Sales: $125 million
Description: Key Personnel
Yukio Kawasaki, general manager, spunbond division of Toyobo; Hidemichi Mukunashi, managing director of Kureha
Tsuruga, Iwakuni, Shiga
Spunbonded, needlepunched, resin bonded, spunlaced, stitch bonded
Volans, Ecule, Bonden, Kurelock, Kurehalock, Dynac
Geotextiles, roofing sheets, carpet backings, automotive interiors, automotive filters, needlepunched carpets, hot melt bonding sheets, plaster bases
The Toyobo Group, based in Osaka, Japan, includes Kureha which produces resin bonded, needlepunched and spunbonded nonwovens; Yuho, which produces needlepunched, spunlaced and stitchbonded nonwovens, and Toyobo, which produces polyester spunbonded nonwovens.
The Toyobo division can now produce 14,000 tons of polyester spunbonded nonwovens, thanks to the completion of a new plant, capable of producing 6000 tons per year in October 2002. This expansion was intended to meet pent-up demand as well as open up new applications for the material. Currently, major markets for Toyobo’s spunbonded nonwovens include geotextiles, roofing sheets and carpet backings. As demand in these applications, which once comprised 80% of total sales of the segment, have been sluggish, new applications include sound control devices, car covers and agriculture and industrial products.
Also included in Toyobo’s growth strategy is the development of European and U.S. markets as well as increased exports to China. Kureha has a high marketshare in car interior and filtration and poultice medicines in the domestic market while Toyobo has developed superior nonwovens with excellent modability for car engines to target new areas.