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The coverstock market in Japan.

The Coverstock Market In Japan

with penetration exceeding 70%, the baby diaper market in Japan is expanding only at the rate of population growth; new technologies are providing new materials for coverstock applications The Japanese production of coverstock for use in diapers and sanitary napkins has been rapidly increasing since the beginning of the 1980s, resulting from an explosive increase in the production of diapers. Figure 1 shows the growth in diaper production in Japan.

In the 1980s, baby and adult diaper production increased 30% and 16%, respectively, while the production of sanitary napkins remains constant, probably because the market has been saturated.

Coverstock Consumption By Material

The consumption of coverstock exceeded 900 million sq. meters in 1989 and is expected to reach one billion sq. meters in 1990. Materials used in coverstock are dominated by thermal bonded nonwovens, at 57%, followed by spunbonded nonwovens at 26%, other types of nonwovens at 11% and film at 6%. Although thermal bonded nonwovens still have the largest share, spunbondeds and apertured films have recently been increasing remarkably; the former has grown in baby diapers, the latter in sanitary napkins.

In the area of baby diapers, although thermal bonded nonwovens had been used in the entire topsheet until 1987, the construction has since changed. Thermal bondeds are used only on the middle portion (center top portion), located between the gathered edge portions on both sides, with the gathered edge portion now primarily made of polypropylene spunbonded nonwovens.

Because of this, there has been a rapid increase in the demand for polypropylene spunbondeds, causing both Mitsui Petrochemical and Asahi Chemical to significantly increase production capacities.

In sanitary napkins, Procter & Gamble Far East marketed products using apertured films in 1986 and has been increasing its share. In 1988, UniCharm and Kao began to use apertured films in some of their sanitary napkins, causing the films to be firmly fixed as materials for this application. Apertured films are used only in sanitary napkins at present, but they are a possibility in adult diapers.

Currently, the sanitary napkin market remains stagnant and baby diapers are growing at the same rate as population growth, reaching about 70% penetration. Only adult diapers offer much potential for increases in coverstock demand.

Consumption of coverstock for this end use remains relatively minor, since production of adult diapers is still low. Adult diapers are very diversified in type, so material requirements vary greatly. However, since it is accepted in some circles that coverstock consumption in adult diapers will overtake baby diapers in the future, the competition among various nonwovens should be severe. [Figure 1 Omitted] [Table 1 & 2 Omitted]
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Title Annotation:baby diapers
Author:Ohmura, Kin
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Date:Jan 1, 1991
Previous Article:1990 - the year that was.
Next Article:The 1990/91 legislative and regulatory agenda.

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