Filtration Manufacturers Expect Growth to Continue in China
By Jason Chen, China Correspondent

At the China International Filtration and Separation Industry Exhibition (FILExpo 2011) held October 10-12, in Shanghai, China, experts and executives expected that the Chinese filtration and separation industry would continue to grow in the coming years.

More than 200 exhibitors from China, the United States, England, Japan, Germany, and other countries attended the FILExpo 2011 at the Shanghai Mart with an exhibition area of 65,000 square meters. The exhibitors covered the business of both filtration materials and filtration devices. More than 3,000 professionals visited FILExpo 2011 during the three-day event. Organizers of the expo include the China Fluid Engineering Academy (CFEA), the Xinxiang Filtration & Separation Commercial Association (XFSCA), and ChengGuang Exhibition Service Co., Ltd. (CES).

Filtration materials
Filtration material manufacturers at the expo said that they had faced big challenges in the global market during the last few years. For example, the Tiantai City-based filtration fabric manufacturers experienced a downturn due to declining export in 2010. But they still increased investment as they honed in on the Chinese market.

Tiantai City is China's manufacturing center of filtration textiles. In 2010, 351 Tiantai-based export-oriented companies produced 40% of China's woven filtration fabric, recording a total sale of 2.8 billion yuan ($430 million) and a total profit of 110 million yuan ($17 million). But the sale and profit in 2010 decreased, respectively, by 7.7% and 2.0% from the 2009 level, and the average profit rate was down to 4.0% in 2010.

Many Chinese filtration material manufacturers turned to the domestic market when exports declined in 2010, and since recorded a gain.

On the other hand, the Chinese market was different from the global market. According to Mr. Li Lingshen, president of the China Nonwoven & Industrial Textiles Association (CNITA), China's output of filtration textiles in volume terms grew by 15.7% from 483 thousand metric tons in 2009 to 559 thousand metric tons in 2010. In fact, China's output of filtration textiles in volume terms grew at an average annual growth rate (AAGR) of 16.7% in the 11th Five Year Period (2005-2010), according to Mr. Li. As a result, Chinese manufacturers that focused on the domestic market enjoyed rapid growth during the last five years. For example, the Liaoning Province-based Dalian Ruiguang Nonwoven Group Co., Ltd. (Ruiguang) kept a fast expansion and became one of China's largest filtration textile suppliers between 2005 and 2010: half of Ruiguang's capacity was set up in the last five years, and its capacity of nonwoven fabric reached 46,000 metric tons by the end of 2010. Today, Ruiguang has become an important nonwoven filtration fabric supplier to the Chinese filtration and separation industry.

The fast growing Chinese market also attracted investment from foreign companies. Leading filtration material manufacturers from other countries benefited not only from the fast growing Chinese market, but also from the low labor cost in China. For example, UK's London-based Fiberweb has set up two subsidiaries in China. One of the subsidiaries, the Fiberweb (Tianjin) Specialty Nonwovens Co., Ltd. (Fiberweb Tianjin), produces Reemay® polyester nonwoven fabric and Tekton® PP nonwoven fabric for the filtration and separation industry. Both Reemay and Tekton fabric comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the filtration of food, beverages, and pharmaceutical products, which allow the company to supply the filtration and separation industry in the U.S., China and elsewhere. The production in China allows Fiberweb to reduce manufacturing costs and increase competitiveness in the global market.

As the Chinese filtration material industry will continue a fast growth in the future, Chinese filtration material manufacturers will turn to the domestic market. For example, the Tiantai-based manufacturers will focus more on the Chinese market in the future. "We had invested more than 150 million yuan ($23 million) for setting up new production facilities in 2010 and 2011. The new production facilities will supply the fast growing Chinese market with high-density and high-strength filtration fabric," said Pang Guonuan, manager of the Tiantai Industrial Fabric Plant. Several other Tiantai-based manufacturers also expressed similar opinions at the exhibition. China's output of filtration materials will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% from 2011 through 2015 and reach 875 thousand metric tons by 2015, according to a report that will be published by UK-based Textile Media Services.

Exhibitors also showed other filtration materials such as plastic and metal nettings and meshes at the FILExpo 2011. For example, five manufacturers from China's Anping County, which is one of China's manufacturing centers for these materials, attended the expo. The Anping-based exhibitors all specialize in the production of plastic or metal nettings and meshes.

FILExpo 2011 exhibition halls covered 65,000 square meters and more than 3,000 professionals visited the event.

filtration industrial chain
Other exhibitors included filters or filtration devices manufacturers and associations. Chinese manufacturers were grouped based on geographic location in the country at the exhibition; for example, the XFSCA was representing the Xinxiang City-based manufacturers. There are more than 300 filters and filtration devices producers in Xinxiang City, according to the XFSCA.
Filters and filtration devices manufacturers from other countries also showed new products and technologies at the FILExpo 2011 through their China-based subsidiaries. For example, Purolator EFP, the U.S.-based filtration solutions provider, showed their new polymer filtration products through its Zhejiang-based subsidiary Quzhou Purolator Filter Co., Ltd. at the expo; Anhui Kubota Sanlian Pump Co., Ltd., a joint venture set up by the Japanese company Kubota and the China-based Sanlian Pump in 2010 with an investment of 115 million yuan ($17 million), showed their new models of double suction volute pumps, submersible pumps, and sewage pumps, as well.

"Our exhibition provides a stage for the manufacturers to show their new developments and communicate with each others through the full filtration industrial chain," said Yang Jun, executive of CES, one of the organizers..