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European nonwovens continues growth.

According to figures released by EDANA, European nonwovens production grew 6.2% in 2003 to reach nearly 1.29 million tons compared to 1.21 tons in 2002 when annual growth was 7.8%. By surface area, nonwovens growth as similar, reaching 33.2 million square meters last year.

Diverging trends are again affecting the various bonding processes of drylaid nonwovens. In recent years the most spectacular growth was once again seen in hydroentangling, where last year's impressive growth, 11.5%, was significantly slower than growth charted in 2002--30%. Polymer-based, or spunmelt, nonwovens also grew impressively at 11%.

The main end-use for nonwovens remains hygiene with a 32.6% marketshare, a slight decrease compared to the previous year in. By weight, however, hygiene usage increased 5.1%, amounting to 416,900 tons.

"The highest growth area for nonwovens in 2003 was in the garment sector, mostly protective clothing, with an increase of 25%, according to Pierre Wiertz, general manager of EDANA. "This was followed closely, perhaps more surprisingly, by liquid filtration at 23% and medical and surgical applications at 16%."

Polypropylene, either in fiber or granule form, continues to be the most important polymer used in the European nonwovens industry accounting for 618,600 tons, 46.7% of the total fiber and polymer chip consumption.

With more than 255,000 tons exported annually, for a value of almost 1.1 billion [euro], the EU remains the biggest nonwovens trading partner in the world, still with a positive balance, despite the unfavorable currency status in 2003.
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Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:4E
Date:Aug 1, 2004
Words:255
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