Simulation software from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics (ITWM), Kaiserslautern/Germany, enables nonwovens producers to increase the efficiency of highly sensitive meltblown processes.
Thanks to the software, it is possible to react better to the current high demand for nonwovens for the hygiene sector, despite the susceptibility of these processes to process fluctuations and material impurities.
Meltblown technology, a special spinning process in combination with high-speed hot air, is used to produce fine-fibered nonwovens with different structures. The fibers swirl under air pressure, intertwine and fall more or less randomly onto a conveyor belt. One of the special features of the meltblown process is the simulation of filament stretching in a turbulent air flow. The Fiber Dynamics Simulation Tool (FIDYST) is used to predict the movements of the fibers, their falling and their orientation. Thus the simulations of the ITWM effectively provide a qualitative and quantitative insight into the fiber formation during this turbulent spinning process. Efficiency and quality assurance can thus be ensured when adapting production processes. Upscaling problems, which lead to failed investments during the transition from the laboratory plant to the industrial plant, can thus be avoided.
The project "Meltblown productive" and the results are certainly interesting for nonwovens producers. The production of many mass products has often been outsourced to Asia in the past decades; the nonwovens manufacturers remaining in Germany and Europe tend to focus more on high-quality technical textiles.