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Wellman International Ltd, incorporated in 1970, manufactures and sells polyester staple fibres (PSF) to customers in Ireland and internationally. It manufactures polyester fibre products from recycled post-consumer polyethylene terephthalate (RPET) and also offers a range of smart, essential and hygiene fibres. CEO Donal Breen explains the latest applications of PSF and the growing market share of polyester fibres globally.
What is the market size of PSF globally? What is the expected growth rate for 2020?
The market size for PSF is about 16.5 million tonnes (MT) and is expected to grow to about 17.5 MT by 2020 based on production.
How big is the market RPET fibre?
We estimate that market to be close to 6 MT.
Which are your major markets globally for performance fibres, technical fibre, hygiene fibres and Wellman fibres?
Our major markets and applications are the following:
Hygiene: babycare, femcare and adult incontinence, selected medical uses
Automotive: headliners, wheel arch, customised interiors, thermal and acoustic insulation
Technical: cured-in-place pipes, composites, packaging, acoustic panels for modular building design
Apparel: high performance apparel, footwear
What new applications are you working on in the automotive, hygiene, technical fibres and apparel & home textiles?
We are developing new products for adult incontinence hygiene uses, lighter weight solutions for the next-generation automotive and aerospace applications, novel solutions for medical applications, selected composites uses and niche high-performance apparel.
What are the main growth drivers in hygiene, technical fibres and apparel & home textiles?
These are similar to many other industries - population growth, demographic trends, expanding middle class, energy/water resource shortages and growing consumer demand for comfort.
What is the number of bottles recycled at your units annually?
Currently we recycle about 2.7 billion bottles per year.
What are the latest innovations taking placing in the PSF industry?
Innovations today are mainly focused on applications. Polyester fibre continues to capture market share from other fibres due to its versatility and value-in-use. Latest innovations include next-generation PET BICO fibres, micro-splittable fibres, fibres with significantly enhanced hydrophilic/hydrophobic properties, fibres with tailored elastomeric properties and fibres based on renewable resources.
What is your USP?
Engineered fibres from recycled content, technical support, flexibility including customised products and unparalleled service level are our strengths.
Which markets do you plan to penetrate in the future?
We have plans to penetrate the medical, aerospace and composites markets along with an aggressive growth plan for our existing automotive and hygiene markets.
Who are your competitors in the international market?
Our competitors come from inside and outside the industry. Within the industry we compete with established strong players such as Far Eastern Group, Huvis, Advansa, Märkische Faser, Silon, Nan Ya, Sasa and GreenFiber.
What have been your recent R&D achievements? What can be expected in future from the R&D team?
New products for strong flexible moulding, acoustic insulation, light fibres for aesthetic automotive interiors, wound care, pressure relief, feminine care, thermal insulation, dimensional stability and fibres with improved strength and resilience have all been successfully commercialised in recent years.
What are the future plans? Do you have any expansion plans?
Wellman has an aggressive profitable growth plan focused on organic growth and acquisitions that have a good strategic fit to our business. (HO)
Published on: 09/04/2018
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