Innovation is at the core of Ahlstrom-Munksjö

Innovation is at the core of Ahlstrom-Munksjö

In this interview, Lionel Bonte, VP of Medical, Ahlstrom-Munksjö, explains why innovation is must for the growth of nonwovens market and steps taken by his company in this direction.

With the need for personal protective apparel skyrocketing over the past 15 months, the demand for medical nonwovens has increased manifold. In this interview, Lionel Bonte, VP of Medical, Ahlstrom-Munksjö, explains why innovation is must for the growth of nonwovens market and steps taken by his company in this direction.

Being one of the leading players in sustainable and innovative fiber solutions, how is Ahlstrom-Munksjö supporting the growth of nonwovens?
For Ahlstrom-Munksjö, we have always been focused on delivering the highest value products for the most demanding applications. During the pandemic and now, as supply has caught up with demand, we have and continue to accelerate our R&D efforts. We have a strong commitment to a sustainable everyday life. We focus on innovative fiber-based solutions with sustainable product functionality. Our product offering contributes to better performance, safer materials, fewer resources and lower impact to the end-product. With the fibers, whether natural or manmade, we can provide these elements to our customers.

How has been the growth of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s nonwovens plant in India since it was established in 2007?
We have had consistent growth in Mundra (Gujarat, India) over the past several years. The plant has achieved full capacity and reached shipping milestones. The plant has successfully achieved 11 years with no long-term accidents, a significant accomplishment to say the least. We were also awarded for having the “Highest Increase in Export Year over Year” by India’s largest ports developer and operator company APSEZ (Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone). They hold an annual event in Mundra to recognise businesses for their exporting performance.

What are key emerging trends in nonwovens?

Near shoring appears to be one of the lessons from this pandemic crisis where you see governments also taking step in securing 100% locally made products including the sourcing of raw material.

Could you please highlight some of the recent developments in the field of nonwovens undertaken by your company?

The need for face mask materials in health care and civil use has seen unprecedented growth during the coronavirus pandemic. As the consumption of face masks continues to stay strong, so does the demand for sustainable and high-performance face mask fabrics.

To serve our customers and the market even better during this time, Ahlstrom-Munksjö now offers sustainable medical and civil use face mask materials.

TenderGuard BioBased can be used as an inner or outer coverstock layer of a civil use face mask. The fabric is mainly comprised of a biopolymer made from sustainable and renewable sources. It is biodegradable and compostable under controlled conditions according to European Norm EN13432.

TenderGuard BioFilter is a sustainable filter media (100% bio-based) used as a filter layer in a barrier face covering. The media is primarily designed for civil use and source control for infectious disease. It can be used as a single layer or combined as a double filtration layer for higher filtration performance.

Made with natural fibers, TenderGuard Natural wetlaid fabrics can be used as the inner or outer layer of a face mask. With both layers together, they achieve nearly 50% bacterial filtration efficiency. TenderGuard Natural is environmentally friendly and, its inner layer is hypoallergenic, so it is perfect for those with sensitive skin.

TenderGuard Smooth is a bicomponent spunbond fabric that is made with a proprietary technology to minimize raised fibers. This creates a smooth surface to help eliminate skin irritation. TenderGuard Smooth is hypoallergenic, so it is gentler on the skin, making it ideal to wear for long durations. It is strong and flexible, allowing for the opportunity of high-speed production.

What are your plans to further tap the nonwovens market?

Ahlstrom-Munksjö is focused on delivering the highest value products for the most demanding applications. Innovation is at our core. In partnership with our customers, we will continue to innovate product solutions by challenging the boundaries for how to use fibers. We are firmly committed to sustainability and have integrated sustainable practices throughout our value chain. It is important to focus on where we can make a difference with our smart solutions to advance product functionality while providing sustainable benefits.

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