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Kuraray 1-12-39 Umeda Kitaku Osaka, Japan 06-348-2240 Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $62 million (9 billion yen) Key Personnel: Masayoshi Ogawa, general manager-Kuraflex Div.; Toshio Takagi, general manager-Kuraflex Sales Dept.; Naohide Nonoguchi, general manager-Melt Blown Promotion Dept., Kuraflex Div. Plants: Okayama, Kurashiki Processes: Resin Bonded, Thermal Bonded, Spunlaced, Melt Blown, Air Laid Pulp, Needlepunched Brand Names: Kuraflex, Microflex Notes: Kuraray's production capacity for staple nonwovens (resin bonded, thermal bonded, spunlaced) is now 280 million sq. meters a year. The company plans to increase this capacity to 330 million sq. meters annually by adding another production line by the end of 1993. Capacity for the company's melt blown "Microflex" fiber, which was started in 1989, is also scheduled to be increased from its present 400 tons a year by the addition of one production line, although the time frame and scale of the increase has not yet been determined.

Kuraray also operates as a distributor for other companies. Some products made of air laid pulp and needlepunched nonwovens manufactured at other companies are sold by Kuraray.

The industrialization of spunbonded nonwovens is now a focal point at Kuraray. The company is investigating a variety of raw materials, including polypropylene and polyester, but also polyvinyl alcohol, ethylene vinyl alcohol copolymers and liquid crystal polymers. If these polymers can be made into practical applications, unique spunbonded nonwovens will be produced.

Kuraray has entered into the third five year project since April, 1991 aimed at increasing the sales of its "Kuraflex" business department to $135 million (20 billion yen) by the end of March, 1995. In conjunction with this sales increase plan, an increase in the production facilities of Kuraflex and Microflex is also considered.

In terms of markets, Kuraray does well in the disposables area for domestic and business use and has a large market share in wipes and coverstock. Since development at the company is focused on disposable products, nonwovens produced are thin goods. While thicker nonwovens are not manufactured at present, the company is planning to produce needlepunched and spunbonded nonwovens in the future. These will target industrial materials, geotextiles and building materials.
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Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:company profile
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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