Thursday 19 February 2009

EDANA Middle East Symposium and Exhibition 2009

Dubai, United Arab Emirates: 10th-11th Feb 2009


Gert Ries of Johnson and Johnson, Chairman of EDANA, opened the Middle East Symposium at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, Dubai. In his introductory remarks, EDANA’s General Manager, Pierre Wiertz welcomed the 300 delegates on behalf of EDANA's most international Board ever, observing "We are here to forget the crises and challenges facing the industry."
This was the second EDANA MES, following on from the highly successful meeting in Feb 2007, also in Dubai, which had also attracted over 300 delegates.

Keynote Speech – MENA Opportunities

Mahdy Katbe, Executive Director of Unicharm Gulf Hygienic Industries (Saudi Arabia) acknowledged that we were going into a once-in-a-lifetime Global recession where short-term forecasts were impossible. Governments had to act to stabilise their economies. Reforms were urgently needed in:
  • The global system of governance
  • The financial system
  • The liquidity system
  • The international reserve currency system (something other than the dollar?)
  • Business schools
That said, when he compared the prospects of the Middle East and North Africa region with those of the other emerging economies and the developed economies, MENA appeared to have significant advantages even in the recession. While the global economy is expected to grow by 0-1% in 2009, for the first time in 50 years all the developed economies would decline by between 0.5 and 1.5%. By contrast the developing economies would grow by between 2.7 and 4.6%, and the MENA region by between 3.5 and 5%. Furthermore MENA is attractive to investors, unlike India which had great potential but is slow and bureaucratic, and unlike China which is easy to invest in and impossible to exit. In 2007, MENA was the 5th largest contributor to global GDP after the EU, USA, China and Japan. India was 6th.
He divided MENA countries into 3 categories:
  • Resource Poor/Labour Adequate: Jordan, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon and Morocco.
  • Resource Rich/Labour Adequate: Iraq, Yemen, Algeria and Syria.
  • Resource Rich/Labour Inadequate: The GCC States (UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and Kuwait) and Libya.
The RRLI countries combined had the best growth prospects, less than half the population, but more than double the GDP of the others.
The region also has over half of the world’s proven oil reserves and the GCC countries alone have a quarter of the world’s gas reserves with Qatar expected to produce a third of the global 2010 gas requirements. Saudi Arabia will maintain its commitment to build 6 new economic cities, with millions of new homes, but Mr Katbe thought the days of investing in real estate for capital gains were over for the foreseeable future.

Hygiene Products in MENA

Tim Foulds, Research Manager, Euromonitor (UK) updated the global hygiene scene with provisional sales figures for 2008 and compared them with 2007:
  • Western EU had grown by 2%, NA by 3%, MENA by 7%, Asia Pacific by 9%, Latin America by 13%, and Eastern EU by 17%. Australasia had declined by 1%. Total sales for 2008 were US$22.5 bn.
  • By Country, USA (19%), China (11%), Japan (8%) Brazil (5%), and the UK (4%) were the top five.
  • For MENA the big growth products (2007-8) were heavy incontinence (36%), impregnated wipes (22%), disposable pants (19%), light inco. (13%) and all-purpose, baby and window wipes at 11-12%. Ultra-thin towels with wings and tampons both grew at 8-9%. The graph of growth to 2012 looked identical.
  • Within MENA, the UAE showed highest growth (11%) with Saudi Arabia (7%) and Egypt and Iran at 6%; the remainder being in the 2-4% range.
  • A chart of assorted per capita spending on hygienic products showed that in comparison with 2002, 2007 spending in France and Saudi Arabia had declined whereas the UAE, Russia and Turkey showed healthy gains. Gains in the UK, Germany, Tunisia, Morocco, Iran and Algeria were modest.
  • A preliminary chart comparing 2008 and 2012 suggested a static or slightly declining per capita spend on disposables in the UK, USA, France, Iran and Egypt, with modest growth in other MENA, Turkey and India.
  • The credit crunch was due to hit MENA in 2009 as oil and tourism revenues declined. The Gulf States would suffer more than North Africa.
  • In 2008 the Mamma™ diaper was launched in Iran at US$3.40 for 12, and the Finee™ diaper was launched in the UAE at US$2.80 per “average pack”.
  • Freshdays™ pantyliners were launched by Napco in Saudi Arabia in Feb 2008 at SR9.00 for 24, undercutting the leading brands (Always, Carefree and Kotex).
  • The wipes sector enjoyed the most new product launches in 2008, these including Chlorox Disinfectant wipes (November) in SA, Tooth Wipes by Emirates Wet Wipes, and Clean Care All Purpose Wipes in Egypt.

