05/10/2011

Infrared helps non-woven fabrics manufacturer increase production

The system was designed, built and commissioned on-site following extensive trials at Heraeus' Neston Application Centre.

SAAF is a major international force in the medical and hygiene markets for spunbond and SMS nonwovens, produced on state-of-the-art plant. To achieve the specific properties required in medical operations, of being alcohol-repellent and anti-static, fabric manufacture involves the application of a chemical to 100% polypropylene SMS. SAAF's objective was to increase the throughput of its' line, whilst maintaining the high quality of application.

After contacting Heraeus, extensive tests were carried out at the company's Applications Centre. Various combinations of infra-red emitters, at various powers were trialled to ensure that sufficient heat for drying could be transferred to the fabric without affecting the polypropylene, which has a low softening and melt point. These tests were then supported with proving trials carried by Heraeus personnel on-site at the Saudi Arabian factory and the results confirmed the suitability of infra-red for the application. As a result, the optimum system was installed. Ian Disley, of SAAF, who was instrumental in selecting the infra-red option and took part in the initial trials, comments, "The Heraeus installation has achieved our target and proved eminently cost-effective."

Energy efficiency by exact matching

Infrared heating technology offers many possibilities for optimising energy usage in industrial processes:

- High heat transfer capacity
- Contact-free heat transfer
- High efficiency
- Efficient energy transfer by using the optimal wavelength
- Localised energy input by matching the heating to the shape of the product to be heated
- Time focused energy input because of the rapid response times.

Infrared heat is always used when heating processes need to meet specific requirements in terms of place, time and quality.

Source: Heraeus Noblelight