Nonwovens are well-bonded, web-structured fabrics that are produced using chemical, mechanical or thermal processes. They are excellent in resisting abrasions, ignitions and are repellant to liquids and airborne particles. Nonwovens also produce breathable clothing whilst having excellent tensile strength.
Driven by the aforementioned attributes, nonwoven protective clothing market size is poised to witness appreciable proceeds in the coming years. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has increased the importance of personal protective equipment in the healthcare industry. Nonwoven fabrics are used for creating a protective layer to the PPE’s which can protect healthcare workers from hazardous chemicals, bacteria, and pathogens.
The rising number of patient admissions has increased the importance of protective apparel in hospitals, thereby increasing its production. In fact, as per a report by the China Global Television Network, a factory in Foshan is producing over 80 tons of nonwovens every day which can be used for making over one million surgical masks or over 400,000 protective suits. These factors clearly justify the insistence regarding nonwoven fabrics in the PPE manufacturing industry.
Speaking of which, polypropylene, a single-use plastic nonwoven material, has been widely used in recent times for making PPEs like face masks, shields, gowns, goggles, shoes, and headcovers for healthcare workers. Similarly, polyethylene has garnered significant importance in protective clothing production in the Asia Pacific region. For instance, in India, researchers at IIT Kanpur developed polythene PPE kits for healthcare staff to protect them from contracting the Sars-Cov-2 virus.
Polyethylene-based equipment is cost-effective and can be produced in large volumes at local factories. Usage of these materials has benefitted the healthcare organizations operating in underdeveloped and developing nations in effectively fighting the COVID outbreak. Such a soaring demand is likely to increase the production of nonwoven protective clothing across the world.
The nonwoven fabric industries have initiated to produce cost-effective products with the integration of paper, pulp technologies. The supply chain sector of this industry has improved over the years with automated converting being at the fulcrum. With the growing usage of automation for producing large volumes of fabrics at low per-unit production costs, the demand for nonwoven protective clothing is likely to expand over the coming years.
Talking about advancements, the integration of printing technology in the nonwoven clothing industry has improved the quality of protective apparel at lower production costs. The printed nonwoven fabric has the potential of replacing many conventional structures. It will significantly reduce production costs by replacing hundreds of traditional looms with accurately sized nonwoven fabric machinery. This shall also reduce the overall power consumption, lowering carbon footprints. Such environment-friendly advancements will possibly expand the nonwoven clothing industry.
The market for nonwoven protective clothing in North America has significantly increased over the years. This is primarily due to the rising number of healthcare institutions and increased awareness pertaining to worker safety. Government organizations have implemented regulations regarding the importance of using protective gear in different sectors like oil & gas, healthcare, which will possibly increase the demand for nonwoven protective clothing in the region.
Similarly, the Asia Pacific region is likely to showcase rapid growth in the coming years. There has been a soaring rise in the number of life-threatening workplace incidents in countries like Japan, India and China. Governments have initiated regulatory actions for promoting awareness regarding workplace safety, increasing the usage of protective apparel in hospitals, manufacturing plants, automotive factories, etc.
Many manufacturers are taking initiatives in producing protective clothing using nonwovens. To support this statement with an instance, Dupont has started a program named #TyvekTogether under which they have produced over 100 million PPE kits to be provided to frontline and healthcare workers. Furthermore, Dupont has produced a new type of fabric, Tyvek 1222A for bolstering the production of PPE kits. Ferra manufacturing of New York joined this initiative and started using the fabric for producing isolation gowns and they have manufactured over 400,000 isolation gowns.
Such initiatives by key manufactures are likely to promote the usage of protective clothing, helping these players in establishing their market position across the nonwoven protective clothing industry.