This report analyzes the merchant market for meltblown nonwovens. Demand is broken out by region and application, which include:
filters, including air and fluid filters as well as internal combustion engine (ICE) and related filters (which encompass air and fluid filters used in applications related to engines)
medical/surgical products, which encompass bandages and dressings, bedding, patient gowns, surgical drapes, and medical masks, among others
other applications, including wipes, personal hygiene products (such as infant diapers, feminine hygiene products, and adult incontinence products), construction, and motor vehicles
For the purposes of this study, demand includes both meltblowns used as alone as well as those that are combined with one or more other nonwovens to produce composite nonwovens such as spunbond-meltblown-spunbond (SMS). Sales of composite nonwovens are broken down according to their constituent web types and the portion of the product that is made of meltblown is included. Excluded are nonwovens made by other formation processes.
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In addition to the breakouts described above, this report analyzes demand for meltblown nonwovens – both those produced capitively and those from the merchant market – used to make both medical and nonmedical masks. Masks include both respirators – which are tight-fitting face masks such as N95, FFP2, and KN95 – and loose-fitting face masks often called surgical or medical masks. The latter are called masks for the purpose of this study to differentiate them from respirators.
Global demand for meltblown nonwovens is expected to increase over 12% in 2020 in value terms. Surging demand for meltblown used in crucial medical supplies like masks caused supply shortages and price hikes that were offset by losses in the large automotive filter market, as the need to combat the spread of COVID-19 boosted use of protective gear while leading to shutdowns of many automotive manufacturing facilities.
Both existing manufacturers of meltblown nonwovens and other companies are investing in production and seeking out additional capacity to churn out as much meltblown product as possible to meet surging need for healthcare products and to help mitigate lost sales in other markets.
Demand for meltblown in other applications will also be affected by the challenges of the current pandemic:
As manufacture of products that are not “essential” or that have seen weakened demand (e.g., ICE filters, due to suppressed motor vehicle production) has slowed or stopped, demand for nonwovens in these applications has suffered. As a result, some manufacturers of meltblown nonwovens or products that use meltblown nonwovens for other purposes have adapted their processes to help support medical mask production in an attempt to mitigate losses.
Overall, meltblown demand for other crucial applications, such as wipes and personal hygiene, is expected to remain steady, as spikes in countries where these products are already accepted are offset by some losses in developing countries where consumers have more recently begun using these products.