Nonwovens Industry
Welcome to Nonwovens Industry
FacebookRSSTwitterLinkedIn
Print

Mitsui Chemical


Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $101 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Kenji Suzuki, director

Plants
Yokkaichi and Iakuni

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, melt blown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntex

Major Markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filtration, wipes, agricultural materials, household materials..


In expansion mode is roll goods producer Mitsui Chemicals, Tokyo, Japan, which specializes in polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens as well as SMS materials. The company is currently constructing a 14,000-ton-per-year SMS facility, based on Reifenhauser technology, in Thailand through its wholly-owned Taiwanese subsidiary MHM. The new line brings the company’s total SMS capacity to 23,000 tons. The company also produces 25,000 tons of polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens.
 
The demand for spunbond and SMS in Southeast Asia and China is growing in tandem with increasing demand for baby diapers and subsequently coverstock materials. The Thailand site will help to satisfy this demand, allowing Mitsui to produce materials locally rather than exporting them from Japan. The new facility will target Thailand, China and the Philippines. Mitsui intends to ramp up production at the new site until 2005 when it will be fully operational. Then, if things go well, additional capacity will be added in 2006.
 
In addition to targeting the growing Southeast Asian market, the new capacity could eventually be imported into Japan where nonwovens production is reportedly costly and results don’t stand up to price competition.
 
Besides coverstock material, Mitsui Chemicals is developing various new uses for nonwovens. Among these new uses, the diaper plays a prominent role with about 80% of the new applications involving diapers in one way or another. It is in this way that Mitsui Chemicals, the largest producer of spunbond nonwovens in Japan, hopes to open up the domestic market.
 
The largest Japanese manufacturer of spunbond nonwovens for diaper applications, Mitsui holds a 50% share of the domestic market. The company first entered the SMS market in 2000 with the construction of a new line. SMS materials created by Mitsui compete with products from Asahi Kasei, Osaka, Japan, the second largest producer of spunbond nonwovens in Japan.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $96 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Toshimi Hachimori, director

Plants
Yokkaichi, Iwakuni, Bangkok

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntex

Major Markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agriculture materials, household materials

The big news from Mitsui Chemicals, Osaka, Japan, is the opening of a new facility in Bangkok, Thailand. Created through Mitsui’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Mitsui Hygiene Materials (MHM), this facility can make 14,000 tons of polypropylene-based spunbonded nonwovens per year. It was completed in September 2002 and began operating in February 2003. Representing a $13 million investment for Mitsui, MHM sells 40% of its spunbond output to diaper producers Uni-Charm, Tokyo, Japan and Procter & Gamble, Cincinnati, OH, which use it for coverstock in hygiene applications. The remaining output is sold to consumers in the Philippines, China and Japan. It is estimated that the plant will be operating at full capacity by the end of this year, buoyed by increased diaper consumption in southeast Asia and China.
 
Meanwhile in Japan, Mitsui Chemicals can produce more than 30,000 tons of nonwovens per year at its plants in Yokkaichi and Iwakuni. Included in this capacity is 25,000 tons of polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens and 9000 tons of SMS. Mitsui intends to shift the production of more commodity-type products to Thailand in an effort to cut costs. This decision comes amidst severe pricing pressures in the Japanese nonwovens industry, particularly for hygiene items. Meanwhile, Mitsui has been striving to differentiate its domestic products in an effort to add value to its nonwovens and strengthen its competitive power.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $115 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Toshimi Hachimori, general manager, functional fabricated products division

Plants
Yakkaichi and Iwakuni

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntex

Major markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agriculture materials, household materials.

Mitsui Chemicals’ total production capacity is 48,000 tons per year. This includes 25,000 of polypropylene-based spunbonded materials and 9000 tons of SMS, all made in Japan, and 14,000 tons of SMMS made in Thailand through the company’s MHM division. MHM, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui Chemicals, has been producing SMMS in Thailand since 2003 to meet increasing demands for diaper material, and expansion plans are reportedly already underway.
 
