Title:
Absorbent Textile Product
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to an absorbent textile product consisting of 100% synthetic fibers, particularly suitable for household cleaning and personal hygiene purposes.



Inventors:
Orlandi, Vittorio (Arsago Seprio ( Varese), IT)
Application Number:
11/596617
Publication Date:
03/06/2008
Filing Date:
05/20/2005
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
442/408, 8/147
International Classes:
A47L13/16; D04H1/4291; D04H1/4334; D04H1/435; D04H1/492; D04H1/74; D04H3/11; D04H13/00; D06B1/00
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Primary Examiner:
CHOI, PETER Y
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Blank Rome LLP (1825 Eye Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20006-5403, US)
Claims:
1. A spunlace non-woven fabric textile product consisting of synthetic fibers that are hydro-entangled and made permeable by means of a wetting treatment.

2. The product according to claim 1, wherein said fibers are fibers of a material selected from the group consisting of polyester, polypropylene, polyamide, acrylic and mixtures thereof.

3. The product according to claim 1, having a grammage ranging between 30 and 150 g/m2.

4. The product according to claim 1, in the form of a cloth, rag or other fabric for wiping surfaces, wipe, baby wipe.

5. The product according to claim 1, consisting of 100% polyester or 100% polypropylene synthetic fibers.

6. The product according to claim 1, comprising more than one card web.

7. The product according to claim 1, comprising 3 to 9 card webs.

8. A process for preparing the textile product as described in claim 1, characterized in that a spunlace hydro-entangled tissue in the finished state or any parent semi-finished product thereof is subjected to a wetting treatment.

9. The process according to claim 8, wherein said parent semi-finished product is a spunlace tissue that has already been hydro-entangled and not yet dried.

10. The process according to claim 9, wherein the starting fibers are 100% polyester or 100% polypropylene and with a content of starting additives of <0,1% to 0,2%.

11. The process according to claim 8, wherein the wetting treatment is carried out by means of a technique selected among spraying, plating, printing, impregnation, application of foam.

12. The process according to claim 8, wherein said wetting agent is selected from cationic, anionic or non-ionic surfactants.

13. The process according to claim 12, wherein said wetting agent is EUCAROL available from Lamberti.

14. The process according to claim 8, wherein the concentration of the wetting agent solution ranges between 1 and 10 g/l, preferably 1 and 5 g/l.

15. The process according to claim 8, comprising a treatment step with an anti-foam additive.

16. The process according to claim 15, wherein said anti-foam treatment is carried out simultaneously with the wetting treatment.

17. The process according to claim 15, wherein said anti-foam agent is a silicone-based anti-foam agent.

18. The process according to claim 17, wherein said anti-foam agent is HANSA SP available from HANSA spa.

19. The process according to claim 15, wherein said anti-foam treatment is carried out by means of impregnation by employing a solution of the anti-foam agent at a concentration ranging between 1 and 7 g/l, preferably about 2 g/l.

20. Use of the textile product described in claim 1, for manufacturing products used for household cleaning and personal hygiene purposes.

21. Use according to claim 20, wherein said product is selected from a cloth, rag or other fabric for wiping surfaces, wipe, baby wipe.

Description:

The present invention relates to the field of non-woven textile products, and is applied to the manufacture of absorbent cloths for household cleaning and personal hygiene purposes.

Absorbent textile products are normally made from cellulose-based raw materials, such as viscose, cotton and the like, which are “naturally” provided with more or less absorbent capacity. However, these raw materials are known to be expensive. In order to reduce the cost of the finished product, efforts have been made to obtain absorbent tissues from synthetic fibers; in this case, however, in order to obtain a finished absorbent product, a treatment is required with specific chemical additives which can provide a “wettable” product. This type of treatment is not permanent, since this tissue tends to become again water-resistant after it has been wet with water and wrung for the first time. Accordingly, the use of these textile products is restricted to disposable applications. Furthermore, besides having a common language, these methods partially improve only the wettability, but not other characteristics such as the overall softness of the tissue.

An object of the present invention is to provide a novel textile product consisting of synthetic fibers, which is able to maintain a high absorbing power upon use, by having been treated with a suitable wetting agent.

A further object of the invention is to provide a non-woven fabric with improved wettability, which has improved characteristics of absorption time, amount of absorbed liquid, capacity of retaining the absorbed liquid and overall softness.

Now, the Applicant has found that, contrary to those hydro-entangled textile products made of synthetic fibers of the prior art, the treatment with wetting additives being carried out on a hydro-entangled spunlace non-woven fabric surprisingly gives the product high absorption features, which are associated with an improvement in the characteristic spunlace overall softness. These high characteristics persist in the product throughout the cycle of use.

