Nonwovens Industry
Welcome to Nonwovens Industry
FacebookRSSTwitterLinkedIn
Print

Unitika


Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $84 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Yoshihiko Mineda, managing director; Noriyuki Kimura, general manager, spunlaced fabrics sales

Plants
Okazaki, Tarui

Processes
Spunbond, spunlaced

Brand Names
Marix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Cottoace

Major Markets
Agricultural materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storage bags, coverstock roofing sheets

With sales of $84 million, roll goods producer Unitika, Osaka, Japan, continues to focus on its spunbonded nonwovens production capabilities. While the company has postponed plans to increase its spunbond capacity, now 20,000 tons, by 7000 tons due to unfavorable market conditions, the company will increase its capacity 2000 tons by improving existing equipment during the first half of 2003. The larger scale expansion plan is expected to be revisited in 2004
 
Currently producing polyester, nylon and bicomponent spunbonded materials, the company plans to improve its bicomponent production based on market preferences.
 
In addition to its spunbond operations, Unitika manufactures 5000 tons of spunlaced materials per year. This figure includes a 2500-ton expansion completed in May. Sales of spunlaced materials are reportedly outpacing spunbond sales.
 
Looking outside of Japan, Unitika operates a joint venture company with Teijin Films, Osaka, Japan, in Thailand. Named Thai Tusco, the joint venture produces 4000 tons of polyester spunbonded nonwovens per year. The company is hoping to increase this capacity to 6000 tons by focusing on improving its existing capacity and expects to someday increase its output to 10,000 tons. Approximately 80% of the material produced through Thai Tusco is consumed within Thailand whereas 20% is exported. The U.S. carpet backing market is the chief area of export.
Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $74 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Yoshihiko Mineda, managing director

Plants
Ikazaki, Tarui

Processes
Spunbonded, spunlaced

Brand Names
Marix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Cottoace

Major Markets
Agriculture materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storing bags, coverstock, roofing sheets

The year 2002 was marked by a doubling of spunlaced capacity for Unitika, Osaka, Japan, The company added a new line, capable of producing 2500 tons per year of spunlaced nonwovens in June .
 
The majority of spunlaced nonwovens produced by Unitia are 100% cotton. Demand for these materials is great in the cosmetic markets, and this has allowed production volumes to grow smoothly. In fact, spunlaced nonwovens have come to occupy an important place in Unitika’s business despite their inferiority in size to spunbond materials.
 
Unitika can produce 20,000 tons of spunbonded nonwovens per year as well as an additional 4000 tons of polyester spunbonded nonwovens, which the company produces through its Tusco joint  venture company with Teijin Films. Headquarterd inThailand, Tusco’s production is expected to increase to 22,000 tons by the end of the year.
Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $80 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Yoshihiko Mineda, general manager, spunbond division; Noriyuki Kimura, general manager, spunlaced fabric sales

Plants
Okasaki and Tarui, Japan

Processes
Spunbond, spunlaced

Brand Names
Matrix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

Major Markets
Agriculture materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storage bags, coverstock, roofing sheets

Based in Osaka, Japan, Unitika can produce 22,000 tons of spunbond nonwovens and 5000 tons of spunlaced materials per year as well as another 4000 tons of polyester-based spunbond nonwovens through its joint venture with Teijin Films, called TUSCO, in Thailand.
 
Japan’s largest producer of polyester-based spunbonded nonwovens, Unitika reportedly commands 40% of this market, which has dropped off slightly. In response to these conditions, Unitika has begun looking toward exporting these materials into China and developing new applications for the Japanese market in such areas as carpet backings, automotive carpets and tile carpets. TUSCO, in Thailand, is also trying to strengthen its presence in the Chinese market through a close cooperation with Unitika.
 
In terms of new product development, Unitika is trying to develop exclusive products for its core areas such as Eleves, a spunbond nonwovens containing a PET core, and a polyethylene sheath with excellent heat sealing thanks to the low melting point of PE. It is suitable for bag packaging and fit for sticking to PTEF membranes.
 
Alcima is a spunbond nonwoven with PET/PE bicomponent fibers. In this product, the PET is a 0.25 denier microfiber that shows an excellent clean-up quality when used in a wiper. Terramac is a spunbond nonwoven containing polylactic acid, which gives the materials a decompositional function. Nonwovens of these types are suitable for use with soil and can be laid underground soil in civil engineering and agricultural markets.
 
While spunbond demand has remained sluggish, spunlaced nonwovens, sold under the brand name Cottoace, have been picking up steam. Increased demand has been driven by cosmetics markets where 100% cotton Cottoace’s softness is greatly preferred, despite its high cost.
Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $85 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Masaru Tsugawa, general manager, spunbond fabrics division; Hiroshi Kawasaki, general manager, spunbond fabrics sales

Plants
Okazaki and Tarui, Japan

Processes
Spunbond, spunlaced

Brand Names
Matrix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

Major Markets
Agriculture materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storage bags, coverstock, roofing sheets

Based in Osaka, Japan, Unitika can produce 22,000 tons of spunbond nonwovens and 5000 tons of spunlaced materials per year as well as another 4000 tons of polyester-based spunbond nonwovens through its joint venture with Teijin Films, called TUSCO, in Thailand.
 
