What is airlay?

The term airlay refers to the web formation process. It replaces the use of traditional carding and cross-lapper mechanical systems by using air as its operating principle. At BIT, we have been manufacturing 100% fiberglass non-woven materials for high-temperature insulation using our airlay machine since 2017.

Airlay manufacturing techniques first originated in the 1960s to produce paper without water as a carrying medium. With new technological advances to production technology, the manufacturing process has lent itself to creating non-woven materials for industrial application.

How is airlay felt made?

Airlay felt being made

1. Raw Fibers

The airlay process begins with raw fibers. These are chosen depending on the material composition of the finished product. Once the fibers have been prepared and weighed, they are fed through large piping systems to openers.

Airlay felt being made

2. Loosen Fibers

The openers disentangle and loosen the fibers using a pressurized air system using feed rolls and a full pinned cylinder. This part of the process is essential for ensuring the finished product is smooth and without imperfections such as clumps and indents.

3. Orient In Single Direction

Once the fibers have been loosened and mixed accordingly, they are oriented in a singular direction to form a web with the desired weight and thickness of the final product.

Airlay felt being made

4. Mechanical Bonding

The web then undergoes traditional mechanical bonding using our needle punch machine.

3. Heat Treatment

Once mattified, the finished nonwoven material goes through a heat treatment application for its final-end use.

Where is airlay felt used?

Airlaid nonwoven products are typical everyday products you can find in your homes, like wet wipes, household cleaning wipes, and napkins. Hygiene dominates the largest market for airlay, with food pads and medical products following close behind. By volume, feminine hygiene products take the lead.

Because non-woven fabrics are available with a variety of characteristics, airlay nonwovens provide textiles for a multitude of industries:

Why use airlay technology?

The general properties of airlay fabrics are: 

  • High loft structure (thicker) 
  • High porosity 
  • Good absorbency and wicking rate 
  • Resilient with thermal retardant characteristics 
  • Adequate tensile strength 

Its advanced adjustment processes equal greater accuracy in controlling weight range and density uniformity cross and lengthwise on the machine. It can run up to 2,000lbs of material an hour versus a traditional carding machine at 600lbs an hour.   

And because it can run almost anything through its system (from foam to even sawdust), it has slowly become a great choice for creating more sustainable materials from organic bases.

Air lay machine
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