Welcome to the Nonwovens Innovation Year in Review, written by our Chief Executive, Dr. Matthew Tipper. This is just a brief glimpse at some of the stories that have made 2022 a year to remember. Thank you for your continued support and we wish you all all the best for the winter holidays.
As the end of year draws near, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of your support over the last twelve months. The success of NIRI is based on the relationships we have built, and the knowledge and value of the work we provide. We’ve built a global-reaching business on the strength of our collaboration together, which we really value and appreciate.
Over this past year we have recruited some fantastic individuals, worked with a multitude of new clients and have continued to work closely with our existing customers. We are grateful for the opportunity to work with (and for) you. You’ve brought us some interesting (and challenging!) projects and our passion for accelerating innovation and developing commercially viable products is as strong as it has ever been.
The business world is evolving quickly and with the current rate of societal change, changes in legislation and sustainability challenges – this means that unprecedented levels of innovation and transformation are required to develop the next generation of nonwoven products and processes – a challenge that we are proud to take on. NIRI continues to offer not just product development services but also support business development with market analysis and strategic advice relevant to our rapidly changing industry.
We presented at the Greener Manufacturing Show
Putting NIRI on the map
Over the course of the year, we attended numerous conferences and industry events – with many opportunities to network with individuals from across the nonwoven sector, gaining valuable insights into industry trends and developments. There are some truly fantastic trade shows and businesses out there.
Highlights included Dorbirn’s Global Fiber Congress – an intimate 400 delegate event comprised of the world’s leading educators and influences in the nonwoven sector; and the Greener Manufacturing Show in Cologne, an event we were more than happy to present at: providing an in-depth overview of the challenges of meltblowing polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) nonwovens – stay tuned for more on this early next year.
With plans to travel to INDEX 2023 (the world’s leading nonwovens exhibition) and ITMA later in the year, the diary is already starting to fill up and we are looking forward to demonstrating the important role that nonwovens play in the future of sustainability.
Investing for the future
Our top priority this year was to continue the expansion of our pilot-scale prototyping facilities and enhance our ability to develop unique products and meet the changing needs of the market. We are proud to say that we have successfully introduced several new pieces of equipment, including a bespoke spray applicator rig for applying binders and finishes and a new wet spinning line, turning polymer solutions into biofilaments and medical devices. The new equipment has been well received by our existing customers and forms a key part of our commitment to investing in greater sustainability and innovation for the nonwoven sector.
We’ve expanded our advanced materials and chemistry consultancy capability
Advanced Chemistry capabilities
In addition to the equipment mentioned above, we have also taken further steps towards boosting our advanced chemistry capabilities. This has been achieved by bolstering our team of scientists and chemists and concentrating our expertise in this growing field.
We have built our reputation on the ability to process and evaluate the feasibility of novel and existing materials, and to characterise and evaluate performance gaps – and this is critical for the translation of R&D into viable commercial products. The expansion of our chemical consultancy, continuing to focus on chemical analysis to understand chemical processes as well as (re)formulation, (bio)polymer engineering and surface functionalisation, enhancing our capabilities and the services we can offer.
The future Home of Innovation
Looking ahead to next year, the roadmap is already looking action packed for the team at NIRI. Not only do we have a fantastic array of global-scale projects to work on, but we are very excited to be relocating of our labs and offices to a new larger facility in Leeds, UK.
The aptly named ‘Innovation House’ is poised to be the new home of NIRI’s operations moving forward. This is an exhilarating time for NIRI and the new space will provide the perfect location from which to expand not just the size of our team, but the range of equipment and services on offer. We look forward to sharing more details on the move with you in the new year.
We are confident that 2023 will be a monumental year on NIRI’s timeline, and as we come to the end of a very fulfilling and busy year, we would like to wish all our staff, clients, suppliers and partners all the best for the new year. We look forward to collaborating with you soon.
Thank you for your support, and we look forward to another inspirational year.
Dr. Matthew Tipper
Chief Executive Officer, NIRI