Our trials in semi-scale show non-woven fabrics with promising touch-and-feel
Trützschler Nonwovens & Man-Made Fibers, a part of the Trützschler Group, supply non-woven machinery from bale opening to winding including all web bonding technologies. The product range comprises spinning plants for carpet (BCF) and industrial yarns. Georg Reinhold, managing director and CEO of Trützschler Nonwovens & Man-Made Fibers, talks about technological transformations that will shape this industry.
Figures for the global textile machinery industry are very difficult to get - and to prove. Depending on the source figures vary substantially. So we usually do not analyse machinery data but look at yarn tonnage and square metres for reference. Our filament business, mainly carpet yarns (BCF) with an annual production of some 2 million tonnes per year, is just a fraction of the whole filament market. A majority of over 90 per cent are textile yarns, namely POY/DTY and FDY qualities. The same holds true for non-woven fabrics which have a share of some 8 per cent of the total textile and technical fabrics market of approximately 85 million tonnes. We assume that the relation in regard to machinery is roughly the same.
Actually, we have to differentiate between the two, NW and MMF. We expect the global demand of non-woven products to grow continuously at a growth rate of high single digit to low double digit percentage. Main drivers are the growth of the global income and innovative end-user applications. Hence, the NW machinery industry has to support new applications and provide solutions. In addition to the permanent market growth, we see a clear trend for higher line capacity in order to improve productivity. In contrast to what was said before, BCF and industrial yarns (IDY) have only a much lower growth rate in global demand. At the same time, the global production capacity for these filament types is still in some areas above demand. Hence, we see our customer investing into new machinery either where they adjust their portfolio to specialities and niche markets or where they target to improve their operational cost.
We see strong growth in disposable segments like wipes, pads and hygiene products. These convenience products more and more become affordable for the world's rising middle class. Our non-wovens machinery for disposable end-products based on carded spunlaced as well as thermobonded material provides great customer benefits and hence is in good demand. We see our customers calling for these machines as single components when upgrading their existing installations as well as complete new lines.
The world of carpet yarn production is a story of its own. Unlike the textile and industrial yarn market, China is not the dominating player. Major regions for carpet and carpet yarn production are North America, Europe, Turkey, Middle East and China. Every region has its own investment patterns. They reflect the consumption pattern and we do not see that changing over the next few years. Both BCF yarn and carpet production are highly automated so it is unlikely to shift production to countries with lower labour costs. The development of the industrial yarn markets on the other hand resembles the textile segment. Huge capacities of PET industrial yarn have been built up in China within the last decade. So the majority of PET IDY is now supplied by Chinese producers. Industrial yarns made from PA6 and PA66 are a different story. Here we still see local activities in countries with a strong utility vehicle industry.
Both NW and MMF producers rely on relatively mature technological unit operations. We do not see entirely new technologies coming up on an industrial scale. But we see a huge potential of combining existing technologies. Take for instance our wet-laid-spunlace (WLS) innovation with Voith: by combining established processes and proven machinery of two industry sectors -wet-laying and spunlacing- we were able to open the door to entirely new non-woven materials.
DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of technicaltextile.net.