Record Exports of Technical Textile in the History of the Republic

Turkey’s technical textile exports took off during the pandemic period. In the January-December period of 2020, technical textile exports increased by 76 percent and reached an amount of 3 billion US Dollars. Technical textile exports of the Aegean Region increased by 98 percent and reached an amount of 194 million US Dollars.

Bed linen listening to the heartbeats, car seats that awaken drivers who are about to sleep, textiles that change color according to room temperature, fibers 15 times more durable than steel, military camouflage, and nano-technological fabrics that do not burn and sweat, etc., which are in our daily lives evermore, became the shining star of our exports as well. Technical textile, which is one of the pioneers of high value-added exports, has stepped up with its products for the medical textile industry and active sportswear products with the effect of the pandemic. The sector, which closed 2019 with an export volume of 1 billion 724 million US Dollars, increased its exports by 76 percent in 2020 and reached an amount of 3 billion US Dollars. Ahmet Öksüz, President of Istanbul Textile and Raw Materials Exporters’ Association (İTHİB), said, ‘‘We are proud that technical textile exports reached the highest export volume in the history of our Republic,’’ regarding the subject.

The increase continued in the first three months of 2021

Considering Turkey’s technical textile exports in the first three months of 2021, it is observed that 30.5 percent of the total exports in the January-March period consist of the nonwoven fabric product group. In this period, Turkey’s nonwoven fabric exports increased by 26.5 percent and reached an amount of 199 million US Dollars.

The second most important product group in technical textile exports was ready-to-wear products made of technical textile materials with a share of 18.8 percent within total exports. In the January-March period, Turkey’s exports of the relevant product group increased by 699.0 percent and amounted to 123 million US Dollars.

The third most important product group in Turkey’s technical textile exports in the January-March period was bags and sacks for packaging made of technical textiles with a share of 14.4 percent within total technical textile exports. Turkey’s exports of the relevant product group increased by 24.2 percent in the January-March period, reaching a value of 94 million US Dollars.

Most Technical Textile Exports to Germany

Observing the top 10 countries in Turkey’s technical textile exports, it is seen that Germany is the largest export market. In the January-March period, technical textile exports to Germany, which has a share of 9.5 percent in Turkey’s total technical textile exports, increased by 79.4 percent and amounted to 62 million US Dollars.

In the January-March period, the second country to which Turkey exported the most technical textiles was the USA, with a share of 7.8 percent in total exports. During this period, exports of technical textiles to the USA increased by 57.6 percent and reached a value of 51 million US Dollars.

Italy, on the other hand, is the third country to which Turkey exports the most technical textiles. Exports to Italy, which has a share of 7.8 percent in Turkey’s technical textile exports, increased by 64.5 percent in the January-March period and amounted to approximately 51 million US Dollars.

Turkey Gains Foreign Trade Surplus in Nonwoven Fabric Production

Turkish manufacturers, who have met the intense demand for medical textiles especially since March, have also received incentives for new investments in this field. ITHIB President Ahmet Öksüz stated that it was quite easy for mask and protective clothing manufacturers to access raw materials since Turkey has a foreign trade surplus in nonwoven fabric production and the country stands out in this field. Öksüz commented as follows regarding the subject, ‘‘Companies that accelerate their investments that require high technology, are able to carry out value-added exports. In the textile and raw materials industry, the price per kg in exports is 4.2 US Dollars, while the price per kg in technical textiles can reach up to 20 US Dollars.’’

New investments are on the way

Technical textiles constitute a significant part of the exports of the textile and raw materials industry in Turkey. Ahmet Öksüz stated the following on the subject, ‘‘During the pandemic period, our technical textile industry received approximately 3 billion TL for personal protective equipment products such as masks and gowns and approximately 2.5 billion TL for non-woven fabric investments. We anticipate that our sector, which ranks 19th in global technical textile exports, will increase its global ranking in the coming years, especially through the investments that were realized in recent years.’’

