The production and delivery of nonwovens in Europe continued to grow during 2012 – despite the ongoing Euro currency crisis.
At its Nonwoven Producers Forum in Brussels today (April 19), industry body EDANA disclosed its latest statistics that show an overall growth of 2.2% in production volume for the year.
Total deliveries reached 1,954,000 tonnes and 57,690 million square metres, with spunmelt accounting for 45% and the rest being drylaid, fibre-based materials, where spunlace and needlepunch still lead in terms of tonnage produced.
“This is the third year in a row of output growth, following the slowdown of 2009,” said Jacques Prigneaux, EDANA’s market analysis and economic affairs director. “Nevertheless, the different market segments follow different trends. In nonwovens, the drivers are as multiple as their numerous and increasing possible applications. Some sectors such as construction and automotive are directly impacted by the economic crisis, while disposable end-uses are less affected. In addition, within Greater Europe, there are differing trends on a country basis.”
Compared to the situation in 2011, hygiene wipes and automotive segments registered growth rates higher than 5%, but construction – the second most important sector by volume – declined by 3%.
Nonwoven trade flows in and out of the European Union are still limited compared to local production. The positive trade balance with the rest of the world increased last year, in both volume and value. A large part of the flow was in spunmelt materials and EU27 maintained a positive trade balance for each sub-category by grammage.
EDANA nsays its nonwovens database and statistical methodology – which is over 30 years-old and has been refined over the years using the latest IT features – is unique and the largest of its kind, based on an exhaustive annual survey with direct input from nonwoven producers.
With all significant players from Greater Europe and a large number of companies already participating from the Middle East and Africa, more than 100 major nonwoven producers are directly involved, representing over 85% of the production in both regions.
The remainder of the market is covered by qualified estimates for an equivalent number of generally much smaller players.
EDANA believes its leadership in this area is as a result of a multi-dimensional expert system with internal consistency checks, based on verified reports of the consumption of raw materials, the production of roll goods by process and deliveries both by process and end-uses.
Other systems, relying on less frequent direct input, on nominal – published or estimated – capacities of installed nonwoven production lines and/or random telephone interviews, often result in much less accurate data.
“Our leadership in nonwoven market surveys, with a scope representing well over 30% of the world’s nonwoven production, gives EDANA both an advantage and responsibility for the future provision of global nonwovens statistics,” says EDANA general manager Pierre Wiertz. “We are pleased to have already cooperated with INDA on a Global Nonwovens Outlook 2012-2017, and during ANEX 12, we have invited our colleagues from ANFA (representing companies from China, Japan, India, Korea, and other countries) to explore a similar collaboration for the future.”
EDANA members receive a complimentary copy of the full report as part of their membership.