Author: Dave Rousse, President, INDA
Posted: February 2, 2017
As it’s the beginning of the New Year, I’d like to share what is going on in nonwovens... basically growth and innovation. In this article, I will discuss the growth, and next month, what’s at the forefront of nonwovens innovation.
Nonwovens are growing in North America through continued investments, investments in capacity and through mergers and acquisitions. INDA has noticed an acceleration of capacity investments. Capacity investments slowed between 2012 through 2014, as the decision to make those investments occurred during the Great Recession.
Nonwovens normally outpace real GDP; in the twenty-five-year period from 1990 through 2015, nonwoven capacity in North America expanded 5.4% annually, compared to U.S. real GDP of 2.4% a year. During 2012 through 2014, however, capacity growth slowed to 1.3% annually. In 2015 the post-recession growth began to rebound, increasing 2.7%. Last year, though, it expanded 5.1%, a growth of 153,000 tonnes. This year, INDA is aware of at least another 112,000 tonnes coming online, a growth of 3.6%. This number will undoubtedly rise as we go through the year.
The growth is interesting: there are companies that currently have production assets in North America adding more; then we have companies that currently do have a footprint in North America investing in production assets, from companies in countries such as Germany, Turkey and China; and then we have companies that were not in nonwovens investing in nonwoven production, such as Carver Nonwoven Technologies and U.S. Cotton. The growth is also occurring across a range of production processes and towards a variety of end-use categories; it is not all one process going to one end use. There is a wide range of processes being added to meet growth in a wide range of end-uses. The majority of these production facilities are in the U.S. Southeast (Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina), with 10 of the 17 new lines from 2016 and 2017 located there.
Three Specific Markets for Nonwoven Growth Opportunities
You may wonder what is driving all this growth. Nonwoven growth has been occurring through existing end-use market growth taking share from other materials, and in entirely new uses. Three specific end-uses of notable growth I would like to address are wipes, absorbent hygiene, and transportation.
Wipes, so many wipes, it seems every day I see a new wipe introduction in North America. There currently is no end in sight for wipes growth, as anything that is a product that is a liquid, cream, or gel can be applied by a wipe. Both household wipes – as there now is a wipe for every corner of the household, including the sink – and personal care wipes are experiencing significant growth through increased usage in existing categories to the growth in new categories within those segments.
The largest nonwoven end use is the absorbent hygiene category. The main drivers are demographics, an aging population with increased life expectancy, and in the U.S. the forecasted Echo Boom, that is the Boomers’ children having children. A few years ago, one had very few choices in incontinence products, especially for light incontinence, which impacts 4 out of 10 women ages 18 through 64 in the United States. Now when one walks down the personal hygiene aisle, there are numerous products available to fit the consumer’s needs, including gender-specific items.
In transportation, primarily light vehicles, nonwovens have proven themselves extremely versatile, saving resources and making vehicles quieter and more comfortable. Automakers are under pressure to lower weights and take out heavy metal parts, replacing them with lighter-weight products such as composite material in door paneling, wheel wells, engine compartments, and underbody shields. Not only is this end-use growing through nonwovens taking share away from other materials in vehicles, but more vehicles are being sold in North America – 7 years of expanding sales.
A greater percentage of those vehicles are being produced in North America at an ever-increasing size. In the United States the 2016 sales ratio of light trucks (including cross-overs, minivans, and SUV’s) to automobiles was 60:40; as recently as 2013 it was 50:50.
All of this growth and attractiveness in the nonwovens sector is generating a significant amount of M&A activity, mostly acquisitions. There are adjacent companies acquiring nonwoven companies, such as Berry Plastics acquisition of Avintiv, which raised the awareness of the sector in the investment banker community. Adjacent companies are also acquiring nonwoven related companies, such as Parker Hannifin purchase of Clarcor. CPG companies have also shown an interest in nonwoven relation companies with Unilever’s acquisition of Seventh Generation and S.C. Johnson’s purchase of Babyganics.
