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1-7-20 Azuchimachi Chuo-ku Osaka, Japan 06-261-6263 Worldwide nonwovens sales: $97 million (14.1 billion yen) Key Personnel: Akira Hinata, president; Kenkichi Katori, managing director Plant: Shiga Processes: Needlepunched, Resin Bonded, Thermal Bonded, Spunbonded Brand Names: Bonden (resin bonded, thermal bonded), Kurelock (needlepunched), Dynac (spunbonded) Notes: Kureha, which specializes in nonwovens, is a 100% subsidiary company of Toyobo, which purchased it this past spring. (Kureha is listed separately in this year's listing since the purchase took place during 1991. The two companies will be profiled together in the 1992 Top Companies feature.) Kureha itself has four subsidiary companies in Japan and also has a joint concern in Taiwan, which was organized in 1988. Kureha focuses its efforts on staple nonwovens and, after Japan Vilene, has the second highest sales in Japan for staple nonwovens.

The present production facilities at Kureha consist of three sets of resin bonded, two sets of thermal bonded, 25 sets of needlepunched and four sets of spunbonded units. The facilities for needlepunching are to be increased by three sets sometimes this year. Kureha, which is a leading manufacturer of needlepunched nonwovens, has the largest capacity of needlepunched carpet production in Japan.

The largest market at Kureha is goods related to automotive items, accounting for roughly 35% of total sales. The automotive items are roughly classified into interiors and filters. As interior fabrics, the needlepunched materials are used in molded floor carpets, molded headliners, trunk mats and door trims. In filtration, both air and oil filters are manufactured. Kureha is the top manufacturer of dry nonwovens for use in carburetors. It has licensed its carburetor filter technology to Stearns Technical Textiles in the U.S.

Among Kureha's nonwovens, "Dynac" attracts the most attention. The spunbonded product is different from ordinary nonwovens; it is a nonwoven-like hot melt adhesive cloth made by spinning and web forming a hot melt resin in the process of spunbonding. Though its thickness lies in the 10-100 grams sq. meter range, relatively thin cloths--about 30 grams sq. meter--are predominant. Dynac is used mostly in automotive interiors, but has also found application in industrial and medical materials and apparel. As an example of an automotive application, sticking the surface material of a trim to a core or padding material is performed with Dynac.

Kureha has made a good showing in sales, with increases at an annual rate of 10% for the past decade. Toyobo, the parent company of Kureha, which also produces spunbonded nonwovens, is enlarging the nonwovens business by absorbing the sales division of Kureha on Oct. 1. After this, Kureha will exist only as a production division, while Toyobo increases the scale of its nonwovens business with one stroke. Toyobo also has another 100% subsidiary called Yuhobo and is considering absorbing that sales division as well. If this is achieved, Toyobo will have a sales operation second only to Japan Vilene.
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Title Annotation:Kureha Tech Company Ltd.'s nonwoven fabrics business
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:company profile
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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