Soft, voluminous nonwovens are in trend for hygiene products. However, because spunbonded nonwovens are usually thin and smooth, Reifenhäuser Reicofil has already developed various optional technologies for its RF5 spunbond lines in recent years to produce thick, fluffy spunbonded nonwovens. The technology levels Semi High Loft, High Loft and Full High Loft provide different properties for the subsequent application, but all offer an excellent haptic. "With Extra High Loft, we are now pushing this development further," says Markus Müller, Reicofil sales director.
The super-soft nonwoven is produced using the proven Reicofil Bico spunbond process, which combines two polypropylene raw materials in one fiber. For Extra High Loft (XHL), the experts have now developed a new formulation which - run as an eccentric core-sheath fiber - ensures optimum crimp with reduced fiber diameter. A special calender engraving improves the abrasion properties and is nevertheless visually very inconspicuous. "The new XHL generation brings nonwovens producers a number of advantages for the production of hygiene articles," Müller emphasizes.
Super soft, fluffy and drapable nonwoven
Compared to common spunbond without crimped fibers, Extra High Loft technology enables 30 percent thicker material. At the same time, softness parameters such as drape and haptic are improved compared to processes that consolidate nonwovens using hot air. The result is a particularly soft feel combined with high abrasion resistance.
RF5 technology also reduces the fiber size to almost one denier in XHL mode, thus lowering raw material consumption. Because bonding does not require hot air, the process also saves energy costs. In addition, XHL enables the processing of polypropylene raw materials only, which are ideally suited for inline recycling processes, thus reducing production costs and conserving resources.
Reduce carbon footprint
The RF5 spunbond line with XHL technology helps manufacturers combine profitability with sustainability: Because the basis weight of the nonwoven produced is lower than conventional alternatives, less raw material is consumed. Thanks to the additional high energy efficiency of the manufacturing process, XHL reduces the carbon footprint by up to 30 percent compared to hot-air bonded carded nonwovens.
"XHL enables a perfect balance between softness and abrasion resistance on the one hand and between production costs and product properties on the other," Müller summarizes. Nonwovens produced with this new technology are ideal for hygiene applications such as diapers, incontinence products or sanitary napkins due to their optical and haptic properties.
INDEX Innovation Award 2023
For the XHL technology, Reicofil has been nominated as a finalist in the INDEX Innovation Award 2023; an award that recognizes innovation in the nonwovens and related industries.