Beaulieu Fibres has launched new UltraBond, a patented polyolefin bonding staple fibre that removes the need for latex or other chemical binders to bind nonwovens, at Domotex. It is a unique opportunity for carpet manufacturers to create fully recyclable needle punch carpets, and benefit from production and resource savings, without influencing performance. It has opened up a new path for creating 100 per cent polypropylene (PP) needle punch carpets which meet the same performance requirements as traditional latex-bonded carpets while reducing the end-of-life environmental impact. Functional properties such as pilling resistance, resistance to wear and abrasion, and also UV resistance are guaranteed.

Using UltraBond, manufacturers have finally gained the potential to costefficiently produce 100 per cent recyclable carpets. In addition to the general benefits of making recycled PP available for the plastics production chain and reduced waste generation, environmental advantages and financial savings arise from a total lack of water and less energy use. As a 100 per cent dry process, thermal bonding uses no water and results in a total absence of waste water. There is also a reduction in the VOC level of the carpet. This all leads to a significant reduction in a needle punch carpet’s ecological footprint, Beaulieu said.

The sustainability benefits are quantified through lifecycle analysis (LCA) of an exhibition carpet application – among the primary applications for needle punch carpets. Evaluations show that the absence of water consumption directly translates into a large energy saving of 93 per cent when using UltraBond compared to a latex bonding solution, and also a potential annual water saving of over 20 mnltr for 100 mn m2 of exhibition applications in the EU. Without the addition of any other bonding agent, CO2 emissions are reduced by 35 per cent over the full production process.