The new Dan-Web airlaid machine for prototyping pilot-scale samples at NIRI.
The new Dan-Web airlaid machine for prototyping pilot-scale samples at NIRI.

The Nonwoven Innovation and Research Centre (NIRI) has made further investment in its prototyping facilities with a new Dan-Web airlaid machine capable of prototyping pilot-scale samples.

Airlaying refers to a family of dry-laid web formation processes used in the manufacture of disposable, single-use products and durable products.  The general properties of airlaid fabrics are high isotropicity, high loft (if required), high porosity (95-99%), high absorbency and wicking rate, soft handle, adequate tensile strength, good resilience (compression recovery) and high thermal resistance.  These properties make airlaid nonwovens are suitable materials for medical textiles, hygiene products,  meat pads, filters, insulation felts and automotive filters.

Sustainability was a key factor in NIRI’s investment in airlaid prototyping equipment. Dr Matt Tipper, business director at NIRI said: “With the EU Directive on single use plastics, the nonwovens industry is focused on experimenting with processes that work towards increased sustainability.  Manufacturers are exploring airlaid technologies as these use a high percentage of natural fibres, predominantly fluff pulp, which is both cost-effective and sustainable, biodegradable and renewable.”