- ongoing development of advanced nanofiber technologies, which offer finer filtration capabilities than microfiber and coarser materials, and make nonwovens more competitive with alternatives such as membranes
- growth in manufacturing activities, which make use of nonwovens in both air and fluid filters
- continued regulation of air and water quality, requiring the filtration of outgoing air and wastewater in manufacturing applications
- increasing interest and awareness among consumers and homeowners in indoor air and drinking water quality, leading to new spending on filtration products
Nanofiber technology holds a great deal of promise for filtration applications, due to its advanced fine filtration capabilities, and continues to see new research and development. For example, in 2019 Verdex Technologies introduced a technology for spinning nanofibers using low-pressure air and no solvents. The technology provides nonwovens producers with the ability to offer a wide variety of functional enhancements to their products, particularly high-efficiency air filtration and liquid cartridge filtration products.
While gains in key manufacturing sectors will support growth through 2024, gains will be limited in others due to the Covid-19 pandemic. For instance, motor vehicle production has fallen substantially in 2020 due to various stay-at-home orders across the U.S. However, demand for some end uses has increased, such as consumer water filters, with more consumer staying at home for longer periods. Additionally, sales of higher value filters that can provide better protection against airborne pathogens will help limit declines somewhat.
Over the long term, as smart technologies and reminders increase the replacement rate of disposable filters, particularly among consumers, sales of filters will benefit and, subsequently, demand for nonwovens used in those filters.