Production volume for nonwovens in 2011 grew 5.7%, with several market segments recording their best output ever in both tonnage and square meters, including baby diapers, medical, personal care wipes, civil engineering, automotive and agriculture, according to statistics from EDANA, the Brussels, Belgium-based International Association Serving the Nonwovens and Related Industries. EDANA’s public summary of its annual statistics on “Nonwovens Production and Deliveries for 2011” also show total deliveries reached the level of 1,897,748 tons and 55,740 million square meters in 2011. Globally, the production of Greater Europe represented approximately 25%. The 2011 expansion, albeit at a slower pace than the increase of 10.9% observed in 2010, has continued the positive growth of the industry following the economic crisis.
“Each production process obviously has its own specific trends depending on the evolution of the market segments,” says Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s market analysis and economic affairs director. “Spunmelt production recorded two successive growths of more than 9% in 2010 and 2011. Within the fiber-based products, while thermo-bonded nonwoven production has been quite flat over the last two years, spunlace production recovered the most, and was by far the most important drylaid output.”
Even if trade flows in and out of the European Union are still limited compared to local production, the exports of nonwovens to the rest of the world have never been as high as the current period for both volume and value. Last year, import into the region from China increased by 24% and China became the EU’s most important supplier. However, for each sub-category of nonwovens, the EU-27 remained a net exporter of products.