Some of the attendees of the week long course in nonwoven textiles listen attentively to information on the product sample they are holding
The CSIR Fibres and Textiles unit in Port Elizabeth recently completed a week-long training course aimed at skills upgrading in the nonwoven textiles industry. Twenty six participants received certificates by the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti)'s director: skills for the economy unit, Dr Julius Nyalunga.
"This was the first industry focussed, nonwoven training programme designed to provide participants with an overview of the nonwoven manufacturing process and emerging market trends," says the CSIR's Dr Rajesh Anandjiwala.
He explains that nonwovens are one of the fastest growing segments in the high performance applications of fibre based materials (or flexible materials) with an annual growth rate of 10% per year in many countries. "While the nonwoven sector is perceived as an area with high growth potential in South Africa, the realisation of that growth has been held back by the shortage of skills. In South Africa, it is widely perceived that the nonwoven sector has the potential to grow."
The dti has helped in equipping the CSIR with state-of-the-art nonwoven pilot-scale manufacturing facilities and a characterisation laboratory for the development of newer nonwoven products for various applications. The nonwoven plant is a unique combination of several technologies for the production of a wide diversity of nonwoven fabrics.
In the absence of a SETA accredited training intervention in nonwovens, the CSIR used the expertise and experience of its own staff to prepare a comprehensive training programme, both theoretical and experimental, with demonstrations of different manufacturing techniques.
One of the course attendees, Lionel Moodley, commented that " the training was of an excellent standard, given by subject matter experts, who are all extremely knowledgeable in this field.¿ He also thanked the dti whose funding made the training possible. "This course has brought together various industry players. It enabled us not only to benefit from the technology and research that is available at this facility, but helped us develop relationships among ourselves, which will last a lifetime."
Anandjiwala concludes: "With the increase in local as well as global demand for these products, it has become imperative for local industry to be aware of the trends in the present market scenario. The training programme will improve understanding and enhance their skills about the nonwoven manufacturing processes."
Dr Rajesh Anandjiwala
Tel: +27 41 508 3273