2016 Nonwovens Sales: $202 million
Katsuhiko Hinamoto, general manager, nonwoven fabrics division; Kazuhiko Sanmaido, general manager, spunbond fabrics
Eltas, Bemliese, Microweb, Smash, Precise, Semia, Pulshut
Coverstock, wipes, gauze, packaging, white blood corpuscle removing filters
In Japan, Asahi Kasei can make 26,000 tons of polypropylene spunbond nonwovens per year, 5500 tons of polyester spunbond nonwovens, 3500 tons of nylon spunbond; 5500 tons of cupra spunbond nonwovens, 2000 tons of Precise compound spunbond nonwovens and 200 tons of meltblown nonwovens.
In Thailand Asahi Kasei can make 40,000 tons of polypropylene spunbond nonwovens and is investing in new equipment for its Bemliese cupra spunbond lines which will bring its capacity from 4000 to 5500 tons per year.
While sales of nonwovens increased for Asahi Kasei, growth was hindered by decreasing overseas sales caused by yen appreciation. A new facility with a capacity of 20,000 tons of polypropylene spunbond nonwovens began operation in February 2016 and is expected to reach full capacity this year.
While growth of polypropylene nonwovens in Japan has been low as a result of a decrease in diaper production growth, the company plans to meet market needs and expand sales by improving existing value-added products with even higher performance and higher quality.
Exports of Bemliese for face mask use in China and Korea have greatly increased.
Asahi Kasei is developing cellulose nanofiber nonwovens, which it has been researching since 1990. CNF nonwovens currently under development are made with a wetlaid process. These feature a single layer sheet and multilayered sheet composed of other nonwovens. The company is planning to begin the full-fledged production in 2019 to use for cell culture substrates, heat exchange membranes and battery separators.