What do you think of when you think of electronic products? Well, if you’re like most people, you think smartphones, Blu-Ray players and televisions. If you’re into nonwoven manufacturing (which, let’s be honest, you probably are if you’re reading our blog posts), you may think of electronics in a different way
But how do nonwovens fit into electronics and what are some important things to consider when you are producing products for that market?
Let’s go through some of the options.
- Battery separators. The average consumer probably never even thinks about the components in their battery compartments. Things just work, right? Well, we would say that if the consumer doesn’t have to think about it, then we’re doing our job right. This is an innovative corner of the market. All commercial batteries use separators. They have to have insulating properties to prevent short circuiting, resistance to oxidation, pores large enough to allow ions to flow, low electrical resistance and wettability. And that’s just the short list. Recently, according to Nonwovens Industry magazine, Dreamweaver International and its manufacturing partner started producing a 20 microns thin separator for lithium ion batteries. One of Dreamweaver’s separators can withstand temperatures up to 300°C. For applications like large energy storage and extended range electric vehicles, this is an important consideration.
- Nanofibers are textiles not like your grandmother’s quilts. Anything less than 1 micron in diameter is a nanofiber, which is basically smaller than the average human hair. While medical applications are a big corner of this market, the electronic nanofiber market is expected to see the highest growth from 2016 to 2020, according to Sandler Research. The overall market is expected to reach around $1 billion by 2020. Because this market is fairly new in the world of nonwovens, there is a significant amount of opportunity for market entry and growth here.
- Cable wraps. Insulation properties along with tensile strength and flexibility make nonwoven fabrics a terrific choice for cable wraps for power cables, industrial cables and communication cables. Depending on the application, nonwoven manufacturers can produce fabrics with high porosity, resistance to aging, resistance to temperature variation, compressibility and electrical resistance.
- Electrical insulators. These are incredibly important from a consumer standpoint. Insulators are used in all electrical devices and, when insulators fail, electrical products won’t work. Insulating materials must have low conductivity and not easy to penetrate. Depending on the application, it is imperative that manufacturers work with a nonwoven partner to ensure that all the required properties are present in insulating nonwoven fabrics to prevent equipment malfunction.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: nonwovens are everywhere. These are only a few examples of nonwovens in electronics. There is always room in the overall market for growth and all indicators point to continuing expansion in this segment of the nonwoven market as well.