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The utilization of medical nonwoven fabric has outpaced woven materials in recent years. Even when traced back to their rapid adoption during WWII, nonwovens were proven to be superior products in terms of adaptability, disposability, cost, and effectiveness. Manufacturing technology improved in the following decades until current-day use of nonwovens has placed them in a position to dominate the medical textile industry.
What are Nonwovens Fabrics?
Nonwovens are defined as sheets or web structures bonded together by the process of entangling fibers or filaments (and sometimes by perforating films) mechanically, chemically, or thermally. The fibers may be oriented randomly throughout the fabric or only following one direction.
Multiple layers may be combined to achieve the desired elongation, strength, and other mechanical properties. Porosity is controlled by varying fiber density, diameter, orientation, and the use of additional mechanical processing.
Key characteristics of nonwovens that justify their use and popularity:
specific processing to control porosity
Benefits of Nonwovens Driving this Market
With very deliberate care being taken to lower the incidence of hospital-acquired infection, nonwoven medical textiles are the clear winner in this category, thanks to their unique qualities. Medical textile technology is subject to intense monitoring since human lives are at stake. The intense scrutiny has resulted in better quality products and the development and implementation of innovative new uses in the medical field.
Nonwovens are preferred and poised to dominate the industry because they:
are effective barriers against bacteria
outperform linens for reducing airborne contaminants
can be tailored to changing specifications
help mitigate the risks of today's medical environments due to drug-resistant bacteria, worsening viral threats, polluted indoor and outdoor air, and increases in the numbers of blood-borne diseases
In 2014, nonwovens dominated the global medical textiles market. They accounted for over 55% of global volume, and are projected to gain market share through 2024 consistently.
What is SMS Material?
"SMS" stands for spunbond meltblown spunbond. SMS non woven fabric is a type of nonwoven fabric that combines spunbond and meltblown fabrics.When SMS material is created, it has great water repelling capabilities. This is why manufacturers choose to use SMS material in things like face masks, parts of baby diapers, sanitary napkins, and janitorial coveralls. It's also used for caps, gowns, beddings, and other hospital accessories.
Why Combine Spunbond with Meltblown?
Spunbond polypropylene is a material that has great durability and strength, no matter if it's wet or dry. It's very resistant to fraying and is difficult to unravel, plus it barely absorbs any moisture if it becomes wet.
Meltblown, on the other hand, is softer and more pliable than spun bond polypropylene. Their main advantage is their web strength, which is why they're usually combined with other nonwoven fibers. While spun bond polypropylene has its advantages, it can feel stiff and uncomfortable when it's put in everyday applications such as coveralls.Since meltblown has a webbed structure and is softer, when you combine these two nonwoven fibers, it provides the wearer with water resistance while still retaining comfort. It's also breathable, so even if you're covered from head to toe (as with coveralls), your comfort won't be compromised.
Applications for SMS Material
Because of how well SMS material repels water, it's used in a number of industries where people need to block off fluids or other wet substances. Some areas that utilize SMS material's benefits used are:
Why The Future Is Nonwoven
Wherever you are sitting or standing right now, there's bound to be at least one nonwoven fabric in your midst. Teabag or coffee filter, maybe? An air conditioning filter. Lens tissues, bleach wipes, diapers. Surely a face mask or seven.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic certainly pushed awareness of nonwoven fabrics to the forefront, we've had our eye on this growing market segment for years. Why? Because pressure-sensitive adhesive tape is often used to make or convert these textiles into usable everyday items.
Here's our take on how non-wovens will continue to evolve and play a distinct role in the convenience economy.
What Is Non-Woven?
Nonwoven fabrics are the simplest and oldest textile fabrics. Neither woven nor knitted, as the name suggests, non-woven fabrics are broadly defined as sheet or web structures bonded together by entangling fiber or filaments (and by perforating films) mechanically, thermally or chemically.
They are flat or tufted porous sheets that are made directly from separate fibers, molten plastic, or plastic film. They are not made by weaving or knitting and do not require converting the fibers to yarn.
Typically, a certain percentage of recycled fabrics and oil-based materials are used in non-woven fabrics. The percentage of recycled fabrics varies based upon the strength of the material needed for the specific use. In addition, some nonwoven fabrics can be recycled after use, given the proper treatment and facilities. For this reason, some consider non-woven a more ecological fabric for certain applications, especially in fields and industries where disposable or single-use products are important, such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, and luxury accommodations.
How are Nonwoven Fabrics Made?
Non-woven fabrics are made in two main methods: they are either felted or they are bonded. Felted non-woven fabric is produced by layering thin sheets, then applying heat, moisture, and pressure to compress the fibers into a thick matted cloth that will not ravel or fray.
There are there main methods of manufacturing bonded non-woven fabrics: Dry Laid, Wet Laid & Direct Spun.
In Dry Laid Non-woven Fabric manufacturing, a web of fibers is laid in a drum and hot air is injected to bond the fibers together.
In Wet-Laid, a web of fibers is mixed with a softening solvent that releases a glue-like substance that bonds the fibers together, and then the web is laid out to dry.
In Direct Spun, the fibers are spun on to a conveyer belt, and glues are sprayed on to the fibers, which are then pressed to bond. (In case of thermoplastic fibers, glue is not required.)
How are Non-Woven Fabrics Being Used?
Nonwoven fabrics penetrate a wide range of markets including medical, apparel, automotive, filtration, construction, geotextiles, and protective. Day by day the use of non-woven fabric is increasing and without them, our present life would be incomprehensible. Indeed, nonwovens play an integral role in the convenience economy.
Basically there are two types of nonwoven fabric: durable and disposal. Around 60% of nonwoven fabric is durable and the other 40% is disposal. These specialty fabrics are engineered to provide specific functions such as absorbency, sterility, liquid repellency, resilience, stretch, softness, strength, flame retardancy, cushioning, thermal insulation, acoustic insulation, and filtration. These properties are often combined to create fabrics suited for specific jobs while achieving a good balance between product use-life and cost. There are many kinds of it, such as non-woven fabrics for clothing, non-woven fabrics for packaging, and so on.
Non-woven fabric, is made of oriented or random fibers. It is a new generation of environmentally friendly materials. It is moisture-proof, breathable, flexible, light, non-combustible, easy to decompose, non-toxic and non-irritating, rich in color, and price. Low cost, recyclable, and so on. For example, polypropylene (pp material) pellets are used as raw materials, which are produced by high-temperature melting, spinning, paving, and hot-rolling and continuous one-step process. It is called cloth because it has the appearance and some properties of the cloth.
Therefore, in the non-woven fabric, S, SS,SSS, SMS mean the following:
S: spunbonded non-woven fabric = hot-rolled single-layer web;
SS: spunbonded nonwoven fabric + spunbonded nonwoven fabric = hot rolled from two layers of web;
SSS: spunbonded nonwoven fabric + spunbonded nonwoven fabric + spunbonded nonwoven fabric= hot rolled from three layers of web;
SMS: spunbond non-woven fabric + meltblown non-woven fabric + spunbond non-woven fabric = three-layer fiber mesh hot rolled
S and SS non woven fabric are mainly used for furniture, agriculture, hygenic products, and packaging products. And SMS nonwoven fabric is mainly for medical products, like surgical gowns. We are now exporting these non-woven fabrics to different countries in the world.