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Investment in the North American nonwovens industry remains strong, with several new line investment plans announced in the past few months. These investments were made after the industry experienced an exciting five-year growth period. According to INDA, the North American Association of Nonwovens Industry, between 2012 and 2017, North America added 663,000 tons of non-woven fabric capacity.
In 2017, Glatfelter invested more than $80 million in a dry paper mill in Arkansas, USA, which was put into production in the fourth quarter. The new plant has an annual capacity of about 22,000 tons, which will increase the company's global dry paper capacity to 130,000 tons / year. The plant has become a specialized production base for Glatfelter in the United States and other production centers for low-quantity products.
At the beginning of December 2017, Fitesa was commissioned at a non-woven fabric plant in South Carolina, USA, with a new melt-blown line of 24,000 tons.
In February 2018, Suominen decided to launch a new investment growth project worth about 6 million euros at its production facility in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The investment involves the installation of new carding machinery representing the latest technology on existing spunlace production lines.
According to the plan, it will enhance the plant's capabilities and further support Suominen to develop and supply new and innovative products that will improve their lives. Once upgraded, the line will improve Suominen's ability to provide high value-added nonwovens for home care, personal care and workplace wiping and hygiene applications, all of which Suominen seeks to develop. In addition, the investment provides Suominen's customers with a more efficient supply of non-woven raw materials for baby wipes.
Kimberly-Clark Corp. Kimberly-Clark will invest $30 million to expand and improve Berkeley Mill, a nonwovens manufacturing facility in Hendersonville, North Carolina, Hendersonville, North Carolina. The plant produces raw materials for the company's North American adult and feminine care brands, including Kotex's Depend, Poise and U, which also produce Kimberly-Clark air filtration materials.
On June 7, 2018, Norafin Industries (Germany) GmbH hosted the grand opening ceremony of the North American plant in Mills River, North Carolina. The new facility is located in Henderson County, North Carolina, and is the first manufacturing facility for Norafin in North America.
Norafin (Americas) Inc. is located in Mills River, North Carolina, with a floor area of approximately 75,000 square feet and an investment of $18 million. The establishment of a North American manufacturing facility enables Norafin to better serve existing customers, penetrate new markets, and provide a solid platform for continued growth in the future. In the past ten years, the company has been selling in Asheville. Norafin was founded in East Germany in 1985. Since 1997, the headquarters has been in Mildenau, Germany. It is a professional manufacturer of spunlace nonwovens for multi-technology applications.
Berry Global Group, Inc. has also recently announced plans to invest in its new Spinlace line, which will produce filament spunlace materials using Berry's advanced proprietary process, to be based in the existing plant in Mooresville, North Carolina. It is expected to provide 17,000 tons/year of new capacity for the North American market next year. This investment will focus on quality applications in the healthcare, hygiene, household cleaning, food service and industrial wipes markets to meet potential market and customer growth.
“This technology is unique in the market, offering strength, fluffiness, high design flexibility, and texture and brand 3D imaging capabilities,” said Scott Tracey, president of Berry Health, Health and Professionals. “By combining Spinlace with Berry's proprietary Apex® technology, we can port customizable 3D images directly into fabrics, providing enhanced product performance, recognition and aesthetic appeal through brand differentiation.”
Berry announced that it will increase its Spinlace capacity in February next year, and the new production line should begin commercial production in mid-2019.
In April 2017, Ahlstrom and Munksjo Oyj Minsk were merged. The name of the new company was changed to Ahlstrom-Munksjo Oyj, with sales of 2.2 billion euros in 2017. On June 1st of the same year, Ahlstrom announced that its price of special non-woven materials used in construction, furniture, hygiene, wound care, clothing and other fields increased by 3%, but the company's responsible person said that they are not worried about the loss of orders, because the market demand is still hot. . In September, Ahlstrom completed the renovation of its US plant and will soon be operational. The plant will be able to produce both filtration products and non-woven wallpaper materials, and its production capacity will increase by 200,000 tons.
According to Ahlstrom-Munksjo Oyj's 2018 development plan, Ahlstrom will gradually resume its investment in battery separators due to the rapid growth of battery separator demand in the United States. Ahlstrom's US subsidiary will launch a new product long-term development plan in 2018. Ahlstrom-Munksjo Oyj also plans to divest a small number of existing loss-making businesses and respond to the growing demand for wet wipes, such as investing in new production lines.
In June, Israel's wipes and hygiene products manufacturer Albaad said it would invest $45 million in a production facility in Reidsville, North Carolina, to expand the company's market share in personal care.
It is not difficult to see from the above that many non-woven companies choose North Carolina as their investment of choice. First, for historical reasons, North Carolina is home to the largest textile mill in the United States, and is currently a strong textile industry cluster with more than 700 textile manufacturing companies. Second, its preferential taxation and incentive policies have also attracted huge foreign investment.
Since 2013, more than 36 textile companies have invested more than US$675 million in foreign investment, and North Carolina ranks second in the US textile industry's total investment ranking.