Now the Index is finally taking place in-person in Geneva, what do you hope/expect from this fair?
I believe that everyone longs to finally be able to hold face-to-face discussions again at INDEX. The reunion is thus the focus after almost 2 years of TEAMS, ZOOM or other online conferences to intensify customer and supplier relationships again. We are all very much looking forward to experiencing the reactions to our new technology solutions and new services “live” again.
What will you present at the Index?
We feel we are well-equipped at Oerlikon Nonwoven
. All of our systems solutions will continue to be in demand over the next few years. Here, our Coform Phantom and QSR technologies will strengthen our business in additional markets, hence providing us with further stability in the nonwovens sector alone. Those technologies will be shown at the INDEX in addition to our leading Meltblown, Spunbond and Airlaid technologies. Parallel we are working continually on further new technological solutions that our customers will also be able to exploit in the future in order to support their business. For example, we are currently working on a hydro-charging unit for manufacturing electret filter media, which is due to be brought to market as early as the end of the year. Furthermore, we will soon be concluding the conversion of the Spunbond laboratory and the extension of our Meltblown laboratory system. We are in the process of expansion our current filtration competences and supporting our customers with advice and a selected range of services outside the ‘normal’ systems business. Those are the topics we would love to discuss with all exhibition participants.
At the moment, every new development, every new product should also be sustainable and environmentally friendly. What is your approach to a greener world?
Currently, we are expanding our know-how and experience in processing PLA, the oldest alternative to fossil oil based plastic polymers. Processing trials and testing work with PLA were carried out using our Meltblown and Spunbond systems already over ten years ago; now, we are also in the process of testing further alternatives in collaboration with development partners.
What will be the biggest challenges for the nonwovens industry after the corona pandemic?
Growth in the nonwovens industry has been above average in recent years at around 7%. The pandemic has affected the balance between supply and demand, while rising costs and raw material shortages have affected the market. Consumers are looking for new sustainable materials, especially for disposables. New technologies to produce nonwovens based on non-fossil or biodegradable raw materials will take center stage. We are already paving the future for an entire industry here for example with our Coform Phantom technology.
The interview was condusted by pur nonwovensTRENDS team with André Wissenberg, Vice President, Head of Marketing, Corporate Communications and Public Affairs, Oerlikon Polymer Processing Solutions Division, Oerlikon Management AG, Pfäffikon/Switzerland.