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News and Notes

Spring 2024 Industrial Advisory Board Recap

Spring 2024 NWI Industrial Advisory Board Meeting

The Nonwovens Institute’s (NWI’s) Spring 2024 Industrial Advisory Board (IAB) meeting has adjourned following three days of activities focused on advancing the Institute’s industry-selected fundamental nonwovens research portfolio. The event, presented May 14-16 from the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State University, featured learning and interaction with stakeholders from industry, government and academia joining together to consider 19 graduate student research presentations and 25 posters addressing current and future challenges and opportunities in nonwovens.

The IAB is a semi-annual event where NWI’s member organizations convene to interact and provide guidance to graduate students and faculty who are leading projects through the Institute’s nonwovens research program. The meeting is a forum for a candid discussion of the scientific significance of NWI’s current and prospective fundamental research initiatives. The IAB also provides a venue where student, faculty, government and industry researchers can remain apprised of emerging topics relevant to nonwovens.

“From sustainability to advanced filtration systems to biomaterials and artificial intelligence, the nonwovens industry is at a critical juncture, and the NWI consortium provides a vehicle for exploring these issues as they evolve,” said Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., executive director of NWI. “The IAB meeting is an important gathering of the leading minds in our industry as they help shape the Institute’s research portfolio to ensure it is aligned with the needs of industry and government in facilitating knowledge creation around nonwovens applications and technology.”

Executive Committee Meeting

The IAB was preceded by a meeting of NWI’s Executive Committee on the morning of Nov. 14, during which the Institute’s leadership team met with committee members to discuss NWI’s strategic direction. As NWI recently completed its 2023-2030 Strategic Plan, this a particularly exciting time at the Institute, and the Executive Committee is providing valuable guidance and expertise to help NWI meet its goals in the coming years.

Awards and Recognitions

The research presentation segment of the IAB meeting began with the issuing of Student Awards, based on member voting, for Best Technical (Anastasia Timofeeva, “Dynamic, In-Situ Characterization of Failure Modes in Fiber Spinning”), Best Presentation (Anicah Smith O’Brien, “Effect of Surface Coatings on Biodegradable and Functional Properties of Model Pure and Blended Biopolymer Substrates”) and Best Overall (Pallav Jani, “Fundamental Evaluation of Interaction Between Slip Agents and Hydrophilic Spin Finishes on PP Nonwovens”) from the Nov. 2023 IAB meeting. The awardees were highlighted via a series of video shorts, providing attendees an up-close and personal view of the researchers and their research projects.  

NWI also recognized Bryan Haynes, Technical Director for Global Nonwovens at Kimberly-Clark Corporation, and Abhay Joijode, Principal Scientist Global R&D at Berry Global Inc., for their contributions as instructors at several of the Institute’s short courses this year.

The NWI/INDA Short Course Program is unique in that it brings experts from NWI and INDA together with experts from industry to provide a training experience that is unmatched in the nonwovens sector,” said Tom Daugherty, NWI’s deputy director. “Bryan and Abhay are excellent examples of the level of industry professionals who are supporting our training programs, and we encourage industry members who are interested in engaging in this way to please reach out to us.”

Research Project Presentations, Poster Sessions and Networking

The research projects presented at the IAB covered a wide range of focus areas, including air and liquid filtration, biopolymers and biodegradability, simulation and characterization, nonwoven modeling systems, electrostatic charging, bonding mechanisms, and smart nonwovens, just to name a few.

The first evening of the IAB featured a poster session and networking reception, with NWI’s current group of graduate student researchers engaging with faculty and attendees from industry and government for open discussion of their projects.

Day two of the IAB featured a full schedule of research project presentations, followed by a tour of NWI’s state-of-the-art lab- and pilot-scale production and testing facilities. The evening networking reception provided students, faculty and attendees some enjoyable downtime with food, drinks and skyline views of downtown Raleigh at the Terrace in the Carol Johnson Poole Clubhouse at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on the Centennial Campus of NC State University.

New Member Presentations

The IAB also offered the opportunity for several of NWI’s new members to present on their capabilities. New member presentations included Flavorchem Orchidia, a manufacturer of flavor, fragrance, and ingredient solutions that is developing new methods for incorporating fragrance into nonwovens; Fibertex Nonwovens, a manufacturer of nonwovens and performance materials for a wide range of applications; and Atmus Filtration Technologies, a company with more than 65 years of experience in designing and manufacturing filtration solutions for customers across truck, bus, agriculture, construction, mining, marine and power generation vehicle and equipment markets.

Business and Project Review

Day three of the IAB started with the Business and Project Review Meeting, where NWI members reviewed and discussed the voting and feedback on the research projects presented during the IAB. Member companies also offered suggestions for next steps on the projects, where needed, to ensure they are focused on delivering findings that are useful to those member companies who are seeking a fundamental understanding of the nonwoven topics being considered.

‘Nonwovens – From Properties to Processes to Products’

The IAB concluded with a training course, “Nonwovens – From Properties to Processes to Products,” led by Behnam Pourdeyhimi, Ph.D., executive director of NWI. The course covered some of the critical success factors for nonwovens, with an emphasis on structure-property-process relationships and how they influence end-product quality. The course was an excellent way for attendees to cap off their IAB experience with a valuable learning experience.

The IAB will meet again Nov. 5-7 on the Centennial Campus of NC State University. If you are a current NWI member, please save the date!

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