Nonwovens – Changing Technologies, End Use Markets and How Are Buyers Shaping the Industry?


By: Srilakshmi Preethi -- Lead Analyst, Paper Packaging

21 February, 2018

Nonwovens – Changing Technologies, End Use Markets and How Are Buyers Shaping the Industry?


Nonwoven fabric materials are found in several products, from diapers and hospital gowns to carpets, cars, roofing, upholstery and agriculture. While this product, which is the key raw material for hygiene products, is witnessing growth in countries such as China, Russia and Brazil, and is expected to surpass global growth (~6–7 percent), its growth in North America (N.A.) and Europe have reached maturity.

In response to the growing demand from emerging countries and to cater to nonwoven buyers’ unique preferences in hygiene products, producers have started expanding capacities or invested in new technologies, such as spunlaid globally. Essentially, spunlaid has transformed the nonwovens industry to the next level through its versatile merits. From 2010 to 2015, 37 production lines with an annual capacity of 15,000 tons or more were commissioned globally, totaling to more than 685,000 tons of nameplate capacity. During this period, 24 new producers began using this new nonwoven technology worldwide. Between 2016 and 2020, another 350,000–450,000 tons of nameplate capacity is expected to be commissioned globally and even more is likely to be installed. 
Following are some questions which we are trying to answer: What has led to such an emergence of spunlaid/spunmelt technology? How is it a game changer? What are the upcoming capacity expansions and which regions are expanding? How are nonwoven technologies changing globally? Is cost-competitiveness a key factor? How are end-use markets changing? How are buyers shaping the nonwovens industry? Buyers versus sellers—who will benefit? Nonwovens versus substitute materials—which will win? Challenges for the future—feedstock, economic growth, old equipment rationalization and regulations. 


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