Fiber developers and manufacturers continue to refine their offerings in response to consumer demands. One example of this is creating softer, more absorbent products for applications in the hygiene market. In another instance, fiber makers are also responding to increased environmental awareness.
Whether it’s a biodegradable source like cellulose, or a recyclable
option such as polyester, nonwovens producers are marketing
the environmental sustainability of their products.
Cotton is known to offer a positive sustainability profile—it is
considered a natural fiber, it’s biodegradable and it’s drought-tol-erant. While T-shirts, jeans and towels traditionally come to mind
when consumers think of cotton, the fiber continues to grow its
presence in the nonwovens industry. Increased usage of this fiber
is being seen in applications like diapers, feminine hygiene products and wipes as consumers become more aware of and scrutinize ingredients used in personal care products.
“The demand for more products that are healthier for skin has
been a perfect match with cotton’s natural hypoallergenic prop-
erties,” says Jan O’Regan, director, Strategic Initiatives, Cotton
Incorporated.“Given that there are no regulations around reveal-
ing fiber content in hygiene and wipes products, simply telling
consumers on the package that there is cotton in the product,
stimulates interest in purchasing.”
The ever-increasing expertise and technical development in
producing nonwovens using natural cotton, which O’Regan
notes is shorter than most carded fibers and longer than most air-
laid fibers, is also contributing to cotton’s growth in the market.
And, sustainability is a key driver of cotton’s expansion into
more nonwoven-based products. In addition to the aforemen-
tioned environmentally friendly characteristics, O’Regan points
out that as a crop, cotton provides food in addition to fiber and
satisfies the 60% of the world’s demand for textile fiber on 3% of
the world’s agricultural land.
Ihsan Sons (Pvt) Ltd., a manufacturer and exporter of cotton
waste and bleached absorbent cotton, yarns and nonwoven fabrics, is the flagship company of the industrial group Ihsan Pakistan. The group entered the textile business in 1947 and after
supplying the local market, the family which has been in business
since 1939, expanded to meet export orders in 1956 with its first
facility processing cotton waste.
In the early 1990s, the group set up its own in-house fiber
processing and cleaning facilities along with a bleaching plant
in Lahore, Pakistan. In 2006, Ihsan Sons began producing cotton
spunlace fabrics, fully equipped with technology from Fleissner,
as well as Trützschler and Spinnbau.
With an annual capacity of around 12,000 tons of bleached absorbent cotton, Ihsan Sons handles in-house processing from the
raw fibers to producing 100% cotton nonwoven fabrics, which are
sold under the brand name Belcot. Mahmood J. Ihsan, CEO, says
the equipment is able to make fabrics weighing from 30-70 gsm
in widths of up to two meters. The annual capacity of its spunlace
line is about 3000 tons.
Ihsan Sons recently upgraded its auto sorting systems to produce some of the cleanest bleached cotton and spunlace fabrics
available, and to protect the environment, the company has installed a heat recovery system, producing steam from the waste
heat and hot water from its captive power plant.
Ihsan has also been busy developing new products, introducing light weight cotton spunlace nonwoven fabric in 20-25
gsm, highly suitable for hygienic products, including its new
By Tara Olivo, Associate Editor
Suppliers to the nonwovens industry con-
tinue to develop technologically advanced
fibers that address consumer needs.
Cotton fibers are increasingly being
used in hygiene applications such as
feminine hygiene products and wipes.