Manufacturing in the UAE

Jim Cree, CEO Pantex (Italy) summarised the attractions of MENA and why Pantex chose the UAE to set up its first manufacturing plant in the region.
  • 340 million people with a common culture and for the most part a common language throughout the 18 countries.
  • Some countries are very rich (GCC states, Saudi Arabia) and whilst the more populous countries are relatively poor (Egypt, Iran, Algeria, Morocco and Iraq) most have a GDP per capita above the $1000/annum “trigger” level where consumer products become interesting.
  • GDP per capita ranges from $1000 in Egypt to $88,000 in Qatar.
  • The birth rate is high, ranging from 15 to 42 births per 1000 people in 2008.
  • In Saudi Arabia alone, 10 major new crackers yielding derivatives for plastics will come on stream before 2010.
  • Between 2002 and 2010, 12 million tonnes of new polyethylene capacity was added in MENA.
  • 1.5 million tonnes of PP capacity was added in 2008, and a further 1.5 million tonnes is planned for 2009.
  • Technologies for film and nonwovens are uncommon in MENA.
  • A raw material price chart (no year, no currency or country labels, but we assume US$ in UAE in 2008) gave PP fibre as 770 in December versus 1950 in August. Prices for LDPE, LLDPE an HDPE were also listed, but without indicating whether film or chip.
  • The UAE has Free Zones where no local partner is required (Pantex set up in a Free Zone 70km from Dubai)
  • Everyone speaks English, and labour costs are low, starting at 1200 DHS/month but the package must include housing and transport which can add a further 500 DHS/month.
  • Good port facilities nearby.
  • Local diaper markets are 90% disposable but there is scope for adapting the design to local requirements.
On the downside, Mr Cree provided these “Watch-outs”:
  • The availability of a reliable power supply is not a given – this has to be checked.
  • Cost of air-conditioning is very high. Filtration to remove sand is essential.
  • Low availability of senior technical people is a key problem.
  • Safety and sensitivity training is critical and needs regular refresher courses.
  • Visa issues are complex
  • The Thursday/Friday weekend in MENA means good communications with the West are restricted to 3 days a week.
  • Transport costs can be high due to local monopolies.
  • Time-keeping is lax.
  • There’s insufficient finishing technology in the region (Perforation, printing, laminating, hook and loop, SAP’s and packaging design being specifically mentioned.)
  • Setting up a new operation is a slow process, but “good things come to those who wait”.
Asked if Pantex were required to hire a percentage of locals Mr Cree said this was not necessary but it was essential to have good “word of mouth” in the locality to attract the best locals. This requires maintaining a good working atmosphere in the plant. Did Pantex have to export a set percentage of output? No, but Pantex did in fact export 25% of production outside the Gulf region.

Doing Business in Emerging Markets

Fares Saghbini, General Manager of National Adhesives (SA and ME) provided guidelines on how to behave to succeed in markets like MENA.
  • You have to have a long term perspective and understand that these markets can be volatile with spectacularly good years being followed by bad.
  • Senior management must understand this volatility and needs to communicate the accompanying risks and opportunities openly.
  • Understanding the local political, economic, and business outlook is as essential to market-entry preparation as understanding the market and local culture.
  • Human resource requirements, especially the split between locals and expatriates, need careful consideration.
  • The current product portfolio will have to be altered to meet local needs.
  • Market data and intelligence is often unreliable and hard to find. The big market research firms simply recycle and repackage old information. Primary research direct from local sources, and secondary research using local consultants, is essential.
  • You need a dedicated small local team gathering and analysing business information. “Doing business in emerging countries is intensely personal”
  • Government policy which might affect the business must be understood, so the local team must develop the necessary contacts. “The best information is never published – it is communicated over dinner or coffee”.
  • Bureaucracy, corruption, and crime can all affect business and need to be understood for the locality.
  • Political risks can also disrupt the business but “there is more business in supposedly dangerous places than companies can imagine”