According to Nonwovens Industry Far East correspondent, Kin Ohmura, Mitsui examined several locations for the new capacity but ultimately decided to expand the existing MHM site because its infrastructure was already in place. While the capacity for the new site, 20,000 tons, has been announced, it is not yet clear what type of technology will dominate. Industry are predicting it will feature the same four-beam spunmelt technology found on the first line. The new line is set to come onstream in 2006 and will likely be followed with another new line, probably in Southeast Asia or China, in 2007.
 
Much of Mitsui Chemicals’ future expansion strategy will reportedly target southeast Asia and China where greater growth prospects are being seen. This will require honing products to meet the needs of customers in Thailand and other southeast Asia countries. These consumers are looking for more general-purpose products than the specialized nonwovens made by Mitsui in Japan.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $127 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Toshimi Hachimori, general manager, functional fabricated products division

Plants
Yokkaichi and Iwakuni

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntex

Major markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agriculture materials, household materials

Mitsui Chemicals’ total production capacity is 48,000 tons per year. This includes 25,000 tons of polypropylene-based spunbonded materials and 9000 tons of SMS nonwovens, all made in Japan, and 14,000 tons of SMMS material made in Thailand through the company’s MHM division. MHM, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Mitsui Chemicals, has been producing SMMS in Thailand since 2003 to meet increasing demands for diaper material. As part of a recent ¥5 billion investment, Mitsui will add 20,000 tons per year of capacity to its MHM venture, with start-up expected in the beginning of 2007.

Meanwhile, at its 7500-ton-per-year Japanese plant, Mitsui Chemicals produces breathable films used for diaper backsheets. The laminated backsheets are comprised of breathable films and nonwovens and Mitsui is reportedly the only manufacturer in Japan producing both films and nonwovens for such products.
 
Films will also be produced at Mitsui’s MHM plant. The company plans to build two lines, each of which will have a capacity of 3000 tons annually. Upon completion of these films lines—slated for January 2006—Mitsui will have the capability to produce breathable films and nonwovens for backsheets in Thailand as well as Japan.
 
By 2007, the company expects to produce 34,000 tons per year of nonwovens at its MHM subsidiary in addition to 6000 tons per year of breathable films. According to Mitsui, it will not only benefit from its position as a key supplier in the Thai market but also become the largest producer of diaper materials in Southeast Asia.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $132 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Yasushi Nawa, general manager, functional fabricated products division

Plants
Yokkaichi and Iwakuni

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntex

Major Markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agricultural materials, household materials

With headquarters in tokyo, Japan, Mitsui Chemicals produces a total of 48,000 tons per year of spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown and thermal bonded nonwovens. This includes 25,000 tons of polypropylene-based spunbonded materials; 9000 tons of SMS, all made in Japan; and 14,000 tons of SMMS made in Thailand through the company’s MHM division. MHM, a wholly owned subsidiary of Mitsui Chemicals, has been producing SMMS in Thailand since 2003 to meet increasing demand for diaper material.
 
MHM is fully operational with 16,000 tons of planned annual capacity expected to come onstream in January 2008. The expansion will bring Mitsui’s total production capacity in Thailand to 30,000 tons per year while its capacity in Japan will reach 64,000 tons annually. To support this additional capacity, the company plans to introduce new production equipment for its MHM business in 2009-2010.
 
The nonwovens produced in Thailand will be general-purpose materials for diapers and other end uses while the fabrics manufactured in Japan will consist of value-added substrates for higher-end applications. Up until now, Mitsui has produced polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens for diapers on a third machine with a production capacity of 12,600 tons per year as well as on a fourth, 8000-ton-per-year line.
 
Reflecting an overall trend in the diaper market toward composites such as SMS and SMMS, Mitsui reports that demand for single-layer polypropylene spunbond is on the decline. In response, the company plans to remodel its existing third and fourth lines so that they can produce added-value nonwovens for uses other than diapers. Meanwhile, the company expects to be able to meet demand from the Japanese diaper market by importing materials from its facility in Thailand.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $130 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Motoyuki Ezaki, general manager, life and energy materials division

Plants
Yokkaichi and Iwakuni

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntex

Major Markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agricultural materials, household materials

Mitsui Chemicals can produce 25,000 tons of polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens on four production lines. Among these, one can make 3000 tons; one can make 3500 tons, one can make 12,500 tons and one can make 6000 tons per year of spunbond materials. Additionally, a fifth line can make 9000 tons of SMS materials.  Of this capacity, 18,500 tons of spunbond and all 9000 tons of SMS material are targeting the diaper market.
 
