According to EDANA’s recently disclosed annual nonwovens industry survey, 2017 nonwovens production in Greater Europe increased by 4.3% in volume to 2,544,450 tons with a total estimated turnover of around 7,869 million euro (up 5.6%). The total European Union output is now close to 2 million tons.
Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director, elaborated, “We continue to see the expected variances within the EU region. Although some established players such as France and Benelux countries were at a standstill, many pushed on from last year with Greece, Romania, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, U.K. and Ireland all witnessing growth. In Greater Europe as a whole, the standout performers were Turkey, posting a double-digit growth, and Russia, where growth exceeded 9%.”
Divergent trends were also observed among the various production processes. Wetlaid production recorded the most important growth (up 10.2%), mainly due to newly installed lines going fully operational in 2017. This type of web-formation now represents 9% of nonwovens produced in Europe. The production of short-fiber airlaid nonwovens increased marginally by 1.3% in 2017. The production of polymer-based nonwovens (spunmelt and assimilated) recorded a significant growth of 4.2% in tonnage and 4.3% in square meters. This type of fabric confirmed its leading position in the European nonwovens industry, with 41.0% of the market in weight and 65.0% in surface area. The total output of spunmelt products reached 1,056,494 tons (48,448 million square meters) in 2017. Drylaid nonwovens reached 1,056,742 tons, representing a 3.6% increase in tonnage.
Although the primary main end-use for nonwovens continues to be the hygiene market, with a 29.8% market share by weight, significant growth areas for nonwovens were recorded in other sectors; i.e., medicals (up 13.2%), automotives (up 13%) and electronic materials (up 21%). Nonwovens sales to the personal care wipe market, flat in 2016, increased again last year, posting growths of 5.4% in tons and 5.7% in surface area.