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Unitika 4-1-3 Kyutaromachi Chuo-ku Osaka, Japan 06-281-5361 Worldwide Nonwovens Sales: $65 million (9.5 billion yen) Key Personnel: Keizo Ishibashi, director-Spunbond Div.; Yoshiyuki Iihara, general manager-Processing Technology Div. Plant: Okazaki Processes: Spunbonded, Spunlaced Brand Names: Marix (polyester spunbonded), Nyace (nylon spunbonded), Wiwi (nylon spunbonded), Eleves (polyester/polyethylene bicomponent fiber spunbonded), Cottoace (spunlaced) Notes: News at Unitika in the past year is that it has increased its production capacity to 16,900 tons a year from 13,300 by adding one spunbonded production line. Total capacity at Unitika, which has about 22% of the Japanese spunbonded market, includes 1800 tons a year for nylon nonwovens and the rest for polyester and polyester/polyethylene.

Cottoace, which is a 100% cotton nonwoven fabric, is produced by Marusan Industrial. Sales of the company's spunlaced cotton nonwoven exceeded 100 million [yen] in 1990; most were used for wipe materials.

Though Unitika's spunbonded nonwovens have a variety of end uses, the company has the largest share in the agricultural and carpet backing materials markets. Cottoace, which has excellent water absorption and holding properties, is widely used for wipes and medical related goods. Since it is made of cotton and binderless, no offensive odor or poisonous gas is generated when incinerated and it is also biodegradable, making it suitable for disposable items from the viewpoint of protection of the environment. Cottoace has only been marketed strongly in the last year, so sales still remain low, although they are growing at a steady pace.

Unitika is also promoting the development of composite nonwovens. It has developed a nonwoven made with polyethylene slit yarns thermally melted to its "Marix" fabric for agricultural use. Three layer sheets with woven fabrics sandwiched between two Marix sheets are used as geotextiles.

"Eleves" is also widely used in composites. A core-sheath bicomponent of polyester--with a higher melting point--as the core and polyethylene--with a lower melting point--as the sheath has excellent thermal melt adhesiveness and is very suitable for composite structures with film and other nonwovens. Two layered sheets made with Eleves thermally melted to polyester spunbonded nonwovens have been developed for packing materials. When a sheet bag for the packing material is to be thermally sealed, a heater for thermal sealing is applied to the polyester spunbonded side, while surfaces made of Eleves are melted to seal the bag. In this way the heater is kept free from contamination by the melt, causing the efficiency of work to be increased. Unitika is also investigating the combination of Eleves with melt blown nonwovens or microporous films.

In addition, Unitika is developing melt blown nonwovens but has not yet started regular production. The company also produces fibrous active carbon made with pitch-based activated carbon fibers, as well as two kinds of nonwovens of fibrous active carbon. One type is a thermal bonded nonwoven made by combining stapled fibrous active carbon with polyester thermal bonding fibers. In the other type, just after pitch as a raw material is spun into threads, a web is formed, sintered, then activated. Since the nonwovens made of fibrous active carbon have excellent absorption features, they are used in the filtering materials of air and liquid filters.

One new product recently introduced by Unitika is a nonwoven cooking mesh for fish and other vegetables. The mesh allows the food to simmer in its own sauce while still being cooked by the boiling water beneath. The mesh can also be used to hold in cooking fluids.
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Title Annotation:nonwoven fabrics business
Publication:Nonwovens Industry
Article Type:company profile
Date:Sep 1, 1991
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