Hello, today we’re here with Clémence Gourlay, a Process Engineer at Klap, to talk about the benefits of meltblown. To start, could you explain what meltblown is?
Sure, meltblown is a highly versatile non-woven material used in many applications such as filtration (air, fluids, oils, etc.), insulation, absorption, and hygiene. It is made from melted polymer fibers blown onto an extremely fine mesh, giving it unique properties depending on the application. It is a relatively unknown material, yet highly appreciated in multiple sectors such as automotive, medical devices, construction, food industries, petrochemicals, HVAC & HEPA filtration systems, household appliances, industrial absorbents, incontinence products, some PPE, etc.
Contrary to popular belief, meltblown is present far beyond protective face masks: it is found in a large portion of the products and infrastructures surrounding us, without necessarily knowing it. Another interesting aspect of meltblown is that it is very easy to recycle once it reaches the waste stage: the thermoplastics that make it up are all recyclable today.
What are the strengths of our meltblown production line?
Our line has several advantages that allow us to meet the specifications of all meltblown application sectors. With its 1.6-meter width, our meltblown can be adapted to large- scale processing lines. What can do more can also do less: we can also produce rolls in smaller widths if needed. Our line can also accommodate several polymer families; it is not limited to polypropylene.
For example, we can produce meltblown in polyester, polyurethane, polycarbonate, bio-sourced polymers, and of course, polypropylene. We can also add several types of additives to our recipes depending on the demand, such as a colorant or a booster depending on the targeted application (hydrophilic, electrostatic, etc.). In addition to that, we have a calender that has 2 advantages: we can assemble several components together (the meltblown would be sandwiched between 2 support layers), and we can adjust the performance of our components according to the specifications.
Our line is equipped with an electrostatic charging unit: we can apply charge (or not) depending on the need. Ultimately, with the right recipe, we can create complex, degradable, foldable, hydrophilic, colored components, etc. In summary, we can manufacture a custom component according to the needs.
What are the benefits of meltblown in mask production?
Meltblown is very popular for mask production because it has unique properties that make it an ideal choice. It carries the responsibility of filtering and blocking particles while maintaining good breathability for better comfort. Its filtration performance lies in its fine fiber structure, supported by the electrostatic charge applied to it. It filters particles up to 100 times smaller than a human hair, such as liquid droplets, fine dust, but especially viruses and bacteria. In addition to its good filtration properties, meltblown remains breathable.
These properties make it an ideal choice for masks designed to protect against airborne communicable diseases. Furthermore, the meltblown used in masks is made from polypropylene, making the mask recyclable: the mask’s three layers are monomaterial.