Top 40 nonwoven fabric manufacturers in the world in 2020
Top 40 nonwoven fabric manufacturers in the world in 2020. Non-woven fabic is the essential material to make masks and Personal Protection Equipment.
The growth of the global nonwovens industry in 2019 seems to be slowing down. After several years of ambitious investments and some fairly aggressive mergers and acquisitions, many major nonwovens manufacturers seemed to be evaluating their assets and focusing on innovation last year. This means that there are not many major changes in the ranking in this year’s global top 40 reports. No new company joined, and no one exited.
Of course, the situation in 2020 is completely different. As the COVID-19 virus spreads globally in the first and second quarters of 2020, nonwoven fabric manufacturers quickly mobilized to increase production capacity and shift their focus to technology and products to help prevent the spread of the virus.
In fact, many industry experts say that the level of investment and demand for nonwovens has now reached unprecedented heights. Countries all over the world have turned their attention to the materials used in masks, surgical gowns and other personal protective products, and the nonwovens industry has ushered in a bright moment.
Many nonwoven manufacturers that have never been involved in the mask and medical surgical gown business quickly reallocated their production capacity. Construction expert Johns Manville has established a production department for surgical gowns and masks in North America. There are also rumors that Fitesa will add meltblown production lines.
Similarly, companies that have been deeply involved in these fields have greatly increased their production capacity. BerryGlobal not only increased its meltblown production capacity on four continents, but also installed 9 production lines globally to produce masks. DuPont initiated a program to improve Tyvek nonwovens used in protective clothing. JacobHolm collaborated with UnderArmour to produce medical suits and masks for first responders, greatly increasing production, and the company announced a global investment plan. Filtration expert Lydall, with the help of the US Department of Defense, added two meltblown production lines in Rochester, New Hampshire to supply the mask market.
The list continues, the nonwovens industry will face unprecedented expansion, and these new production lines have spread all over the world. Although they initially set their goal to meet the demand for personal protection products, this is not only caused by the current epidemic, but also because of the need for governments to store these items strategically for the future. However, this demand will not last forever, and ultimately these companies need to find new uses and markets for these materials.
This year’s report on the world’s top 40 nonwoven fabric manufacturers includes 40 nonwoven fabric manufacturers worldwide. Many leading companies are located in mature markets such as the United States and Western Europe, and companies from developing regions are also playing an increasing role. Many companies from developing countries such as Brazil, Turkey, China and the Czech Republic have appeared in the top 40 this year. With the continuous development of companies in these emerging markets, we will inevitably see their ranking rise in the next few years.
As in previous years, the ranking is based on the sales of each company in 2019. For the sake of comparison, all sales are converted from the national currency to the United States. Because exchange rate fluctuations can have a major impact on rankings, you should not be stuck on rankings when looking at this report. The main focus should be on all innovative measures and investments made by these companies. The sales listed in the table basically come from the data provided by the companies themselves, except for Kimberly-Clark, SaudiGermanNonwovens and JohnsManville. The data of these companies are estimated based on industry news.
In order to quickly respond to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 epidemic, BerryGlobal has been actively investing in increasing new production capacity in the past few months. The world’s largest nonwoven fabric manufacturer announced a new meltblown production line, and at the same time, it will transform the existing test line for commercial production. Once these investments are completed, Berry’s total number of meltblown production lines will reach 9 and enable the company to localize supply in major regions of the world.
The investment in Latin America announced in May is Berry’s first meltblown line in the region. Its proprietary technology can significantly improve the filtration efficiency and comfort of the material, making it very suitable for the production of N95/FFP2/FFP3 protective masks and surgical/medical masks. Just before the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic, Berry had completed the construction of a melt blown line to serve the Asian market, initially focusing on the indoor air purification, mask and air filtration market. When this production line was put into production in the first quarter of 2020, Berry immediately realized the need to increase meltblown production capacity, and soon announced production line investments in Europe, Latin America, the United States and the United Kingdom.
In addition to the investment in non-woven production capacity, Berry will gradually join the production of masks. The company has purchased and installed 9 mask production equipment, including one in China, one in Europe, five in the United States and Latin America. Two sets. The monthly production capacity can total more than 20 million masks.
