BRUSSELS - Several environmentally friendly product innovations were amongst the winners of the prestigious INDEX Innovation Awards, including a recycling process for absorbent hygiene products and biodegradable filter technology for use in coffee pod applications.

Held every three years to acknowledge, “Excellence in the nonwovens and related industries”, the ceremony was originally programmed to take place during the INDEX 20 exhibition in April this year, now scheduled for the 7th – 10th September 2021.

EDANA therefore decided to honour the seven Award winners in a ‘live’ online ceremony held yesterday.

With over 70 project submissions across 7 categories covering the entire nonwovens supply chain, the Awards judging panel, composed of senior industry representatives, members of the nonwovens press, and EDANA officers, had the difficult task of refining these down to a maximum only three nominees per category based on demanding criteria.

The Awards winners were announced live on-line, by members of the jury, and the winners of the EDANA INDEX 20 Innovation Awards are as follows:

Nonwoven Roll Goods

Jacob Holm - Sontara Dual:

Sontara Dual is a unique, new 100% cellulosic wipe substrate made with proprietary Sontara technology. The material combines a rough side with a soft side to achieve extraordinary cleaning results. The unique 3D-aperture structure protects delicate surfaces from scratches and is gentle enough to use on skin. Sontara Dual is available in various colours and is free from any binders, chemicals or adhesives.

Finished products made from, or incorporating nonwovens

Dupont De Nemours - Tychem 2000 SFR:

Tychem 2000 SFR represents a new generation of secondary flame-resistant chemical garment technology, specially designed to meet the dual hazard needs of a protective chemical suit against chemical splashes together with secondary flame-resistance. The fabric used in Tychem 2000 SFR garments is a unique technology. It does not char when exposed to flames, but was designed to shrink away from flames -without burning.

Raw materials or components (e.g. fibre, binder, polymer, tape), of special relevance to the nonwovens industry and related converted products

Beaulieu Fibres International - UltraBond:

Producing 100% recyclable sustainable needle-punched fabrics with this unique polyolefin staple fibre. UltraBond eliminates the need for latex or other chemical binders to consolidate nonwovens. The innovation opens up a new path to create 100% PP needlepunched fabrics, which meet the same performance requirements, whilst reducing the end-of-life environmental impact.

Innovation in machinery of special relevance to the nonwovens industry

GDM - Expandable Welding Wheel:

This innovative solution generates a side seam welding in baby and adult pant-type products. This technology enables the production of an extended number of sizes with the same unit. Side-seam bonding and performance are guaranteed for a wide range of raw materials. The unit is composed of welding stations mounted onto a wheel-like system, allowing high-speed operation and requiring zero size-change time.

Achievement for the most original marketing campaign for a product made from, or incorporating nonwovens

Berry Global - J-Cloth Plus Biodegradable Communication Campaign:

J-Cloth Biodegradable and Compostable is produced with 100% natural biodegradable fibers from PEFC certified sources. Berry planned a concurrent marketing campaign combining on and offline communications The aim was to educate the market as to what was available and get the product into the hands of as many key potential end-users as possible, trying to maximize the push/ pull potential of our distribution chain.

Sustainable Product

Ahlstrom-Munksjö - Fiber+, Green Capsule Top Lid, Compostable K-cup filter:

Fiber+ is an innovative filter media using exclusively biodegradable and compostable raw materials for the best infusion. The Green Capsule Top Lid is a compostable lidding filter. Its structure allows perfect coffee extraction thanks to a high-pressure resistance, and the oxygen barrier properties help to preserve coffee freshness in the capsule. The Compostable K-cup filter is a unique compostable, formable filter, compatible with the K-cup system and capable of holding high quantities of coffee for the best result in cup.

Sustainable process or management practice

FaterSMART – FaterSMART used absorbent hygiene products (AHP) recycling technology:

The FaterSMART recycling technology, is able to recycle used absorbent hygiene products i.e. baby diapers, adult incontinent diapers and feminine pads, and recover 100% of the raw materials i.e. plastic, cellulose and super absorbent polymers that can be used in new production process in a circular economy environment.

The ‘People’s Prize’

In addition to the Award categories, a separate ‘People’s Prize’ was introduced to ensure visibility for all the Awards nominees’ projects and demonstrating the breadth of creativity in the nonwovens industry and its suppliers. The company whose video gathered the greatest number of ‘likes’ on the INDEX Nonwovens LinkedIn page was deemed the prize winner.

After 19 days for each nominee video shown on the INDEX LinkedIn page, the winner of the ‘People’s Prize’ for the most ‘likes’ was: Omya International - Omyafiber 800.

Due to its high-purity and unique surface-treatment, Omyafiber, a Calcium Carbonate for PP spunmelt and dry-laid nonwovens, provides advantages in both, masterbatch compounding and nonwoven production. Omyafiber is neither skin irritant nor sensitizing and is even food-approved. Its main characteristics are cost savings, natural cotton-like haptics and the softness of spunlace fabrics, improved mechanical properties of high- and low-grammage fabrics and increased whiteness.

In congratulating the winners, and recognising the outstanding efforts of the nominees, Pierre Wiertz, general manager of EDANA said: “In these trying times, the world is beginning to acknowledge the valuable contribution that nonwovens have to play in our society. The projects of the winners announced today, and those of their fellow nominees, just go to prove the depth of ingenuity and remarkable know-how that exist in the nonwovens industry and its suppliers. The significant progress being made, particularly in the field of sustainability, leaves me in no doubt that the recognition of the role that nonwovens have to play in constructing our future will only increase, and is witness to the industry’s wholehearted intention to do so responsibly’’.

The Awards Winners and nominees will be on display in the INDEX Innovation Lab, as part of INDEX 20 exhibition, taking place in Geneva from 7 – 10 September 2021.

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