Today lots of information has been compiled by many people about the world demand and supply for nonwoven fabrics although the most significant region who has contributed significantly to the demand to these fabrics is India and China. It has emerged that India has almost doubled its output in 2012 as compared to what the output was in 2007 and most of the growth has come from durable goods produced from PP spunbond fabric and Needle Punched fabrics.
In 2007 there were very few units who were into manufacturing of PP spunbond fabrics; notable among them was Unimin India Limited who is considered as pioneer in this field but today it is almost defunct. Spunbond technology has contributed most of the growth because of two factors. First is the single beam web formation low cost technology developed by China and second is the durable products markets which went through significant structural changes. Although it was predicted that the cover stocks for diapers, hygiene, healthcare markets will spur the growth of spunbond fabrics but it was observed that most significant growth took place in packaging products like rice bags and ultrasonically welded bags market. This happened due to rise in disposable incomes in urban & rural areas of India
Second major nonwoven technology which contributed volumes to nonwoven consumption is the needle punched fabrics which are used for durable applications like filtrations, carpets and geotextiles. In 2007 this market was the largest contributor and it is estimated that by 2012 it will contribute almost 50% more volumes than 2007. The principle markets that will lead the growth of needle punched fabrics are filtration, automotive interiors, carpets, felt fabrics, sports goods and geotextiles
The consumption of disposable nonwoven is still insignificant and the per capita consumption is still very low as compared to the western countries. The disposable nonwovens consumption is restricted to surgical masks, shoe covers, surgical caps, wipes, diaper cover stocks and sanitary pads but has large potential to rise still further as per capita income rises more. Here also it is PP spunbond fabric which has got better edge as it is the only low cost material that is available in the market. Although Melt Blown fabric is used in surgical gown as bacteria barrier welded between two layers of PP spunbond fabric, still the consumption is not volume driven as the grammage of the fabric is very low. There are very few companies who manufacture Melt Blown fabric however there is large scope for many thrust markets to drive the consumption of these fabrics. All will depend on bringing affordability to the disposable products and educational upliftment in rural areas which are considered thrust areas for bringing growth in consumption of disposable nonwoven products.
Other markets where disposable nonwoven products have potential to grow is medical and surgical gowns, protective clothing, absorbent premoistened medical swabs, carry bags, medical and surgical products like patient bedcovers, OT table covers, pillow covers etc.
As far as carded nonwoven fabrics are concerned, the major markets where these fabrics are used in India are Interlinings, Spunlace fabrics and high-loff felt fabrics. Previously before PP spunbond fabrics affordability was identified, it was chemically bonded fabrics which contributed to manufacturing many disposable products because of suitability of technology to produce lower grammage materials. Now this technology is restricted to manufacturing low grammage Interlinings and filter fabrics used as media for solid to liquid separation.
The consumption of Spunlace fabric is still very low in India and is restricted to manufacturing premoistened wipes and substrate for coated and laminated fabrics. With significant imports of stock-lot material arriving from western countries, this Spunlace fabric is now also used for disposable medical gowns and drapes too. While Ginni Filaments limited started producing Spunlace fabric in India since 2007, they are still facing resistance in marketing their products due to low cost stock-lot Spunlace material being imported. However consumption of Spunlace fabric will rise in near future as new markets are identified and the cost of production comes down meaningfully. Again it will all depend on the use of cotton fiber instead of Rayon fiber that will help in bringing down the product cost and will contribute in expanding the market.
We have not heard about any company who have production facility for making airlaid fabric and wetlaid nonwoven fabrics in India though the products can find huge market in wipes used in kitchens of every household, next is absorbent cores in sanitary pads and adult incontinence products. All will depend on the production line which can use Bamboo pulp seen as alternative to costly wood pulp used in airlaid pulp and wetlaid pulp.
Analyzing other trends in nonwoven fabric field, it is observed that nonwoven fabrics made from PET or polyester fibers are still non contributory materials to the volumes of nonwoven fabrics in India. Although these fabrics are widely used in western countries for roofing material, reinforcement for concrete blocks in construction industry, water proofing and insulation material; India is still lagging behind in production of these fabrics. The main reason is the high power cost which contributes considerably to the cost of these fabrics and abundance of cotton fibers as an alternative to polyester staple fibers.
Inda forecasts that there will be significant growth in consumption and the production of nonwoven fabrics all over the world. But will that growth come to India will all depend on the maturing of the markets so that capital investments done in modern technology can be recovered over a period of time.
Filed under: Reports Tagged: | airlaid fabric, automotive interiors, carpets, diaper, disposable, durable, felt fabrics, filtration, geotextiles, healthcare market, Melt Blown, needle punched fabric, Nonwoven Fabrics Market Overview of India, rice bag, shoe covers, spunbond fabric, spunbond technology, spunlace fabric, surgical masks, surgical products, wetlaid fabric, wipes