Öksüz indicated that due to the use of technical textiles in many sectors, it will take an important share from traditional textiles and continued as follows, ‘‘We observe that the system will rapidly evolve towards technical textiles where R&D and innovation are at the forefront. We notice that the pandemic period accelerates this transformation process. Technical textiles have been increasing their share in global textile and raw materials exports every year, especially in the last 10 years.’’

Worldwide Technical Textile Exports Amount to 107 Billion USD

Technical textile exports around the world reach 107 billion US Dollars. The share of technical textiles, which stands out as high value-added products, is quite high in the textile exports of countries with predominantly developed industries. While this share reaches 40 percent in countries such as the USA, Japan, France, and Belgium, the share of technical textiles in Germany’s total textile exports reaches up to 65 percent. While Turkey’s textile export reached 10 billion US Dollars as of last year, the share of technical textiles is constantly increasing. ITHIB President Ahmet Öksüz expressed, ‘‘Our industry continues to make very important technical textile investment decisions even during the pandemic.’’

Nonwoven Use in Medical Applications Will Increase to 255 Million Dollars

Demand for nonwovens in medical applications is expected to increase 3.9% per year to $255 million in 2024.

The prediction comes in a new report from the Freedonia Group which also notes that nonwovens used in medical applications accounted for 9% of carded nonwovens sales in 2019.

In the medical market, nonwovens can be used to produce a variety of disposable products, including such products as healthcare wipes, bandages and bedding, among others. Adult incontinence products are included in the consumer market. Demand is dependent on several variables, including the volume of healthcare activity, the number of surgical procedures, demographic patterns, and incidence of diseases and disorders.

The report, Carded Nonwovens, says that the demand to 2024 will be driven by concerns over healthcare-associated infections and the effectiveness of infection prevention protocols, which will support continued growth among products like disinfectant wipes.

There will also be fast growth in the senior population (aged 65+), which will benefit medical nonwovens since the elderly have greater healthcare needs than other parts of the general population.

Other drives include the compatibility of nonwovens with many medical applications, due to their potential for softness and absorbency, and, just as in consumer products, many of the personal hygiene products used in healthcare settings continue to undergo new research and development to improve product performance, safety, and sustainability. This includes developing products with greater strength, low linting, and safer chemical treatments.

The report also notes how the Covid-19 pandemic has spurred demand spikes for a variety of medical supplies as well as those that limit transmission of the virus, such as surface disinfectant wipes. However, the pandemic has also put some limitations on the demand for nonwovens in the medical market. Many hospitals opted to limit elective surgeries as the pandemic spread, both to limit the potential transmission of the virus, but also to focus resources on the treating the disease and protecting healthcare staff.


Mondi Gronau Starts Production of Medical Face Masks in Germany

Mondi, global leader in packaging and paper, has started up new production lines for melt-blown nonwoven fabric and medical face masks at its site in Gronau, Germany to mitigate the spread of Covid‑19.

Mondi Gronau has over 50 years of experience in the production and processing of films, nonwovens and elastic components for hygiene products. Last year Mondi announced it would start up production lines to produce both the important base material, melt-blown nonwoven fabric, as well as the medical face mask themselves. With the new lines, Mondi is building up a local value chain in Germany to address the needs of the pandemic. The fully integrated production with two highly automated high-speed machines allows the output of 700 high‑quality medical face masks per minute. This is approximately seven times higher than the standard face mask production line and will produce at least one million medical grade masks a day.

The masks are certified as a medical product by the German Johner Institute as well as meeting the German standards OEKO‑TEX and Dermatest. With this production, Mondi Gronau will be directly addressing the needs of the German health sector including hospitals, pharmacies and specialised medical retailers.

“We identified the shortage in melt‑blown nonwoven fabric in Germany early on in the pandemic last year and reacted swiftly to set up the production of high‑quality medical face masks. With our high‑speed production set-up and certifications in place, Mondi Gronau is ideally positioned to supply high‑quality medical masks that offer reliable protection and high comfort from the moment they are put on to when they are taken off,” says Jürgen Schneider, Managing Director Mondi Gronau.


