better together stories

Nonwoven textile

Boosting productivity for the nonwoven textile industry

Textiles is one of the many industries in which Bekaert has built up a strong expertise. Together with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization of Australia (CSIRO), we developed SiroLock®, a unique carding wire that significantly improves the carding process for nonwoven textile products. Australian leading producer of nonwoven textiles, Textor Textile Technologies, was one of the first in the business to enjoy the SiroLock® benefits: increased productivity, better product quality, and significant cost-savings.

For quite some time now, the nonwoven textile industry has been dealing with dwindling price margins, augmenting the need for more cost-efficiency. At the same time customers’ quality requirements have been increasing.

Driven by the market demand for lighter and thinner products, the industry needs to manufacture finer and lighter nonwoven webs and deliver more homogeneous products to meet customers’ quality requirements. Furthermore, new and specific fiber blends, including finer fibers, have to be processed in order to produce high-quality webs and to develop new nonwoven products.

Answering market needs with new carding technology

In 2001 we partnered with Australia’s CSIRO which had gathered vast experience in wool fiber research. They developed the concept of SiroLock®: a highly efficient carding wire comprising a unique step in its geometrical design which brings fiber control to a completely new level. The involvement of the Bekaert Technology Center and Bekaert Engineering in this partnership aimed at developing new proprietary technology in order to enable the production of SiroLock® wire.

Bekaert’s contribution focuses on making the SiroLock® technology market-ready and introducing the carding solution to the industry of nonwoven textile. This industry segment brings together a multitude of players, each with their own specific applications and machine configurations. For them, Bekaert has designed a range of specific carding wires within the SiroLock® product family, suited for doffer and worker rollers for different applications in the segment of carded nonwoven textiles.

Multiple benefits for the industry

By processing bales of fibers into a web, leading nonwoven textile company Textor manufactures ‘roll goods’, rolls of nonwoven webs which are further processed into end products by its customers. One of the most important applications of the nonwoven webs made by Textor is ‘wet wipes’, consumer products used in healthcare and hygienics. Once the bales are opened and pulled apart into flocks of fiber, the actual carding process takes place, separating the fibers and forming a fiber web.

In the carding process, two types of rollers play a major part: the ‘workers’ which are doing the main work on the card opening the fiber tufts to individualize the fibers, and the ‘doffers’ which remove the fibers from the card and guide them to the condenser rollers to give the fibers a specific orientation in the web. Fitting SiroLock® wire to these particular rollers offers significant advantages.

So how does it work? SiroLock® controls the fibers at the step at the front of the wire. This enables it to take up to 50% more fibers than a conventional carding wire. As a result production increases, while quality is maintained and even improved. At the same time, there is less recycling of fibers on the cylinder, resulting in reduced loading of the cylinder wire and, in turn, less cleaning time for the cylinder roller.

A 30% capacity increase at Textor

Textor started using SiroLock® on the workers of its carding equipment in 2008. This led to a 30% increase in production capacity, as well as a significant improvement in web uniformity.
Today, the innovative SiroLock® wire is successfully being used in the nonwoven textile industry all over Europe, in the Middle East and in Asia Pacific.

“At Textor Textile Technologies we are convinced that Bekaert SiroLock® will be a valuable tool in increasing productivity and web quality over the coming years. We are producing web weights and qualities that are world class and at rates that increase each year. Without SiroLock® we would not be in this position.”

Phillip Butler, Director of Textor Textile Technologies

 

Oil and gas

Diving deep into the development of super ultra strength wire

Deeper and deeper still. That is how far oil & gas corporations are obliged to drill wells to find the resources that can meet the world’s demand for energy. To ensure the safest conditions for these operations, all equipment used is expected to live up to the strictest standards. In close collaboration with a long-time customer and global leader in the oil & gas exploration industry, Bekaert developed a super ultra strength wire for reliable reinforcement of a cable used to explore the most challenging boreholes around the globe.

Innovation is key to survival in the oil & gas business. What distinguishes our customer from its competitors is the high quality of its so-called wire-line cable. As heavy and rather expensive sampling equipment tools are attached to the cable, it is crucial that optimum performance and reinforcement of the cable be ensured.

The challenge: Develop a high performance wire that comes close to zero welds

Our customer needed stable levels of super ultra strength wire for the armoring of its wire-line cable. In addition, the wire fractures which are the so-called ‘weak spots’ in the cable had to be reduced to a minimum for every 30 000 feet of cable. Breaks mean more manual checking, welding and rechecking, a highly labor intensive and time-consuming process.

Of course, the cable had to be extremely reliable when used in field operations. If such a cable were to fail, this could result in severe delays and huge financial losses.

A global approach: better together

The development of the low fracturing, very high tensile wire started at our wire plant in Hlohovec (Slovakia) where our customer clarified its needs. From then on close contact was maintained to streamline the development progress.

For the project we identified critical points, translated project needs and attuned implementation to the people with the best fitting skills and the appropriate equipment for the job. Dedicated project teams were set up both at the customer’s and at Bekaert Hlohovec. High levels of flexibility and reaction time were achieved.

More uptime and higher reliability

In a timeframe of around three months, we succeeded in showing improvement and stable results over time: the number of breaks was reduced by more than 85%, surpassing the initial target set by the customer.

The benefits for the customer? Increased uptime during the cable armoring process and a higher reliability of cables in the borehole. This gives our customer a competitive edge in the exploration of ever deeper wells and the ability to consolidate even further its leading market position.

Optimum performance in the safest conditions is critical in oil & gas extraction... as much as it is a driver of Bekaert's operational excellence approach.

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