Location: Tokyo, Japan
Sales: $200 million
Description: Key Personnel
Yutaka Tanaka, president; Minoru Tanaka, managing director; Yoshiaki Mizutani, director; Mitsuo Kanno, managing director
Shiga and Tokyo, Japan
Resin bonded, needlepunched, thermal bonded, wetlaid, spunlaced, meltblown, tackspun
Apparel interlinings, apparel insulations, air filters, plaster bases, automotive mats, automotive headliners, battery electrode separators
With a plan to boost sales to ¥61 billion by 2008, Japan’s largest roll goods producer Japan Vilene has had a busy year. Consolidated sales in fiscal 2005 (April 2005-March 2006) totaled just under ¥22 billion, a solid 5% increase over the previous year.
As usual, sales generated within Japan Vilene’s application segments varied, with apparel materials bringing in ¥5.1 billion (a 14.5% decrease compared to the year before). Meanwhile, the company’s automotive business saw a dramatic increase of 18.6%, totaling ¥19.1 billion; air filtration materials earned ¥8.6 billion (a 3% decrease); sales for industrial materials were ¥5.4 billion (a 3.5% drop); electrical materials increased slightly (1.9%) to ¥5.4 billion; medical and consumer materials earned ¥7 billion (up 8.8%) and sales for the rest of Japan Vilene’s businesses amounted to ¥1.3 billion, a 13.4% increase.
Domestic and overseas sales represented ¥51.9 billion of the company’s consolidated sales in 2005. Sales within Japan increased 2.5% to ¥37.5 billion while sales outside of Japan increased 12.3% to ¥14.4 billion. While domestic sales decreased and exports increased in 2004, both domestic and overseas sales increased in 2005. Last year exports represented 27.6% of total sales, a jump over 2004’s ratio of 25.9%.
Japan Vilene achieved solid sales in both North America and Asia last year. At ¥8.5 billion, sales in North America increased 27% over 2004 while sales in Asia remained at ¥5.5 billion. Sales in the rest of the world amounted to ¥0.4 billion. According to the company, the increased revenue from sales of automotive materials in North America contributed greatly to its overall sales growth in 2005.
Speaking of growth, Japan Vilene has installed an electrospinning pilot plant for nanofiber nonwovens, which is capable of producing materials as wide as one meter. The average fiber diameter can be adjusted within the 0.1-1.0 υm range while the average pore size of the nonwovens is in the 0.4-2.0 υm range. Average density is within the 5-25 gpsm range.
Currently acrylic fiber is predominantly being used for these applications; however, the electrospinning method can employ various polymers as raw materials. Nanofiber nonwovens target applications such as air filtration, battery electrotrode separators and medical materials.