Saturday, August 18, 2012

Tencel in hydroentanglement at Unicharm (1985)

Unrelated to the main Genesis project, we were evaluating the Unicharm hydroentanglement system for possible installation at BFF in Bridgwater.  Following a 1985 visit to the Unicharm plant on Shikoku island with Siggy Waegner (BFF and Viscose Div. Director) and Bill Kennard (BFF MD)*  we arranged blind trials with several different "viscoses" on the Unicharm pilot line.  In addition to several Grimsby Fibro types, one of these "viscoses" was an early batch of Tencel from the Coventry Genesis pilot line: another was Toyobo's "Tufcel" polynosic viscose.

If the test data turns up I'll post it here, but from memory Tufcel and Tencel were similar in nonwoven form in this low-pressure HE process, but both were significantly stronger wet and dry than the Fibro.  As in other trials elsewhere at this time, the low cohesion of the Tencel fibre meant web handling was difficult. 

Following the visit BFF decided to instal a Unicharm line and became one of the first companies to commence production outside the Dupont and Chicopee patents on the process.

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