Rapid growth in demand in emerging markets is driving investment in nonwovens, according to a new report - with several nonwovens roll goods producers expanding to target markets in Asia, Australasia, the Middle East, North Africa, South America and Southern Africa.

In the Asia-Pacific region alone, demand for nonwoven fabrics is forecast to grow by 9.6% per annum between 2010 and 2015, according to Freedonia Group. Furthermore, China will account for almost half of additional demand worldwide.

Avgol, an Israel-based spunbond nonwovens producer which has facilities in Israel, China, North America and Russia, has added a second line at its facility in China and a third line is under construction. When the line has been completed, it will bring Avgol's total production capacity in the country to 40,000 tons per annum.

First Quality Nonwovens, a producer of spunmelt nonwovens with two plants in Pennsylvania in the US, is building a new manufacturing facility in Wuxi, China. Initially, the plant will have two machines, the first of which is scheduled to start production in 2012.

Mitsui Chemicals, a Japan-based nonwovens producer with facilities in Japan and Thailand, plans to establish a new facility in Tianjin, China, for making spunbond nonwovens for the disposable diaper market. The facility is expected to begin operations in September 2013.

Andrew Industries, a UK-based specialist in baghouse filters, has purchased a production plant in Wuxi from the Finnish company Ahlstrom, thereby adding to its dust filtration material assets in China. In addition, the company plans to add a needlepunch line at the plant to make PTFE felts.

The new capacity will, in part, support a new bag fabricating and distribution facility which was opened in Chennai, India, in late 2011. However, Andrew Industries hopes to add nonwovens production to the Chennai site within the next two years.

Hollingsworth & Vose, a US-based supplier of engineered papers and nonwovens, has formed a joint venture with the Nath Group to build a new mill in Maharashtra, India.

South Korea-based Toray Advanced Materials, a wholly owned subsidiary of Toray Industries, added a second line at its Chinese operation in March 2011, and plans to bring a third line on stream at this operation in July 2012. However, the company's most recently announced investment is a 20,000 ton line which is planned for Tangerang in Indonesia. The new line is set to start up in June 2013.

Toray's investments in China and Indonesia are being driven by predictions of rapid growth in demand for disposable baby diapers in member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) as a result of strong economic growth in this region.

Asahi Kasei, a Japan-based producer of nonwovens aimed primarily at the diaper market, has begun construction of a new line in Thailand, in partnership with Saha Group. The line represents the company's first investment outside Japan and the decision to build it was made in an attempt to reduce costs and improve profitability.

Fibertex, a Denmark-based producer of nonwovens for a wide range of end uses, has recently finished construction of a third spunmelt line at its facility in Malaysia. Production on the line, which will target personal care markets, has been building up in 2012.

Fibertex has also expanded in the southern hemisphere with a new operation in South Africa to manufacture needlepunched nonwovens for use in geotextiles and products for the South African automotive industry.

From a long-term strategic perspective, the project is expected to serve as a gateway to southern Africa and to countries and regions elsewhere in the southern hemisphere - such as Australasia, India, the Middle East and South America.

Pegas, a spunmelt nonwovens producer which operates nine lines in the Czech Republic, has announced its first foreign investment by revealing plans to build a manufacturing site in Egypt in response to rising demand in North Africa and the Middle East.

The company plans to build two nonwovens lines in Egypt. The first will come on stream in late 2013 and the second is due to come on stream some time during 2015-16. Each line will be able to make about 20,000 tons of material per annum.

Click here for more information on 'The World Nonwovens Industry: Part 2 - 20 Medium Sized Producers' published by Textiles Intelligence in issue No 87 of Technical Textile Markets.