Medical Textile Exports Increased 22 times due to Coronavirus Pandemic

Surgical masks, protective gowns, and overalls, which are greatly needed during the troublesome pandemic period, increased the demand for medical textile products. In 2020, Turkey’s overall medical technical textile exports increased by 2204 percent and reached an amount of 1.4 billion US Dollars. Turkey’s disposable medical mask exports also increased 22 times.

The coronavirus pandemic outbreak that started in Wuhan, China in December 2019, affected the whole world, causing 150 million people to become ill and more than 3 million people to die. In the meantime, the most needed surgical masks, protective gowns, and overalls during the pandemic period increased the demand for medical textile products.

Medical Textile Exports Increased by 2204 Percent in 2020

In 2020, Turkey’s overall medical technical textile exports increased by 2204 percent and reached an amount of 1.4 billion US Dollars. The medical and technical textile exports of the Aegean Region increased by 4582 percent and reached an amount of 92 million US Dollars. Especially surgical dresses and masks had the main share in the increase of medical-technical textile exports.

 Most Surgical Mask Export to Germany

According to the data of the Turkish Statistical Institute (TUIK); Turkey exported disposable surgical masks to 135 countries in 2020. Germany, where surgical mask sales amounting to 31.4 million US Dollars were carried out, ranked first in the total exports realized.

Countries following Germany in medical mask exports were France, Libya, China, and Romania, respectively.

 Medical Textile Exports Increased by 192 Percent in the First Quarter of 2021

In the first three months of 2021, the medical textile exports in Turkey increased by 192 percent, reaching an amount of 70 million US Dollars. The medical textile exports from the Aegean Region reached an amount of 3 million US Dollars with an increase of 178 percent.

 Turkey stands out in supply

While there was a shortage of masks and protective clothing all over the world during the troublesome pandemic period, Turkey, which has a strong infrastructure in the field of nonwoven fabrics, was able to supply personal protective equipment to the world while meeting its own needs. At the same time, companies received incentives for new investments in this area.

The devastating Covid-19 period has also altered the supply chain in global trade. China and Southeast Asian countries have categorically been cheap production centers for European and US-based global brands for years. However, the pandemic period revealed that remote procurement is not always an advantage. Brands faced heavy costs during the pandemic period due to the necessity of remote supply and long-term stock. Many brands, now, desire to source the products they need from the closest point instead of distant geographies.

Mustafa Gültepe, President of Istanbul Ready-to-Wear and Apparel Exporters Association (İHKİB), expressed that this new situation highlights Turkey as the most important option for European-based brands seeking an alternative to China. Gültepe commented on the issue as follows, ‘‘First of all, Turkey is one of two countries with integrated infrastructure in ready-to-wear, along with China. We have great potential in all links of the end-to-end supply chain. We have the capability to produce in every segment and in every quality. Geographically we are very close to Europe. We stand out from our competitors with our short supply durations. More importantly, we produce in accordance with social responsibilities at EU standards. We are among the countries that are yarest for the new era with our product quality and our sustainable and environmentally friendly production capacity.’’

Sector Representatives Call for the Mandatory Grants Abolished

 The primary factor that weakens the competition strength of our industrialists in the medical product group is the mandatory grant requirement. There is a compulsory grant requirement for 1 surgical mask for the export of 5 surgical masks, 1 protective overall for the export of 10 protective overalls, or 20 surgical masks for the export of 3 protective overalls. Mustafa Gültepe, President of Istanbul Ready-to-Wear and Apparel Exporters’ Association (İHKİB) stated the following regarding the issue, ‘‘If the compulsory grant requirement on masks and medical clothing is abolished, we can increase our export volume to over 19 billion US Dollars and break our annual export record.’’

Burak Sertbaş, President of the Aegean Ready-to-Wear and Apparel Exporters Association, expressed the following on the subject, ‘‘If we remove the mandatory grant requirement for medical products, I estimate that this product group, where global demand is intense, will contribute approximately 5 billion US Dollars to our annual exports.’’

European Nonwoven Production Exceed 3 Million Tonnes in 2020

Edana, the leading global association serving the nonwovens and related industries, disclosed the results of its annual survey of European nonwovens production.