Additionally, MHM, Mitsui Chemicals’ wholly-owned subsidiary in Thailand, has been making 14,000 tons of SMMS per year since 2003 and a second line, capable of producing 16,000 tons of SMMS, is scheduled to start operation in January 2008. Most of this capacity is exported to Japan, but diaper manufacturers in Southeast Asia and China are also customers.
 
Mitsui Chemicals is the top maker of polypropylene spunbond and spunmelt nonwovens for the Japanese diaper market with a reported marketshare of 41%. The sales of imported SMMS from MHM has increased considerably due to the low cost of this material compared to products made in Japan. Contrary to original expectations of production expansion into China, the company said it will not build a site there but will instead focus expansion initiatives on its MHM site to serve the Asian market.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $136 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Motoyuki Ezaki, general manager, life and energy materials division

Plants
Yokkaichi and Iwakuni

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown, thermal bonded

Mitsui Chemicals produces 25,000 tons of polypropylene-based spunbonded nonwovens per year. These are made on four lines with capacities ranging from 3000 to 12,500 tons. Additionally, Mitsui operates an SMS line that can make 9000 tons of nonwovens per year.
 
In Thailand, Mitsui operates MHM, a wholly-owned subsidiary, which has been making 14,000 tons of SMMS nonwovens since 2003 with another 16,000-ton line coming onstream currently. MHM ships its nonwovens to southeast Asia and Japan where they are used in diapers.
 
In fact, more than half of Mitsui’s output targets the diaper market, something that company has been trying to change in recent years as margins in this market have become more challenging. One result of these efforts is a new type of meltblown nonwovens—sold under the Syntex brand name—which has an extremely low diameter fiber. This product is being sold as a raw material for filters.
 
Although ordinary meltblown nonwovens are used in filters, Syntex nano has two types of nonwovens—the 10 type and the 6 type. As for the characteristic of the 10 type, it weighs 18 gsm and is 0.27mm thick. The porosity is about that same as ordinary meltblown nonwovens but the average pore size is significantly smaller, The result is high dust collection efficiency leading to a high performance filter. Mitsui Chemicals is developing a new market for raw materials such as air filters, liquid filters and battery separators in North America.

Location: TOKYO, JAPAN


Sales: $155 Million


Description: Key Personnel
Haruhiro Uesugi, general manager, life and energy materials division

Plants
Japan, Thailand

Processes
Spunbonded, needlepunched, meltblown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntex

Major Markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agriculture materials, household materials.

Mitsui Chemicals’ annual production capacity of nonwovens is 64,000 tons per year at its sites in Japan and Thailand. Among its output is polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens, SMS and SMMS.

In 2008, the company’s nonwovens sales increased, partly because of its role in the diaper market. In particular, demand in Thailand and China is driving growth. Mitsui is partially serving this demand with a new 16,000-ton spunmelt line at its MHM facility in Thailand, which began operating in January 2008. MHM also makes microporous films for the diaper market with an annual capacity of 6000 tons per year and can supply a backsheet film for diapers, which is laminated nonwovens with microporous films. About 80% of MHM’s output is exported.

MHM has been making nonwovens since March 2003 and since then has grown to comprise a significant share of Mitsui’s nonwovens operation. Currently, this operation makes nearly the same amount of nonwovens as the Japanese business and the cost competitiveness is much stronger than it is in Japan. Additionally, growth prospects within Asia and China are much stronger than in Japan.

Location: Tokyo, Japan

Sales: $164 million

Description: Key Personnel
Haruhiro Uesugi, general manager, spunbond fabrics division

Plants
Yokkaichi, Iwakuni, Japan

Processes
Spunbond, needlepunch, meltblown, thermal bonded

Brand Names
Tafnel, Syntec

Major Markets
Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agriculture materials, household materials.