Through these investments, Berry expanded the Synergex™ product line and developed SynergexONE, a new material used in mask filter media. Synergex™ products were originally developed to meet the needs of the general population with a filtering efficiency that meets the EN14683:2019 surgical mask standard. The new material will be produced at Berry’s European plant. At present, there are many kinds of materials available on the market, and SynergexONE is a solution that can replace conventional stationary meltblown materials.
In addition to meltblowing, Berry’s new two-component Reicofil5 production line in China has been fully put into operation and has been operating at full capacity. This new production line was announced in 2017, adding 20,000 tons of spunmelt nonwoven production capacity to the company, which can produce special soft materials for sanitary products. At the beginning of 2020, Berry used most of the production capacity of the new production line to produce PPE materials for the COVID-19 virus. Recently, the production line has been producing high-bulk soft materials originally designed for the sanitary products market to meet the market’s differentiation. , High-performance and cost-effective materials.
In terms of other investments, Berry announced in May that it would expand its spunmelt capacity in Stersville, North Carolina. New equipment with an investment of 8 million US dollars will be installed here, and the existing production lines will be improved. The spunbond and spunmelt products produced will be based on Berry’s proprietary technology to provide more beautiful, hand-feel and more comfortable materials. The new equipment and expanded production capacity are expected to be put into operation in December 2021.
In May 2020, Freudenberg, the world’s second largest nonwoven fabric manufacturer, strengthened its nonwovens business through the acquisition of Low&Bonar. Low&Bonar mainly produces Colbond and used in construction, geotextiles and other applications. Non-woven. The acquisition will enable Freudenberg to further expand its technical expertise in the field of nonwovens. In addition, this acquisition will open up new business areas for Freudenberg.
Dr. Frank Heislitz, CEO of Freudenberg Performance Materials Group, emphasized: “As a pioneer in the production of spunbond nonwovens, Freudenberg has been providing customers with materials based on a one-step production process since 1968. Low&Bonar’s two steps French process solutions will provide us with greater flexibility, and we will be able to customize more personalized solutions according to customer specifications.” Freudenberg will provide customers with a wider range of products to fully meet the needs of construction and architectural interiors. , Home textile and automotive industry application requirements. In addition, Low & Bonar’s Enka brand has a leading edge in the building materials market.
After completing the acquisition of Low & Bonar, Freudenberg Performance Materials Group now has 35 production bases (in the past 24) in Asia, Europe and North America, with a total of approximately 5,500 employees (in the past approximately 4,000).
In terms of other acquisitions, in December 2019, Freudenberg acquired Slovenian acupuncture manufacturer Filc, which allowed Freudenberg to expand its business and technical footprint in Europe. Dr. Heislitz said: “I think this is a great opportunity to globalize our acupuncture business.”
Filc produces needle-punched non-woven fabrics and laminates, which are mainly used in the automotive and construction industries. “Filc has a very rich knowledge of needling technology and we will benefit from it, especially in composite materials. The company’s excellent adhesive coating capabilities allow us to provide customers with solutions in the construction industry related fields,” Heislitz The doctor said, “In addition, we will also expand the technical scope in the field of architectural and automotive acoustics, and provide customers with more technology combinations in lamination, printing and coating.”
In 2020, the COVID-19 epidemic has a different impact on Freudenberg’s business units. Heislitz said: “The biggest disadvantage is the apparel market. Many factories in this industry have closed globally, especially in Asia. People stay at home and don’t go out to buy clothes. I think this industry will be in the next few years. It’s harder.” Automotive is another industry that has been negatively affected.
The medical industry is showing a positive side. Heislitz said: “Everyone is looking for medical products, such as mask materials. This means a huge demand for meltblown and alternative meltblown materials.”
Freudenberg has many nonwoven technologies (including Evolon) applied to the mask market, and they are also increasing meltblown production capacity to serve this market. For example, they added a meltblown production line in their spunbond plant in Kaiserslautern, Germany. The production line will be put into production in late 2020 or early 2021.
