There may have never been a child in the history of the world who has had this conversation:
Adult: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”
Child: “I want to work with nonwoven fabrics!”
Our industry may not be as sexy as firefighting or going to the moon. But working with nonwovens does involve a solid understanding of engineering, physics, complicated formulas and a whole lot of creative thinking. Many times, people find themselves in the nonwoven industry without a really clear understanding of how exactly it was they got here. Others find the industry earlier in college and begin a lifelong fascination with nonwoven textiles.
Regardless of how you find your way into nonwovens, it’s imperative to understand that training and education opportunities abound for professionals who want to get (and stay) ahead of the curve in the industry.
INDA and The Nonwovens Institute (NWI) at North Carolina State University in Raleigh offer a variety of training opportunities for nonwoven professionals.
For those new to the industry, this 1.5-day course introduces standard terms, information about production processes, fabric characteristics and general nonwoven trends. It’s usually offered a couple of times a year at INDA’s headquarters in Cary, NC.
This is a more comprehensive 3.5-day course introduced in 2016. This is currently offered three times a year at both the INDA headquarters and at the state-of-the-art NWI pilot lines and science/analytics labs. The agenda includes topics like Web Forming Technologies, Staple and Polymer discussions, Nonwoven Fabric Finishing and Converting, Nonwoven Fabric Test Methods and Procedures and more.
For industry veterans or those wishing to deep-dive into more advanced nonwoven topics, this is a series of focused, in-depth topics that each cover about 3.5 days of material. This year still has two topics left: Filtration & Separation: Advances in Manufacturing and Technology and a 5-day course on Nonwoven Product Development.
INDA offers a couple of different training courses on its own:
- Nonwoven Filter Media Training Course for those interested in the development, testing and application of filtration nonwovens.
- WIPES Academy. Wipes industry expert Rob Johnson of Smith, Johnson & Associates conducts this exclusive wipes training.
So, whether you’re a firefighter, an astronaut or a nonwovens expert, it’s important to take the time to invest in your continued professional education. Technology is changing rapidly and with it our products change as well. It’s important that we stay on top of the processes and trends within our expanding industry.
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