Tuesday 30 April 2013

Indian Nonwoven Market Update

Rich Chapas of Chapas, Chinai and Associates provided news from the subcontinent.
  • Per capita income for 2011 was $3663 (PPP basis)
  • There are 26.2 million births/year; the middle class population is 375 million of whom 60 million are engineers and scientists; 30% of the population lives in cities.
  • The diaper market is >1% penetrated and the femcare market 15% penetrated by disposables.
  • Nonwovens use is 0.5kg/capita/year now and is expected to grow to 2.5 kg/capita/year by 2025.
  • Nonwovens production was 190,000 tonnes in 2011, of which only 18,000 were disposables.  These numbers are expected to double by 2015.
  • 48% of nonwoven production is spunbond and 36% is needlepunch.  11% is spunlace.
  • The culture is anti-disposables and there is insufficient infrastructure to support rapid growth.
  • Carpets and backing, packaging, geotextile and automotive durable nonwovens make up 75% of nonwoven sales.  Hygiene is only 8%.
  • New product development should involve use of local natural products, not synthetics.  However India, like Brazil, would be a good base for developing bio-based synthetics.
  • K-C are partnering with Lever to develop the diaper and femcare market.

Friday 26 April 2013

INDA's Visionary Award Finalists: Kimberly Clark, Allasso Ind. and Vitaflex

Tim van Himbergen of Kimberly Clark Corp. used the platform to promote the whole range of Poise Wellness products, the latest addition to which is the Panty Freshener, a small 4-layer circular pad containing perfume and intended to be stuck on the outside of the pants.  The layers are perfume-containing nonwoven, film, adhesive, and release paper.  4 hours of freshness are promised.
The other Poise Wellness products mentioned were Personal Lubricant, cooling Gel, Cooling Towelettes, and Feminine Wash, launched July 23rd 2012 in the US and Canada.

Walter Chappas of Allasso Industries Inc., described the company as being spun-off from NC State University develop applications for their multi-limbed fibre made using bico spinning technology.  A segment-pie bico with about 40 soluble segments in a nylon pie is produced and converted into papers, nonwovens or textiles. The segments are then removed in hydroentanglement or dissolved to leave the very high surface area multilimbed nylon core.  In addition to the cosmetic facial mask shown (a 50gsm nylon spunlace impregnated with creams and lotions), applications in filters, wipes, medical, insulation, composites and apparel are envisaged.

Nonwovens using the fibre are currently produced in Korea for air filters on a 2-metre wide line.  The fibres are oval with dimensions of about 10 to 20 microns.

Al Blalock CEO of Vitaflex LLC demonstrated a primary head protection balaclava made of three layers of elastic spunbond PP.  The soft stretch breathable fabric allows a comfortable one-size-fits all product which covers the entire scalp, face and neck but for a narrow eye-slot over which goggles can be worn.  It is intended to protect the wearer from all airborne sprays, dust or splashes while working indoors or to reduce wind-chill, sunburn and scratches during outdoor activities.  It could also have applications in food and medical product preparation and maybe in surgery.

It looked ideal for protecting the hair from paint while painting the ceiling.

...And the Winner Was Dude Wipes

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Kelheim Fibres Acquires Visil FR Technology from Bankrupt Avilon

In line with its strategy of continued specialisation, Kelheim Fibres GmbH, the world's leading producer of speciality viscose fibres, has reached an agreement with the bankrupt Finnish fibre company Avilon for the acquisition of knowhow and technology for the production of flame retardant viscose staple fibres, previously marketed under the Visil® name. 

In the late 1990s, operating as Saeteri, Avilon pioneered the production of such fibres designed to meet the requirements in place for furnishings in the American market. Matthew North, Commercial Director of Kelheim Fibres GmbH, comments: "The US market has become dependent on supply of FR viscose fibres from China. The agreement we have reached will allow us to finalise development of FR fibres based on the knowledge and experience of the historical market leader and offer a reliable, high-quality alternative to Asian sources". 

Initial production trials at Kelheim with the support of Avilon technicians were completed successfully in April 2013 and the fibres are currently undergoing testing. It is expected that samples of the new fibre will be available for customer tests by early May 2013. Kelheim Fibres GmbH will be showing its full range of speciality viscose fibres at the IDEA International Engineered Fabrics Exhibition in Miami, USA from 23. to 25. April 2013.

