Production of nonwovens in Europe grew 2.5 per cent in 2016. While output growth in the European Union outperformed Greater Europe, some countries demonstrated impressive development. Germany, Italy and Spain all witnessed growth, with Spain being particularly impressive at five per cent while recent star performer Turkey remained stable, more than compensating for the minor decline recorded in some other European markets.
Although the primary end-use of nonwovens continues to be the hygiene market, with a 30.7 per cent share of deliveries (by weight), significant growth areas for nonwovens were recorded in other sectors like agriculture and garments (both recording double digit growth), air filtration, construction and food and beverage.
Countering this, a minor decline was recorded in the automotive industry. Medical and personal care wipes sectors both remained stable with a slight fall of 0.4 per cent. Divergent trends were also observed between the various production processes of nonwovens. The production of fiber-based materials Drylaid and Short-Fibre Airlaid technologies recorded an increase of 2.2 per cent and 2.9 per cent, while Wetlaid remained relatively stable. Spunmelt nonwovens recorded a growth rate of 3.3 per cent. The highest growth rate was observed in material produced via the air-through bonding process, with a 13.1 per cent increase.