2012 Nonwovens Sales: $183 million
Key Personnel: Kensaku Takahashi, general manager, spunbond fabrics division
Plants: Yokkaichi and Iwakuni, Japan
Processes: spunbond, meltblown, needlepunch, thermal bonded
Brands: Tafnel, Synetx, Syntex Nano
With a new line up and running in Japan and one under construction in Tianjin, China, Mitsui Chemicals’ global spunbond capacity is going to surpass 94,000 tons by the end of the year. The company operates six lines in Japan, two in Thailand and will start its first Chinese line, able to make 15,000 tons of material, this month.
Currently, about 80% of Mitsui’s output is geared toward hygiene applications while the remaining is sold into industrial markets. Within hygiene, Mitsui has an advantage over other nonwovens producers because it is also a major supplier of polypropylene and Mitsui makes its nonwovens using the highest grades of polypropylene, resulting in a soft and flexible product.
In addition to its spunbond business, Mitsui makes meltblown nonwovens with very low diameter, which are sold under the brand name of syntex Nano. Although the other nonwovens manufacturers make the meltblown nonwovens of 600 nm, Mitsui is the first company to make them with a 300 nm. These products have been used liquid filtration media.