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Shipments of fibers to nonwovens reported for 2003: it was a poor year for nonwovens.

As expected, 2003 turned out to be a very poor year for staple-based nonwovens. Total domestic shipments of manufactured staple fiber Noun 1. staple fiber - a natural fiber (raw cotton, wool, hemp, flax) that can be twisted to form yarn; "staple fibers vary widely in length"
staple fibre, staple

natural fiber, natural fibre - fiber derived from plants or animals
 to nonwovens roll goods producers were 717 million pounds, 13% or 110 million pounds below 2002 statistics, making it the worst year since 1998 when 688 million pounds were shipped to nonwovens producers. The 10-year history of fiber activity in nonwovens is shown in Table 1.

Looking at the 10-year data, the year 2000 seems to have been something of a turning point. Prior to that year, increases in shipments were routine (with one trivial TRIVIAL. Of small importance. It is a rule in equity that a demurrer will lie to a bill on the ground of the triviality of the matter in dispute, as being below the dignity of the court. 4 Bouv. Inst. n. 4237. See Hopk. R. 112; 4 John. Ch. 183; 4 Paige, 364.  exception). Most spectacular was the huge leap in sales between 1998 and 1999 when the increase was no less than 137 million pounds or 20%. Sales actually reached their peak in 2000, but since then the curve has turned downward with the latest figure being extremely low.

In the first year of the period, olefin olefin (ō`ləfĭn) or olefin series: see alkene.
 or alkene

Any unsaturated hydrocarbon containing one or more pairs of carbon atoms linked by a double bond (see
 and polyester polyester, synthetic fiber, produced by the polymerization of the product formed when an alcohol and organic acid react. The outstanding characteristic of polyesters is their ability to resist wrinkling and to spring back into shape when creased.  were equal in poundage POUNDAGE, practice. The amount allowed to the sheriff, or other officer, for commissions on, the money made by virtue of an execution. This allowance varies in different states, and to different officers.  at 280 million pounds each. Thereafter, olefin gained at polyester's expense until reaching its peak marketshare (56%) in 2001-2002. In the latest reporting period polyester came back quite strongly, boosting its share to 41% and lowering olefin's share to 52%.

In the past it has been noted that, while olefin staple 1. (language) STAPLE - A programming language written at Manchester (University?) and used at ICL in the early 1970s for writing the test suites. STAPLE was based on Algol 68 and had a very advanced optimising compiler.
 sales are heavily dependent on nonwovens business, they are a much smaller factor in the polyester picture. That is still true but not as true as it used to be. In the peak year 2000, 64% of olefin sales went to nonwovens producers. By 2003, nonwovens absorbed only 57% of domestic shipments. The polyester figures show a contrary picture. Back in 1994, nonwovens provided a market for only 13% of polyester staple. But, in those days, polyester enjoyed more than 700 million pounds per year in sales to broad weavers; that business has dropped off to not much better than 400 million pounds. Similarly, knit good business has declined from better than 509 million pounds annually to less than 300 million. Both developments reflect the decline of garment manufacturing and the demand for apparel fabrics in the U.S. In light of such developments, there is ample incentive for polyester fiber Noun 1. polyester fiber - a quick-drying resilient synthetic fiber consisting primarily of polyester
polyester - any of numerous synthetic resins; they are light and strong and weather resistant
 producers to intensify in·ten·si·fy  
v. in·ten·si·fied, in·ten·si·fy·ing, in·ten·si·fies
1. To make intense or more intense:
 their efforts in markets which, in more prosperous days, were not of major importance. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 Fiber Economics Bureau data, domestic shipments of manufactured staple for apparel use have declined more than 40% between 1994 and last year. The figures on domestic shipments of a manufactured staple for apparel, home furnishings furnishings

the extra type or quantity of hair on the head, tail, ears or legs, specified for a particular breed. For example, the feathers in setters, the beard in Bearded collies, the eyebrows in Schnauzers.
 and industrial uses are shown in Table 2.

Even allowing for the fact that 2003 was a cyclically poor year, the drop in domestic sales to the apparel trades compared with the results for home textiles and industrial markets was dramatic.

Polyester Fiberfill fi·ber·fill  
Lightweight synthetic fiber used as filling or insulation, as in comforters, pillows, and outerwear.

The polyester fiberfill business last year was also poor but not as bad as the nonwovens area. Sales were 388 million pounds, down 11% from 2002. The longer term trend is static to downward. For example, between 1994 and 2003, sales dropped 6% from 431 million to 388 million pounds--a relatively slight decline compared to the nonwovens industry during the same period. Polyester has virtually no interfiber competition in fiberfill applications but there is a significant market served by urethane urethane (yoor´ithān´),
n ethyl carbamate used as an anesthetic agent for laboratory animals, formerly used as a hypnotic in humans.
Table 1

10 Year History of Fiber Activity

        Olefine    Polyester    O/P    Rayon    Total

1994      280         279       559     45       604
1995      267         280       547     44       591
1996      294         285       579     52       631
1997      314         286       600     54       654
1998      339         292       631     57       688
1999      454         310       764     61       825
2000      483         320       813     65       878
2001      466         298       764     61       825
2002      459         306       765     62       827
2003      369         294       663     54       717

Source: Fiber Economics Bureau; rayon is estimated

Table 2

Shipments By End Use Segment

         Apparel    Home    Industrial    Total

1994      1098      1628       1216       3942
1995       910      1487       1256       3653
1996       876      1582       1205       3663
1997      1044      1594       1200       3818
1998       899      1610       1223       3732
1999       849      1612       1391       3852
2000       826      1579       1445       3850
2001       708      1395       1286       3389
2002       666      1422       1350       3483
2003       612      1407       1209       3228

Change: 1994-2003

Lbs.      -486      -221         -7       -714
%          -44       -14         --        -18
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Comment:Shipments of fibers to nonwovens reported for 2003: it was a poor year for nonwovens.
Author:Harrison, David
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jun 1, 2004
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