There are also paper companies investing in and acquiring nonwoven companies, such as Schweitzer-Mauduit International’s acquisitions of DelStar and Domtar’s acquisitions of EAM Corporation, Associated Hygienic Products (AHP), Attends Healthcare Limited (Attends Europe), Laboratorios Indas, SAU (Indas), Butterfly Health, and Home Delivery Incontinent Supplies. Then there are nonwoven companies acquiring other nonwoven companies, such as Lydall acquiring Texel.
The North American nonwovens are a successful, growing, continuously evolving, dynamic and diverse industry. The outlook for the North American nonwovens industry is very encouraging, not only with the positives of improving economic outlook and demographic trends that are positive for nonwoven usage, but also growth by the inherent nature of nonwoven being an engineered fabric.
As nonwovens can be engineered to meet specific performance attributes for a specific end use, the gaining of share from other materials in existing end uses and the ability to enter entirely new end uses will continue to be catalysts for nonwovens’ growth. Further, as nonwoven material tends to stay where it is produced, and as the demand for nonwovens increases, further capacity investments will be needed in North America.
Dave Rousse became INDA's President in late 2012 following over 15 years' experience in nonwoven producing companies and an entire career in engineered materials since graduating from Dartmouth and its associated Engineering and Business schools. Rousse was President, Hygiene/Medical Americas at Fiberweb in Simpsonville, SC before being promoted in 2007 to President of all of Fiberweb Americas and basing in Nashville. Recently, he served as CEO of HydroLogex LLC, a young Nashville-based designer/supplier of proprietary decentralized wastewater treatment systems in the CleanTech sector. Prior to Fiberweb, Rousse was a Vice President at Monadnock Paper Mills, a manufacturer of nonwovens and specialty papers. He was also a Vice President & General Manager at FiberMark Inc., another specialty paper/nonwovens producer. Prior to that he held a series of marketing/sales leadership positions at International Paper.
For more information or to contact Mr. Rousse, please contact him at email@example.com.
Report Author: Stephen Metzger
Research Company: Smithers Apex
Date Published: October 31, 2016
Obtaining Full Report: http://www.smithersapex.com/market-reports/the-future-of-specialty-geosynthetics-to-2021
Specialty geosynthetics are forming a cornerstone of the evolving trend for more environmentally sustainable infrastructure and construction.
Exclusive data in the new Smithers Apex report – The Future of Specialty Geosynthetics to 2021 – tracks how this market will grow steadily across the next five years driven by greater acceptance of such terrain stabilizing materials, especially in key developing markets like China and India.
Global consumption of these plastic products – geotextile, geomembranes, geogrids, geosynthetic clay liners, geowalls and geocomposites – exceeded 8 million tons in 2016 for the first time. This figure will climb above 9 million tons in 2021. A market Smithers values at $16 billion in 2013, is now worth well over $18 billion. This expansion will continue at a year-on-year rate of 2.7% across the next five years to touch $21 billion in 2021; a 15% real terms increase.
The advance of specialty geosynthetics can be seen to rest on dual foundations:
* Expansion of infrastructure building projects
* Technical advancement, offering the prospect of new better performing geosynthetics.
The advantage of geosynthetics
Expanding demand for geosynthetics is posited on their superior performance compared to accepted, naturally occurring soil stabilizing materials, like cotton, straw or coconut fiber (coir). Using bespoke solutions made from plastics – such as polyurethane (PUR), polypropylene (PP) and various grades of polyethylene – give more durable solutions. This translates into reduced maintenance cycles for site operators and greater safety, by for example better retaining toxic materials, like heavy metals from coal ash deposits.
Smithers comprehensive analysis tracks how a growing body of regulatory requirements directed toward sustainable infrastructure investment, is supporting wider use of these specialist materials.
