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Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

The Rupp Report: INDEX Has Grown Up

Jürg Rupp, Executive Editor

INDEX 08 took place April 15-18, 2008 at the Geneva Palexpo Exhibition center in Switzerland. The number of companies presenting new products at this important exhibition for nonwovens exceeded more than 500 for the first time in the show’s history. The next trade fair will be again at the same place: Geneva also will host INDEX in 2011.

Bigger Range Of Products

The INDEX trade fair is owned by EDANA, the International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries, located in Brussels. Formed in 1971, the association provides a broad range of services, and supplies its member companies with information and data. INDEX was launched in 1984 and is held every three years.

Since INDEX began, the global exhibition has been synonymous with disposable nonwovens — for example, baby diapers, hygiene or other “one-use” products. After the recent event, one thing is clear: The world’s largest and most important exhibition for the nonwovens industry is considerably changing its face.

Disposables And Durables

Many long-time exhibitors confirmed the change — that more and more information is requested for more durable nonwovens to be used for industrial applications. It seems obvious that the world of nonwovens will be soon divided into two categories. On the one hand, there are companies dealing with up-to-now mostly disposable nonwovens.

On the other hand, there is increasing interest from companies around the world looking for new business opportunities. This is at the moment mainly the case for carded nonwovens. People from the traditional fiber industry know how to handle fibers. This type of product can be handled in the early production stages just like spinning. More and more, durable products are becoming niche products, tailor-made for selected applications. Technologies such as needle punching are flexible and allow relatively easy access to the world of nonwovens. The nonwovens sector is still enjoying an annual growth rate of approximately 6 to 8 percent. This is a rate the traditional textile industry can only dream of. That’s probably one of the major reasons for the growing interest in this basically still young industry.

Information Is Needed
However, to be competitive in these markets, one needs a lot of information and the right partners. Most of the leading textile machinery manufacturers are present at exhibitions such as INDEX in Geneva or IDEA in the United States. They are ready to provide the necessary experience and support. Some of the biggest manufacturers are actually increasing their laboratory possibilities to do trials using the most sophisticated machinery.

Textile World and its sister publications consider nonwovens and technical textiles more important than ever. Starting in 2008, all magazines and the electronic newsletters have increased their reporting on nonwovens, to inform its global readership about the almost unlimited possibilities.

If you need more specific information to take a step into the promising world of technical textiles and nonwovens, do not hesitate to contact us at jrupp@textileworld.com.

April 22, 2008