Similar results have been obtained by carrying out the wetting treatment directly upon manufacture of the non-woven fabric, rather than the finished tissue, particularly between the hydro-entanglement step and the final winding of the product.

Accordingly, an object of the present invention is a spunlace non-woven textile product consisting of hydro-entangled synthetic fibers that are made permeable through a wetting treatment.

A further object of the invention is the process for preparing said textile product.

The inventive textile product can be mainly applied in the household cleaning and personal hygiene field. Particularly, it is adapted for manufacturing cloths, rags and similar fabrics for wiping any surface, wipes, baby wipes, etc.

The method for preparing this non-woven fabric is carried out according to the technique known as “spunlace”, followed by hydro-entanglement of the fibers, preferably through high pressurized water jets; then the free water being entrapped among the fibers is eliminated by means of drying.

The wetting treatment can be also carried out both on previously existing hydro-entangled spunlace, and upon manufacture of the same. The wetting treatment can also be carried out on the non-woven raw fibers that had been previously treated with wetting agents.

Preferably, the wetting treatment is carried out after hydro-entanglement and before oven-drying.

The wetting additives are those commonly employed in the field, such as cationic, anionic or non-ionic surfactants, preferably EUCAROL® available from LAMBERTI spa. In the course of testing, this additive exhibited a great efficacy in terms of giving absorption capacity to the final product with a low dosage. In fact, the low dosage addition of additives leads to highly superior quality products as compared with those products obtained with high dosages, as will be discussed in detail below.

The treatment method can be selected from those used in common practice. They are, inter alia:

    • Spraying: the product mixture will be sprayed on the fibers in a stage along the manufacturing line which is comprised between the hydro-entanglement and final winding steps;
    • plating: the product mixture will be applied by a contact roller spreading the products on the spunlace surface;
    • printing: the same as plating, but with a printing machine;
    • impregnation; the spunlace, either already built up or in an intermediate step, is dipped in a mixture of selected products, then the excess amount is wrung by means of a mangle or similar systems;
    • foam bonding: a mixture of selected products is treated until it is in a foamy physical state and then applied by conventional techniques (e.g., auger filler, knife coating, etc.).

The dosage of the wetting additive changes as a function of the fibers being used, the spunlace non-woven features (density, fiber distribution, etc.) and desired level of absorption (meaning the amount of absorbed, retained water and the absorption time, capillarity).

Impregnation followed by a squeezing mangle is the preferred treatment method, which is advantageous over the other methods in that it allows the wetting additive to be spread more evenly throughout the fiber portions, even inside the non-woven. In this case, the bath concentration will range between 1 and 10 g/l, preferably 1-5 g/l. For example, if a solution with 1 g/l additive concentration is used, with the non-woven fabric absorption being 100%, a 1% amount of absorbed additive will be obtained.

The spunlace, after the hydro-entanglement, is passed into a wetting additive bath at the concentrations described above, then sent to the squeezing mangle and subsequently the oven for drying.

The squeezing mangle is to be set such that the squeezing is calibrated, i.e. the pressure should be such that a very small amount of liquid is left, in order to make the stay in the drying oven as short as possible. At the same time, the pressure should not be as high as to calender the spunlace, which would result in modifying the non-woven fabric architecture. After a number of tests, it has been found that the best results are obtained with pressure values ranging between 4 and 8 bars, preferably 6 bars, when applied to a spunlace dipped in a wetting additive solution at the above concentrations.

Following the squeezing mangle, the non-woven fabric is sent to the drying oven. The temperature within the oven depends on the speed at which the product passes therethrough, and is to be adjusted such that complete evaporation of the water is ensured. For example, if a product with 55 g/m2 grammage is produced at 150 m/min, the temperature within the oven is to be set at about 120° C. for complete water evaporation.

The synthetic fibers that can be used in the preparation of the present textile products are for example fibers of a material selected from the group consisting of polyester, polypropylene, polyamide, acrylic and mixtures thereof, preferably they are 100% polyester or 100% polypropylene.

Not all the synthetic fibers available on the market can be used for the purposes of the invention. In fact, after a number of tests, it has been found that the quality of the final product, particularly in terms of softness and absorption capacity, depends on the percentage of additives provided on the starting fibers.

Several types of additives are added to the synthetic fibers by the manufacturers, such as: lubricating additives to give the fibers smoothness and easy processability; antistatic additives to prevent damaging electrostatic currents that may degrade the product, or at worst, reduce the productivity of the machine; hydrophilic additives to give the least affinity to water; anti-foam additives to avoid that foam may be generated upon the hydro-entanglement step.