Friday 19 April 2013


New positive growth despite a slow economy background

Friday 19th April, 2013, BRUSSELS – Today the European annual statistics on Nonwovens Production and Deliveries for 2012 were disclosed by EDANA, the International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries, during its Nonwoven Producers Forum. Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director, described the evolution by nonwovens process leading to an overall growth of 2.2% in production volume for 2012, despite an unfavourable macroeconomic context in Europe. The total deliveries reached the level of 1,954,000 tonnes and 57,690 million square metres last year.

Spunmelt processes accounted for 45%, the rest was fibre-based materials. Within the drylaid, the leading bonding technologies remain spunlace and needlepunch in terms of tonnage produced. Jacques Prigneaux stated that “This is the third year in a row of output growth following the slowdown of 2009. Nevertheless, the different market segments follow different trends. In nonwovens, drivers are multiple as linked to the numerous and increasing  possible applications. Some sectors like construction and automotive are directly impacted by the economic background, while disposable end-uses are less affected. Moreover, within the Greater Europe, different major trends have also been observed on a country basis.”

Compared to the situation in 2011, hygiene wipes and automotive segments showed some growth rates higher than 5%, but construction, the second most important sector in volume, recorded a decline of 3%. Nonwovens trade flows in and out of the European Union are still limited compared to local production. The positive trade balance with the rest of the world increased last year, in both volume and value. A large part of the flows was in spunmelt materials and EU27 maintained a positive trade balance for each sub-category by grammage.

For further information please contact: Abby Bailey, Marketing and Communications Director, EDANA
Telephone: +32 2 734 93 10
Fax: +32 2 733 35 18
E-mail: abby.bailey@edana.org
Website: www.edana.org

INDA's Visionary Award Finalists: Diversitech and Dude

Keith Platt of the Diversitech Corporation described how they came to develop the MERV 8+/9+ pleated filter.  Diversitech wanted to make and sell pleated filters for air conditioning units etc but found the standard cardboard-framed design costly to make and too bulky ship economically.  Their experience with plastic mouldings led them to believe that the pleated PP spunbond filter element could be overmoulded with a PP plastic frame to make “nestable” filters which could be stored in half the volume.  The resulting rugged and durable filters also showed lower pressure drop due to absence of cardboard and could be recycled.

Sean Riley, Chief Executive Dude of Dude Products Inc. is targeting 25-35 year old males who tend to “toilet” more away from home than at home.  The resulting individually-wrapped Dude Wipes are intended for all male clean-up jobs, the list including wet-toilet tissue, post-gym clean-up, bedroom festivities and hand/face cleaner.  Dude Wipes are in fact dispersible and flushable multi-function male grooming wipes with a pleasant masculine scent.  Mr Riley expects to extend the range into larger Quick Dude Shower (QDS™) wipes.

Marketing is Twitter-linked and humorous with “social” packaging which works as a conversation starter.  Dude Wipes were developed in conjunction with Rockline Industries and launched in July 2012. They are currently sold online and in a number of small specialty stores.