The cost of any specialty manufactured geosynthetic is directly linked to that of its hydrocarbon feedstocks, which are its basic raw material. As these are forecasted to remain fairly constant, or even see slight decline through to the end of decade. Thus, from a supply side perspective the market is favorable with fewer bottlenecks expected.
Demand for geosynthetic materials is linked to the applications in which they are used. In 2016, geotextiles represent 47% of world consumption 3.8 billion meters, and 37% of global value. Nearly 87% of these are used in road building or similar transportation applications.
Geomembranes account for over 24% of the 2016 world market by value, but slightly less by volume. It principal use (58%) is in roofing for buildings.
Waterways, like canals, meanwhile account for the majority of consumption of geocomposites (65%) and geosynthetic clay liner (72%).
Geomembranes for all applications will slightly increase market share across 2016-2021, with geotextiles and geowalls declining slightly. Geogrid, geocomposites, and clay liners will maintain their relative market shares against a backdrop of steady expansion for the wider market.
This is because market segments for specialty geosynthetics all now have a significant base upon which to build, even as superior products, new regulations and wider use push total demand.
Smithers divides the end-uses for specialty geosynthetics into four key applications:
* Transportation – roads and highways, tunnels, and bridges
* Industrial – Municipal solid waste (MSW) landfills and construction debris and demolition (CCD)
* Liquid retention – Coal ash containment ponds and waterways
* Construction – Principally roofing and building substructures.
A brief survey of these shows that specialty geosynthetics use is closely linked to regional and national markets for construction and, in particular, infrastructure projects.
This is, of course, dependent on wider GDP expansion. Any further slowing of the Chinese economy would negatively affect demand, while if the incoming Trump administration’s election pledge of $1 trillion [http://edition.cnn.com/2016/11/17/ politics/donald-trump-infrastructure-plan-congress/ ] for infrastructure development is realized it would boost US consumption.
Use of specialty geosynthetics today is most common in Western Europe and North America. These represent 32% and 17% respectively of the 8 billion square metres used worldwide in 2016. Asia Pacific is the second largest regional market with a 30% market share in 2016. Asia’s transition economies the fastest growth prospects for 2016-2021 – giving a 3.4% CAGR region wide across this period.
China is the key national market in Asia and already accounts for over 60% of specialty geosynthetics consumption. Demand is forecast to remain high, due to initiatives like the 13th Five-Year Plan, which promises to build:
* 10,000km of inter-city rail connections
* 3,000km of urban rail lines
* 30,000km of expressways
* 20,000km of rural roads
* 50 more civilian airports
India is also investing in upgrading its infrastructure – mainly its road network – which will see annual increases of nearly 7% across the Smithers study period. It will remain a market dwarfed by China however, eight times smaller in 2021, despite strong growth.
Both India and China will both see a rapid increase in use for liquid containment in MSWs – addressing a long neglected environmental hazard. Their relative growth rates in this application for the five years to 2021 are 12% and 8% respectively.
Technical R&D and product evolution in the next five years are likely to focus on five key areas:
The use of metallocene catalysts used in the production of PP non-wovens is advancing and producing a new generation lighter weight geotextiles. This allows new geosynthetic grades – like Total’s Lumicene MR2001 and MR2002 launched in 2015 – that can deliver the same performance as heavier conventional PP products. Furthermore, they are inert once buried and will not alter the chemical balance of the soil into which they are placed.
For manufacturers, there are advantages too in processing metallocene catalyzed PP geosynthetics. These include:
* Increased production throughput,
* The elimination of the need for peroxides to obtain narrow molecular weight distribution and high melt flow indices
* Less extractables and fumes generated in the factory.
Smithers forecasts that innovation on metallocene chemistry will advance across 2016-2021. This will expand the current limited range of lighter weight materials available for a range of geosynthetic applications.
Graphene has been hailed as a pivot for a future materials revolution in a wider range of industries – though scaling production of a material first produced with adhesive tape and pencil graphite has been a major barrier.
