3D Nonwovens market: general trends

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3D Nonwovens market: general trends

According to forecasts, by 2026, the volume of the 3D nonwovens market will reach 691.3 million US dollars after an average growth of 20.9% during the period 2021-2026. In a broad sense, nonwovens are fibrous webs or sheet structures joined together mechanically, thermally or chemically by entangling/gluing continuous or staple fibers. They are not produced by weaving or knitting and do not require the conversion of fibers into threads, and threads into fabrics. 3D nonwovens have a significant thickness and a larger volume. China is a leading manufacturer and exporter of all types of textiles, including 3D nonwovens, and the European Union is the largest importer and consumer of textiles in the world.

The impact of COVID-19

Currently, the global economy is recovering from the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic that has engulfed the whole world. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the 3D nonwoven tissue industry continued to operate, providing tools to slow down and reduce the impact of the virus. Thanks to the recommendations of WHO and the medical community, the need to use disinfectants, gloves, masks and napkins has become the norm all over the world. Thus, the nonwoven napkin industry has experienced a huge surge in demand that has challenged all stages of the supply chain. Disinfectant wipes have been delivered in record numbers, and the demand for antibacterial wipes and medical wipes has also increased to incredible levels. It is not expected that for some napkin segments this increased demand will continue over the next few years, but the overall global demand for non-woven 3D napkins until 2025 will exceed previous forecasts.

Basic technologies for the production of 3D nonwovens:

  • needle punching;
  • aerodynamic styling «airlaid»;
  • spunlace «spunlace»;
  • meltblown «meltblown»;
  • spanmelt bico (high-loft).
  • Main application areas:
  • automotive industry;
  • geotextiles;
  • aeronautics;
  • construction;
  • medicine and healthcare;
  • sports;
  • protective clothing.

Key provisions

  • The European Union dominates the 3D nonwovens consumption market thanks to growing investments in the automotive and medical industries.
  • About 40 car parts are made of non-woven materials. Their application ranges from trunk lining, carpeting and sound insulation to air and fuel filters.
  • Medicine and healthcare will grow at the fastest pace during the forecast period of 2022-2026 due to the growing demand in various fields such as biomedicine, seats and bedding, orthopedic substrates and fillers.

Market analysis of 3D nonwovens by production method

The "airlaid" segment held the largest share of 58% in the 3D nonwovens market in 2020. During 2022-2026, its annual growth is projected at an average of 3.5%. It is expected that the most versatile and efficient technologies for the production of nonwovens by the method of aerodynamic stacking will dominate, which will ensure the quality standards currently available on the market. The main trends in this segment will be an increase in productivity while reducing production costs, increasing the energy efficiency of production, using environmentally friendly materials and increasing the operational versatility of machines and equipment while optimizing the quality of the final product (strength at the lowest surface density, the behavior of materials in composite structures in various conditions and attractive tactile characteristics). It is the constant improvement of production processes and continuous research of new types of raw materials with different characteristics and new properties that determine the trend of this industry.

Analysis of the 3D nonwovens market by application areas

The automotive industry segment held the largest share of 26% in the 3D nonwovens market in 2020. Нетканые материалы для автомобильного сегмента нацелены делать автомобили более легкими, удобными шумоизолированными, свободными от инфекций и загрязнений воздушных, топливных и масляных систем. Почти две трети нетканых материалов автомобильного сегмента предназначены для внутренней отделки, т. е. чехлов для сидений, ковров, обивки крыши и дверей. Остальные используются при производстве фильтров, в качестве основ композитных элементов кузовов, шлангов и прочего. The widespread use of 3D nonwovens in the automotive industry is the main factor contributing to the growth of the market for these materials in the future. In addition, 3D non-woven fabric is a new technology that is determined by the composition of materials and the 3D effect, offering many advantages compared to the production of 2D composites and more traditional building materials. Ключевые преимущества включают снижение веса, высокую прочность, отсутствие расслоения, снижение риска образования трещин, сокращение времени производства и снижение затрат.

Geographical analysis of the 3D nonwovens market

Europe held the largest share in the 3D nonwovens market in 2020, up to 41% in 2020, given the diversified demand from various end-use industries, such as healthcare, agriculture and automotive. 3D nonwovens are widely used in the automotive, medical and napkin industries in the UK. Moreover, Warren Nonwovens has been at the forefront of nonwovens in the automotive industry since it first applied nonwovens in the trunk of a Ford Escort. The Company supplies materials licensed by major British OEM manufacturers for a wide range of applications. Растущий рост автомобильной промышленности в Германии служит важным фактором, способствующим росту ее рынка в этом регионе. Например, Германия ежегодно экспортирует 80 процентов всех производимых ею автомобилей в другие страны. Кроме того, Германия инвестировала более 20 миллиардов евро в исследования и разработки в автомобильной промышленности, что является самыми высокими капиталовложениями среди других секторов. The 3D nonwovens sector is one of the most important sectors of the Italian industry. The traditional success factor of the Italian 3D nonwovens industry is the ability to combine innovation with production technologies. In Spain, there is a widespread use of disposable medical products, such as sheets, towels, face masks, patient gowns and gloves, which has also spurred the demand for disposable 3D nonwovens.

Drivers of the 3D nonwovens market

Due to variations in properties such as hydrophilicity and hydrophobicity, high temperature resistance, lightness and strength, breathability and zero toxicity, the demand for 3D nonwovens tends to increase.

3D nonwovens Market: challenges

In January 2018, the European Commission adopted the world's first comprehensive strategy on plastics. In May, the commission published a report 'Disposable plastic: new measures to reduce marine litter', which proposed new rules to reduce the 10 most common plastic waste on European beaches, which account for 43% of total marine litter. This includes wet wipes and hygiene items, which are a key segment of the 3D nonwovens sales market. Эти продукты изготавливаются из смеси целлюлозы и полиэфира (ПЭТ) или полипропилена (ПП) и в основном производятся методами кардочесания и гидроперепутывания. Хотя существуют новые методы, которые могут помочь производить такие продукты в соответствии с правилами ЕС, это может быть капиталоемким решением для большинства производителей во всем мире. For example, a major innovation was proposed by the Austrian company Andritz AG. The highly efficient Wetlace™ technology for the production of washable, dispersible and biodegradable wipes was demonstrated back in 2015. Similarly, the German company Trützschler 3D Nonwovens GmbH, in cooperation with Voith Group, Germany, offers solutions that can replace existing polymer materials based on fossil resources with fibrous products based on cellulose and other polymers on a biological basis (PLA polylactic acid).

Major manufacturers

The main players in the market of 3D nonwovens are Reifenhäuser GmbH & Co. KG Maschinenfabrik, Freudenberg, Andritz AG, Lindauer DORNIER GmbH, Gehring-Tricot Corp., Apex Mills, Oerlikon, Berry Global Inc., Avgol Nonwovens, Teijin Frontier and others.

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