Record Exports of Technical Textile in the History of the Republic

Turkey’s technical textile exports took off during the pandemic period. In the January-December period of 2020, technical textile exports increased by 76 percent and reached an amount of 3 billion US Dollars. Technical textile exports of the Aegean Region increased by 98 percent and reached an amount of 194 million US Dollars.

Bed linen listening to the heartbeats, car seats that awaken drivers who are about to sleep, textiles that change color according to room temperature, fibers 15 times more durable than steel, military camouflage, and nano-technological fabrics that do not burn and sweat, etc., which are in our daily lives evermore, became the shining star of our exports as well. Technical textile, which is one of the pioneers of high value-added exports, has stepped up with its products for the medical textile industry and active sportswear products with the effect of the pandemic. The sector, which closed 2019 with an export volume of 1 billion 724 million US Dollars, increased its exports by 76 percent in 2020 and reached an amount of 3 billion US Dollars. Ahmet Öksüz, President of Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association (İTHİB), said, ‘‘We are proud that technical textile exports reached the highest export volume in the history of our Republic,’’ regarding the subject.

The increase continued in the first three months of 2021

Considering Turkey’s technical textile exports in the first three months of 2021, it is observed that 30.5 percent of the total exports in the January-March period consist of the nonwoven fabric product group. In this period, Turkey’s nonwoven fabric exports increased by 26.5 percent and reached an amount of 199 million US Dollars.

The second most important product group in technical textile exports was ready-to-wear products made of technical textile materials with a share of 18.8 percent within total exports. In the January-March period, Turkey’s exports of the relevant product group increased by 699.0 percent and amounted to 123 million US Dollars.

The third most important product group in Turkey’s technical textile exports in the January-March period was bags and sacks for packaging made of technical textiles with a share of 14.4 percent within total technical textile exports. Turkey’s exports of the relevant product group increased by 24.2 percent in the January-March period, reaching a value of 94 million US Dollars.

Most Technical Textile Exports to Germany

Observing the top 10 countries in Turkey’s technical textile exports, it is seen that Germany is the largest export market. In the January-March period, technical textile exports to Germany, which has a share of 9.5 percent in Turkey’s total technical textile exports, increased by 79.4 percent and amounted to 62 million US Dollars.

In the January-March period, the second country to which Turkey exported the most technical textiles was the USA, with a share of 7.8 percent in total exports. During this period, exports of technical textiles to the USA increased by 57.6 percent and reached a value of 51 million US Dollars.

Italy, on the other hand, is the third country to which Turkey exports the most technical textiles. Exports to Italy, which has a share of 7.8 percent in Turkey’s technical textile exports, increased by 64.5 percent in the January-March period and amounted to approximately 51 million US Dollars.

Turkey Gains Foreign Trade Surplus in Nonwoven Fabric Production

Turkish manufacturers, who have met the intense demand for medical textiles especially since March, have also received incentives for new investments in this field. ITHIB President Ahmet Öksüz stated that it was quite easy for mask and protective clothing manufacturers to access raw materials since Turkey has a foreign trade surplus in nonwoven fabric production and the country stands out in this field. Öksüz commented as follows regarding the subject, ‘‘Companies that accelerate their investments that require high technology, are able to carry out value-added exports. In the textile and raw materials industry, the price per kg in exports is 4.2 US Dollars, while the price per kg in technical textiles can reach up to 20 US Dollars.’’

New investments are on the way

Technical textiles constitute a significant part of the exports of the textile and raw materials industry in Turkey. Ahmet Öksüz stated the following on the subject, ‘‘During the pandemic period, our technical textile industry received approximately 3 billion TL for personal protective equipment products such as masks and gowns and approximately 2.5 billion TL for non-woven fabric investments. We anticipate that our sector, which ranks 19th in global technical textile exports, will increase its global ranking in the coming years, especially through the investments that were realized in recent years.’’

Öksüz indicated that due to the use of technical textiles in many sectors, it will take an important share from traditional textiles and continued as follows, ‘‘We observe that the system will rapidly evolve towards technical textiles where R&D and innovation are at the forefront. We notice that the pandemic period accelerates this transformation process. Technical textiles have been increasing their share in global textile and raw materials exports every year, especially in the last 10 years.’’

Worldwide Technical Textile Exports Amount to 107 Billion USD

Technical textile exports around the world reach 107 billion US Dollars. The share of technical textiles, which stands out as high value-added products, is quite high in the textile exports of countries with predominantly developed industries. While this share reaches 40 percent in countries such as the USA, Japan, France, and Belgium, the share of technical textiles in Germany’s total textile exports reaches up to 65 percent. While Turkey’s textile export reached 10 billion US Dollars as of last year, the share of technical textiles is constantly increasing. ITHIB President Ahmet Öksüz expressed, ‘‘Our industry continues to make very important technical textile investment decisions even during the pandemic.’’

