Dry wipes or wet wipes usually cause issues with sewage systems due to their failure to disintegrate in water. To counter this problem, Voith Group (Division: Paper) and Truetzschler Nonwovens joined hands to develop flushable wipes. These wipes can be flushed down the toilet because they disintegrate into individual fibres in agitated water.

Wet-Laying Technology

The wet-laid process for nonwovens is similar to the making of paper. The first step involves suspension of fibres and water to form a slurry, so that single fibres of  different types are evenly distributed in the water. The web formed is passed over a wire belt. When water is sucked off, a homogeneous fibre mat is formed. The spunlacing process performed by the AquaJet system on this fibre mat further produces nonwovens that feel like textile.

Unlike a carding process where longer fibres are required, wet-laying can utilise short fibres of 2 mm to up to 15 mm to form the web. In principle, every fibre that is dispersed in water can be wet-laid. Hence, fibres of low cost like wood pulp i.e., cellulose fibres, man-made and mineral fibres, etc., can be used. The WLS (wet-laying/spunlacing) process goes without binders by hydro-entangling the single fibres. Wipes produced through wet-in-wet processes are extremely versatile.

Truetzschler Nonwovens in collaboration with Voith Paper offers the following solutions for manufacturing wet-laid nonwovens:

HydroFormer from Voith Group

Most conventional dry or air-laid sheet forming processes are based on the use of long fibres. This meant that in the past, it was often not possible to use the less expensive and more environmentally compatible pulp fibres for nonwoven production. To close this gap, Voith's HydroFormer acts as a bridge between paper and nonwoven production.

The HydroFormer concept for wet-laid nonwovens builds on Voith's longstanding experience from the paper and pulp industry. Inexpensive and biodegradable, thanks to a very high dilution in suspension, nonwovens produced by the HydroFormer can be produced entirely out of renewable, cost-efficient cellulose feedstock. Apart from the obvious cost savings and environmental benefits, this process offers homogeneous sheet formation and considerable flexibility for multi-ply end products. It also enables the manufacturing of disposable cleaning wipes from 100% biodegradable materials.

Voith Group's HydroFormer has been specifically optimised for the formation of wet-laid nonwovens and, with more than 70 successful installations, has gained worldwide acceptance.

Benefits of the HydroFormer

     Cost effective use of raw materials

     Renewable materials used exclusively

     Considerable minimisation of fibre losses due to re-use

     Simple one step manufacturing of multi-ply products

     Extensive flexibility in raw material use

AquaJet for spunlacing from Truetzschler Nonwovens

After the web is formed in the HydroFormer, it needs to be bonded to add strength and function.  In the bonding step, the know-how from Truetzschler is applied. Web bonding is performed with the help of the AquaJet. In this field, Truetzschler Nonwovens can draw on its extensive experience of more than 100 projects running worldwide.