Global Fiber Industry Trends
Companies operating in the global fiber industry manufacture fibers used in the production of paper and fabrics (which shows why fiber and paper materials are often taken together as a business). Offering strength and elasticity properties, fibers are necessary to create a wide range of materials for human use, including engineering materials.
Synthetic fibers are easily mass-produced at low cost and are made from Lyocell, modal and rayon as well as from petrochemicals. Cellulose-based fibers are divided into two categories, namely regenerated cellulose and modified cellulose.
Viscose fiber production involves the chemical processing of materials like cotton linters, natural timber and bamboo chips. Viscose staple fiber accounts for around 90% of overall viscose fiber output, with the remaining 10% made up of viscose filament yarn. Global viscose fiber production has been witnessing yearly growth of around 5%, and reached close to 3.4 million tons in 2011, according to Research in China. Nearly 60% of global viscose fiber output came from China, where the yearly output growth rate is the highest in the world. In the 10-year period ending 2011, China’s yearly growth rate reached 13%, exceeding 2 million tons in 2011. Ordinary types account for the majority of viscose fiber produced in China, while the nation produces very little high wet modulus viscose fiber and high tenacity viscose fiber. China mostly imports high-end viscose fibers, such as modal and Lyocell fibers.
Industry Experts estimates the world glass fiber market will reach close to 10 million metric tons before the end of 2012, generating revenue in excess of $22 billion. Industry performance will be fuelled by demand for fiberglass or glass wool insulation, which is determined by construction activity across industrial, commercial and residential segments, along with levels of refurbishment activity. The past five-year period has witnessed declining demand in the US and the EU, with rising demand from Asia-Pacific and Eastern Europe. The end-use sector represented by wind energy is forecast to record yearly growth in excess of 14%, becoming a significant end-use application for glass fibers.
Synthetic fiber demand has outpaced cotton fiber demand in the textile industry thanks to cost factors and technological innovation supporting the use of man-made fibers, reports Global Industry Analysts. Marketing strategies aim to highlight the specific advantages of synthetic fibers, such as reduced drying time, lower energy and washing requirements, and better soil resistance.
The global nonwoven fabrics market is expected to witness 7% annual growth through 2015. Freedonia predicts the market will exceed 9 million metric tons by 2015. Demand will be driven by growth in the manufacturing and construction sectors and rising levels of personal income. Product sales are expected to exceed 7% yearly growth to reach almost 200 billion square meters, with demand for lighter weight disposable nonwoven products coming from emerging markets.
Spunmelt nonwoven fabrics represent the leading market segment in the global nonwoven fabrics market. Spunmelt nonwoven fabrics outpaced carded fabrics in 2010, and they are expected to record strong growth through 2015 due to increased use of disposable medical garments and textiles. The fastest rate of growth will be witnessed by airlaid nonwovens due to their lower cost to suppliers.
The world medical market for nanotechnology applications is expected to reach almost $9.5 billion in 2018, according to research from Dolcera Insights. Yearly growth over the 8-year period ending 2010 is expected to fall between 15% and 20%. Nano-fiber based adhesives represent a key application used in implants fixation, wound closure and drug delivery. Research and development for Nano-fiber adhesives are likely to help drive demand.
Regional Market Share
China is the current leader in the global synthetic fiber market, reports Global Industry Analysts. Obstacles to market growth include raw materials shortages and consumer awareness regarding environmental issues leading to growing demand for environmentally friendly products.
The global fiber-manufacturing sector is a competitive market with many industry players vying for market share. Leading names currently operating in the global fiber industry include Universal Fiber Systems, Asahi Kasei Fibers, ALFA, FIBER VISIONS, Mitsubishi Rayon, Radici Partecipazioni, Teijin Fibers, Reliance Industries, BASF, Guilford Mills, Kaneka, Indorama, Lenzing, INVISTA and Performance Fibers.
Leading Industry Associations
- Synthetic Yarn and Fiber Association
- European Man-made Fibers Association
- Indonesian Synthetic Fiber Makers Association
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