Nonwoven Use in Medical Applications Will Increase to 255 Million Dollars

Demand for nonwovens in medical applications is expected to increase 3.9% per year to $255 million in 2024.

The prediction comes in a new report from the Freedonia Group which also notes that nonwovens used in medical applications accounted for 9% of carded nonwovens sales in 2019.

In the medical market, nonwovens can be used to produce a variety of disposable products, including such products as healthcare wipes, bandages and bedding, among others. Adult incontinence products are included in the consumer market. Demand is dependent on several variables, including the volume of healthcare activity, the number of surgical procedures, demographic patterns, and incidence of diseases and disorders.

The report, Carded Nonwovens, says that the demand to 2024 will be driven by concerns over healthcare-associated infections and the effectiveness of infection prevention protocols, which will support continued growth among products like disinfectant wipes.

There will also be fast growth in the senior population (aged 65+), which will benefit medical nonwovens since the elderly have greater healthcare needs than other parts of the general population.

Other drives include the compatibility of nonwovens with many medical applications, due to their potential for softness and absorbency, and, just as in consumer products, many of the personal hygiene products used in healthcare settings continue to undergo new research and development to improve product performance, safety, and sustainability. This includes developing products with greater strength, low linting, and safer chemical treatments.

The report also notes how the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred demand spikes for a variety of medical supplies as well as those that limit transmission of the virus, such as surface disinfectant wipes. However, the pandemic has also put some limitations on the demand for nonwovens in the medical market. Many hospitals opted to limit elective surgeries as the pandemic spread, both to limit the potential transmission of the virus, but also to focus resources on the treating the disease and protecting healthcare staff.


HIGHTEX Postponed, New Dates: 14-18 June 2022

HIGHTEX International Technical Textiles and Nonwoven Trade Fair, which is planned to be held on June 22-26, 2021 was decided to postpone to June 14-18, 2022, considering the effects of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in the world. This postponement decision was taken as a result of intense discussions and evaluations with our participants and sector representatives.

The HIGHTEX Organization Team made the following statements: “We as HIGHTEX Organization Team, our priority is to protect your valuable exhibitors and visitors’ investments and all rights, not our commercial earnings. In this regard, we believe that all of our participants will find this compulsory postponement decision taken for the HIGTEX Exhibition justified and will understand.”

HIGHTEX 2022, which will be held in Istanbul Tuyap Fair and Congress Center between 14- 18 June 2022, simultaneously with the ITM 2022 Exhibition.

HIGHTEX 2022 being the first and only exhibition in its field in Turkey will host the world’s leading technical textile and nonwoven manufacturers in Istanbul for 5 days.

HIGHTEX 2022, where many companies from Turkey and abroad will exhibit their latest technologies and products; will be visited by many industry professionals from medical to ready-to-wear, from decoration to cosmetics, from automotive to defense.


Effective Product from Toray in Combating Covid-19: Makspec® V Antiviral Textile

The company developed this 100% polyester offering in March 2020. It delivers exceptional washability and comfort.

Toray used the JISL 1922 antiviral test for textile products. It exposed samples to Covid-19 and measured concentrations two hours later. As with earlier experimentation using the ATCC VR-1679 envelope strain, the company confirmed that the fabric reduced more than 99.9% of Covid-19 viruses on textiles. It obtained this same result even after 50 industrial washing cycles, underscoring the fabric’s solid antiviral performance.

In view of the latest findings, the company will market this textile for customer service, nursing, and school uniforms for which demand to safeguard from Covid-19 is high. It also envisages expanding applications for this textile to also include sportswear, casual apparel, fashionwear, and children’s clothing.

Toray will draw on the textile processing technology it amassed in developing materials for uniforms, which demand exceptional functionality, to create textiles that provide outstanding performance and added value by combining comfort and safety, thus contributing to social progress.

Mondi Gronau Starts Production of Medical Face Masks in Germany

Mondi, global leader in packaging and paper, has started up new production lines for melt-blown nonwoven fabric and medical face masks at its site in Gronau, Germany to mitigate the spread of Covid‑19.

Mondi Gronau has over 50 years of experience in the production and processing of films, nonwovens and elastic components for hygiene products. Last year Mondi announced it would start up production lines to produce both the important base material, melt-blown nonwoven fabric, as well as the medical face mask themselves. With the new lines, Mondi is building up a local value chain in Germany to address the needs of the pandemic. The fully integrated production with two highly automated high-speed machines allows the output of 700 high‑quality medical face masks per minute. This is approximately seven times higher than the standard face mask production line and will produce at least one million medical grade masks a day.

