Spunmelt is a textile manufacturing process that combines spinning and melting techniques to create nonwoven fabrics. This process involves melting thermoplastic polymer granules and extruding them through spinnerets to form continuous filaments. These filaments are then laid down in a random or controlled manner, bonded together, and cooled to form a cohesive fabric. Spunmelt fabrics are widely used in various applications such as hygiene products, medical textiles, filtration, and geotextiles.
The spunmelt process begins with the selection of thermoplastic polymers such as polypropylene (PP) or polyethylene (PE). These polymers are melted and extruded through spinnerets, which are plates with numerous tiny holes. The spinnerets determine the size and shape of the filaments. The extruded filaments are then drawn or stretched to align them and increase their strength.
After the filaments are formed, they are laid down onto a moving conveyor belt or forming surface in a random or controlled pattern. This pattern can be achieved through various methods, including air drafting, roller drafting, or electrostatic charging. Once the filaments are in place, they are bonded together using heat, pressure, or adhesives. This bonding process creates a nonwoven fabric with desirable properties such as strength, flexibility, and uniformity.
Spunmelt fabrics offer several advantages over traditional woven or knitted fabrics. They are lightweight, breathable, and have excellent liquid repellency and barrier properties. These characteristics make them ideal for applications in the hygiene industry, such as diapers, feminine hygiene products, and adult incontinence products. Spunmelt fabrics are also used in medical textiles, including surgical gowns, drapes, and disposable medical supplies, where their high strength and barrier properties are crucial for infection control.
Top users and manufacturers of spunmelt fabrics include multinational companies and specialized manufacturers. One of the key players in the spunmelt industry is Kimberly-Clark, a global leader in personal care and hygiene products. Kimberly-Clark produces spunmelt fabrics for its well-known brands like Huggies and Kleenex. The company's innovative technologies and extensive research and development capabilities have contributed to advancements in spunmelt fabrics.
Another significant player in the spunmelt market is Berry Global, a multinational manufacturer of nonwoven fabrics and packaging solutions. Berry Global offers a wide range of spunmelt fabrics under various brands and serves diverse industries, including healthcare, hygiene, filtration, and industrial applications.
Other notable spunmelt fabric manufacturers include Avgol Nonwovens, Fibertex Nonwovens, and Toray Industries. These companies are renowned for their expertise in nonwoven technologies and consistently deliver high-quality spunmelt fabrics for various applications.
In conclusion, spunmelt is a textile manufacturing process that combines spinning and melting techniques to produce nonwoven fabrics. These fabrics find extensive use in industries such as hygiene, medical, filtration, and geotextiles. Major companies like Kimberly-Clark and Berry Global are prominent users and manufacturers of spunmelt fabrics, leveraging their expertise and advanced technologies to produce high-performance materials for a wide range of applications. With the increasing demand for lightweight, breathable, and versatile fabrics, spunmelt technology is expected to continue advancing and finding new applications in the textile industry.
A nonwoven structure made by extruding molten polymer through spinnerets to form fibres. Spunmelt processes are used in the manufacture of spunbond nonwovens, meltblown nonwovens and combinations of the two.