Geotextiles in Emerging Economies

Samir Gupta, MD of the Business Co-ordination House (India) observed that the so-called “Emerging Markets” would be playing and equal role with the “Developed Economies” in a few years. During the recession, Economic growth would be mainly in the EM’s and the DE’s would have to grow in these markets if they were to grow at all. He thought the main opportunity for the DE’s would be to share in the expected boom in IT, Telecommunications, Healthcare, Pharmaceuticals and Infrastructure projects, especially in India and China.
Geotextiles for the infrastructure projects would be key for nonwovens:
  • China plans to spend $730bn in the next 3-5 years to stimulate domestic demand by increasing connections between towns and villages. Investment in 5,000 km of new railways will take $88bn of this.
  • Johns Manville and Fiberweb are now opening spunbond polyester plants and Royal Ten Cate are opening a geosynthetics factory there.
  • Russia plans to spend $6 trillion over 20 years to connect Europe to China by road and rail, opening up new territories in Central Asia to allow exploitation of their mineral wealth along the way.
  • Mexico’s toll roads are being privatised with investment opportunities for foreigners.
  • India has the second fastest growing economy and expects to sustain a 7-8% growth rate for the next 20 years. By 2050 it will be the world’s second largest economy – after China.
  • ROI on investments in India is around 20% compared with around 15% in China.
  • From now through 2012, India will spend $76 bn on roads, $63bn on railways, $54bn on irrigation, $49bn on water supply and sanitation, $18bn on ports and $8bn on airports.
All of these projects need geotextiles, and in 2006-7 most of the 6000 tonnes used in India were imported, 71% being nonwovens and 29% being wovens. Growth at 25% per annum is expected, so usage will treble by 2011-12. Mr Gupta claimed that the potential usage for 2011-12 would be nearer 600,000 tonnes. India is now allowing 100% foreign direct investment under the automatic route to spur investment in this vital infrastructure segment.

Healthcare Trends

Amanda Kruk replaced Susan Harley to give the Cardinal Healthcare (Switzerland) paper. She focussed on the Middle East, a region with 134 million people and a population growth of 3% per year. Average Gross National Income per capita was $9k, ranging from $50k in Kuwait through $20k in Saudi Arabia to $5k in Jordan and Egypt. Throughout the region healthcare standards were improving due to a high level of consumer concern and high levels of government expenditure. Consumers were demanding Western quality products and wanted rapid progress to Western healthcare standards. Saudi Arabia and the UAE were leading the field due to their larger populations which included a large number of ex-pats demanding higher standards.
Saudi Arabia will double its hospitals (to 500) over the next 7 years and the UAE healthcare spend is projected to increase from $3.2bn to $11.9 bn by 2015. Kuwait is building 3 “medical cities”. Dubai’s annual Arab Health trade show now attracts 45,000 visitors who come from 65 countries to see the 2300 international exhibitors.
Infection control is one of the main drivers of growth, and the biggest problems are the healthcare-acquired infections increasingly arising from antibiotic resistant organisms such as MRSA, vancomycin resistant enterococci and vancomycin resistant C. Difficile. There are 4 main types of hospital acquired infections:
  • Ventilator Acquired Pneumonia from respiratory aids (14% of total HAI’s)
  • Urinary Tract Infections following procedures involving the tract, including catheterisation. (20%)
  • Central Line Associated Bloodstream Infections whenever a central line is inserted. (10%)
  • Surgical-Site Infections arising after surgery. (14%)
The latter have been reduced by a gradual (over 30 yerars) conversion to disposable drapes and gowns in the USA; a process which is now about 50% complete in the EU and at current conversion rates will take another 20 years to complete. Nevertheless, 500,000 SSI’s still occur annually in the USA, costing the healthcare system $10bn. AAMI PB70:2003 (Barrier Performance and Classification of Protective Apparel and Drapes intended for use in Health Care Facilities) now controls the quality of US products and is being adopted by Japan and others. The similar EU Norm 13795 has been adopted in the EU since 2006 and is being followed by Australia, NZ and others. The Middle East is now looking globally for the right solutions to achieve zero HAI’s in its new hospitals.