In April 2016, a small, research-oriented company based in Australia, Imagine Intelligent Materials (IIM), announced the commercial application of graphene coating on geotextiles. It is working with Geofabrics Australasia – Australia's largest geotextile company – to develop a ‘game-changing’ graphene-coated geotextile with advanced leak-detection capabilities. IIM also notes that the improved structural properties of graphene would add considerable strength, with little additional weight, which will help future geosynthetic products meet more robust strength requirements in regulations.
The geosynthetics segment is thus likely to devote more money to evolving graphene technology, though the principal hurdle remains achieving volume production at a reasonable price.
A more immediate and allied trend for the geosynthetics industry is the evolution of nanofiber non-wovens. Due of their inherently low density and large surface area to mass, nanofiber structure can deliver a nonwoven fabric that is extremely light, adding little weight to applications involving geocomposite structures. These simultaneously promise superior filtration properties – to both liquid and gases.
As with graphene the challenge is to transition laboratory grade nanofiber manufacturing to commercial scale. Current platforms rely on conventional, coaxial, melt or emulsion electrospinning technology; though one new approach needleless electrospinning – first described in an academic paper in 2012 – holds more promise for volume manufacturing.
Thus, there is every reason to expect commercial-scale nanofiber production during the next 5-10 years, with geosynthetics one of the non-woven segments where this will lead to new more valuable products.
Two other nanomaterials – nanoparticulate carbon black and carbon nanotubes – are being developed for geosynthetic applications. This proposition relies on their electrical conductivity to enable enhanced geosynthetics that could detect leakages in landfills and coal ash containment structures – a significant environmental issue.
Current flowing through – for example, a PP nanotube enhanced sheet – would alter in areas of a geosynthetic subject to additional mechanical stress. This would give an early warning of those areas that are prone to breaking and leakage in liquid containment structures. This in situ real-time monitoring would allow remedial action to be taken more quickly and effectively.
As graphene is also highly conductive, it, too, could carry out this function once supply issues are resolved.
Current processes for producing geosynthetic rely on needlepunch manufacturing processes. Though familiar these have the drawback that they place stress on the fibers as they are manufactured, which diminishes tensile strength (tenacity) during use. New technologies that enable better tenacity via a higher draw ratio, would decrease elongation are under investigation.
A similar focus is taking place in geomembranes, with R&D at the likes of US-based Raven Industries aiming to make larger multi-layer blown films. These would offer faster production, stronger films, and hence greater and flexibility in application.
The Future of Specialty Geosynthetics to 2021 presents volume and value forecasts by end-use sector and geographic region for this dynamic segment. Following several stages of primary and secondary research, it examines key drivers and trends, which include economic, social and demographic, trends within decorative and the different industrial coatings segments and key new technologies for future innovative high-performance coatings.
For more information on the study or to order:
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The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) has released President Trump's 2017 Trade Policy Agenda. The document, officially called 2017 Trade Policy Agenda and 2016 Annual Report of the President of the United States on the Trade Agreements Program, outlines the new Administration’s four trade priorities:
BeaverLake6 Report has created a special page within this website and placed the first chapter of the 336-page document which summarizes the policy. Click here to read it. Posted March 2, 2017
The INDEX™17 nonwovens exposition taking place in Geneva, Switzerland, April 4-7, 2017 will have an extensive series of conference tracks featuring the leading authorities in 5 areas:
• Geosynthetics/Sustainable Products
• Air Filtration
• Personal Care
• Automotive Interiors
BeaverLake6 Report has created a special page and posted descriptions of the these topics as well as the speaker list. Click here to view. Posted March 7, 2017
BeaverLake6 Report is very pleased to continue its series of reports on specific market segments within the technical textiles industry with a special "state-of-the-industry" look at the nonwovens industry. The report is authored by Dave Rousse, president of INDA, the international nonwovens association. Mr. Rousse looks at market drivers and new emerging markets. Click here to read the article.
