One of the most comprehensive reports ever on the current state of the global nonwovens industry is scheduled for release this fall from INDA, Association of the Nonwoven Fabrics Industry, in cooperation with its European counterpart EDANA.
The third edition of the Worldwide Outlook for the Nonwovens Industry -- 2007 - 2012 reports on and analyzes worldwide industry statistics, including size of regional markets and projections for growth in all major nonwovens markets and technologies. The report also reviews web forming and bonding technologies, including current capacities and global projections.
"The Worldwide Outlook will set the standard for reporting and analyzing not only the current state of the global business of nonwovens, but for the state of the industry into 2012 as well," says Rory Holmes, president of INDA. "This report will provide a benchmark for the state of our industry wherever nonwovens are made or sold and will serve as the key reference source for any company involved in the business of nonwovens."
Mr. Holmes points out that one of the significant increased benefits of the new report is that it includes application statistics on worldwide markets. "Previous reports available had focused on production and volume, and this addition makes the report even more valuable.”
Among the findings of the report is the expansion of nonwovens production and capacity in developing countries. The development of turnkey equipment for many key nonwovens technologies has lowered the cost of investment and helped production spread beyond its original base in the U.S., Europe and Japan.
Reflecting the changing nature of the global business, for the first time there is a change in the definitions of the worldwide regions. The North American market is now the NAFTA region and includes the U.S., Canada and Mexico (formerly included in Latin America); Europe now includes both Eastern and Western European countries and Turkey. China is broken out separately from the Asia-Pacific market volume. South America accounts for the five largest markets: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela.
"We are publishing this report on the worldwide industry to provide a benchmark of where the industry was at the beginning of the 21st century and its outlook for growth by geographic region and nonwoven forming and bonding technologies," pointed out Ian Butler, director of market research and statistics, who spearheaded the research in the report. "As defined in this report, from INDA's and EDANA's point of view, the worldwide nonwovens industry's prospects are excellent and it remains an exciting industry in which to be involved."
Among the other highlights of the comprehensive report:
• The production of nonwoven roll goods globally in 2007 reached 5.75 million tons, equivalent to $20.9 billion in U.S. dollar equivalents. This tonnage volume is equal to about 144 billion square meters.
• For the decade from 1997 through 2007, nonwoven tonnage increased at an average annual growth rate of 7.9% per year, rising from 2.69 million tonnes in 1997 to 5.75 million tonnes in 2007. INDA and EDANA forecast that worldwide nonwovens will continue to grow at a rate of about 7.9% per year during the five year period of 2007-2012 and reach 8.41 million tonnes by 2012.
• Square meter volume is forecast to grow at a faster pace -- about a percentage point per year higher than tonnage. Newer nonwoven technologies are capable of producing nonwovens at lower weights while meeting the specified requirements. Thus, there is a continuing trend toward lighter weights of nonwoven materials, which reduces the overall tonnage required.
• Looking at the historical growth of the four basic nonwoven technologies in tons for the 10-year span from 1997 through 2007, the report concludes that marketshare for carded technologies in terms of combined volume continues to rise, boosted primarily by spunlaced and needlepunched technologies. Spunlaid volume is increasing at a faster pace and actually surpassed carded within the past year. Spunlaid nonwovens growth is driven to a large part by the technology's expansion in China and now into India.