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Fibers for nonwovens in Brazil.

Polypropylene is by far the most widely used fiber, polyester and rayon also play a role

The total shipment of polypropylene, polyester and rayon staple by Brazilian fiber producers to nonwoven roll goods manufacturers during 1991 was roughly 28.5 million kilograms. The breakdown of percentages for the fibers illustrates the use of fibers in the Brazilian nonwovens industry.

Polypropylene fiber sales last year were 19 million kilograms, a marketshare of 66.7%, making polypropylene - as in the U.S. - the leading fiber in the nonwovens industry. More than three quarters of the polypropylene fiber sold was used in the manufacture of needlepunched fabrics. A breakdown of end uses for polypropylene fiber details the other markets that use the fiber.

Polyester was the second most used fiber in the nonwovens industry in Brazil in 1991. Principal markets for polyester include cover-stock for diapers and feminine hygiene products, filtration, interlinings, industrial end uses, the shoe industry and fiberfill. Sales for the fiberfill market alone were four million kilograms, with the other markets making up three million kilograms in sales.

However, during 1991, there were significant imports of polyester staple. For the fiberfill market, imports totaled 1.4 million kilograms, while imports for the other markets reached 0.4 million kilograms.

Rayon fiber saw its share of the nonwovens fiber market decrease from last year. The primary reason behind rayon's decline is the increasing amount of spunbonded polypropylene that is being used in cover-stock for diapers and feminine hygiene pads and industrial and domestic wipe markets.

As such, the total Brazilian nonwoven fiber consumption for 1991, with imports and domestic consumption combined, approaches 30.3 million kilograms.

The other fibers used in nonwovens include nylon and acrylic but their total consumption is negligible. Acrylic fibers are used primarily in the production of blankets; much of this is shoddy or fiber waste materials.

A Comparison

With total sales of polyester staple in 1991 in Brazil of 48.4 million kilograms, polypropylene sales at 33.0 million kilograms and rayon at 32.0 million kilograms, it is clear that nonwovens production plays a varying part in each of the three total sales figures. Nonwovens production accounted for only 14% of domestic fiber sales in 1991, but nonwoven polypropylene consumption was 57% of the total polypropylene sales (Table 1).
 Table 1
 (million kilograms)
 PP PET Rayon Total
Sales 33.0 48.4 32.0 113.4
Nonwovens 19.0 7.0 2.5 28.5
% Share 57.0 14.5 8.0 25

In the coming years, it is expected that polypropylene fiber usage will grow and it is most likely that sales of polyester fiber for nonwovens will also increase. The appearance of a new thermal bonding card line and the increase in the installed capacity of polypropylene staple will fuel the growth of the two main nonwoven fibers in Brazil.
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Title Annotation:Latin American report
Author:Rewald, Freddy Gustavo
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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