Back on March 24, 2016, I was one of the first to predict the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement was a dead deal. In fact, I said that I wouldn’t be surprised that, if Donald Trump became President, the agreement is shredded on day one of his new administration. Well, I was off by three days. Yesterday, President Trump signed an Executive Order, officially withdrawing the United States from the TPP agreement. Now the question is can the National Council of Textile Organizations put together a comprehensive plan for the domestic textile industry in a post-TPP era? Click here to read the rest. Posted January 25, 2017
New FR Cellulose Fiber Developed in China
China accounts for more than half of the world's fiber processing capacity but still is following hehind some other countries in many high-tech breakthroughs in the technical textile applications. This new article, presented exclusively for the BeaverLake6 Report website by China Textile magazine, offers a look at the new flame-resistant and anti-bacterial fiber developed by Beijing SOL Flame-Retardant Fiber Limited. Click here to read the article. Posted January 18, 2017
There are literally dozens of market reports for the many market sections and subsections within the technical textiles industry. In 2017, BeaverLake6 Report will be introducing a few of these reports to our viewers. The first report being features is The Future of Spcialty Geosynthetics to 2021. It was developed by Smithers Apex, a market research firm based in the United Kingdom.
In exchange for the promotion, Smithers Apex agreed to write an exclusive expanded executive summary of the market report for our readers. Click here to view the market summary. Posted January 9, 2017
Small business owner and BeaverLake6 Report columnist Bud Weisbart writes about the business uncertainty which may come with the political uncertainty following the election of businessman Donald Trump as President of the United States. Click here to read his new column.
2016 China Textile Innovation Conference, as an annual summit of industry innovation, was held in Beijing on December 12th, 2016. The conference, themed on “New Opportunity, New Advantages, New Vitality” – Stepping Towards a Textile Power, comprehensively summarized the industry innovation achievements and explored the new advantages in development in order to grasp the strategic opportunity of the new round of industrial changes. BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to present a report on the conference via our partnership with China Textile magazine. Please click here. Posted December 21, 2016
Coleman Escalates FTZ Dispute with the Textile Industry. In a letter to Mr. Gene Dodaro, Controller General of the US General Accountability Office, five US senators and one congressman have requested the GAO to investigate how the Foreign-Trade Zones Board evaluates applications, ensuring a fair and transparent manner, as required by law. In conducting an examination.
In an August 22 letter, the Congressional leaders ask that Mr. Dodaro assess the process for reviewing applications that involve the import of textile products for use in a manufacturing process. Further, they asked the GAO to assess the FTZ Board's procedures for determining whether an application meets the tests for "threshold factors" and "economic factors" described in the Foreign-Trade Zones Act's implementing regulations.
While the letter does not specifically state the Coleman situation, all of the senators and congressman are from states with Coleman operations in the Midwest. A ruling was expected in August on the Coleman request for additional Production Authority allowing them to bring in textiles at a lower duty rate. [See the complete BeaverLake6 Report editorial for background information by clicking here.]
This call for a GAO investigation may delay the decison on Coleman's request for additional Production Authority for up to a year. Our thanks to industry trade expert David Trumbull for alerting us to this letter and his excellent coverage on his Textiles and Trade website which has more details. Posted September 29, 2016
The global sports footwear market is witnessing positive growth, mainly driven by the consumer demand for customized performance and comfort in sports footwear. Read the latest column about the research and trends by Jon Klein, Business Development Leader at PrimaLoft® Aerogel insulation. Click here.
Domestic PFD Manufacturer's Application for FTZ Additional Production Authority Riles Textile Industry Trade Associations. There is a nasty fight taking place these past few months behind the closed doors of Room 48019 at the Herbert C. Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. The room is the office of the Foreign-Trade Zones Board. The fight pits domestic technical textile industry suppliers and a coalition of textile-trade associations against a fairly large domestic end-product cut-and-sew manufacturer. Click here to read the story.
