Republic of Belarus
With a reputation of having a highly skilled workforce, the sector accounts for 28% of the country’s gross domestic product. And, the country is home to RUE SPA Khimvolokno.Yuri Tishkevish, chief of marketing, says the company holds the distinction of being the first to operate a PP spunbond line of Reicofil equipment in the region, along with Pegas nonwovens.
Headquartered in the Gomel region, Khimvolokno got its start in 1964, but didn’t enter the nonwovens market until 1994. “Our company was founded as a viscose technical yarns producer for the USSR’s tire and rubber industries,” explains Tishkevish.“And we began to develop other products, and installed production facilities for thermal resistance fibers and viscose-based carbon fibers. This was in 1977, and these plants are still operating today.”
A major milestone for Khmivolokno came in 1984, when the company installed equipment for the manufacture of PES textile filaments. “We have upgraded this production line and today we are the largest producer of PES textile filaments in in the CIS,” Tishkevish says. The CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) is a regional organization whose participating countries are former Soviet Republics. “Ninety percent of the Russian textile filament market belongs to us,” Tishkevich adds.
After the company started producing PP fabrics and bags in 1993, it put into operation the first PP Spunbond line of Reicofil 1 equipment with the nonwovens specialists Pegas. The line is still in operation, and according to Tishkevich, it’s better than Chinese or Tawainese lines, producing 4.2 meter wide materials, in weights from 17 to 150 gsm, in a variety of colors, with UV protection, and hydrophilic or hydrophobic additives.
With the Reicofil line, the main markets are furniture, agriculture, medical suits and consumer goods. And the company’s total production capacity is 3,500 tons per year.
Last year, a Reicofil 4 line for spunbond and hydrobonded nonwovens was installed at Khimvolokno. The total production capacity for this line is 5,000 tons per year. Tishkevich emphasizes that market demand was the key driver for the investment. “Our goal was to satisfy the demand for high quality, light web nonwovens in fast growing industries such as hygiene, medical and roofing industries in the CIS countries as well as those in Western and Eastern Europe. Also, we wanted to diversify our business by entering new markets such as wet wipes, geotextiles and autotextiles,” he says, adding that one of its specialties is producing a base for textile knitted fabrics for the automotive industry.
Khimvolokno continues to look for new avenues for business, and continues to grow. This year, a second spinning beam will be installed on its Reicofil 4 line to produce spunbond materials. And annual production capacity is expected to reach 10,000 tons. Tishkevich says that the investment will allow the company to introduce to the European hygiene and roofing markets new two-beam spunbond materials with advanced tensile strength.