Nonwoven filter media consists of randomly arranged synthetic fibers which are used for filtration or separation. Nonwoven filter media have a porous nature and their filaments are bonded together through various treatments such as mechanical, thermal and chemical. Nonwoven filter media are commonly known as felts, especially in the textile manufacturing industry. Few of the important properties exhibited by nonwoven filter media include high strength, thermal insulation, pore size distribution, absorbance, liquid resistance and anti-microbial. Owing to these features, nonwoven filter media are extensively used in end-user industries such as oil & gas, coffee & tea, pharmaceutical, automotive and waste management. Various synthetic materials used for making nonwoven filter media include rayon, polyethylene terephthalate and polypropylene. Based on the kind of treatment and application of binder during manufacturing, the nonwoven filter media are generally classified as needlefelt, spunbond and meltblown among others.
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The overall market demand for nonwoven filter media is expected to be driven by the oil & gas and pharmaceutical industries. Further, the demand is expected to boost due to its penetration into other end-user industries. Oil & gas and pharmaceutical industries have had the largest share for nonwoven filter media, over the recent years. Nonwoven filter media are used for surface cleaning, corrosion prevention, separation of unwanted solid deposits and control of particulate loading rates. Due to the multifunctionality of nonwoven filter media, they are considered to replace polyurethane foams in near future. Thus, the demand for nonwoven filter media is expected to show a continual growth for industries such as oil & gas and pharmaceutical over the coming years.
The next driving factor of the demand for nonwoven filter media is its increased application in the automotive industry. This industry is currently focusing on the improvement of intake air filtration media employed in engines. Cellulose materials, paper and some foam were preferably used in this area. However, owing to the adverse environmental impacts being caused by such materials, nonwoven filter media are now gaining importance and hence preferred over their counterparts. Employment of nonwoven filter media has resulted in decreased under hood space, increased service life and improved sensor shielding in the engines.
Nonwoven filter media can be custom designed to show benefits for other end-user industries as well. Few of the industries which are likely to exhibit favorable opportunities include waste water management and healthcare industries. Good retention, chemical resistance, oil absorbance, higher durability and air permeability and easy disposal characteristics make nonwoven filter media suitable to be applied in these industries.
In terms of global market demand for nonwoven filter media, Asia Pacific is anticipated to show the fastest growth by 2020. China is estimated to show a fast paced demand for nonwoven filter media especially for their use as automotive filters, owing to increased number of vehicles. Meanwhile, the recent developments in pharmaceutical industry in India can be considered to fuel the demand for nonwoven filter media by the end of forecast period. Considering rest of the world region, Brazil is likely to have emerging filtration market by 2020, due to increased oil drilling activities. North America and Europe regions are expected to show stagnant growth in demand by the end of forecast period for nonwoven filter media.
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Some of the major players currently dominating the nonwoven filter media market include Freudenberg & Co. KG, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, Toyobo Corporation, Toray Industries, Inc., Ahlstrom Corporation, Clarcor Corporation and The Acme Group of Companies among others.