Interview with Mr. Tobias Schäfer, Vice President Sales, Nonwoven Division, ANDRITZ


ANDRITZ Nonwoven is one of the world’s leading suppliers of technologies for the nonwoven, textile finishing and textile recycling applications. Its key competences lie in technologies for air-through bonding, airlay, needlepunch, spunlace, spunbond, wetlaid/wetlace, converting, textile finishing, recycling, and bast fiber processing. Long years of experience in the hands of the well-known companies Küsters, Perfojet, Asselin-Thibeau, Diatec and Laroche form the foundation of ANDRITZ Nonwoven technology. The innovative technologies of these companies complement one another ideally in process solutions for a great variety of applications.

By uniting forces in engineering and process development, ANDRITZ can provide unrivalled expertise to the benefit of their customers. Complete lines, rebuilds, upgrades and automation are part of the portfolio, as well as business with individual machines. The nonwoven eXcellence brand stands for certified high-quality performance from forming to finishing, top-class service, and prompt, smooth project execution.

In an interview with The Textile Magazine, Tobias Schäfer, Vice President Sales, Nonwoven Division, ANDRITZ, spoke on a range to topics including the company’s participation at ITMA Milan 2023.

Review of 2022

2022 was an exciting year for us with several projects. Just to name a few, we got an order for a complete neXline wetlace hybrid, which is the perfect combination of inline drylaid and wetlaid web forming and it offers for our customer Albaad, Israelutmost flexibility in wipes production. Also, around wipes, we upgraded our technical center in France to a Wetlace CP line. Customers can conduct trials for any kind of wipe and notably for bio-wipes.

In the sector of textile recycling, we can say that the last year was quite busy due to the increasing demand and the changing regulations in the market. For instance, we were able to successfully start-up complete mechanical recycling lines at our customers Renaissance Textile and at RecyOuest. In addition to that we commissioned also an airlay line at Recypur to process recycled fibers for nonwoven applications.

Digitalization was also one of the topics in 2022 and will certainly remain in the future. Last year we got an order from Welspun in India to supply Metris digital solution system to be installed in a spunlace line. This is the first one in India and will be a benchmark in the market.

Moreover, we presented our technologies and services on major exhibitions last year. At IDEA in Miami, where the focus is mainly on hygiene products, and at Techtextil, where the focus is on technical nonwovens and textiles. This was a great balance over the last year and let us look confident into the years to come.

Key Global Markets

ANDRITZ is involved in almost every nonwoven application and market with its state-of-the-art technologies. We are strong in the wipes market with our Spunlace, Wetlace, Wetlace CP lines, but also in the durable market with airlay and needlepunch technologies. Moreover, ANDRITZ is very renowned in the hygiene market for its premium nonwovens calenders and its hygiene converting lines for baby, fem and adult care products.

However, we are compelled to continuously seek innovative technologies that fulfill customer demands and current market needs. So, we are at the core of the movement to provide sustainable solutions and state-of-the-art recycling processes for pre- and post-consumer textile waste and collaborates with internationally renowned partners to do this. Especially in the field of chemical / circular recycling processes. This is a vital and emerging business area.

New product Innovations

ANDRITZ has offered different nonwoven processes for biodegradable wipes, like spunlace, Wetlace and Wetlace CP, with one goal in mind: reduction and elimination of plastic components, while maintaining the high quality of the desired product properties. The latest development in this field is the ANDRITZ neXline wetlace CP line. This is a fully engineered production line combining the benefits of drylaid and of wetlaid technologies to produce a new generation of biodegradable wipes. To reduce the energy consumption of these lines, ANDRITZ has developed the neXecodry drying technology. It is a combination of dewatering and drying processes that significantly reduces energy consumption and achieves better fabric quality with higher bulk and no pattern degradation. Customers can conduct trials and test all options together with the ANDRITZ experts at the technical center in Montbonnot, France.

Another key development area is our product range of complete textile recycling lines for post-consumer and industrial textile waste to produce fibers for re-spinning and/or nonwoven end-uses. Customer awareness and regulations are pushing clothing brands to recycle their textile waste in their own products. Recycled fibers can also be used in the nonwovens industry for various applications, such as automotive, insulation, mattresses, filtration, and furniture felts. All these kinds of materials can be produced by the ANDRITZ airlay technology, which can perfectly process recycled fibers. It is offered as a complete line with thermobonding, needlelooms, or other bonding methods. In addition to that other nonwoven processes can also process recycled fibers, like needlepunch, spunlace, Wetlace CP.

Participation at ITMA

At this year’s ITMA we will be present with two booths. One booth dedicated to our nonwoven production solutions in hall 10, booth A105, and the other booth dedicated to our textile recycling solutions in hall 09, booth C205. However, we have one common focus on sustainability at ITMA. It is a serious responsibility for the entire textile and nonwoven industry and will continue to be so in the years and decades to come.

