This means meltblown represented more than 10% of global nonwovens market sales of $47 billion at the end of 2018.
Asia has registered the highest annual growth for filtration media, at 19% per year during the 2010-2016 period. Surprisingly, India led growth in Asian demand followed by China and Japan. With India’s GDP expected to average 7% during the next five years, the use of filtration media to mitigate and control water and air pollution will be a key driver for demand of meltblown nonwovens. Also, the consumption of meltblown filter media will keep increasing through the steady replacement of traditional textiles and paper filter media. Filter bags for hot air filtration will ,however, continue under the scope of needlefelt nonwoven materials.
Much of the mletlbown produced globally is consumed internally for production of water and air filtration media and kits. Representing about 33% of all meltblown produced, `stand alone` meltblown has sustained capacity increases of approximate 12% per year for the last 10 years. Also, there is increasing consumption of lightweight meltblown fabrics in composite structures like SMS, SMMS etc. for producing barrier inducing `medical` use fabrics ranging from 15 -30 gsm.
Meltblown used in filter media is primarily made of polypropylene which allows it to offer a very high barrier filtration efficiency of 95-99%. Global companies like Freudenberg and Ahlstrom are the worlds largest makers of meltblown for filter media markets but they are challenged with lessening the environmental impact of these materials.
Meltblown nonwovens are made using two distinctly different meltblown product lines. The technology itself is based on these core technologies:
• Insertion of mono and bi-component meltblowing equipment for a variety of medical and hygiene applications. In this case, meltblown is inserted between an upstream and downstream spinning system (typically spunbond) for the purpose of creating a barrier layer, e.g. creating SMS.
• Monolithic or standalone mono and bicomponent meltblown equipment for a variety of filtration, insulation and sorbents applications. In this case, meltblown is created independently, then is utilized alone or combined with additional media for the purpose of creating filtration.
A quality meltblown web is generally preferred to provide the following consistent structural characteristics: random fiber orientation, low to moderate web strength, high opacity, fiber diameter ranges from 0.5 to 30 µm, basis weight ranges from 8-400 g/m2, micro fibers providing a high surface area for good insulation and filtration characteristics, a smooth surface texture and webs that are layered or shingled in structure.
RoadMap For Future Demand in India