Developing a better alternative for the nonwoven fabric industry
The CSIR has developed a sample of nonwoven filter fabric that can be used in the filtration market in South Africa. Researchers have found that the new product performs better than the current filter fabrics which are imported. The fabrics can be used for disposable products such as wipes and diapers, or for products with longer-term usage such as geotextiles, insulators and interlinings.
Nonwoven fabric is material made from long fibres, bonded together by chemical, mechanical, heat or solvent treatment using different bonding techniques. Globally, nonwoven fabrics is one of the fastest growing segments in the textile sector. The industry is relatively small in South Africa, however studies by the CSIR show that the market is ready for locally produced material.
The development of the new fabric resulted from a pilot project in which the CSIR, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Eastern Cape local government collaborated with a view to develop an alternative method of creating these fabrics to boost local production and create employment.
The sample is lightweight and provides better efficiency than those currently on the market. It also saves 30 percent of the material used in production, which makes it affordable to be produced locally. Results show that an affordable option for the filter fabric can help smaller enterprises who are competing in the textile sector. Researchers now have to produce 120 bags from their new filter fabric, which will be tested by companies to see how the product performs under operational standards.
Dr Maya Jacob John