The synthetic fibers that can be used for the purposes of the present invention should have a very low percentage of starting additives. For example, a percentage ranging from <0,1% a 0,2%. Examples of these fibers are 100% polyester fibers purchased from Dupont, Montefibre, Hochst, Catalana, ecc.

Preferably, the inventive non-woven fabric, in addition of being treated with wetting additives, is also treated with anti-foam additives in order to adjust the surface tension of the wetting agent solution.

Examples of said anti-foam agents are silicone-based additives. The preferred anti-foam agent is HANSA SP® available from HANSA spa.

The anti-foam agent can be applied to the non-woven fabric using the various treatment methods as described above. Advantageously, the anti-foam agent is applied by impregnation, simultaneously with the wetting agent, i.e. one single bath is prepared containing both the wetting agent and the anti-foam additive. The anti-foam agent solution that is advantageously employed for the inventive product has a concentration ranging between 1 and 7 g/l, preferably about 2 g/l.

The anti-foam agent serves to adjust the surface tension of the wetting agent, i.e. the capacity of generating foam upon application. Hydrophilic additives are also available, which are little effective though being poorly foam-forming, and hence require to be used at high dosages. As already discussed above, both the starting additives and the hydrophilic and anti-foam additives that are additioned upon manufacture impair the final quality of the product when they are added at high dosages.

Therefore, the best choice is that suggested by the present invention, i.e. using fibers with low amounts of starting additives, to which reduced amounts of very foam-forming wetting agent are applied, and simultaneously, also reduced amounts of an anti-foam additive.

Advantageously, the inventive product comprises more than one card web, preferably 3 to 9 card webs. With a number of webs greater than one, a more isotropic textile structure, and accordingly a maximum spatial layout of the fibers is ensured, which translates into a maximum fiber-water contact surface. Thereby, the water droplets are adsorbed by the structure within the small spaces resulting from the random distribution of the fibers. The absorption capacity of the finished product is ensured by the provision of several webs, along with the application of the wetting agent.

The textile product thus obtained typically has a weight/surface ratio ranging between 30 and 150 g/m2.

The textile product obtained according to the invention is highly hydrophilic, provided with a considerable absorbing power and softness, and good hand property, also persisting after first use. This is contrary to those non hydro-entangled textile products made of synthetic fibers of the prior art.

Particularly, the inventive product has a lower absorption time, a greater capacity of retaining the same, as well as a greater overall softness.

The inventive textile product has a considerable versatility of use, and can be generally applied in the household cleaning and personal hygiene fields. It can be used in the manufacture of any type of surface-drying cloth, such as cloths, rags and similar fibers for cleaning floors and other household surfaces, as well as wipes, baby wipes, etc.

In the course of testing, the cloth prepared as described above exhibited a considerable absorbing power, which has remained quite unchanged upon use (Table 1).

Particularly, after it has been subjected to the wetting treatment according to the invention, the absorbing power of the inventive product can be compared with that of a product consisting of 50% viscose and 50% polyester, and is high in the product throughout the cycle of use. This result is even more surprising considering that the comparative product contains 50% viscose, which is a naturally hydrophilic fiber.

TABLE 1
DRY WEIGHT/WET WEIGHT/ABSORPTION
SAMPLEg(m2)g(m2)(%)
100% polyester
Non treated51399682
Treated 1 g/l48411756
Treated 2 g/l47445847
Treated 5 g/l48473885
VP
Non treated516091094

VP = 50% viscose and 50% cellulose

The assessment of the absorbing power has been carried out in accordance with the EDANA 10.4-02 ABSORPTION standard.

Furthermore, in comparative tests, the inventive product, at the same thickness, has proved to have an improved strength to longitudinal and transverse load and improved longitudinal and transverse elongation properties as compared with a cloth consisting of a 50% viscose and 50% polyester mixture, such as illustrated in Tables 2 and 3.

TABLE 2
Akena P40VP 40
Thickness (mm)0.570.56
Load L/T (N)70/24 46/11.5
Elongation L/T (%)52/16038/137 

TABLE 3
Akena P50VP 50
Thickness (mm)0.620.58
Load L/T (N)115/31 64/16 
Elongation L/T (%)49/15538/135

Akena P40 and P50 = 100% polyester inventive cloth having a grammage of 40 g/m2 and 50 g/m2, respectively.

VP40 and VP50 = comparative cloth of 50% viscose and 50% polyester having a grammage of 40 g/m2 and 50 g/m2, respectively.

L/T = longitudinal and transverse.