 According to figures collected and compiled by the Edana secretariat, production of nonwovens in Greater Europe grew by 7.2% in 2020 to reach 3,075,615 tonnes (and 85.9 billion square metres) with a total estimated turnover of €9,555 million. The total output of the 27 European Union countries is now over 2.15 million tonnes.

Providing a comprehensive overview of the sector, the latest statistics demonstrate the industry’s drive and durability during a period of unprecedented change to demand drivers and supply chains.

“Reason of Increased Use of Nonwoven Products is Pandemic”

Jacques Prigneaux, Edana’s Market Analysis and Economic Affairs Director elaborated on the main drivers for the impressive growth rate, which well outpaced the annual average growth rate over the last decade of 4.0%, “The highest demand for materials intensively used to fight the pandemic impacted the production. Spunmelt and Drylaid-Hydroentangled nonwovens witnessed two-digit growth rates in both weight and surface area. Thanks to the development in similar applications, the growth in the Wetlaid nonwovens was also substantial last year. Airlaid production, with opposite trends in different applications, recorded a flat situation compared to a year before.

The main end-use for nonwovens remains the hygiene market with a 28% share of deliveries, amounting to 857,940 tonnes, a 9.6% growth in 2020. For obvious reasons, the most significant growth areas for nonwovens in 2020 were observed in medical (+118.0%) and wipes/personal wipes (+22.0%) followed by garments (+32.6 %)”.

In contrast, major declines were noticed in automotive interiors (down 23%), floor coverings, table linen and interlinings. Additionally, several important durable sectors in terms of volumes sold, such as in construction markets and liquid filtration showed limited growth and, in the case of agricultural applications, negative growth.

Thanks to a convergence of efforts of the participating companies and of the Edana staff in the last few years, these results are based on the collection of actual data from an increasing number of companies and not less than 118 companies/plants directly reported their 2020 returns this year. More and more accurate figures will certainly make these statistics ever more relevant for planning and benchmarking purposes within member companies” said Jacques.

Pierre Wiertz, General Manager of Edana said “Behind those figures we see first and foremost the efforts and labour of thousands of women and men who can be proud of working for companies whose purpose has always been, but is perhaps now recognised better than ever, to contribute to deliver excellence for the well-being and health of fellow citizens.


FPInnovations Produced World’s First Biodegradable Non-Medical Mask

FPInnovations, a Canadian research and development centre, has successfully developed a biodegradable mask ready to be manufactured in Canada and ready for public use.

The biodegradable mask is now ready for commercialization by Canadian manufacturers. The Honourable Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources of Canada, announced the successful results of the $3.3 million mask project that was entrusted to FPInnovations.

A unique pilot-scale paper machine was used in the production of this mask. In addition of the mask filtering materials, FPInnovations has identified and successfully incorporated elastic ear loops and nose pieces that are biodegradable. An important part of the success is also that the mask components can be assembled readily on existing commercial mask-converting machines.

The green Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) mask has been assessed by external labs according to international norms, and would set the standard for non-medical masks in terms of filtration, breathability, and biodegradability. With its unique product design, FPInnovations has also recently attained the more demanding ASTM norms of filtration efficiency and breathability that are required for procedure masks.

“The development of a biodegradable mask clearly shows that stimulating the bioeconomy can contribute to a cleaner environment in Canada. The outstanding collective scientific and technological expertise of the forest sector has been key to the success and speed of this project, and is proof that together, we are capable of bringing eco-friendly bio-sourced products through the pipeline from research to market within just months!”
Stéphane Renou, President and Chief Executive Officer of FPInnovations

“Biodegradable masks made from Canada’s sustainably managed forests: what a great example of the ingenuity of Canada’s forest sector. Keeping Canadians safe, and protecting our environment.” Seamus O’Regan, Minister of Natural Resources of Canada.


BendShape Quartz™: Industry’s First Clear Mask to Meet ASTM Level 3

BendShape Mask™ launched of the industry’s first transparent, sealed surgical mask that meets the full ASTM level 3 standard called Quartz ASTM3 Disposable Surgical Mask.