In addition, Freudenberg completed the sale of its South American health business to Fitesa in February. “In the past few years, we found that this business has limited strategic applicability within Freudenberg, so we made this decision.” Dr. Heislitz said.
For the entire Freudenberg, medical treatment has always been the focus of its business, and they continue to devote themselves to developing products based on non-woven fabrics and other related technologies. In the United Kingdom, the company has conducted many advanced wound care applications based on polyurethane foam, and recently acquired a medical film company to develop market-oriented value-added products.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s net sales declined slightly in 2019 due to higher selling prices and lower deliveries in most key areas of the company. At the same time, the profitability of the group has also declined, which is also attributed to the decline in sales.
In 2020, Ahlstrom-Munksjö actively responded to the challenge of the COVID-19 epidemic and combined its traditional mask products with other medical technologies to create new products.
“The medical and filtration business has jumped out of our traditional production areas by reallocating resources, reusing existing products that were originally not suitable for mask production, and undergoing qualification certification, thereby increasing our mask production capacity by three times.” Said Lionel Bonte, vice president of the company’s medical business.
In May, Ahlstrom-Munksjö launched ExtiaProtect, a product specifically designed for mask applications. The ExtiaProtect product portfolio includes high-performance material solutions for masks, including materials for filter layers, face layers, ear straps and support layers. Each component of the series has been carefully designed to meet the specific requirements of various types of masks, including industrial protective masks, surgical masks and civilian masks.
“I am very proud of the work done by our team. In just a few months, we have developed a complete solution for mask applications. Now we can use our global production capacity to meet the continuous demand for mask materials in various regions. Growing demand.” said Daniele Borlatto, executive vice president of filtration and high-performance solutions for the company.
The company expanded production, increased production capacity, and adopted the latest technology to meet global demand to provide the protection needed to prevent the spread of Covid-19. “We constantly monitor the risks associated with the supply chain to ensure that we can meet our production needs,” Bonte said.
The primary task of Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s medical business unit is to provide high-performance medical materials to fully protect medical staff and patients worldwide. Its TrustShield product is a good example.
The TrustShield product portfolio provides a full range of medical fabric solutions designed to provide excellent protection in operating room, clinical and laboratory environments. TrustShield complies with strict industry standards to ensure maximum protection against several potential health risks. It provides impermeable (AAMI4 level) virus protection and has the advantages of low fluffing, durability, resistance to puncture and tearing.
Ahlstrom-Munksjö has also made new investments in its filtration business. This includes investing 28 million euros to expand the industrial filtration capacity of factories in Italy, Sweden and Belgium.
Borlatto said: “This investment demonstrates Ahlstrom-Munksjö’s strategic ambition to maintain a leading position in certain specific areas of the global fiber solutions market that can bring positive growth prospects and is driven by sustainable markets. stand by.”
Kimberly-Clark continues to consolidate its position as one of the world’s largest manufacturers of sanitary products, while also continuing to invest in its nonwovens business. This not only promotes the development of its consumer goods business, but also directly targets filtration, construction, Customers in market segments such as cleaning.
In 2018, Kimberly-Clark announced an investment of 30 million U.S. dollars to expand and improve its nonwovens factory in North Carolina. The plant produces non-woven materials for Kimberly-Clark’s North American adult incontinence and feminine care brands. This two-year project focuses on expanding the factory’s production capacity and improving efficiency.
In addition, Kimberly-Clark also increased the production capacity of baby wipes and established a special formulation laboratory in Singapore to promote product innovation. The products of the Singapore plant are exported to the entire Asia-Pacific market, including Australia, New Zealand, China and many ASEAN countries. According to reports, the new investment has increased the factory’s baby wipes production capacity from 2.4 million to approximately 5 million per year.
In Africa, Kimberly-Clark closed its plant in Lagos, Nigeria at the end of 2019, and it is reported that they are building a new plant in the original location. The decision to build a new factory was due to strong growth in demand in the region. The company said it will continue to develop the Nigerian market. They will expand the team and open a new office this year.
Looking ahead, Kimberly-Clark expects to continue to develop its personal care business and plans to make improvements to many of its core brands, including Curious