At the ANDRITZ Nonwoven booth in hall 10, the presentation of a complete PA.3000 elliptical cylinder pre-needler is one of the highlights. The PA.3000 is the ideal solution for processing fiber mats, featuring new capabilities to “freeze” the evenness of the fabric as it operates with no internal draft and with more than 70% extra surface-impact needling capacity than the existing technology. It is the ideal solution for markets in which the visual aspect of the products is important and that have high productivity requirements.

ANDRITZ will also present its ProWinTM technology for profile web weight correction, which is used to optimize fabric evenness and provide a faster return on investment in the needlepunch market segment. By combining the well-known and proven technologies ProWidTM and ProDynTM, ProWin allows customers to achieve the lowest CV-ratio ever, reaching more demanding markets and saving up to 2% additional fibers compared to ProDyn.

At the ANDRITZ Textile Recycling booth in hall 9 the focus lies on sustainable solutions and state-of-the-art recycling processes for pre- and post-consumer textile waste and collaborations with internationally renowned partners. ANDRITZ will present its textile-recycling processes, including textile fiber preparation, mechanical and chemical recycling, and combined processes.

One highlight at this booth is the ADuro F fine grinder, which will be showcased at the ANDRITZ booth. The ADuro F is used for efficient fine grinding of pre-shredded textile input material down to a very accurate granulate size, while keeping dust to an absolute minimum. Learn more at the ANDRITZ booth, where you can also see an augmented reality demonstration.

Another key topic at ITMA will be ANDRITZ chemical/circular textile recycling technologies, where fiber preparation – for example using ADuro shredders and fine grinders – plays an essential role. Chemical recycling of textile waste is a vital and emerging business area. ANDRITZ is a key player here because the core process steps involved can use the same equipment as in existing pulp and paper technology, where ANDRITZ is an acknowledged expert.

The second exhibit at the ANDRITZ Textile Recycling booth is a Jumbo tearing module, which has been designed for recycling a high volume of textiles, whether post-consumer textile waste or industrial textile waste. It includes high quality tearing equipment for smooth production of nonwoven fiber and yarn.

In 2023, one focus area is the Metris all-in-one digitalization platform, which provides full support for industrial plants throughout their entire life cycle. It combines a complete set of functionalities for professional production management, simulation and optimization using the latest artificial intelligence methods, plus cyber security, and condition monitoring with smart sensors in an integrated approach. ANDRITZ will offer a live demonstration at its booth at ITMA.

Focus on Sustainability

Sustainability is an essential part of ANDRITZ’s business strategy and corporate culture. All corporate decisions and measures are based on the principles of sustainable development. The Group-wide ESG goals to which ANDRITZ has committed itself as part of the We Care program are based on the three fundamental topics of digitalization and innovation, stakeholder management, and corporate compliance. ANDRITZ strives to keep up with the latest developments to ensure best practice and the highest standards. This is the foundation on which the core topics of environmental, social, and governance are built – the areas in which ANDRITZ can make the greatest contribution to a sustainable future. Ambitious ESG targets have been defined for each core topic, which contribute both to resource efficient and sustainable business operations at ANDRITZ and to achieve the sustainability goals of our stakeholders.

Our nonwoven production and textile recycling solutions are classified as sustainable if they support our customers to achieve their sustainability goals. They help to protect the environment, contribute towards decarbonization and carbon neutrality, enable the use of natural, biodegradable and/or recycled fibers, reduce the use of valuable resources such as energy, water, or raw materials, or recycle textile waste and foster a circular economy. Thus, airlay, textile recycling, spunlace and needlepunch lines, and bast fiber processes using 100% bio-based, natural fibers and/or recycled fibers, Wetlace and Wetlace CP lines for the production of bio-wipes and needlepunch lines equipped with web weight correction systems.

Strengths and Advantages

ANDRITZ has the full suite of solutions with a strong global sales, engineering, manufacturing, and service network. We have manufacturing facilities and technical center worldwide that comply with international standards, thus providing high quality assurance and quality control practices. We are a reliable one stop shop for the customer with deep expertise and long-standing experience within the market and the technologies behind.

In addition, ANDRITZ shares technologies and unite market experience, cultural diversity, as well as well-established customer and supplier relations all along the value chain. Listening to customers and understanding their products is the initial step in all development work. International R&D teams from all competence and service centers have joined together to create innovative and visionary concepts for sustainable products.


One of the highlights this year for us will be the agreement between ANDRITZ, Pellenc ST and Nouvelles Fibres Textiles. This will be an ambitious partnership aiming to drive the shift towards an industrial-scale circular economy for textiles. This partnership is the result of a long-standing collaboration. The three companies are now joining forces to set up the very first industrial line in France to combine automated sorting and recycling technology. In 2023, we will further develop these solutions and bring it to the market.

In addition, we will focus on continuous developments to further support our customers and market needs in future. Especially in the field of sustainable products we will intensively work on new and optimized solutions. As mentioned before, sustainability is an essential part of ANDRITZ’s business strategy and corporate culture, and this will be also reflected in this years’ developments and sales strategy. For instance, nonwoven roll good producers for wipes are also focusing for sustainable solutions and alternatives, and we are able to provide such solutions thanks our expertise in wipes production and cellulosic fibers.