In 2020, the nonwovens industry had a strong year with production levels ramped up due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Products such as facemasks and disinfectant wipes were produced in vast quantities leading to increased profits for many manufacturers and an overall stronger year than 2019. The number of new lines added in 2020 by nonwoven producers was the highest it had been for the 50-year history of nonwovens.
When it comes to nonwoven manufacturers, Greycon offers trim optimisation, planning & scheduling and MES solutions aimed at delivering improvements in production efficiencies, material management, sustainability and profitability for plastic film manufacturers. You can learn more about Greycon’s solution within the plastic industry here.
Johns Manville is a manufacturer of insulation, commercial roofing, glass fibres and nonwovens. Johns Manville’s nonwoven products are used within industries such as building, aerospace, automotive & transportation, filtration, commercial interiors, waterproofing and wind energy.
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, U.S, Johns Manville have 46 manufacturing facilities spread across China, Europe and North America. With over 8,000 global employees, the company serves customers in more than 80 countries around the world. In 2020, Johns Manville achieved a revenue of $725 million.
Based in Manchester, Connecticut, U.S, Lydall Inc is a global manufacturer within the thermal/acoustical and filtration/separation markets. Lydall currently produces technical nonwovens in multiple countries including France, Germany, the UK, Canada, the USA and China. In 2020, Lydall had an impressive revenue of $764 million.
In June of 2020, an agreement was signed for Lydall to be acquired by Unifrax, which is a leading provider of materials used for filtration, thermal management, fire protection, battery minerals and emission control.
Established in 1926, Toray industries are a manufacturer of fibres & textiles, performance chemicals, carbon fibre composite materials and more. With its headquarters based in Tokyo, Japan, Toray operates in 29 countries/regions and employs over 7,400 workers. Annually, 231,000 tons of nonwovens are currently made by Toray in Asia alone.
The growth in demand for nonwoven products such as face masks and other PPE lead to a successful year for Toray who had revenue of $902 million in 2020.
Glatfelter is a manufacturer of nonwovens specialising in major markets such as food & beverage, homecare, tabletop, wipes, adult incontinence, and feminine hygiene. With headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, U.S, Glatfelter employ over 2,500 employees who serve customers in over 100 countries and has an annual production capacity of over 600,000 tons across all of its plants. In 2020, Glatfelter reported a strong revenue of $916 million.
Glatfelter maintains a sustainable ethos by producing environmentally responsible products that are nature-based. To combat greenhouse gas emissions, Glatfelter uses the co-generation process to reduce energy use during manufacturing.
DuPont has been working with nonwovens for over 40 years and like many of the companies on this list, DuPont produced vast quantities of face coverings and other PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, DuPont had reported revenue of $1 billion.
One of DuPont’s biggest values is protecting the planet. The company aim towards preserving the earth’s natural resources through the use of science enabled sustainable solutions.
“I take great pride in what we do to improve the world and change lives for the better. But I’m equally proud of how we do it, namely through an unwavering commitment to our values”. Randy Stone, President, Mobility and Materials.
Founded in 1973, the Brazil-based nonwovens manufacturer Fitesa began producing spunbond nonwovens in 1989. Fitesa supplies nonwoven materials for market segments such as baby care, feminine care, adult care, surgical, respiratory, agricultural, bedding, and filtration.
Fitesa’s plants can be found placed across the globe in countries such as Brazil, Peru, Mexico, the USA, Sweden, Germany, Italy, China, and Thailand. In 2020, Fitesa achieved a revenue of $1.13 billion. In November 2020, Fitesa announced it would be adding several new meltblown lines in a 55,000 metric ton expansion.
Kimberly-Clark’s nonwoven materials serve many major markets such as hygiene, medical, packaging, filtration, acoustics, construction, protective, sorbents, textile linings and wet wipes. These nonwoven materials are used by many global brands such as Andrex, Huggies, Cottonelle, and Kleenex.
As of December 31st, 2020, Kimberly-Clark had 46,000 employees with 30% based in North America and the remainder spread across more than 65 countries. With such a large workforce, it is no surprise that Kimberly-Clark’s total revenue for 2020 came in at $1.3 billion.
Ahlstrom-Munksjo provides sustainable fibre-based solutions for food & beverage, liquid & air filtration, protective medical fabrics and more. As of 2020, the company has 45 plants spread across 14 countries, 7,800 employees and a revenue of $1.5 billion.
Ahlstrom-Munksjo makes ongoing efforts to lower CO2 emissions and increase sustainability across all of their manufacturing endeavours. The company recently invested around €7 million in a state-of-the-art coating machine. The machine can operate without the use of formaldehyde in the process, making use of this machine will have much better outcomes for the environment.
Headquartered in Weinheim, Germany, Freudenberg is a manufacturer of nonwoven materials with a workforce of over 48,000 strong and revenue of $2.3 billion. Nonwovens played a good part in achieving this revenue, in October 2020 a new high-performance meltblown line was added in Kaiserslautern, Germany, to produce PPE.
In 2020, the nonwoven manufacturer Low & Bower were acquired by Freudenberg. Low and Bower has a two-step spunbond process solution which allows them to tailor products to customers desires at a more precise level. This acquisition means that Freudenberg now boasts 35 production facilities across Asia, Europe, and North America.
Berry Global are a manufacturer of packaging and engineered product including nonwoven materials. As the world’s largest producer of nonwoven fabrics, Berry is a leading producer of spunbond polypropylene, spunbond bicomponent, spunbond polyester, meltblown, SMS, carded, and nonwoven composites. 2020 saw Berry achieve a revenue of $2.4 Billion, with such a big production level, Berry has more than 47,000 global employees based at over 295 individual locations.
In response to the pandemic, Berry installed nine face mask making machines around the world. In total, this has given Berry the ability to produce more than 20 million face masks per month.
Outside of the Top 10 List, 2020 saw many high performing manufacturers within the nonwoven industry. Here is a list of some honourable mentions.