Innovative uses of Polyethylene

Gert Claasen, Global Development Leader, Dow Europe reviewed global hygiene market trends:
  • 136 million babies born per year between 2005 – 2010
  • There are ~340 MM babies aged between 0 to 30 months
  • If every baby use a diaper, the world would require 15,600 diapers per second (490 billion/yr), and 2600 diaper machines (actual is ~550)
  • Only 1 in 5 babies used disposable diapers in 2007.
  • By 2025, 1 in 3 babies will use diapers, thereby almost doubling current volumes.
  • While the developed markets were showing maximum diaper market penetration and minimum growth, MENA, Central and Eastern Europe and Latin America showed moderate market penetration and moderate growth.
  • China showed the highest diaper growth rate (from a low base), followed by Other Asia/Pacific and India.
  • For femcare, China was with MENA, CEE, OAP and LA in the moderate growth/market penetration sector, while India and Africa showed the highest growth rates.
  • For Inco, all but the developed countries showed low penetration and above average growth.
Getting around to his polyethylene subject, Mr Classen promoted the well-known handle and bond-strength advantages of PE in bico-spunbond, and in bico short-cut to bond cellulose in air-laid. Their newer Amplify® maleic anhydride grafted polyethylene resin gives further benefits.
Asked about the costs of these bico fibres, Mr Claasen said the polymers were more expensive than polypropylene but the extra strength allowed basis weight reductions and the finished product could therefore be cheaper. Furthermore if the whole system costs were to be considered there could be a case for redesigning the diaper to take advantage of the improved performance of these resins. Could PE be used alone to achieve the softness benefits? No, 100% PE fibres were too weak. However some other possibilities sprung to mind which he would be prepared to discuss privately with the questioner.

Root Zone Irrigation

Reinhard Helbig, Head of Technical Textiles at STFI (Germany) described a novel irrigation system developed for use in the region. As a preamble, he observed that 80% of global water supply is used in agriculture, and 80% of this is used in irrigation systems. 40% of the global food supply depends on artificial irrigation and in most developing countries more than half the applied water is wasted in evaporation or wetting soil which does not contain roots.
STFI’s objective was to develop an efficient irrigation system using textiles with a high water storage and transport capability which could be used on slopes and embankments. The textiles would have to be strong and have high resistance to degradation when exposed to the environment for a number of years.
Nonwoven needlefelts and stitchbondeds based on polyacrylics, polyester or polypropylene at 150-240 gsm were chosen for testing. These were converted into irrigation mats by laminating them either side of a parallel array of perforated “drip-line” tubes, the tubes having been pre-wrapped with another finer needlefelt. The lamination process involved feeding the wrapped tubes and the outer felts through a Unistepp stitching machine set up to stitch between the tubes. These machines, usually over 5 metres wide, are used to make erosion control blankets for civil engineering. An 800mm pilot version of the machine was used to stitch 3 x 22mm diameter irrigation tubes between the nonwoven felts.
In testing, these mats had a water storage capacity between 400 and 1000% after 24 hours and they were now being marketed in the Middle East under the ECO Rain® brand. ECORain® claimed improved plant growth due to:
  • 100% even water distribution
  • Water supplied direct to the roots because the nonwoven mat stores the water and the roots grow throughout the mat.
  • The tubes replace the water as it is taken from the mat.
  • Evaporation losses are minimal.
In Dubai, the irrigation mat is laid on the desert sand and lawn turves are laid directly on to the mat. Lawns can be used while being watered (especially valuable on golf courses). Installation is easy – burial 30cm below the surface being recommended for irrigating shrubs, 20cm for ground cover and 10 cms for lawns. The system works well with grass on embankments and on green roofs.
Asked if there were any problems with the tubes blocking either with silt or root growth, Mr Helbig said nothing like this had occurred, yet.

