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1. A conjugate fiber for the manufacture of an air-laid non-woven fabric, the conjugate fiber being a heat-fusible conjugate fiber comprising a first component which comprises an olefinic thermoplastic resin and a second component which is conjugated with the first component and comprises an olefinic thermoplastic resin having a higher melting point than the resin of the first component;

the conjugate form is a side-by-side or eccentric core/sheath form such that the centres of gravity of the first and second conjugated components are mutually different in the fiber cross-section;

the fiber has a single-yarn fineness of 1 to 10 dtex, a fiber length of 3 to 20 mm, a planar zig-zag crimp, a crimp count of 6 to 14 crimps/2.54cm and a crimp shape index (actual length of the fiber/distance between both ends of the fiber) of 1.05 to 1.60; and

the average of the machine-direction shrinkage and the width-direction shrinkage of a 25 cm x 25 cm (machine direction x width direction) web formed from a plurality of the fibers upon thermal treatment of the web at 145°C for 5 minutes in a circulation oven is at least 40%, the web having a basis weight of 200 g/m2 and being formed using an air-laying machine.

  2. A conjugate fiber according to Claim 1, wherein the conjugate form in the fiber cross-section is a side-by-side form in which a half-moon-shaped first component and a half-moon-shaped second component are bonded together.
  3. A conjugate fiber according to Claim 1 or Claim 2, wherein the first component comprises a polypropylene copolymer and the second component comprises a homopolypropylene.
  4. A conjugate fiber according to Claim 3, wherein the molecular weight distribution (weight-average molecular weight/number-average molecular weight) of the homopolypropylene of the second component is at least 3.5.
  5. A conjugate fiber according to any preceding claim, which has a bulkiness no greater than 250 cm 3/2 g.
  6. A non-woven fabric obtained by thermally treating a web obtained by air-laying a plurality of conjugate fibers as defined in Claim 1, the thermal treatment being performed at a temperature of 120 to 150°C.