The Road to ANEX 2018 Series 10: Ube Exsymo Pursues the Development of Fibers for Nonwovens

The development of highly sophisticated fibers is pursued for sanitary products and industrial materials

The Fiber Sales Department of Ube Exsymo Co., Ltd. focuses on the manufacture and sales of fibers. Concentrating on the development of fibers that meet customer requests, Hiroshi Sekiya, General Manager of the Department, says, “Our basic policy is to constantly construct cooperation with customers including nonwovens manufacturers.”

Approximately seventy percent of the department’s sales are occupied by applications in nonwovens for sanitary products such as disposable diapers, and one of its products is UC Fiber, a thermally fusing conjugate fiber consisting of a polypropylene core and a polyethylene sheath. Production of this fiber began in 1987. At that time, disposable diapers attracted the attention of nonwovens manufacturers as the market of the future, and today have grown to become one of the largest applications for nonwovens. Together with their widespread use, the sales volume has also increased.

In creating this fiber, Ube Exsymo undertook developments in blending technology for obtaining oil agent characteristics that suit the qualities required by users and in the adjustment of processing suitability at the time of nonwovens production, and this fiber has characteristics such as high hydrophilicity, durable hydrophilicity and low bleeding property.

At ANEX 2018, the company will launch about 10 fiber types including a sheath-core type and an eccentric type that exhibits bulkiness. General Manager Sekiya is enthusiastic about exhibiting in this nonwovens exhibition, and says, “As visitors will be coming to ANEX 2018 from all over the world, I hope to raise the recognition of UC Fiber through this exhibition.”

In the current medium-term business program of which the final year is fiscal 2018 (ending in March 2019), the department intends to strengthen its business foundation in sectors other than sanitary products, especially industrial material-related fibers.

In September 2015, investments were made to increase the production capacity of the Ube Exsymo Fukushima Factory (located in Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture) by 40-50%. One of the reasons for the capacity increase was to meet vigorous demand for fibers for sanitary products, of which production had been running at full capacity, and it was also a measure that emphasized application in material developments using mass-production equipment.

In September 2015, the development of a fine-denier polyolefin chopped fiber Airymo was announced. This fiber is composed of a sheath made from low melting resin and a core made of high melting resin, and has a fineness of 0.2 dtex. The company is preparing to develop applications in high-performance industrial materials. Sekiya says, “Trials will be repeatedly made in anticipated applications, and sales are to be expanded in earnest from fiscal 2018.”

Ube Exsymo plans to exhibit these two products and Simtex high-strength polypropylene conjugate filaments at ANEX 2018. Sekiya says, “The timing is good with ANEX 2018 being held in the final year of our medium-term business program, and I hope to also take advantage of it for the next three years.”