EDANA held its largest ever Middle East symposium in February. Over the course of the two-day event, delegates heard from nearly 20 speakers on a range of topics about the evolution and promise of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, about the application of nonwovens in various sectors, and for multiple purposes, and the technologies and regulatory developments that will impact the nonwovens and related industries.
The conference was held February 14-15 at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Speakers addressed the position and opportunities within the Middle East, and the innovative use of existing resources in new applications and designs. Additionally, delegates heard how there are specific needs and support across the region for nonwoven products which not only stimulate innovation and creativity, but also open new opportunities to the region’s industry, which are not as common in other parts of the developed and developing world.
Program topics included nonwovens growth markets, including geotextiles, filtration and medical nonwovens, hygiene and healthcare market updates, industrial applications and construction materials, and emerging trends in raw materials.
The MENA region is fast becoming an important one to nonwovens with major expansions underway by diaper makers, nonwovens suppliers and raw material providers alike. According to EDANA, in 2010, this region contributed 41.5 million metric tons compared to 43.8 million metric tons from the NAFTA region to Europe. While much of the nonwovens supplied were lightweight spunmelt materials, 25% were 150 gsm or higher.
Gerd Ries, co-chairperson of the EDANA Board of Governors says, “Today, more than ever, we must be aware that our future growth and success as an industry relies not only on a secure supply chain, but on identifying markets with the potential for future growth and development. I believe that the MENA region offers markets with considerable opportunity for the nonwovens industry.”
He continues, thanking EDANA for its commitment to the ongoing development of the industry, and for bringing the benefits offered by its unique vertical structure, representing the entire supply chain, to consumers. In closing the event, Ries paid tribute to the commitment that participants and visitors showed to the region, and their belief and excitement about its future.
The conference and associated exhibition acts as the conduit for business and development within the industry, enabling all attendees—including those many local companies that are long-standing members of EDANA—to both promote their products, and to seek new business opportunities or partnerships.
In 2012, while EDANA continues its core European events and activities with the Nonwoven Research Academy, Outlook and Filtrex conferences, the association is also reaching out to developing markets, with an expanded edition of its nonwoven symposium. Held in Istanbul, Turkey in May 2012, the Eurasia Nonwovens Symposium was designed to deliver information on issues of importance to nonwoven producers and converters across Europe and western Asia.
This year’s Middle East symposium was the third EDANA-sponsored event in the region. The organization held similar events in 2009 and 2010.