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Web Exclusive | April 2019

Demand for nonwoven fibres rise

A recently released study suggests the demand for nonwoven fibres in hygiene product manufacturing will witness a steady growth with an expected production of over 3.5 billion tonne in 2019. The study opines that adoption of nonwovens is fuelled by superior absorption, smoothness, softness, stretch ability, comfort, high-strength, low run-off and wetback, affordability, and high breathability. The study projects surging demand for non-woven fibers in the manufacture of baby diapers, adult incontinence, and feminine hygiene.

Highlighting the key driving factors, the study opines that growing awareness about potential health impact of using cloth diapers and increasing purchasing power are the broader factors influencing launch of high-quality hygienic products. Nonwoven fibres are finding increasing utility in the manufacture of baby diapers owing to their anti-bacterial, flame retardant, and anti-UV nature. The superior water absorbent and liquid channeling capabilities of nonwoven fibres are contributing significantly to its popularity in the baby diaper manufacturing industry. Study opines the factors are expected to propel the demand for nonwoven fibres in the manufacturing of baby diapers, which is estimated to account for more than 55 per cent of the market share in 2019.

Preference for chemical-free hygiene products
With the demand for incorporating natural materials in nonwoven fibre production on the rise, hygiene production manufacturers are gradually shifting to using fibres manufactured using natural sources. For instance, Procter & Gamble launched a new line of diapers called the ‘Pampers Pure Protection’, which is being marketed as the first-ever product manufactured using premium cotton.

The use of natural materials is enabling manufacturers to maintain transparency with consumers in terms of revealing the ingredients used for the production of hygiene products. This is a pervasive trend influencing consumer preferences. The factor is vital for the surge in demand for natural fluff pulp such as cotton, wool, and cellulose in the hygiene products market with production reaching almost 1.3 billion tonne in 2018.

Production of bicomponent nonwoven fibres
Bicomponent nonwoven fibres are manufactured using two different components with the finished fibre sheet exhibiting distinct physical and chemical properties of each of the components used. According to the study, nonwoven fibre manufacturers are leveraging the procedure for the production of bicomponent fibers with specific characteristics and to be used in particular applications. The bicomponent nonwoven fibres are well suited for use in the manufacturing of infant diapers, incontinence products, and feminine hygiene products.

Additionally, companies are also focusing on automating the production of bicomponent fibers for mass and speedy production of the material. A recent development complementing the growing demand for bicomponent fibres was the introduction of the bicomponent spunbound technology by Freudenberg Group. The technology binds two components to produce a nonwoven fibre with the desired characteristics. Further, the technology shows promising prospects for production of hybrid nonwoven fibres composed of two or more bicomponent nonwovens with higher tear-resistance, permeability, and rapid moisture transport.
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