The masks are certified as a medical product by the German Johner Institute as well as meeting the German standards OEKO‑TEX and Dermatest. With this production, Mondi Gronau will be directly addressing the needs of the German health sector including hospitals, pharmacies and specialised medical retailers.

“We identified the shortage in melt‑blown nonwoven fabric in Germany early on in the pandemic last year and reacted swiftly to set up the production of high‑quality medical face masks. With our high‑speed production set-up and certifications in place, Mondi Gronau is ideally positioned to supply high‑quality medical masks that offer reliable protection and high comfort from the moment they are put on to when they are taken off,” says Jürgen Schneider, Managing Director Mondi Gronau.


Wolf PVG Trusts in Meltblown Technology from Oerlikon Nonwoven

In addition to this filter material, which is in great demand today, high-quality meltblown nonwovens can also be produced for medical and industrial filter applications. The plant has now been running for several weeks under stable production conditions with op-timal nonwoven fabric quality of the highest standards.

With the beginning of the corona pandemic and the shortage of protective masks that ensued, Wolf PVG GmbH & Co. KG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Melitta Group, switched part of its production capac-ities to nonwoven mask fabric production. As a highly specialised system supplier for everything to do with vacuum cleaners and industrial filter technology, the company from East Westphalia can fall back on its extensive know-how and many years of experience.

With the meltblown plant from Oerlikon Nonwoven, Wolf PVG is further expanding its production capac-ities. The plant, with its two beams and the ecuTEC+ electro charging unit, is optimally designed for the production of face mask material. The plant is also ideal for the production of other filtration nonwovens. “A decisive point for investing in a plant from Oerlikon Nonwoven was the flexibility of the plant in relation to the possible product portfolio and the competence of the manufacturer,” explains Markus Seele, COO of Wolf PVG. And Dr. Ingo Mählmann, Senior Vice President Sales & Marketing Oerlikon Nonwoven, adds: “Thanks to the numerous setting options for the electrostatic charge provided by the ecuTEC+, the optimum loading status can be set depending on the filter application.”

ecuTEC+ electro charging unit Nonwoven complements filter nonwoven plants

The meltblown technology from Oerlikon Nonwoven is considered the most technically efficient process for the production of highly effective filter media from plastic fibres. The ecuTEC+ electro charging unit also makes a significant contribution to this. With the patented process, spunbond and meltblown ma-terials can be charged electrostatically and thus the filter performance can be significantly increased. In this way even the smallest particles are safely filtered. Nonwoven manufacturers are thereby largely free to choose and can set the optimal charging method and intensity for their filter application.

Voith, Truetzschler Supply PM 5 to Papel Aralar for Sustainable Wet Wipes

The PM 5 successfully started up and is now stably producing adult and baby wet wipes that are completely plastic-free, flushable and biodegradable, a characteristic that conventional wet wipes do not have. With the recent investment, Aralar now has two WLS lines with a total production capacity of 45,000 tons/year.

“The successful start-up of PM 5 is an important step forward in our company’s sustainability strategy,” says Senén Amunarriz, CEO of Papel Aralar. “And it is Voith’s innovative papermaking solutions and know-how that are contributing to this success. Our decision to invest in this state-of-the-art new production line was driven by the forecast growth in demand for biodegradable substrates for wet wipe production.”

“We are happy and proud to partner with Papel Aralar and to provide them, together with Trützschler, with our efficient and sustainable papermaking technologies,” says Marcos Garcia de la Torre, Managing Director Voith Paper Spain. “Thanks to the Aralar-Trützschler-Voith team and the close collaboration we were able to carry out a smooth and timely start-up.”

HydroFormer and AquaJet for high-performance Wet-Laid Spunlacing

As a full-line supplier, Voith supplied the BlueLine stock preparation, the main components of the XcelLine paper machine and a comprehensive automation and control package from one single source. The HydroFormer, which is one of the main components of the new system, draws on Voith’s extensive experience in the papermaking and pulp industries. With this technology, the suspension is heavily diluted to produce nonwoven materials made completely of cellulose, a renewable resource. Besides the HydroFormer, Voith has supplied the BlueLine stock preparation, a master reel, and the wet end process for the new system.

Trützschler Nonwovens completes the production line with the well-proven AquaJet in an innovative configuration for hydroentangling (spunlacing) and an energy-efficient multi-drum dryer. The many years of expertise and experience of the Trützschler company form the basis of the web bonding and drying components that have been adapted to the needs of the wet-laid process.



Microfibres May Stop Lungs Mending in Covid-19 Patients

Finding both nylon and polyester negatively affected the growth and repair of airway tissue, researchers said the microfibres could make it more difficult for those with COVID-19 to mend their lungs.  Speaking on The Plastic Health Channel, researchers will unveil new findings which revealed microfibres from textiles may be harming lung growth, development, and repair.