Unitika remains Japan’s largest producer of polyester-based spunbonded nonwovens. Although output decreased when some production lines were stalled in 2003, these lines restarted in 2004, increasing capacity. Cotton spunlaced nonwovens grew slightly, 5%, in 2004 following an equipment expansion in this area in 2002. Currently, the company is underway with plans to shift from cotton to other fibers for its spunlaced nonwovens. Unitika also intends to open new overseas markets and improve its export ratio from 15% to 20% in the future.
 
At its TUSCO operation in Thailand, two machines are in operation. The first has a production capacity of 1600 tons per year while the second line produces 2400 tons annually. Although the second machine is running at full capacity, the first is now operating at 75% capacity.
 
Due to shifting market conditions, the company’s plan to increase its polyester spunbond nonwovens capacity to 7500 tons per year was postponed. Instead, Unitika is examining other options including the possible addition of large-scale equipment in Japan, construction of a new plant at its Thailand-based joint venture or the establishment of production in another country.
Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $82 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Masaru Tsugawa, general manager, spunbonded fabrics division; Hiroshi Kawasaki, general manager, spunbonded fabric sales

Plants
Okazaki and Tarui, Japan

Processes
Spunbond, spunlaced

Brand Names
Matrix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

Major Markets
Agriculture materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storage bags, coverstock, roofing sheets

Based in Osaka, Japan, roll goods producer Unitika boasts an annual production capacity of 22,000 tons of spunbond nonwovens and 5000 tons of spunlaced materials per year. Additionally, the company can manufacture another 4000 tons of polyester-based spunbonded nonwovens through its TUSCO joint venture with Teijin Films in Thailand. Although TUSCO achieved full capacity levels in 2005, neither of the company's Japan-based plants reached this mark. Consequently, the company's sales saw a decrease last year.
 
In the automotive sector, Unitika has made recent efforts to expand exports into China. According to the company, production of both automotive tile carpets and floor mats has been increasing in China and consequently demand for polyester spunbonded nonwovens used for carpet backings has been on the rise. As its TUSCO plant is operating at full capacity, Unitika has been exporting carpet backings into China from its Japanese plant. The company reports that it competes in China against Taiwan-based Freudenberg Far Eastern Spunweb (FFES), which dominates the carpet backing market there. In an effort to strengthen its position, Unitika plans to increase its exports into the Chinese market.
 
In the spunlaced sector, Unitika's production of cotton-based nonwovens has not yet reached full capacity levels. The company is currently making efforts to boost sales of Lyocell-based spunlaced nonwovens. Unitika describes nonwovens made of Lyocell as suitable for industrial wipes because of their strength, moisture retention and low linting properties. The company is also promoting five-layer composites featuring spunlaced and thermal bonded nonwovens for a variety of applications.
Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $81 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Masaru Tsugawa, general manager, spunbonded fabrics division; Hiroshi Kawasaki, general manager, spunbonded fabric sales

Plants
Okazaki and Tarui, Japan

Processes
Spunbond, spunlaced

Brand Names
Matrix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

Major Markets
Agriculture materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storage bags, coverstock, roofing sheets


Unitika’s nonwovens production capacity is 22,000 tons per year of polyester spunbonded nonwovens and 5000 tons per year of spunlaced nonwovens. Additionally, its Tusco joint venture agreement with Teijin Films in Thailand produces 4000 tons of polyester-based spunbonded nonwovens. Unitika is the largest producer of polyester spunbonded nonwovens in Asia with 26,000 tons of capacity. Currently, Tusco is operating at full capacity but Unitika still has some capacity remaining in its spunlace nonwovens business.
 
In terms of capacity upgrades, Unitika intends to improve its Japanese lines by adding 2000 tons of polyester spunbond capacity by 2008 and will eventually bring on a new line with 5000-ton capabilities either in Japan or Thailand.
 
Much of Unitika’s current business exists in the carpet backing and roofing sheet business but the company has been making significant strides in targeting new fields of application. Unitika’s spunbonded nonwovens are superior in molding abilities and the company has added stretch properties to further enhance the materials.
 
Another goal is to expand its export ratio from 10-15% to 20%.
 
Unitika also produces spunbonded and spunlaced nonwovens using polylactic acid (PLA), a polymer derived from plants and crude materials. While this business is currently a small one because of PLA supply shortages, the company expects these materials to represent the future of nonwovens.
Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $88 Million

Description: Key Personnel
Masaru Tsugawa, general manager of nonwoven fabrics division; Hiroshi Kawasaki, general manager, nonwoven fabrics sales

Plants
Okazaki and Tarui, Japan

Processes
spunbond, spunlace

Brand Names
Marix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

In 2007, Unitika changed the name of its nonwovens business from spunbond fabrics division to nonwoven fabrics division to better represent its product mix. In addition to its 22,000 tons of polyester spunbonded nonwovens and 5000 tons of spunlaced nonwovens made by Unitika exclusively, this company operates a joint venture with Taiwan’s Teijin films, which makes 4000 tons of polyester spunbond nonwovens per year.
 