Annual production capacity for Tokyo’s Mitsui Chemicals is 65,000 tons. By production type, the company’s capacity is 26,000 tons of polypropylene spunbond nonwovens (made on four lines) and 9000 tons of SMS nonwovens on one line as well as 30,000 tons of SMMS nonwovens made in Thailand at a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Although Mitsui Chemicals is the largest maker of polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens in Japan, nonwovens sales fell in 2009 because of decreased demand and lower selling prices. Additionally, nonwovens made and sold in Thailand, where the company has operated since 2008, fetch significantly lower prices than those made in Japan.
To help boost sales, Mitsui has developed a number of value-added products. Most recently, a low fiber diameter meltblown nonwovens is being sold under the brand name Syntec nano, which competes significantly with electrospun nonwovens in the air and liquid filtration markets. Mitsui is currently making these nonwovens on two lines.
Within the polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens segment, Mistui has developed hollow fiber materials for oil absorption mats, which absorb spilled oil in natural bodies of water. Buoyancy performance of the fiber increases because the inside of the fiber is hollow, making oil absorption easier and more effective. In fact, oil absorption performance improves around 20% because of the fibers’ larger surface area.



Tokyo, Japan
www.mitsui.com/jp
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $219 million

Key Personnel: Kensaku Takahashi, general manager, spunbond fabrics division

Plants: Yokkaichi and Iwakuni, Japan

Processes: Spunbond, meltblown, needlepunch, thermal bonded

Brands: Tafnel, Syntex

Major Markets: Coverstock, geotextiles, oil absorbing materials, air filters, wipes, agriculture materials, household materials

Annually, Mitsui Chemicals produces 40,000 tons of polypropylene spunbond nonwovens on five lines and 9,000 tons of SMS on one line—all in Japan. Additionally, MHM, the company’s Thai subsidiary, makes 30,000 tons of SMS on two lines.

The company’s latest line, which produces 15,000 tons per year, was added in Japan in April 2012. Additionally, the company has established a Chinese subsidiary in December 2011. The first line in this subsidiary, which also produces 15,000 tons per year, is expected to start operation in December 2013 in Tianjin. Once this line is complete, the company will have manufacturing assets in Japan, China and Thailand, giving it greater access to the entire Asian region. This will allow the company to capitalize on increased demand for diapers in Southeast Asia and China.

The new Chinese line will match the same high quality as Mitsui’s assets in Japan to meet demand for sophisticated diapers whereas the lines in Thailand make more general-purpose nonwovens. According to reports, Mitsui chose to make varying grades of nonwovens in China and Thailand due to free trade agreements between the countries that have reduced import duties. This allows the two sites to supply each other depending on market needs.

A producer of polypropylene polymers, Mitsui is able to make unique nonwovens, superior to competitors that use similar Reifenhauser technology, executives say. This gives the company an advantage in markets like baby diapers, feminine hygiene items, adult incontinence and medical. 
Tokyo, Japan
www.mitsui.co.jp
2012 Nonwovens Sales: $183 million
 
Key Personnel: Kensaku Takahashi, general manager, spunbond fabrics division
 
Plants: Yokkaichi and Iwakuni, Japan
 
Processes: spunbond, meltblown, needlepunch, thermal bonded
 
Brands: Tafnel, Synetx, Syntex Nano
 
With a new line up and running in Japan and one under construction in Tianjin, China, Mitsui Chemicals’ global spunbond capacity is going to surpass 94,000 tons by the end of the year. The company operates six lines in Japan, two in Thailand and will start its first Chinese line, able to make 15,000 tons of material, this month.
 
Currently, about 80% of Mitsui’s output is geared toward hygiene applications while the remaining is sold into industrial markets. Within hygiene, Mitsui has an advantage over other nonwovens producers because it is also a major supplier of polypropylene and Mitsui makes its nonwovens using the highest grades of polypropylene, resulting in a soft and flexible product.
 
In addition to its spunbond business, Mitsui makes meltblown nonwovens with very low diameter, which are sold under the brand name of syntex Nano. Although the other nonwovens manufacturers make the meltblown nonwovens of 600 nm, Mitsui is the first company to make them with a 300 nm. These products have been used liquid filtration media.