The type of nonwoven fabric you choose for your end-use product is critical. And before we get into any of the steps to take to choose the right fabric, we have to start with this piece of advice: talk to your nonwoven manufacturer. When it comes down it, they have the experience, the technical knowledge and the information you need to help you make the best choice for your product. But, before you talk to your nonwoven manufacturer, you can certainly arm yourself with some basic information about choosing the right fabric.
Step 1: Decide on the physical characteristics your nonwoven fabric should have
Your product may need to be fire-retardant. Or you may need to add solvents to it or lotions. You may need it to be softer or thicker or sturdier. Create a wish list of all the characteristics you can dream of that you want to have in your nonwoven fabric. Then, consult with your manufacturer to see how many of those characteristics you can incorporate into the fabric.
Step 2: Consider the fiber you want to use
Nonwoven products can be produced with both synthetic and natural fibers. Depending on the end-use application and the process you want to use (see Step 3), the fiber you choose will determine many of the final characteristics your nonwoven fabric has. Synthetic fibers include polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polypropylene and rayon viscose, among others. The dominant natural fiber used in nonwoven fabrics is cotton.
Step 3: Determine the process for manufacturing the product
Primarily, you’ll need to opt for meltblown, chemical bond or thermal point bond. The process you use will help determine the final characteristics of your product. For example, textured wipes are often manufactured with the meltblown process whereas a lot of automotive nonwovens and healthcare products use chembond. Again, your nonwoven manufacturer can help you determine the right process to use, depending on the physical characteristics your fabric needs.
This is a very, very basic list of steps you should consider every time you decide you need a nonwoven fabric for a product. Keep in mind that there are a myriad of combinations that can be utilized to create the nonwoven fabric that gets the job done.
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