment, it does mean that the maximum/particles/m3 allows for almost 30,000 particles in the 5 micron or smaller range. It also means two other things as well. There will be particles greater than 5 microns in an ISO 8 space and that total reliance on a cleanroom is not the complete answer. The use of additional filtration methods at key points in the manufacturing process will improve yields by reducing particles on products and in single use packaging that may finds its way to the hospital or clinic. The fact that ionization is used to control static on medical devices, optics and industrial environments is common knowledge, but, source capturing debris at critical stages in the process is less understood but becoming more accepted as the right tool at the right time.
Particle Trap® products are small, benchtop or floor level source-capture systems, that incorporate both pre-filters and HEPA-filters in series, whereby the pre-filter catch the larger particle and the HEPA, (the same used in the clean room construction), captures the smallest debris. What this means for the customer is that particles are taken out of the room at the source and by source, either where they are created or where they can do the most harm and end up inside of a finished package. Regardless of what ionizing blow off device is used in your process, you can rely on Static Clean to make things cleaner and your customer smile.
Did you ever rub a balloon on your hair and stick it to the ceiling? The balloon sticks because you’ve created static electricity on the surface of the balloon. This energy is non-moving static charge. Every material is made up of atoms and they are the basic building blocks of ordinary matter and they can join to form molecules, which is a basic ingredient of most of the objects around us. An atom can hold a positive charge that is called a proton or a negative charge that is called an electron. Atoms with the same charge or polarity repel each other, while those with the opposite charge are attracted to each other. Just like the balloon scenario, static is created by the contact and separation of two materials. The same is true of when you walk across a carpet and touch the metal door knob and get a shock. We call these electrostatic forces, tribo-charging, which renders a plastic material in a state where it can attract dust and other particulates.
Let’s face it, we are using more plastic in our every day lives, from cars to single use medical devices that may end up inside of the human body. Plastic, being highly insulative, can store huge amounts of static electricity. If we just look at the medical device sector, one of the biggest reasons for rejects, rework and potential device failure, is from foreign particles that end up in the finished device. These particles could be in the form of airborne contaminants, plastic flash, skin flake, human hair and other debris that is found in the manufacturing process. Static eliminators in the form of ionizing air guns, nozzles and ionizing blowers are used to negate the ill effects of electrostatic forces that pull particles right out of the air and hold them to a device or components. The use of ionized air is absolutely a good practice, but the problem is “where do the particle go”? Typically, they hang around and end up on the work surface to be a source of re-contamination or the particles end up downstream on already cleaned products.
Enter the Particle Trap® 6000. The Particle Trap® 6000 (PT6000) is the solution to getting rid of particles in the assembly and packaging areas of the medical device manufacturing process. The PT6000 is a source capturing system with a HEPA filter on the exhaust. You can still use the conventional ionizing air blow-off devices, but when working in front of the opening of the PT6000, dislodged particles now are delivered through a pre-filter and then through the HEPA filter, ensuring only clean air is let back into the room. The PT6000 is used not only to clean medical components, but it is especially helpful when used at the packaging level, just prior to the heat sealing of a lid stock to the thermoformed tray. The same would be true for pouching of products such as a catheter on a die cut card being slid into a long plastic bag and then sealed at the end. Normally, most medical device manufacturers do a 100% inspection for foreign matter/particles inside of the seal trays. If a particle is discovered, the lid is ripped off, the product taken out, recleaned and then repackaged. This reject rate is also called the tear down rate, which translates into poor yields, time and money along with customer dissatisfaction, when a product gets through that is not totally cleaned.
Who would benefit from the Particle Trap® 6000? The Particle Trap® 6000 and its sister products, the PT Mini, Particle Trap® CUBE and Medical Cleaning Systems. While the medical device sector has endorsed these products, they also have application in the optics, food and electronics industries for the same reason why all companies are looking to lower their tear down rates, which translates to higher profits. If you want to learn more about how Particle Trap® products can help improve your process, please contact our technical sales team for more information.