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Environmental news and technical  innovation in the nonwovens sector

ahlSales of nonwoven media used in filtration applications will reach $3.7 billion for 2013, according to a new report from BCC Research.

This includes nonwoven filter media manufactured by five production routes – airlaid, wetlaid, spunbonding, meltblowing and apertured film extrusion processes – and for several different applications in air, gas, and liquid filtration.

End uses for nonwoven filter media include:

•    Water filtration
•    Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) applications
•    Liquid, air, and gas filtration in transportation
•    Food and beverage processing
•    Manufacturing
•    Healthcare
•    Petroleum processing
•    Air, gas and liquid filtration for the high-technology industry

Although the markets for each sector and world region are affected by different driving forces, some common drivers cut across all applications and regions. The most important is the need for cleaner products and processes as mandated by legislative standards. Consumer desire for purer water, air, and other goods is another strong force driving growth.

Shifting patterns of economic prosperity also influence the nonwoven filter media market at industrial, municipal,and consumer levels. While North America and Western Europe still make up half of the nonwoven filter media market, the rapid industrialisation and rising incomes of China, India and other Asian countries is driving the global market the most rapidly. Emerging markets in the rest of the world, the growing economies of Brazil, some Eastern European countries and the oil-rich nations of the Middle East are also helping to boost world markets for nonwoven filter media.

By application, nonwovens for transportation applications, a category that includes off-road vehicles used in mining, agriculture, and construction, as well as aircraft, is the largest market. Media used in these applications include materials for both air and liquid filtration. A resurgence in vehicle sales in the North American market and rising car ownership in emerging countries are major market drivers. Increasingly, strict environmental standards also are important.

Water filtration is the largest sector, and still offers many opportunities for market growth. The use of filter media as a membrane support material is an especially vibrant application in this segment, since world markets for membrane-based desalination, wastewater treatment, and water recycling are increasing rapidly.

Despite some false starts and ongoing macroeconomic uncertainties, global manufacturing industries are optimistic that renewed growth in the sector is imminent. In this sector, the strongest growth for nonwoven filter media is forecast for the Asia-Pacific region, excluding Japan. New power plants in the region, particularly in China, will also be an important market for nonwovens used in air filtration, as will air (and other) filters for the region’s growing number of cars.

In the United States, capital investments in equipment delayed during the financial downturn should be a large future market for nonwoven filter media in liquid filtration applications. “Reshoring” could also play a role in manufacturing industry growth, as producers of electrical equipment, appliances and components, transportation equipment, and machinery bring work back to the United States.

Nonwoven filter sales in the pharmaceutical manufacturing segment are expected to see especially rapid growth across most world regions; purchases of filters in the HVAC sector are also rising worldwide, although at not quite as high a rate. Another good growth market is in the filtration of waste streams from oil and gas production.

Because filters based on nonwovens are exchanged after a useful service life, sales of nonwovens for incorporation in replacement products make up a major portion of the market. This feature is a factor in the consumer, commercial,and industrial market sectors.

A 7.3% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is forecast for nonwoven filter media over the next five years, resulting in a $5.3 billion market value in 2018. The ability of world economies to navigate the potential financial pitfalls, the ability of manufacturers to leverage their capital asset bases, continued technological innovation, and new environmental and regulatory initiatives are factors affecting forecast growth.

Nonwoven Filter Media: Technologies and Global Markets (AVM043D): BCC Research
Pic: Ahlstrom


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