For many years, if you told someone you were in the manufacturing business in the United States, they would shake their head sadly and talk to you about how manufacturing in the US had no future. Textile manufacturing, which includes nonwovens, was widely considered to be completely dead.
So where are we today?
- The global nonwoven fabrics market is anticipated to be around $42 billion by 2020.
- Durable applications for the construction, automotive and geotextile markets accounted for 59.7% of the total market volume in 2013. This is anticipated to continue to hold steady or grow, especially in markets like the US because of the growth of the automotive and construction industries.
- The nonwoven filter media market alone is expected to be around $7.18 billion by 2022. Spunbond accounted for 39.6% of total nonwoven filter media technology in 2014. Meltblown is expected to continue to grow over the next seven years because of its ability to form tiny nonwovens of minute diameters up to 0.1 micrometers.
- The medical nonwovens market is steadily growing and should grow to about $2 billion by 2019. Surgical drapes and gowns have the largest percentage of medical nonwovens end-use.
None of that seems to indicate that nonwovens manufacturing in the US is dead. As a matter of fact, the industry continues to grow. Efficiency has improved tremendously with the increased use of software to help drive productivity and predictive maintenance. Better and less expensive sensor technologies cuts downtime for the big equipment needed to produce nonwoven fabrics.
The bottom line is this: this is a great time to be a converter or manufacturer in the nonwoven business. Our industry continues to grow and improve. It’s an exciting time for nonwovens!
photo courtesy of unsplash.com