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Product and technology innovations drive Toyobo.

Innovations in technology and new product developments have shaped the past year at Toyobo, Osaka, Japan, the 13th largest nonwoven roll goods producer. In one area of innovation, a melt blown nonwoven, tradenamed Schanfine, debuted in 1992. While the initial capacity is only 100 tons/year, plans to increase production are already underway In another area, the company has been conducting trial production of spunlaced nonwovens and is continuing marketing activity for a full-scale commercial line.

By increasing the variety of nonwoven materials it manufactures, Toyobo is advancing steadily on its way to becoming a diversified nonwovens manufacturer. In addition to the technologies it is developing, Toyobo has also begun selling stitchbonded nonwovens. The company has obtained the sales rights of the stitchbonded nonwovens produced by Yuho to further expand its nonwovens portfolio.

Toyobo has not only been increasing the types of nonwovens it offers but has also been making inroads into the production of value-added and composite nonwovens. In the value-added arena, Toyobo has developed an anti-bacterial type of spunbonded polyester nonwoven, tradenamed "Sabrina." With its first application in suit lockers and garment coverings, the nonwoven is made from polyester fibers that have a silver anti-bacterial deodorant built in. Intended to replace polyvinyl chloride film, projected sales for Sabrina are 200 million [yen] for this year, increasing to 1 billion [yen] by 1995.

Regarding composite nonwovens, Toyobo has developed ODS1000, a composite that combines a polyester spunbond and a polypropylene needlepunched nonwoven. The two fabrics are joined with "Dynac," a nonwoven-like nylon hot melt adhesive. Designed for geotextile applications, ODS1000 will be used as a ground reinforcement material. In the soil, the spunbonded portion acts as a filter while the needlepunched nonwoven assists in draining away water. Production is expected to reach 200,000 sq. meters within three years.

In a more traditional area, Toyobo has introduced a new HEPA filter for air conditioning systems in industrial clean rooms. The new "Elitron Super" polypropylene filter has an improved 99.97% collection efficiency of 0.3 micron particles and a longer life than traditional glass filter bags.

For the future, Toyobo is aiming to achieve gross sales of Y18.0 billion in 1993 by increasing the diversity of the nonwovens it produces, promoting the value-added option and through further developments in composite nonwovens.

Toyobo 2-2-8 Dojimahama Kita-ku, Osaka, Japan 06-348-3111

Worldwide Nonwoven Sales: $130 million (16.5 billion [yen])

Corporate Sales: $2.64 billion (334.3 billion [yen])

Key Personnel: Akira Hinata, director of Nonwoven Division; Yutaka Nagano, general manager of Spunbond Division

Plants: Tsuruga, Iwakuni and Shiga, Japan

Processes: Spunbonded, Needlepunched, Resin Bonded, Thermal Bonded, Melt Blown and Stitchbonded

Brand Names: Volans, Ecule, Bonden, Kurelock, Dynac and Schanfine

Major Markets: Geotextiles, Roofings, Carpet Backings, Automotive Interiors, Automotive Filters, Needlepunched Carpets and Nonwoven-like Hot Melt Adhesive Cloth
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Title Annotation:International Top 30; Toyobo Company Ltd.
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1993
Words:467
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