Following the success of BendShape’s first line of transparent masks, the team of highly skilled American engineers created the upgraded second generation mask to be the first transparent surgical mask with multiple sizes for a better fit, comfort, and seal. As the first sealed, transparent mask to offer ≥98% bacterial filtration efficiency (BFE) and ≥98% particle filtration efficiency (PFE), Quartz is a leader in the market.

“Quartz was built by a team of US material scientists, chemists, and textile engineers to lead the transparent mask market with the highest bi-directional filtration performance” said BendShape Mask CEO Steven Sanders. “To maximize Quartz’s impact on everyday lives, Quartz leverages unique premium materials and manufacturing processes to address mass market needs and to align with medical norms for disposal and usage.”

Doctor and patient both wearing the BendShape Quartz mask

Quartz ASTM3 Disposable Surgical Mask is life changing for professionals and everyday people who need a sealed ASTM3 mask that enables transparent communication. This impact is especially true for emergency rooms, teachers, dentists, pediatricians, audiologists, labor and delivery, speech therapists, pain management specialists, the deaf community, and hospital admittance.

“Quartz is the first clear mask that meets the needs of my full work day from patient consultations to surgery,” said Dr. Guido O. Sarnachiaro, DDS, who is part of the renowned SDNY Dental team and teaches at New York University College of Dentistry. “The large, clear window allows me to emotionally connect with patients and to communicate more effectively with colleagues while masked during procedures.”

In order for these communities to operate safely, a sealed ASTM level 3 surgical mask that enables transparent communication, shared facial expression, lip reading, and quick facial  identification is needed.

“When you use a standard cloth mask, or even N95 mask, you find that as you talk it moves up and down very frequently and you have to touch it to readjust. The BendShape Mask stays in place on your face. This may not be the last virus we face; it may not be the end of us wearing masks in the future. So, you want to have a product that can last for years to come,” said Sollis Assistant Medical Director Dr. Avi Ravilla. “I think BendShape was more focused on creating a product not only physicians and healthcare workers would like to use, but also a product the general public would like to use and something that could be used for years to come.”


Bangladesh to Rival China in Personal Protective Equipment Production

Bangladesh is aiming to become a major manufacturer and exporter of personal protective equipment (PPE) to rival China, following the opening of $100 million plant by Beximco.

Beximco is the largest multinational holding conglomerate in Bangladesh and its new 25-acre, vertically-integrated PPE Park will make meltblown nonwovens and laminated fabrics in different weights. These will be converted into isolation and surgical gowns, N95 facemasks, disposable scrubs and woven and knitted shoe covers and head covers.

The new plant is located in Savar, 24 kilometres to the northwest of Dhaka and will serve both domestic and international markets. It is aimed at increasing the diversity of the supply of PPE, ensuring that it is not totally dependent on any one country.

“The new facility will help manufacturers, buyers, retailers, brands and the government with required services, since all the services will be available under one roof, encompassing European, American and other global regulatory standards,” said Beximco CEO Syed Naved Husain at the inauguration ceremon. “Beximco has steadily contributed to the meteoric rise of Bangladesh as a manufacturing hub in South Asia and I am delighted with the new development. It will put the country on the world’s PPE manufacturing map.”

Through its new Beximco Health division, the company already has agreements to supply PPE, including masks and protective gowns, to major US healthcare service providers.

UK-headquartered product testing and certification company Intertek has worked with Beximco to develop a Centre of Excellence at the PPE Park.

Last year, at the height of the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, Beximco pivoted from producing garments to protective equipment within a matter of weeks, learning the specialised fabrication techniques, setting up production lines, and producing 6.5 million gowns for distribution to the United States through the US Federal Emergency Management Agency.

According to the most recent estimates, Bangladesh annually ships $6.7 billion in goods to America – nearly twice as much as it did a decade ago.


