$145 million (¥16 billion)
Key PersonnelKazumasa Kayama, general manager, spunbond division of Toyobo; Yukio Kawasaki, president of Kureha
PlantsTsuruga, Iwakuni and Shiga
ProcessesSpunbond, needlepunch, resin bonded, spunlaced, thermal bonded, stitchbonded
Brand NamesVolans, Ecule, Bonden, Kurelock, Kurehalock, Dynac
Major MarketsGeotextiles, roofing sheets, carpet backings, automotive interiors, automotive filters, needlepunched carpets, hot melt bonding sheets, plaster bases
Among the nonwovens producers in the Toyobo Group are Kureha and Yuho. Kureha produces resin bonded, needlepunched, thermal bonded and spunbonded nonwovens, while Yuho produces needlepunched, spunlaced and stitchbonded nonwovens. Toyobo itself produces polyester spunbonded nonwovens. In terms of production capacities, Toyobo is in the lead with 14,000 tons of polyester spunbond nonwovens while Kureha manufactures 7000 tons annually and Yuho’s capacity is 3000 tons per year.
While in the past, the three main applications for Toyobo’s polyester spunbonded nonwovens were geotextiles, roofing sheets and carpet backings, steady sales growth has placed automotive materials on this list as well. Spunbonded nonwovens based on new polymers such as PBT and polyester elastomers are being used for novel applications in this field while polyester spunbonds are finding application in automotive headliners because of their softness and flexibility for molding. According to Toyobo, polyester elastomer-based nonwovens offer excellent stretch and are expected to reach full scale sales levels in 2006-2007.