2012 Nonwovens Sales: $129 million
Key Personnel: Shigeki Tanak, general manager, spunbond division; Akio Oda, president of Kureha
Plants: Tsuruga, Iwakini, Shiga
Processes: Spunbond, needlepunch, resin bonded, thermal bonded, spunlaced, stitch bonded
Major Markets: Geotextiles, roofing sheets, carpet backings, automotive interiors, automotive filters, needlepunch carpets, hot melt bonding sheets, plaster bases
Production capacity of Toyobo is 12,000 tons per years. Kureha is a subsidiary of Toyobo and has a capacity of about 7000 tons per year within resin bonded, needlepunch, thermal bonded and spunbond technologies. Another subsidiary, Yuho, makes needlepunched, spunlaced and stitchbonded nonwovens with a capacity of 3000 tons per year.
Although the polyester spunbond nonwovens made by Toyobo failed to raise sales in 2012, sales in this segment are increasing in 2013 due to the fallout from the great earthquake in east Japan. This has increased demand for materials used in the reconstruction of the disaster area, namely geotextile materials which are produced by Toyobo.
Meanwhile, Kureha is a large producer of air filter material for mobile engines and is producing the filters in Japan and Thailand. To meet Chinese demand, the company exports products from Kureha Thailand, which is also meeting increasing demand for products domestically.
To help Kureha meet demand, both within Thailand and abroad, the company updated its facilities in June 2013. Other growth areas include Indonesia.
In new product news, Toyobo has developed a cushion material out of polyester nonwovens, which are being sold under the trade name Breathair as seat cushioning in trains and mattresses. Breathair is both breathable and durable and can be recycled without releasing harmful gases. Toyobo will next expand production of these materials to Europe where demand for environmentally sound and recyclable products is strong. A new facility able to make 1000 tons of the material per year is currently beginning operation.