The game changers

© A.Wilson
© A.Wilson

A rich legacy has been achieved over successive editions of the INDEX Innovation Awards, which have become a well-established part of the INDEX exhibition and a means of identifying and honouring some truly game-changing developments. Open to all INDEX™ exhibitors and EDANA members, the Awards aim to reward innovative, cooperative, creative and sustainable achievements in nonwovens

INDEX show organiser EDANA’s background work is meticulous and extensive in preparing data on all of the submitted entries and as a result, the judging process is extremely rigorous.


Roll Goods

Winners in the nonwoven roll goods category have included Sandler’s Fibercomfort roof insulation at the last show in 2014 and Freudenberg’s Lutraflor in 2011, while Ahlstrom took the honour in both 2008 and 2005.

Sandler’s Fibercomfort is expanding the market for nonwovens in the construction sector by effectively and efficiently replacing wood with a single solution for roof insulation based only on nonwovens – a product which is lighter than alternatives and potentially recyclable. Lutraflor is a 100% recycled polyester for use in automotive upholstery that can be completely recycled at end-of-life. It is characterised by very high abrasion resistance as a result of a combination of layers of staple fibre, which allow an excellent surface to be achieved, and spunlaid webs, which provide the mechanical stability. Ahlstom’s Disruptor is a wetlaid filter technology used in pleated, spiral wound, disc or flat sheet media formats. The key to its effectiveness is the grafting of alumina nanofibres onto microglass fibres and it has been proven to remove a wide range of contaminants from water, including bacteria, virus, lead, tin, copper, chrome 3 and aluminium as well as colloidal minerals such as carbon dust and silica. Its characteristics make it an alternative to membranes for many applications. Disruptor’s development sprang from the three-layer activated carbon nonwoven for which Ahlstrom claimed the award in 2005.


Finished Products

The Finished Product Award was claimed by Germany’s Imeco Nocemi-med in 2014, for a cleaning solution that has been welcomed by the healthcare industry. Although doctors, nurses and supporting staff in hospitals are well aware of the need to wash their hands as often as possible, they also know that most currently-used disinfecting methods contain alcohol or QATs which are very damaging to their skin. As often as necessary and not more, therefore, remains the norm. For cleaning staff in hospital, meanwhile, disinfecting surfaces using the currently available methods can be extremely time consuming – usually involving having to submerge rolls of nonwoven wipes in disinfection fluids for around 15 minutes before they become effective.

As a cost-effective solution, Imeco introduced its ready-to-use bag. This is pre-filled with a wipes roll and the disinfection fluid and a separation device is activated prior to use.

The Nocemi-med a wipe is based on 98% water and 2% organic fruit acids and is exteremly effective while being alcohol, QAV and formaldehyde free, so kind to hands.

The Safe Cover insect repellent bedding developed by PGI (now Berry Plastics) was judged the most notable finished product in 2011 and in 2008, Johnson’s Baby Extracare wipes were recognised for being the first to separate the lipid and aqueous phases of their lotion with marked benefits for the skin.


Raw Materials, Machinery and Marketing

Raw materials have also been recognised at INDEX, Eastman’s Cyphrex microfibres have bene recognised as a useful new way to create highly customised wetlaid nonwovens (2014), while ExxonMobil’s Vistamaxx speciality elastomers impressed with their ability to impart softness, toughness and flexibility.

Andritz Nonwoven has twice won an INDEX™ Award for machinery developments – for its Twin Calender in 2005 and its neXdetech unit for the detection of stripes in 2008. In 2011 GDM and Accusentry were recognised for their single diaper culling technology and in 2014 ITW Dynatec’s Vector Surge Applicator was judged a useful new addition to the converting of absorbent hygiene products.

Promotional campaigns are also recognised with their own category, and notable winners have included Lenzing, for Tencel Skin (2014), Coloquima for ‘Creating Happy People’ (2011)  JH Ziegler for its Haco brand creation (2008) and Ahlstrom’s ‘Small Fibers, Big Difference’ marketing in 2005.

INDEX 14 (c) A. Wilson
(c) A. Wilson


Since 2011, awards have also been presented for sustainable developments, with Ahlstrom’s Flow2Save media singled out for its energy saving potential and TJ Beall’s True alternative to bleached cotton singled out at the last INDEX™ in 2014. 3M, Ahlstrom, PGI, Procter & Gamble, Tredegar and the University of L’Aquila are all previous honourees in respect of sustainable developments.

“If you’re looking for clues about how our industry will change and develop, look no further than the winning products and services of the INDEX™ Innovation Awards,” said EDANA’s general manager Pierre Wiertz. “It is products such as these which are helping to drive our industry forward, and create a stronger industry, with solutions in so many different product categories and sectors.”

The winners in 2017 will again be presented with specially-commissioned bronze sculptures designed by world-famous Belgian sculptor, Olivier Strebelle, in a special ceremony on the opening day (April 4th) of INDEX™17.


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