Demand for disposable nonwovens is forecast to grow at a healthy rate in the coming years, according to a report in the latest issue of Technical Textile Markets from Textiles Intelligence.
Such growth will be due in part to greater demand among the growing upper and middle classes in Asia for consumer goods which offer higher performance and are of higher added value, such as diapers and feminine hygiene products. At the same time, the market for flushable wipes is growing strongly.
Reflecting the potentials for growth in these markets, a number of leading nonwoven fabric producers are investing in new production lines in a bid to take advantage and increase sales. At the same time, the new lines are providing producers with the latest technologies that are enabling them to produce thinner, lighter weight fabrics that are cheaper to produce and satisfy demand for hygiene products which are less bulky.
The world’s largest nonwovens company, Berry Plastics, has announced plans to install a new line in the U.S. in order to offer its customers softer materials. Also, following the installation of a new carding line at its site in Terno d’Isola, Italy, the company has launched several new products for the hygiene market.
Kimberly-Clark is adding new lines for making baby wipes and diaper pants in Singapore as it continues to look to emerging markets for growth in its consumer products businesses. Also, it is adding new capacity for making products using its proprietary Coform technology in four countries, namely Brazil, Colombia, Singapore and Korea.
Fitesa has recently made a number of investments in spunmelt technology. Among these is a new line that came on stream in Peine, Germany in early 2017 following the completion in 2016 of new lines in Cosmópolis, Brazil, and José Iturbide, Mexico, which came hot on the heels of an investment in the previous year in Norrköping, Sweden. Looking ahead, the company is likely to invest in a new line in 2019 in Simpsonville, South Carolina, U.S., although it has not come up with a specific time frame.
Glatfleter plans to invest US$80 million in a new line for making air-laid nonwovens in Fort Smith, Arkansas, U.S. Production on the line is expected to start in late 2017 or early 2018.
Meanwhile, a number of new investments by Suominen are nearing completion. These include a large production line in Bethune, South Carolina, U.S., as well as upgrades in Spain and Brazil. Output from the line in the U.S. will be aimed mainly at the growing market for flushable wipes, while investments in Spain will be targeted at increasing the production of nonwovens for industrial wipes and medical nonwovens markets. In Brazil, Suominen is aiming to expand its product portfolio and strengthen its position in the South American market for wipes. In particular, it intends to open up supplies of wipes to markets for medical and hygiene nonwovens.