In 2020, due to the impact of COVID-19, most industries experienced a period of outage, and all kinds of economic activities were temporarily pause. In this situation, the non-woven industry is busier than any other time. As the demand for disinfectant wipes, masks and other products has reached an unprecedented level this year, news reports about the surge in demand for base materials (i.e. melt blown materials) have become the mainstream. Many people have heard a new word non-woven for the first time. People begin to pay more attention to the important role of non-woven materials in protecting public health. 2020 may be a lost year for other industries, but this situation does not apply to the non-woven industry.
01 in response to covid-19, enterprises will increase production or expand business scope to new markets
It has been more than a year since the first report of covid-19. With the gradual spread of the virus from Asia to Europe in the first few months of 2020, and eventually to North and South America, many industries are facing the situation of suspension or closure. However, the global nonwovens industry has begun to develop at a high speed. Many markets of nonwovens services (medical, health care, hygiene, wipes, etc.) have been declared as essential businesses for a long time. The unprecedented demand for medical equipment such as protective clothing, masks and respirators also means that many enterprises in the industry must actually increase production or expand their existing businesses to new markets. According to Jacob Holm, a maker of Sontara Spunlaced fabrics, production of this material increased 65% as demand for personal protective equipment (PPE) increased in May. Jacob Holm increased production significantly by eliminating defects in some existing lines and other improvements, and soon announced that a new global expansion plant would be built and put into operation early next year. DuPont has been supplying Tyvek nonwovens to the medical market for many years. With the demand for medical materials driven by coronavirus, DuPont has transferred materials used in construction market and other applications to the medical market, and announced that it will increase production capacity in Virginia to rapidly produce more medical protection products. In addition to the non-woven industry, other companies that have traditionally not been involved in the medical and PPR markets have also moved quickly to meet the demand growth caused by the new coronavirus. Johns Manville, a manufacturer of construction and specialty products, also uses meltblown materials produced in Michigan for mask and mask applications and spunbonded nonwovens produced in South Carolina for medical applications.
02 industry leading nonwovens manufacturers increase meltblown capacity this year
There will be 40 new meltblown production lines in North America in 2020. At the beginning of the outbreak, reifenhauser, a supplier of meltblown machinery, announced that it could shorten the delivery time of the meltblown line to 3.5 months, thus providing a fast and reliable solution to solve the global shortage of masks. Berry group has always been in the forefront of melt blowing capacity expansion. When the threat of new coronavirus is found, Berry has actually taken measures to improve melt blowing capacity. At present, Berry has developed new production lines in Brazil, the United States, China, the United Kingdom and Europe, and will eventually operate nine melt blowing production lines in the global scope. Like berry, most of the world's leading nonwovens manufacturers have increased meltblown capacity this year. Lydall is adding two production lines in Rochester, New Hampshire, and one in France. FITESA is building new meltblown production lines in Italy, Germany and South Carolina; Sandler is investing in Germany; mogul has added two meltblown production lines in Turkey; Freudenberg has added one in Germany. At the same time, some new nonwovens enterprises have invested in new production lines, ranging from large multinational raw material suppliers to small independent start-ups, but their common goal is to help meet the global demand for mask materials.
03 manufacturers of absorbent hygiene products expand their business scope to mask production
In order to ensure that there is enough nonwoven capacity to meet the demand of mask market, enterprises in various consumer markets began to increase the production of masks. Because of the similarities between the manufacture of masks and absorbent hygiene products, manufacturers of diapers and women's hygiene products are at the forefront of these conversion masks. In April this year, P & G announced that it would switch production capacity and start manufacturing masks in nearly 10 production bases around the world. P & G CEO David Taylor said mask production started in China and is now expanding to North America, Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
In addition to P & G, essity of Sweden announced plans to produce masks for the Swedish market, and cmpc, a South American health expert, announced that it would be able to produce 18.5 million masks per month in the near future. Cmpc has added five mask production lines in four countries (Chile, Brazil, Peru and Mexico). In each country, masks will be provided to public health services free of charge. In September, ontex's factory in eeklo, Belgium, launched a production line with an annual capacity of about 80 million masks. Since August, the line has produced 100000 masks a day.
04 the production of wipes increased significantly, but meeting the market demand of wipes is still facing challenges
Investment has been strong this year as demand for disinfectant wipes surges and new wipes continue to be introduced in industrial, personal and home care applications. In 2020, two of the world's leading nonwovens processors, Rockline industries and nice Pak, announced that they would substantially expand their North American business. In August, Rockline said it would build a new $20 million sterile wipes line in Wisconsin. It is reported that the investment will nearly double the company's production capacity. The new line, called xc-105 galaxy, will become one of the largest wipes disinfection lines in the private brand wipes industry. It is expected to be completed in mid-2021.
Similarly, wipes manufacturer nice Pak announced a plan to double its capacity to produce sterile wipes at its Jonesboro plant. Nice Pak expanded production by changing the plant's production schedule to a 24-hour, 7-day production schedule. Even though many enterprises have greatly increased the production capacity of wipes, they still face challenges in meeting the market demand for disinfectant wipes. In November, Clorox announced an increase in production and cooperated with third-party suppliers. Although nearly one million packages of Clorox wipes were delivered to stores every day, they still could not meet the demand.
05 the integration of health industry supply chain has become an obvious trend
In recent years, the integration of health industry supply chain has been continuing. This trend began when Berry Plastics acquired avitiv, combining nonwovens and films, which are two basic components of health products. When berry acquired chloropay, a maker of breathable film technology, in 2018, he even expanded his application in the field of film. This year, another nonwovens manufacturer, FITESA, also expanded its film business by acquiring Tredegar Corporation's personal care films business, including its production base in Terre Haute, Indiana, Kerkrade, R é TS á g, Hungary, Diadema, Brazil and Pune, India. The acquisition strengthens FITESA's film, elastic and laminate businesses.