NEUMÜNSTER - The joint venture between Swiss machinery manufacturer Oerlikon Group and Italian technology company Teknoweb Materials has signed an exclusive licence agreement which will allow it to deliver Procter & Gamble’s innovative Phantom technology to the global nonwovens market.
The combined company was created in 2017 to develop innovative new products by incorporating Oerlikon Neumag’s airlaid, meltblown and spunbond technologies, with Teknoweb’s novel nonwovens solutions for the wet wipes industry.
The patented Phantom process for hybrid nonwovens combines the best of both airlaid and spunmelt technologies to deliver new, flexible ways of creating wet and dry wipes.
The technology offers a number of benefits by reducing resources and costs, while also increasing overall performance, the companies say. In addition, Oerlikon Nonwoven – Teknoweb Materials have further refined the process into their own Levra technology – an entry-level option which offers tailored production volumes with lower investment costs but is still suitable to be upgraded to the premium Phantom model in the future.
Essentially, Phantom technology was developed to produce hybrid substrates. The spunmelt and airlaid processes are merged into one step to combine cellulose fibres, long fibres such as cotton, or even powders with polymer fibres.
"This technology has clear advantages in terms of resources, performance, and cost compared to the previous processes on the market," Oerlikon said in a statement. "By removing hydroentanglement, it is no longer necessary to dry the material. Adjusting the process can optimize relevant product characteristics such as softness, strength, dirt absorption, and liquid absorption."
The greater freedom for formulating continuous and discrete fibres also allows for more flexible and absorbent structures and highly textured materials. The resultant wipes feel softer to the touch while providing more protection for the hands. Up to 90% of the material can consist of pulp fibers, although natural alternatives like cotton or synthetic fibres can be added to the mix.
As well as applications in a variety of wipes – such as hygiene wipes, anti-bacterial wipes, surgical wipes, or industrial wipes – Phantom technology is also suitable for absorbent cores, in diapers or feminine hygiene products.