Nano-Finishing Technology

Steven Yializis, CEO of Sigma Technologies (USA) presented a paper entitled “Water-less, solvent-less, eco-friendly, nano-finishing technology for creating high performance multi-functional nonwovens”.
He had estimated that the total amount of water consumed in manufacturing nonwovens globally was 44 billion litres, and assumed that half of this, equivalent to 8.25 litres/kg of nonwoven, would have been used in nonwoven finishing processes. This at a time when the World Bank was issuing warnings of an impending water crisis in MENA, a halving of per capita water availability by 2050 and rising prices as more water has to be produced by desalination. Furthermore, drying nonwovens after finishing was costing $1.3bn in energy.
The solution to the impending crisis was to use “plasma-enhanced dielectric phoretic electro-wetting technology for nonwoven finishing” or PEDEP. PEDEP was delivered by atmospheric plasma and ultrasound was used to disperse radiation curable monomers through the nonwoven prior to e-beam or UV-curing.
A pilot line, operated by their research partner in Portugal, appeared to use atmospheric plasma treatment followed by a closed chamber, where the monomer was “ultrasonically atomised” onto the nonwoven prior to the entering the PEDEP chamber. Both of these chambers appeared to require a vacuum and the whole process appeared to be a batch process.
The main claim seemed to be that the coating could be applied to one side only, the PEDEP treatment spreading it through the nonwoven to give uniform properties on either side. The process could be used to achieve the following:
  • Water/alcohol/oil philicity or phobicity. (Surface energies ranging from <20>70 dynes/cm2
  • Antibacterial properties
  • Colouring/dyeing
  • Binding or release surfaces
  • UV blocking
  • Chemical resistance
  • Thermal resistance (high temperature polymer formation)
  • 20-30nm layers have no effect on texture or breathability.
  • Etc etc.
The slide containing this information implied possible applications or users by showing a packet of Pampers diapers, an operating theatre, and a house wrapped in Tyvek.
Spunbond PP had been treated with PEDEP from one side to give repellency to 80% alcohol from both sides. A rayon substrate had been rendered hydrophobic.
In conclusion, Mr Yialyzis said the success of the pilot work meant a line was now being commissioned for construction in the USA.

Improving Air Quality

Christian Hassmann, Segment Leader Filtration and Separation for Johns Manville (Europe) commenced this 2-part presentation with an overview of air filtration market segments in the Middle East. Air Intake filters for buildings and factories are required to remove particles down to 0.01 microns, more stringent than for automotive air filters (down to 0.1 microns) or air pollution control filters (down to 0.5 microns).
The Middle East market uses:
  • 21 million m2 of air-intake filter material, 70% as cartridges and 30% as pocket or cassette filters
  • 7 million m2 of HVAC filter material, 85% as high efficiency (F5-H13) and 15% as prefilter.
  • 15 million m2 of Air Pollution control filters, 80% in the form of bags, and 20% as cartridges.
JM’s Micro-Aire® media for improved indoor air quality is a super-deep filter using a combination of coarse/fine/micro and nano fibres, the latter two layers being made of biosoluble glass to give purely mechanical filtration without the need for electrostatic charging. The combination gives high dust-holding capacity and improved efficiency.
For air pollution control, Combifil®GS uses three distinct layers (fine/medium/coarse) in a one-layer, one-fibre concept; the combination offering stiffness, pleatability and cleanability.
Jörg Sievert, CEO and President of Freudenberg Filtration Technologies (Germany) continued the presentation.
  • HEPA filters for use in operating theatre air systems use pleated media in a frame of plastic, metal or wood and achieve 99.95% efficiency at 0.2 micron particle size.
  • Active carbon granules can be bonded into the material for odour adsorbtion.
  • Viledon NanoPleat® air filters have a high resistance to humidity and are now used in the Emirates Shopping Mall in Dubai.
  • Vacuum cleaners now have 3 stages of filtration, the dust bag for coarse dust, the motor protection filter for fine dust and the exhaust filter, to remove pollen, micro-organisms and ultra-fine dust.
For secure energy supply in a variety of difficult locations, Freudenberg offer 3-stage Viledon filtration systems. These are used in gas turbine generators for seawater desalination plants and off-shore oil rigs.
Mr Sievert estimated a 10% pa growth for air intake and pollution control filters in MENA, with nano/micro filtration systems gaining in importance, and odour removal capabilities being increasingly specified.