Additionally, Unitika plans to further broaden its technology going forward and is developing a process that incorporates spinning, water jets and needlepunching.
 
The high cost of raw materials and fuel has negatively impacted the company’s profits, despite increased sales. To combat this, Unitika tried to implement a price hit but it was not widely accepted by its customers who were reluctant to pass along these increased.
Location: OSAKA, JAPAN


Sales: $97 Million


Description: Key Personnel
Masaru Tsugawa, general manager, nonwoven fabrics division; Hiroshi Kawasaki, general manager, nonwoven fabrics sales

Plants
Okasaki and Tarui

Brand Names
Marix, Eleves, Nyace, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

Unitika’s annual nonwovens capacity is 22,000 tons of spunbond nonwovens and 5000 tons of spunlaced nonwovens. Additionally, Tusco, a joint venture of Unitika and Teijiin, makes 5000 tons of PET spunbonded nonwovens per year.

Production of PET spunbonded nonwovens decreased in the latter half of 2008 as the markets it serves softened and this has negatively impacted sales and earnings. Meanwhile, in Unitika’s spunlace operation, hygiene and cosmetic applications remained level as the usage of windshield wipes for automotives markets decreased. At Tusco, sales decreased but profits increased.

Tusco became a subsidiary of Unitika in April 2008. The main uses of nonwovens made by Tusco include the base cloth of tufted carpets used in tile carpets or mobile floor mats. With existing output, growth would be difficult so an expansion strategy will be necessary in the future.

Spunbonded nonwovens made with composite fibers in a core-sheath formation are being made under the brand name Eleves and demand is growing for these products. The core is made of polyester and the sheath is made of PE. Current 6000 tons of this material is made in Japan but this is expected to expand as Tusco equipment is enhanced to be able to make Eleves.

Current efforts from Unitika currently center around the development of new products to make up for decreases in other areas. This is difficult but it is necessary, according to the company.
Location: Osaka, Japan

Sales: $104 million

Description: Key Personnel
Hiroshi Yoshihara, general manager, nonwoven fabrics division; Tetsuya Yohimura, general manager, spunbond fabrics sales

Plants
Okazaki and Tarui, Japan

Processes
Spunbond, spunlace

Brand Names
Marix, Eleves, Appeal, Wiwi, Alcima, Terrramac, Cottoace


The nonwovens production capacity of Unitika includes 22,000 tons of polyester-based spunbond nonwovens and 5000 tons of spunlaced nonwovens. Additionally, Thai Tusco, Unitika’s Thai subsidiary, makes 4000 tons of spunbonded nonwovens.
As for sales of the company last year, increased spunlaced sales were not enough to offset decreased spunbond volumes, so sales of the company decreased as a whole.
Spunlace growth was driven by increased usage in the surface materials of sanitary napkins for the feminine hygiene market. To adapt its spunlace materials for this market, Unitika combined polyester and cotton fibers to make them dryer and more absorbent.
Within spunbond, many of the markets Unitika serves were impacted by the economic crisis. Therefore, Unitika made some changes to help boost its business. For one, it has increased the amount of nonwovens made in Thailand, where labor is cheaper, that are sent to Japan. Namely, polylactic-based nonwovens are currently being transferred to the Tusco, as are a number of spunbond composites. Meanwhile, the Japanese equipment will focus on the production of Eleves, a core sheath type composite spunbonded material that has been increasing in demand. This product, which consists of a polyester core and polyethylene sheath, provides a better value incentive for Unitika.
Osaka, Japan
www.unitika.co.jp
2011 Nonwovens Sales: $122 million

Key Personnel: Hiroshi Yoshihara, general manager, nonwoven fabrics; Tetsuya Yoshimura, general manager, spunbond fabrics sales

Plants: Okazaki and Tarui, Japan

Processes: Spunbond, spunlace

Brands: Marix, Eleves, Appeal, Wiwi, Alcima, Terramac, Cottoace

Major Markets: Agriculture materials, carpet backings, geotextiles, cable wraps, wipes, storage bags, coverstock, roofing sheets

Nonwovens sales were strong for Japanese producer Unitika thanks to steady shipments to the construction and civil engineering segments. However, profits were down because the company failed to account for rising raw material and fuel prices.

In terms of capacity, Unitika makes 22,000 tons of polyester spunbond nonwovens per year in Japan while spunlace output is 5,000 tons. Additionally, the company’s Thai subsidiary, Thai Tusco, makes 5,000 tons of polyester-based spunbond nonwovens per year, and its joint corporation with Marusan Industry, UMCT, can make 5,000 tons of the material per year.

In 2011, Thai Tusco was damaged by flooding in the region and production on two of its lines was halted. One line reopened in March 2012 and the other started up again in April. During the closure, Unitika’s Japan sites picked up the slack so customer supply was not impacted. Tusco has become an important foothold in the overseas market for Unitika and executives have considered expanding this site.

In Unitika’s spunlace business, the market has been favorable as the demand for wet wipes is increasing and the company is looking into expanding its marketing activities into China.