Tuesday 16 April 2013

Europe and Asia Nonwoven Market Update

Ian Bell, Tissue and Hygiene Research Manager at Euromonitor observed that Western Europe’s share of the global nonwoven market had fallen from 26% in 2002 to 19% in 2012 largely due to the preponderance of growth in Asian markets.  Over the same period, and in contrast to declines in WE as a whole, the UK birth rate had increased by 15%.  Here the retailers were aggressively pushing private label diapers as evidenced by the “Tesco loves Baby” promotion.  The withdrawal of “Huggies” will benefit PL and “Pampers” with the majority of the KC 15% share going to PL.
Germany’s population is growing mainly in the over-65’s group where there are now 27% more people than in 2002.  As a consequence of this and the falling birth rate most of the value growth in disposables now comes from incontinence products.  40% of diapers and 15% of incontinence pads are sold as PL.  Incontinence product sales are expected to overtake diaper sales in 2017.
Spain is an economic catastrophe with 27% unemployment overall and 55% in the under 24’s.  Disposable income has fallen by 7% since 2008. The only categories of disposables still growing are flushable wet wipes.
Eastern Europe is growing well mainly due to the Russian baby-boom, and this region is now the 3rd Global Growth area behind China and Brazil.  The government’s “Mothers Capital” scheme, started in 2007 now grants $13,000 to women having babies before the end of 2016.
Turkey hopes to join the EU and will be the next big growth area.
Asia-Pacific as a whole now accounts for 35% of the Global hygiene market, up from 26% in 2002.  China remains the largest market with India running about 25 years behind China.  India, outside the cities, lacks infrastructure to handle disposal (see below).
China’s hygiene sales at retail have grown from around $3bn in 2002 to $10bn now and are expected to reach $37bn by 2020.  In 2002 femcare accounted for the ~90% of sales.  By 2020 femcare will be around 35% and diapers around 60%, the rest being emerging inco.  GDP and per capita income growth have both fallen from the 20% pa peak in the middle of the last decade to around 10%p.a. now and are expected to continue at this rate through 2020.  China is now best viewed city-by-city with Xiamen (9% CAGR), Tianjin (18% GDP Growth in 2011) and Shenzen (7% CAGR) being key growth areas. 
Japan is struggling with low growth and an ageing population.  By 2017 incontinence pad sales will reach $2.5bn, up from $1.2bn in 2002, while diaper sales will fall to $1.7bn from $2bn.
South Korea was singled out as the new market with greatest potential.  Here the per capita income is only $13,000 but already 45% of the diapers sold are bought on the web.  For comparison, only 4.5% of diapers are bought on the web in the USA.

Friday 12 April 2013

Lenzing Group New Sustainability Report

The Lenzing Group has published a new report on its activities pertaining to the issue of sustainability entitled “Focus Sustainability – Taking Responsibility for Our Business.” The report focuses on fibers, the core segment of the Lenzing Group, which accounts for 90% of consolidated sales. For the first time, the contents of the report are geared to the standards contained in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). In Lenzing’s view it fulfills the requirements of Application Level B in accordance with GRI requirements. The new report is based on figures and information from the 2011 financial year and in part from 2012.

In the 2011/12 reporting period, Lenzing intensified its efforts to systematize its internal sustainability work. The objective of these activities was to expand the list of key indicators for ecological, economic and social sustainability criteria in order to improve the transparency of reporting. The Steering Committee for Sustainability spearheaded this initiative. This body consists of one Management Board member, the two heads of the business units Textile Fibers and Nonwoven Fibers as well as the heads of the two Corporate Centers, namely Safety, Health and Environment and Corporate Communications.

Lenzing is committed to the classical model of sustainability according to Brundtland, which considers sustainability in three dimensions: responsibility for the environment, responsibility for people, and responsibility for the economy.

For the very first time, the Lenzing Group has committed itself (since November 2012) to voluntarily complying with specified environmental criteria. They are based on strict reference values defined by various international standards such as EU Ecolabel (”European Flower”). The Environmental Standards of the Lenzing Group apply to all its sites and regions, and are considered to be a yardstick according to which the future behavior of the company in the field of environmental protection will be oriented.

Source: Lenzing Tuesday, 09. April 2013

The Adult Incontinence Market in North America

Rory Holmes, Past-President of INDA said AI in NA was now worth $4.3bn and the market now consumed 11 billion pads per annum.  For comparison the figures for femcare and diapers are $5.39bn/46.9bn units and $7.36bn/29.4bn units respectively.  AI is now consuming 87,000 tonnes of nonwovens compared with 47,000 tonnes in femcare and 236,000 tonnes in diapers.  Of the body-worn AI nonwoven tonnage, 44,300 went through retail and 15,500 through hospitals and care homes.  23,500 tonnes went into underpads and 3,800 tonnes went to all AI products in Mexico. 

By 2017, 13bn units of AI products would be sold in NA, and this represented a growth rate of 3.5%, compared with 1.5% for diapers and 2.1% for femcare.  In tonnage terms the AI nonwoven use would be 103,500 tonnes compared with 52,000 of femcare and 261,000 tonnes for diapers.

The main growth driver is the increasing availability of well designed disposable light incontinence garments which are much thinner (i.e. use composite cores) and more like normal underwear.  They are stretchable, breathable and can incorporate odour control and wetness indicators for institutional use.

With 16% of the NA population expected to be over 65 by 2020, and the government encouraging home-care of the elderly, the home-care use of AI products is accelerating.  State agencies and retail organisations are therefore developing performance standards for AI.

