Tom J. Zaiser
Chief Executive Officer FiberVisions
Responsible stewardship of the environment requires our industry to examine and manage the impact of products throughout their entire life cycle.
Tom J. Zaiser, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Marketing Officer of FiberVisions, discusses about the various technological developments taken place in the nonwovens industry over the years and its benefits with Fibre2Fashion Correspondent Ilin Mathew.
FiberVisions is one of the global leaders in developing, manufacturing and marketing polyolefin staple fibers for nonwoven applications. The company makes innovative products to customers in industries such as hygiene, textiles, automotive and construction.
From 2005 until the present Tom moved into his role as the President and General Manager of ES FiberVisions, a joint venture with JNC of Japan. This is an assignment he retains today. He has spent the past 31 years working in various Sales and Marketing assignments including the Marketing Manager of Aqualon, a wholly owned division of Hercules Incorporated (1990-1992). Mr. Zaiser holds a B.S. in chemical engineering from the University of Delaware.
As the world's leading provider of mono and bi-component polyolefin fibers, can you tell us about the advantages of synthetic nonwovens fibres over natural fibres?
Both synthetic and natural fibers have their uses. But mono and bi-component polyolefin fibers have excellent performance in a variety of applications. For example, in diaper top sheet applications these fibers provide excellent softness and liquid management and a very uniform web. The fibers are chemically inert and hypoallergenic, so they are ideal for baby wipes. They can also be optimized for spunlaced, airlaid, thermal bond, needlepunch or wetlaid wipes manufacturing, giving our customers more options. In geotextile applications, these fibers provide exceptional tensile and burst strength, as well as high UV protection.
What are the new technological developments in polyolefin for nonwovens in the areas of hygiene, filtration, automotive, composites, construction and wipes?
One of the key thrusts is to develop solutions that help reduce system cost, through light weighting. Another is accelerating the introduction of differentiated fibers with special functionality and design.
Fine denier trilobal PP fibers are finding increasing use in nonwoven applications. In the technical fibers arena, binder fibers for lightweight automotive applications are growing.
In the bi-component fiber arena, a number of fine fibers and high opacity fibers have been introduced in the market recently for hygiene applications, from carded throughair bonded nonwovens to airlaid nonwovens. In addition to the expected benefits of softness and masking these fibers offer customers the opportunity to make lightweight, differentiated nonwovens, with functional performance benefits. In air filtration, the market is using bi-component fibers that include antimicrobial functionality.
Can you tell us about the importance of economic, environmental, cultural and social development globally with the efficient use of waste products as well as sustainable raw materials?
Responsible stewardship of the environment requires our industry to examine and manage the impact of products throughout their entire life cycle, from raw materials through final use and disposal. If these analyses are done, you find a variety of raw materials --- from synthetic to "sustainable" polymers --- can be good choices. For example, a major raw material for staple fibers is polypropylene (PP) and this polymer has lower greenhouse gas emissions and lower energy use than other synthetic fiber resins. During the manufacturing and converting process into nonwoven fabrics, no toxic waste is generated, there are low emissions, and the waste material can be recycled. The end fibers have a high potential for recycling or they can also be disposed of via a clean burning process (in a mixed waste stream if necessary) given their high calorific content and lack of toxic emissions.
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