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CSIR Fiber Processing and Development Facility in Port Elizabeth


1. Invitation

This call is to gather information on interest from small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), industries, private companies and higher education institutions (HEI’s) for use of the CSIR Fiber Processing and Development Facility (FPDF) in Port Elizabeth which provides access to fibre processing and conversion, testing and customized product development for technical textile and composite applications. The facility consists of a nonwoven pilot plant and short staple fibre processing line. The nonwoven equipment comprises of a carding and cross lapper from Beefamatex, Poland, needle punching from DILO Germany, hydro-entanglement, chemical/adhesive, thermal bonding with a winder from Fliessner Germany. The effective width is 70 cm and usable width is about 60 cm. The short staple fibre processing equipment is made up of Trutzschler carding machine, Shlafhorst Autocoro and Schlafhorst Rotor Spinner. The Trutzschler is made up of a bale opener, mixer, carding and draw frame. The Shlafhorst Autocoro has 10 roto spindles and the Shlafhorst Rotor Spinner with winder has a total of 24 roto spindles. The CSIR welcomes inputs from all stakeholders in order to determine the feasibility of a facility for which the offering is described in detail below.


2. The CSIR Fibre Processing and Development Facility (FPDF) in Port Elizabeth

It is envisaged that the FPDF will form part of the newly created Coega based Fibre Hub. It is aimed at becoming a national centre of excellence for research, development and industrialization of fibre production and processing. The FPDF in PE offers an integrated access to three key components, namely Textile Testing, Non-Woven line and Short Staple Processing equipment. The nonwoven line is capable of producing technical textiles used in different application areas, such as filtration, geo and agro-textiles; insulating and barrier materials; hygiene, personal care, medical textiles, building and automotive industries. The facility enables the transition from laboratory to semi-industrial scale and ultimately industrialization of products and technologies. The facility can support both SMMEs and large entities with fibre based product/process development needs as well as extensive textile testing using state of the art equipment. The FPDF has access to a team of textile technologists, researchers, polymer chemists, nanotechnology specialists, project managers and formulation scientists who apply their knowledge to assist SMMEs and large entities for development from prototype to pilot scale production.


2.1 Facility offering:


  • The nonwoven plant with a custom-made combination of several technologies for the production of a wide range of nonwoven fabrics from natural (hemp, flax, kenaf), synthetic (polypropylene) and biopolymer (poly lactic acid) fibres. The pilot production line has the following capabilities: fibre blending and opening; carding and cross lapping for fibre web formation; needle-punching; hydro-entanglement; foam impregnation; thermal bonding; hot calendering and winding.
  • Short staple processing for converting fibres into yarns.
  • Textile testing for supporting the industry.
  • Application development for the products/materials by experienced researchers.
  • Proper process costing based on scale up of manufacturing.
  • Technology/process safety risks assessments and mitigation measures.
  • Assistance with the technology value chain and value proposition development.
  • Contract manufacturing


2.2 Resources available at the PFD facility:

Non-woven equipment

Temafa line: Pressurized air at 6 bars and 3 phase electric power, has the following:

Fibre Preparation Machine which consists of: 

  • Fiber Bale opener,
  • Fine Opener,
  • Cottoniser

Nonwoven line:

  • Carding Machine: Length=2205mm; Height=1485mm; Height on raised top covers=2225mm Width=1630mm; Width on opened side guards=3210mm
  • Cross Lapper: Length=2285mm; Height=1750mm; Width=1850mm; Lap Layering width=600mm; Lap layering speed=30m/min
  • Needle Punch Line: Working width=600mm; Stroke frequency=1200/min; Approx. number of needles=6000/1m working width
  • Aquajet: Uses purified water for Hydro-entanglement/Spunlacing
  • Foam Impregnation Unit/Chemical Bonding
  • Oven
  • Calendar Rollers
  • Spunlacing - Pressurized air at 6 bars and 3 phase electric power Short Staple Processing equipment


Short Staple Processing equipment

  • Shlafhorst Autoconer: With 10 Roto Spindles
  • Schlafhorst Rotor Spinning and Winding: Autocoro 312; 12 Roto Spindles on each side
  • Trutzschler Carding Machine 
    • Bale Opener: H=3m; W=2.4m; L=8.99m; Continuous operation max output 1100kg/h)
    • Mixer: H=5m; W=2.26m; L=6.625m; Continuous operation max output depend on the downline machine; Weight=6100kg
    • Cleaning & Carding
    • Drawing machine


Textile testing facilities:

  • Physical testing equipment: Titan Universal Testing Machine for tensile and tear strength measurements, Martindale abrasion tester, taber abrasion, pilling box, light & colour fasteners, air permeability, flammability tester, sound absorption tester, water permeability tester, water repellency tester and the environmental chamber: Q-sun weathering and Dynatup.
  • Chemical testing: Ultraviolet–visible spectroscopy (UV-Vis), Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and Gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS).


2.3 Exclusionary criteria:

  • Participation is limited to South African entities.

For more information, please contact Dr Thomas Malwela at TMalwela@csir.co.za or on 012 841 3331