Apart from its new name, what is special about this new edition of the NIA?
The scientific committee wanted this now two-yearly conference to continue to reflect the present state of research in the most relevant domains for the nonwovens industry, from "ecological" functionalization (materials and processes) to modelling.
How do you see future innovations in nonwovens?
We can see by the research papers published that there is a move towards improving some of the parameters of complex processes for web formation, the consolidation or surface treatment of nonwoven textiles for specific applications including in some "niche" markets (medical, filtration, etc.).
How do EDANA and the NIA see CETI?
Since it was inaugurated, we have been very excited to observe the innovative effect of CETI on the European nonwovens and technical textiles industry. As regards its pilot facilities, it is an incomparable asset offering great flexiblity and we hope that our industry will make good use of it at the level of technological sophistication it warrants.
What sort of audience is the NIA targetting?
We obviously need to attract a wide industrial audience, which will no doubt form the major part of visitors to the event, and to which the research presented is essentially directed, but if we do not renew our potential and talent in fundamental and applied research, the NIA would not be totally fulfilling its purpose. We are aiming to find a balance between the worlds of academic research and industry at this event.
Do you have any key data that has been recently published or to be announced at the NIA? While we do not have any data on the R&D potential and achievements of the European nonwovens industry, we feel it is on an upwards trend, and as regards research and universities, the number of establishments that now have departments dedicated to nonwovens also appears to be rising. It would be worth investigating this question further by putting some indicators in place.
In keeping with the data issued by us, the production of nonwovens in Europe, taken in the broader sense from the Atlantic to the Urals, is steadily growing, after a slight drop in 2008-2009 when the recession hit us, and with almost 2 million tonnes now, it still represents near to 25% of production worldwide.
What about EDANA's recent work?
The most recent LCA or eco-review by EDANA is on absorbant hygiene products (an area in which we have recently celebrated 20 years of experience and involvement) and confirms the positive effects of research on the entire value chain, by the continual reduction of the environmental impacts of these products.