2017 Nonwovens Sales: $214 million
Yasuyoshi Nakajima, general manager nonwoven fabrics division; Kazuhiko Sanmaido, general manager, spunbond division
Miyama, Nobeoka, Japan
Eltas, Bemliese, Microweb, Smash, precise, Semia PUlshut
Coverstock, wipes, gauze, packagings, white blood corpuscle removing filters
Production capacity of nonwoven fabrics at Asahi Kasei in Japan is 29,500 tons of polypropylene spunbond nonwovens; 5500 tons of polyester spunbond nonwoven fabrics, 3500 tons of nylon spunbond nonwoven fabrics, 5500 tons of cupra spunbond nonwoven fabrics and 2000 tons per of meltblown nonwovens. Additionally, Asahi makes 40,000 tons of spunbond polypropylene materials in Thailand.
The increase of sales volumes of polypropylene spunbond nonwoven fabrics and Bemliese have contributed to the increasing sales of nonwoven fabrics at Asahi in 2017. Between Japan and Thailand, the company can make nearly 70,000 tons of spunbond materials per year. The company expanded its Thailand facility in 2016 and has been increasing output there ever since. While much of this material is exported to Japan, exports to other areas greatly increased in 2017.
The company is reportedly considering another expansion in Thailand to meet demand for materials both from Japan and other parts of Asia.
In terms of Bemliese, a new facility capable of making 1500 tons of the material per year, began operation in February 2017. Demand for face masks made of Bemliese is high and around 70% of the material made with this process is used in face masks. Growth is in part being driven by an increase in exports of this material to China and Korea which reached 2500 tons last year.
Bemliese is also being used as medical gauze and cleanroom wipes but face masks are dominating. It is ideal for face masks because it uses a cellulose long fiber, which in addition to high strength is durable and transparent, when wet