2014 Nonwovens Sales: $109 million
Shigeki Tanaka, general manager, spunbonded division of Toyobo; Masakazu Saito, president of Kureha
Tsuruga, Japan; Iwakuni, Japan; Shiga, Japan
Spunbond, needlepunch, resin bonded, spunlaced, thermal bonded, stitch bonded
Volans, Ecule, Bonden, Kurelock, Dynac, Breathair
Geotextiles, roofing sheets, carpet backings, automotive interiors, automotive filters, needlepunch carpets, hot melt bonding sheets, plaster bases
The production capacity of Toyobo’s PET spunbond nonwovens is 12,000 tons/year, but a pilot plant producing 1500 tons/year was introduced last year. Toyobo’s subsidiary Kureha has produced resin bonded, needlepunched, thermal bonded and spunbond nonwovens, each with the capacity of about 7000 tons/year. Kureha is a major producer of air filters for mobile engines, and has produced filters in Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and the U.S. Another leading product for Kureha is its plaster based cloth, but due to the decrease in domestic demand for the material, part of the production facility making it was altered to produce materials for automotives.
Yuho, another subsidiary of the company, has also produced needlepunched, spunlaced and stitch bonded nonwovens each with the capacity of about 3000 tons/year.
According to the company, among its products for consumer and industrial uses, sales of Breathair, a functional cushion material, held firm, and sales of its spunbond nonwovens—mainly supplied to the civil engineering and construction industries—expanded.
Breathair is a polyester nonwoven of a thermoplasticity elastomer. Toyoba’s Tsuruga facility has a capacity of 2200 tons/year on two lines and its Orbenburg facility in Germany has a capacity of 1100 tons/year on one line. Because of the characteristics of Breathair, a breathable material that’s lightweight, is superior in durability and workability, and maintains a bulking power even when it’s used long term, demands for the finished goods are increasing for seat cushioning in the railway vehicles, bed mats, couches, mats for care, mats for leisure, etc.
Due to the increasing demand, the company may add 1100 tons/year in 2017, and add another 1100 tons/year by 2020.’’