Over half the world’s nonwoven fabrics will be produced in Asia by 2020, according to data published by Textiles Intelligence.
The business information company’s study highlighted that between 2001 and 2011 production more or less trebled, and as a result Asia accounted for over 40% of global nonwoven fabric production last year.
In 2011 alone, nonwoven fabric production in Asia increased by 7.4% to 3.1 million tons after rising by 10% in 2010 and 13.1% in 2009.
These strong growth rates reflect a rising usage of nonwovens in Asia as countries in the region continue to industrialize. Furthermore, developments and innovations in the field of nonwovens are leading to the opening up of new applications for nonwovens, according to Textiles Intelligence.
Among the major nonwoven fabric producing countries in Asia, China accounted for about two-thirds, or 2.1 million tons, of total Asian production in 2011 making it the largest producing country by far.
The most important category of nonwoven fabrics produced in Asia in terms of production process in 2011 was that of spunbonded and meltblown nonwoven fabrics with a 44.2% share. However, the fastest growing category of nonwoven fabrics was that of spunlaced nonwoven fabrics with an average increase of 20% per annum between 2008 and 2011 and a rise of 21.8% in 2011 alone.
Many analysts have predicted unlimited growth in the use of nonwoven materials in Asia in the coming years in several end-use markets, including medical and healthcare, hygiene, filtration, agriculture and geotextiles, among others.
Furthermore, China and India, which together account for over a third of the world's population, are set to become the largest potential markets for such products.
However, if Asia's nonwoven fabric producers are to fulfil their potential, they will have to invest in the most advanced technology and production equipment available, as well as using higher quality man-made fibers and functional fibers, the report says.