Capture Coating Effectively Kills Covid-19 Indoors

The spread and lingering impacts of the Covid-19 virus can be effectively and cheaply stopped with a new hydrophobic nanocoating applied to nonwoven filter fabrics in common.

The availability of Capture Coating, developed by Curran Biotech, based in Houston, Texas, is being rushed to distributors and retailers across the globe. It is already being used in eleven states across the USA and expects this to be expanded to 25 with the next few weeks.

Capture Coating permanently bonds to the porous materials within a filter, stopping viruses, bacteria and fungi dead, while not impacting airflow or breathability.

With the emergence of the worldwide pandemic, a new approach to protecting buildings and inside air from the transmission of contagions has been required, and the hydrophobic nanocoating was developed to combat the airborne nature of the coronavirus.

Standard air filters are rated using the MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) system – with MERV8 typical for public buildings. With the Curran Biotech Capture Coating, these filters outperform much higher rated filters in terms of viral protection, without impacting airflow (static air pressure).

“Rather than just using a form of detergent to kill the virus in real time – with no real long-lasting benefits – we approached the problem of protecting buildings from airborne transmission in a different way,” says Curran CEO Eileen Mellon. “We have developed a nanoscale coating that can wrap itself around the individual fibres of HVAC air filtration media, rendering them superhydrophobic without affecting critical HVAC operational parameters.”

Curran Biotech treated filters operate normally with regard to dust and other dry particulates but reject aqueous/liquid-phase contaminants. Because the coronavirus in its most infectious state is surrounded by an aqueous liquid-phase environment, Capture Coating physically stops the virus at the surface of the air filter.

“2020 has forced us to rethink things,” says Becky Scott, Curran’s chief marketing officer. “Being able to participate in life – to breathe without worry – is normal, right? We can’t always be outside. We’ve developed an innovative nanocoating that makes your regular air filters work better – it stops the virus – without impacting breathability.”

Effective Product from Toray in Combating Covid-19: Makspec® V Antiviral Textile

Toray Industries, Inc., announced that its tests on samples of Makspec® V have confirmed the effectiveness of that antiviral textile in reducing concentrations of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2(SARS-CoV-2).

The company developed this 100% polyester offering in March 2020. It delivers exceptional washability and comfort.

Toray used the JISL 1922 antiviral test for textile products. It exposed samples to Covid-19 and measured concentrations two hours later. As with earlier experimentation using the ATCC VR-1679 envelope strain, the company confirmed that the fabric reduced more than 99.9% of Covid-19 viruses on textiles. It obtained this same result even after 50 industrial washing cycles, underscoring the fabric’s solid antiviral performance.

In view of the latest findings, the company will market this textile for customer service, nursing, and school uniforms for which demand to safeguard from Covid-19 is high. It also envisages expanding applications for this textile to also include sportswear, casual apparel, fashionwear, and children’s clothing.

Toray will draw on the textile processing technology it amassed in developing materials for uniforms, which demand exceptional functionality, to create textiles that provide outstanding performance and added value by combining comfort and safety, thus contributing to social progress.

The outline and results of this test are as follows:

  1. Test overview

– Test methodology: JISL1922 antiviral test for textile products

– Virus: Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2

– Infection measurement technique: Plaque assay

– Material tested: One piece of 100% polyester fabric

  1. Test results

– Two hours of testing reduced more than 99.9% of the virus on polyester fibers

– Same effect confirmed after 50 commercial washing cycles

  1. About Makspec® V

(1) Product features

  1. High antiviral performance (antiviral activity value at or exceeding 3.0)
  2. Excellent commercial washing durability
  3. Soft texture and dye fastness retained

(2) Technical overview

(a) Employs an antiviral agent with high affinity for polyester (two hours of testing reduced more than 99.9% of viruses on polyester fibers).

(b) Unique processing technology that incorporates antiviral agents in polyester fibers (textile feels soft and is highly robust)

(3) Notes on product planning

– Makspec® V cannot be used in masks or other items close to mouths and nostrils or in items for children up to 24 months.

– Makspec® V is not intended to treat or prevent any disease.

– Makspec® V is not intended to inhibit the action of viruses.