Asked about the low growth of diaper sales, Dr Holmes thought the recession could be to blame.  What proportion of over 65’s has an incontinence problem? About 1/3rd, but the proportion rises to about 70% for the over 80’s.  Incontinence in middle aged men due to prostate problems and in middle aged women after childbirth is also on the increase. There is as yet no surgical cure for the problem.

Saturday 6 April 2013

The State of the Nonwovens Industry

This the first of a series of summaries of papers presented at the INDA Vision Conference in Orlando, in January this year.

David Rousse, President of INDA reviewed the global nonwovens industry scene, reminding us that when a country’s Purchasing Power Parity rose above $1500 per capita per year, the disposable femcare market would begin to develop.  Above $3500/year, $8000/year and $10000/year, disposable diapers, wipes and incontinence products (respectively) would commence to be in demand.  $10000/year equated to an annual nonwoven consumption of about a kilo/capita and this consumption rose roughly linearly with PPP to reach about 5 kg/capita at the North American income of $50,000/capita. 
  • Globally 7.9 million tonnes of nonwovens were produced in 2012 and this was expected to reach 11.3 million by 2017, a CAGR of 7.6%
  • NAFTA was stuck in a low growth mode (~2%) but the dollar was stable and interest in environmental protection and sustainability was increasing.  NAFTA consumed 24.5% of global nonwovens.
  • The EU is a no-growth or declining area overall with a declining Euro and a high and increasing interest in the environment.  The EU consumed 25.5% of global nonwovens
  • Japan was declining, the population ageing, and incontinence products were now outselling disposable diapers.
  • China was growing, but less strongly, had an appreciating currency and was flirting with sustainability issues.  Population age was stable, but labour costs were increasing. China consumed 23% of global nonwovens.
  • India is where China was 25 years ago.  The rupee is down and the population is still growing. There’s no interest in sustainability and no infrastructure (outside the cities) to allow disposable use.
  • China and ROW were the growth regions.  China now operated a quarter of the world’s SMS machines.
  • Spunbond, needlepunch and spunlaced technologies were growing most (~8%/year to 2017 globally).
  • Wipes and Filtration markets were the growing most rapidly (17%/year to 2017) while nonwovens for Automotive (15%) and Construction (12%) were also doing well.
Mr Rousse suggested we pay particular attention to the following “gamechangers”:

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Galaxy® - new directions for the world's leading tampon fibre

How varied the possible fields of applications for the viscose speciality fibres from the Bavarian producer Kelheim Fibres can be is proven by their patented viscose fibre Galaxy®. Galaxy® is the world's leading viscose fibre for tampons - and can now be found in a completely different application, namely in a direct solar desalination panel. The solar desalination panel called CarocellTM made by the Australian company F Cubed, is used for the cleaning and the desalination of water and is designed to provide access to clean drinking water on a global scale. 

Almost one billion people have no safe drinking water supply which causes a death rate of 10,000 people per day due to water borne diseases and the majority of these deaths are among children; with its CarocellTM product F Cubed offers a solution for this huge social problem.CarocellTM is a very simple system which can easily be positioned almost anywhere; the polluted water is fed into the CarocellTM panel by gravity, pressure or a solar pump. Following the natural water cycle of evaporation and condensation, an average of 15 litres per day of pure water is produced - that is enough to meet the needs of a single family - and up to 25 litres and more can be produced on hot summer days. Only solar energy is used and there is no pollution of the environment with chemicals or greenhouse gases. CarocellTM is a modular unit and can therefore operate as a single panel or as multi-panels for higher water production for towns and commercial applications such as treating industrial or mining waste water.

In order to keep the cost of CarocellTM panels as low as possible while maintaining high levels of efficiency, the developers paid particular attention to the design and the materials used in the panel: so, the nonwoven inside the panel is made of the viscose speciality fibre Galaxy®. The excellent liquid absorption and distribution capacity of the Galaxy® fibre are not only of value in tampons: in a comparative test on different nonwoven fabrics, carried out by an independent institute, the fibre with its typical trilobal cross-section delivered the best distribution of water in the nonwoven; at the same time, the high surface area of Galaxy® improved the evaporation of the water.
Another benefit is the fact that Kelheim Fibres delivers the fibres in spun-dyed form and additional dyeing, which would be costly and laborious considering the small amount of fibres needed, is not necessary.

The CarocellTM units are already being exported to 23 countries with a growing demand from governments, NGO's and corporations looking for a sustainable future.