Absorbtion Kinetics

Mohammed Ben Hassan of the Textile Research Unit of ISET Ksar Hellal (Tunisia) said TRU was created in 1999 to carry out applied research in close collaboration with industry and now employed 50 researchers. They work on optimising the performance of textiles and their production machinery and also on waste textile recycling. For hygiene products and nonwovens they are modelling the absorbent properties with a view to optimisation and prediction.
Mr Ben Hassan pointed out that the North African part of MENA had 80 million people but few nonwoven makers. However in Tunisia there was a huge hygienic products production company which imported nonwovens and other materials and exported finished products to the whole of North Africa. TRU collaborated with this group but were discovering that diapers were not like ordinary textiles, and that competition and confidentiality aspects were paramount.
They had started the collaboration by comparing tensiles, rewet and wicking rates of the products from different manufacturers,. Then they had modelled the absorbtion rate and retention characteristics to allow the study of their effects on absorbtion.
They had discovered that as the SAP content of a diaper core increased above 30% there was little extra benefit to absorbtion capacity, but the retention of fluid continued to improve linearly with SAP concentration.
They had also measured the pore-size of coverstocks (by image analysis), derived a pore-size distribution, measured the contact angles, and plotted the absorbed volume versus time in strike-through testing. They concluded that both contact angle and porosity influence the absorbtion kinetics and that the variability of contact angle allows monitoring of the uniformity of the hydrophilic treatment of coverstock.
The overall message was hygiene products are very complex structures, and if you want to make them, we can help you develop and optimise them.

Saudi Arabian Standards Organisation

Jamaan Al Ghamdi, Head of Textiles at SASO stood in for the Director General Nabil Ameen Abdeen Molla to describe SASO’s mission, objectives, activities, accomplishments and future plans. Their objectives include:
  • Formulation and approval of National standards for all commodities and products.
  • Publishing Saudi standards by the most proper means.
  • Promoting standardization awareness by publicity and other means.
  • Coordinating all activities relating to standards and measurements in the Kingdom.
Their tasks include:
  • Supporting development efforts in all industrial and commercial sectors.
  • Protecting the consumers, safety and health through improving the quality of imported and national products.
  • Resisting fraud and the dumping of counterfeit products.
The Chemical and Petroleum Department is responsible for nonwovens and hygienic disposables, and they will be collaborating with EDANA on future standards in this area. Medical devices are controlled by the SA FDA and have nothing to do with SASO.
Asked about SA activities to reduce the number of counterfeits on sale, Mr Al Ghamdi said SASO will do this by application of good standards and by heavy inspection at the borders. (SASO is committed to enforcing Islamic Sharia Law in all its activities.)

Landscape Fabrics

Georges Karam of Dupont de Nemours (Luxembourg) introduced a landscape fabric that could be laid on the surface of soil to prevent weeds growing (eliminating the need for weedkillers) and prevent loss of water by evaporation while allowing rain to pass through. This landscape fabric (e.g. Dupont’s Plantex® nonwoven) could itself be covered with coconut shells, gravel, turf or paving.
Another landscaping fabric, this time a honeycomb nonwoven, was made by welding strips of spunbond nonwoven - the strip width being the depth of the honeycomb when opened up and laid on the ground. This could be filled with gravel to make an instantly stable surface if the honeycomb depth was about four inches. This surface whilst being as stable as tarmac was totally permeable, free from run-off, and did not require a drainage system. Car parks, driveways, caravan sites, sports fields and golf courses were now using this it.
A spunbond nonwoven root barrier fabric could be used to protect building foundations and drains from tree roots. The 290 gsm mat was coated with a special polymer film which formed the barrier. It was especially recommended for containing bamboo plantations and could act as a submerged “plant-pot” to enable more efficient watering of tree roots.
A similar nonwoven, coated both sides could be used as a long-life pond liner.
Calvin Woodings

1 comment:

Research Term Papers said...

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