BeaverLake6 Report is pleased to present "Fiber Composites Growth, Part 2", a new contribution from our partnership with China Textile magazine. The authors are China Textile's Zhao Hong, Editor-in-Chief, and Flora Zhao, the Director of the Editorial Department. Mr. Zhao is also the Director of International Trade Office of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, (CNTAC) and Vice President of the China Knitting Industry Association (CKIA). In Part 2, the focus of the article is on international trade and the development of fiber-reinforced composites. Click here to read. Posted July 12, 2016
I am pleased to announce BeaverLake6 Report has added a new column called "Jon Klein's Outlook." Jon Klein is the Business Development Leader at PrimaLoft® Aerogel insulation. With over 20 years in the industry, Mr. Klein has extensive experience in the textiles, apparel and footwear industry. Mr. Klein is a frequent contributor of short articles on LinkedIn, the world's largest business network, writing about the various market segments of the technical textiles. This column covers his LinkedIn postings. Please click here to go to his column.
Steve Warner, Publisher
June 27, 2016
One essential document BeaverLake6 Report recommends if you are going to be exporting your products is the 2016 Technical Textiles Top Markets Report, produced by the U.S. Department of Commerce's International Trade Administration (ITA).
The 59-page 2016 edition is now available online and forecasts global demand for U.S. technical textile products to increase 4% annually through 2017, from $8.6bn in 2015 to $9.3bn in 2017. Innovation and new technology coupled with trade relationships developed under existing and future free trade agreements will drive this increase in demand.
Top Markets Report examines historical data from 2008 through 2015 plus forecasts demand for 2016 and 2017, and ranks 70 markets for overall technical textile exports. This study of the U.S. technical textiles market is intended to provide an analysis of the competitive landscape, including developing trends and key regions where U.S. producers could find new and continued opportunities for their products.
Click here to go to the website to view the report. Posted May 25, 2016
We are pleased to present a new contribution in the China Textile section of the website. This article starts a multi-part series Fiber Composites Growth (2016-2020). The authors are Zhao Hong, Editor-in-Chief, and Flora Zhao, the Director of the Editorial Department of China Textile magazine. In addition to his role at China Textile, Mr. Zhao is also the Director of International Trade Office of the China National Textile and Apparel Council, a national confederation of all textile-related industries, and the Vice President of the China Knitting Industry Association. Click here to read the article. Posted May 16, 2016
Steve Warner, Publisher
Industry Market Report Available. What impact has the sale of decline of military products purchases have on government shelter fabricators? What is the outlook on textiles going into the automotive industry? What are three issues that can negatively impact the growth of the protective clothing market segment?
You can find the answers to all these questions in the 2016 State of the U.S. Technical Textiles Industry report published in Textile World magazine. Part One of the report is in the March/April issue and Part Two will be in the May/June issue.
Click here to go to the report on the Textile World website.
OK, I am going to say what the National Council of Textile Organizations is reluctant to concede: There is not a chance in the world for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement to pass in the US Congress next year. It is a dead deal. There is still a lot of wasted energy in justifying support for a trade agreement that is going nowhere. Click here to read the rest.
Posted March 24, 2016
In 2015, I posted more than 425 items of interest for our industry on the BeaverLake6 Report website. In reviewing it all last week, it got me to thinking about putting together a list of influential events, news and trends that I observed during the past year. I have focused primarily on the US marketplace but each of “the things that mattered” to me has global implications.
So, here go my thoughts in no particular order of importance. Let me know if you agree or if I have missed some. Click here to read the list.
Posted January 17, 2016
We are pleased to now offer a special Sponsored page for the JEC Group. JEC is the largest composites industry organization in the world with a network of 250,000 professionals. JEC represents, promotes and expands composites markets by providing global or local networking and information services
With their new Sponsored page on BeaverLake6 Report, JEC will be featuring their three major events -- JEC Asia 2016, JEC World 2016 and JEC Americas 2016. Click here to go immediately to the JEC home page. Make sure to come back often to these pages for the most up-to-date information on the events.
Posted August 4, 2015
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