With humans exposed to microplastic fibres on a daily basis, scientists also warned of the potential health risks for those with developing lungs, such as children. Professor Barbro Melgert, Principal Investigator of the Research, said: “A virus damages the lungs so you need repair, and if your lungs are filled with fibres that are inhibiting this repair then you are in for another problem in addition to COVID-19.”

Researchers exposed airway and air sac organoids (miniature lungs) to nylon and polyester microfibres across 14 days to determine their impact, using fibres small enough to be inhaled. The resulting data suggested that microplastic textile fibre may especially harm developing airways or airways undergoing repair.

Researchers focused on polyester and nylon as they are the most abundant material in indoor settings, where humans spend the majority of their time.  The findings build upon research from Dr Fransien van Dijk and colleagues on the impact of microplastics on lungs, which was unveiled at the Plastic Health Summit in 2019.

A second study also set to be revealed on The Plastic Health Channel found airborne nanoplastics are travelling from the lungs of pregnant rats to their foetus. The study saw pregnant rats exposed to nanoplastics via inhalation before scientists measured the amount of plastic in both the maternal and foetal tissues.  Nanoplastics were found in the pregnant rat’s lungs and heart, while they were also recorded in the foetus’ liver, lungs, heart, kidney and brain. 

Dr Phoebe Stapleton of Rutgers University, who conducted the study, warned the situation could also be the case for human lungs. She said: “We need to get a better handle on human exposure overall initially. We need to identify the chemicals in these nanoplastics.”

Both studies have raised serious concerns about the impact of microplastics entering the body, with experts on The Plastic Health Channel concerned about how they affect those suffering with COVID-19.

Smart Diaper Care for Adults from Ontex

The solution comprises a top-quality diaper with a printed sensor, a transmitter clipped onto the diaper and an app for mobile devices. The combination accurately determines the saturation level of the diaper as well as the risk of leakage and alerts caregivers to when it is necessary to change the diaper. This enables tailored, individual continence support for patients which contributes to the well-being of users, families and caregivers alike. The smart diaper also reduces the environmental impact of care institutions by decreasing unnecessary diaper usage and savings on laundry.

“With this smart diaper, our objective is to develop and promote better continence management and improve the quality of life of those suffering from this condition,” said Xavier Lambrecht, president of the Ontex Healthcare Division. “It will also be a huge help to caregivers. The new smart diaper is a result of our long-standing innovation program at our R&D centre for adult care. It will reduce the time hospital and care home staff spend on continence care, freeing up time and budget for other essential care tasks.”

The new Ontex smart diaper has successfully passed the first stage of its validation after six weeks of testing in normal conditions of use at a senior care facility in Belgium. Results show the potential to reduce cases of urine leaks on clothes and linen by up to 50%, alleviating one of the most burdensome and costly tasks in institutions.

Incontinence is a very common condition. Almost one in ten peeople in Belgium already suffer from it. Even if incontinence is most common among the elderly, it affects all ages of the population. It is perceived as an embarrassing condition and finding the right support and personal hygiene product can be a challenge for people suffering from it. Moreover, hospitals and elderly care facilities face tremendous time and budget pressure to take care of patients.


Record Year for Suominen

The company achieved 2020 net sales of €458.9 million, up 11.5% from €411 million in 2019. Operating profit meanwhile climbed to €39.5 million from €8.1 million due to higher production and sales volumes, favourable raw material prices, and improved production and raw material efficiency.

“During the year, we announced three capacity investments supporting our strategy, two in Italy and one in the USA, along with a cooperation agreement with the Ahlstrom-Munksjö plant in Ställdalen in Sweden,” said president and CEO Petri Helsky. “We also introduced several new sustainable products made of biodegradable, compostable and renewable plant-based fibres.”

In addition, Suominen received the Supplier Innovation Award 2020 from Rockline Industries and became the first nonwovens substrate manufacturer to receive Fine to Flush certification from Water UK for its Hydraspun Royal – a dispersible nonwoven material designed for moist toilet tissues.

Helsky countinued as follows: “The pandemic has increased consumption of nonwovens in all our markets and the demand is expected to continue on a high level. In the longer term, Covid-19 may lead to a sustained increase in the use of nonwovens for cleaning and disinfection products. However, the risks related to the pandemic, such as possible shortages of raw materials and issues linked to logistics, as well as potential closures of plants due to virus infections or authority decisions remain relevant. We have already started to experience exceptional volatility in the cost and availability of raw materials and transportation.

“Our primary focus has been, and continues to be, to safeguard the health and safety of our employees while keeping our operations running with as little impact as possible.”