2012 Nonwovens Sales: $201 million
Key Personnel: Katsuhiko Hinamoto, general manager, nonwoven fabrics; Hiroshi Maruo, general manager, spunbond fabric sales; Yasumasa Shii, general manager, Bemliese sales
Plants: Moriyama and Nobeoka, Japan
Processes: Spunbond, meltblow
Brands: Eltas, Bemliese, Microweb, Smash, Precise
Major markets: Coverstock, wipes, gauze, packings, white blood corpuscle removing filters
Asahi Kasei makes 13,000 tons of SMMS nonwovens, 13,000 tons of polypropylene spunbond, 5500 tons of polyester spunbond, 3500 tons of nylon spunbond, 4500 tons of Cupra spunbonded nonwovens, 2000 tons of Compound spunbond and 200 tons of meltblown nonwovens per year.
The company established a Thailand site in November 2012 and expects the new line, with a capacity of 20,000 tons per year, to reach a sold-out status by the end of 2013. Materials made in Thailand are used for the topsheet and backsheet of the diaper, a field where Asahi Kasei can be competitive due to its proprietary technology.
Another area of focus for Asahi Kasei has been in nanofiber nonwovens, which it manufactures through cellulose nanofiber and meltblown methods. As for the cellulose nanofiber nonwovens, the fiber diameter is 30-100 nm, the mass per unit is 3-20 gsm and the thickness is 7-80 microns.
According to the company, these materials can be used in filters, battery separators and medical applications. One specific area of success has been in the filter market where Asahi Kasei makes its own cartridge filter with meltblown nonwovens of less than one micron in fiber diameter. This cartridge is sold under the brand name Eutec Nano.