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How Halyard Health used a three layers lamination line for medical use in an integrated system

Nonwovens Lamination | Andrea Ruggiero, 28 April 2020


Halyard Health (Halyard), a company now part of the Owens & Minor family of companies, acquired in 2018, is a supplier of protective medical clothing and materials, such as sterilization wrap, face masks, gloves and surgical drapes and gowns, to more than 100 countries.

With 11 manufacturing facilities across the globe, Halyard relies on superior machinery to produce top-quality products.

Upon acquiring Halyard, Owens & Minor continued to support a previously recognized need to insource all production of film laminate fabrics in-house, as the production of these fabrics had been with an external supplier. The timing of this expansion (completed in 2019) was important, as the unexpected shock in demand with the COVID-19 pandemic began to be visible late that same year. The increase in demand for medical film laminate nonwovens in 2020 has been a challenge Halyard has risen to, thanks to A.Celli’s help.

The underlying problem of the previous lamination line

Halyard was using film laminate fabrics for its highest protection gowns made by an external supplier. However, due to higher costs and less control of the supply chain, it was recognized that this production needed to be in-house. In addition, there were limitations with the capacity of the external supplier that would not allow Halyard to meet the needs of any unplanned surge in demand. Halyard needed a lamination line solution that would boost production without compromising quality or significantly increasing costs.

Read more: 3 ways to boost lightweight laminated nonwoven production (with 0 risks)

Why did Halyard choose A.Celli

Halyard did their research and discovered A.Celli and their history of innovation, superior machinery and unparalleled customer service. That is why Halyard reached out to us through our website to request information about capabilities of our lamination line machine solutions.

Launched as a family-run business in 1944, A.Celli has grown into a renowned international company that supplies high-end machinery and technological solutions for both the tissue and nonwovens industries. One of the elements for which we are universally recognized is the innovative character of everything we do.

A.Celli is specialized in tissue, nonwovens and paper winding and rewinding, complete turnkey tissue plants, multifunctional solutions for nonwovens plants (including lamination, spooling and printing systems), upgrades/updates, rebuilding and retrofit of obsolete machinery and digital solutions designed to optimize production and maintenance and monitor every stage of the production processes.

When Halyard contacted us on January 2017, the initial calls were for a feasibility assessment and understanding of what options could be available for a solution with Halyard. Our sales department promptly made an offer based on their request and, shortly after this, a meeting was arranged in North Carolina to evaluate their plant and their specific needs.

Halyard was impressed by what we had to offer and, after various technical discussions and Owens & Minor approval of a capital expenditure, a contract was signed on July 18, 2018.

A.Celli got straight to work, building a lamination machine that matched Halyard’s needs. In May 2019, the operation of the machine was tested on the A.Celli premises with excellent results and the machine was then shipped to Halyard and arrived in July 2019, installed in Halyard’s Linwood, NC plant in August and tested onsite in September.

Halyard was incredibly satisfied and signed off on the final acceptance on October 11, 2019.

How Halyard boosted its production: the project

At the time the Linwood, North Carolina Halyard plant was acquired by Owens & Minor, the plant was a traditional spunlaid nonwovens plant with several Spunbond and SMS lines, primarily supporting medical nonwoven fabric production. In addition, the facility has Converting assets that manufacture some finished product like Sterilization Wrap and AAMI2 Cover gowns.

The Film Laminate equipment provided to Halyard by A.Celli included:

  • Unwinder and unwinder loading system
  • Web handling and transfer rollers, including spreader systems and tension control equipment
  • Lamination frame to host adhesive bonding equipment
  • In-line slitting winder, edge trim removal systems and roll handling system
  • Shaft extraction system and crane for returning empty shafts back to the winder

A specific list of the equipment supplied includes:

  • Two Nonstop Shaftless Unwind Stand for Spunbond/SMS
  • One Nonstop Shaftless Unwind Stand for PE Film
  • Product Threading and Passage Structure
  • Lamination Frame
  • Defect Management System (DMS)
  • Automatic Winder with In-Line Slitting “Stream”
  • Flag Applicator System
  • Shaft Handling System
  • Roll Handling System

The A.Celli solution implemented the automation of processes along the production line. These automated processes included:

  • Winding
  • Slitting
  • Reel ejection and core loading

The results of the new A.Celli lamination machine

The automation of these processes made it possible for Halyard to make their highest protection gown fabrics while improving overall costs, and with the added benefit of internal product quality control. In addition to this, the new line is equipped with world-class barrier safeguards and interlocks for improved safety.

With increased fabric demand for medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for protection against the COVID-19 virus, this new lamination line is now running at double the original forecast volume. In addition, Halyard has hired an extra 16+ operators to support the additional production shifts. Overall, production of all of the plant’s nonwovens fabrics and finished products has increased due to demand for PPE and there are plans to expand to additional nonwoven fabric offerings.

If you are interested in expanding your nonwovens capacity or starting a new production line, please contact us: we will discuss together the best solution for your needs.

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