Air-laid paper is a nonwoven fabric, textile-like material made from fluff pulp. It is made from 85% wood pulp and 15% binder. Air-laid paper is very bulky, porous, and soft. It has good water absorption properties. The raw paper pulp material is treated with extra softness and absorbency. Therefore, air-laid paper holds as much as six times its own weight in fluids and simultaneously has a greater wet strength compared to traditional paper tissue. Under the manufacturing process of air-laid paper, fibers are brought into an air flow and from there to a moving belt or perforated drum, where they shape a randomly leaning web. Air-laid webs possess lower density and higher softness contrast to carded webs. Air-laid webs also possess immense adaptability in terms of fibers and fiber blends. Manufacturing of air-laid paper takes place in three major steps: fiber opening, web formation, and web bonding. The physical characteristics of air-laid nonwovens make them suitable for various disposable absorbent applications in consumer, industrial, and institutional markets.
Air-laid paper offers the following advantages: easy disposal after use – no laundry, textile-like surface and drape, very low linting, no dust, no static, strong even when wet, and clean and hygienic. It can also be sterilized.
Based on product, the air-laid paper market can be segmented into multi bond, thermal bond, latex bond, and hydrogen bond. Under latex bond, two different methods can be used to apply latex binder to the web, depending on the design of the production line. Under thermal bond, the web must contain synthetic bonding fibers (generally bi-components with polyethylene and polypropylene). After compaction, the web is transported into an oven, which softens and melts the sheaths of the fibers to the point where they fuse together, bonding the various components of the web. The web is then calendered to the correct thickness, cooled, and transported to the slitting/rewinding system. Hydrogen bonding utilizes the ability of cellulose fibers to bond together when naturally occurring moisture contained in the fibers is removed while the fibers are in close contact. Generally, bonding is accomplished under conditions of high temperature and pressure. This process eliminates the need for synthetic binders to be added to the air-laid web. Multi bond is a combination of latex and thermal bond. The web is thermally bonded and a light application of latex is sprayed on both sides of the web to reduce the lint that is often released in high-speed converting operations.
In terms of application, the air-laid paper can be divided into Disposable Wiping- Household Cleaning Wipes, and Hand Wipes, Table-Top and Food Handling, Personal Care Products- Feminine Napkins, and Adult Incontinence. Air-laid paper is primarily used in feminine hygiene products and wipes. Wipes can be used in many applications such as body wash, hand wash, baby wipes, industrial wipes, and household cleaning wipes.
Based on region, the global air-laid market can be segregated into North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa. Europe is the dominant region of the Air-laid paper market, followed by North America. This can be ascribed to the increase in usage of wipes in Europe for personal care and food handling processes.
Key players operating in the air-laid paper market are Glatfelter, MAIN S.p.A., M&J Airlaid Products A/S, Georgia-Pacific, EAM Corporation, DELT papir, C-Airlaid, Lucart S.p.A, DENI, McAirlaid's Vliesstoffe GmbH, Fitesa, Oji Kinocloth, Jiangmen Renfull Papermaking Co., Ltd., and Nanning Qiaohong New Materials Co.
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