1st quarter 2008
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The world nonwovens industry: part 3 -- ten smaller producers, 1st quarter 2008
published in Issue 72, 1st quarter 2008
Worldwide sales of nonwoven roll goods continued their mid-single digit growth in 2006 to surpass US$16 bn. Sales of the ten smaller producers profiled in this report—which rank from number 31 to number 40 among the world’s leading companies—ranged individually from US$71 mn to US$100 mn and together accounted for about 5% of the global total.
These producers include relatively new players as well as long established ones. Two Italian producers—Union Industries and Albis—were both established in the 1990s and focus mainly on the hygiene market. Rexcell, a newcomer to the top 40, became the first European maker of commercial air-laid nonwovens in 1982 when it established a small production line in Sweden. Unitika is the largest manufacturer of polyester spunbonds in Japan.
Internationalisation and investment are helping to drive industry growth. KNH has recently invested in a spunlace line in China, and this will be followed by a second spunlace line in 2008. Union Industries has recently added a Reicofil 4 SSS (spunbond/spunbond/spunbond) line, which has raised its annual capacity from 45,000 tons to 60,000 tons. Textilgruppe Hof, following recent investment, is now offering spunlaced nonwovens, branded Zetajet, which will be targeted at automotive, filtration and various speciality end uses. In Australia TenCate Geosynthetics (formerly Polyfelt) has increased its capacity at Geofabrics Australasia, a 50/50 joint venture with Kaymac Group.
Other drivers of growth are new technologies and product markets. SP2C and Easy Care interlining products from Textilgruppe Hof have coatings to enhance performance in fashion fabrics. The same company is offering a new generation of mouldable nonwovens for use in trunk applications and wheel arch covers, as well as a new technology to manufacture multi-axial fabrics for the composites industry. It has also developed non-flammable nonwovens for automotive applications. Precision Custom Coatings has diversified into OmniStretch hydroentangled liners for the automotive market. Kuraray has commercialised nonwovens made from Vectran, which uses liquid crystal polymer technology. Suominen has introduced a new eco-friendly wipe substrate called Biolace.
- The World Nonwovens Industry: Part 3—Ten Smaller Producers
- TenCate Geosynthetics, Austria
- Textilgruppe Hof, Germany
- Union Industries, Italy
- Albis, Italy
- Suominen Nonwovens, Finland
- Precision Custom Coatings, USA
- Unitika, Japan
- Rexcell Tissue & Airlaid, Sweden
- Kuraray, Japan
- KNH (Formerly Kang Na Hsiung), Taiwan