Companies are updating product range and manufacturing facilities to widen market reach.
China suppliers of disposable protective wear are stepping up R&D efforts to keep pace with the needs of various sectors. Growing emphasis worldwide on worker health and safety, supported by government legislation, is encouraging companies to broaden their selections for medical facilities, research laboratories and manufacturing plants. Demand from such industries is climbing as many enterprises now prefer single-use nonwoven garments instead of reusable ones for better contamination control.
|This shoe cover from Protec comes in nonwoven PP.|
At several makers, development work is oriented toward increasing models’ resistance to water, oil, alcohol and other liquid substances. For respirators, a number are enhancing capability to filter out particulates such as dust and fumes. Product specifications are often aligned with standards in the US and the EU.
Comfort is also a key consideration in design. Elastic openings, loops and ties allow masks, garments and shoe covers to fit people with different face and body structures.
Wuhan Huatian Innovation Trade & Industry Co. Ltd, for example, offers facepieces with adjustable straps and nose clips. Models conform to EN149:2001 FFP3.
Compliant with EN1149-1, the garments are suitable for use in painting and other surface treatment facilities, pharmaceutical laboratories, metal processing plants and electronic assembly.
Besides expanding options for industrial users, makers are keeping price increases to a minimum in their bid to reach more markets. This is a challenge for many, with raw material and labor costs both on the upswing.
PP fabric, for instance, climbed to $1,880 per ton in March from $1,680 in October last year. In terms of wages, current salaries of workers 20 percent higher than they were 12 months ago.
Most suppliers hope to limit adjustments to 5 percent in the next half-year. Cost-control strategies include investment in more efficient facilities.
|This glove from Wuhan Rainbow is made of PVC.|
China produces a range of disposable protective wear. Coveralls and masks account for 40 and 30 percent of output, respectively.
In the first category, most models come in a PE-coated nonwoven fabric made of spunbond PP or a blend with PE. TPU is also a raw material option, although usage is limited to upscale designs. More elastic and permeable, TPU variants are priced higher than PP versions because the material is typically imported.
Disposable coveralls weigh between 9 and 80g. Sizes S to XXXL are offered.
Prices range from $0.30 to $1.20, depending primarily on the materials adopted.
Designs not exceeding $0.60 are often made of nonwoven SBPP. White and blue are the main color options.
Upward to $0.80, midrange variants come in nonwoven fabrics manufactured from a blend of SBPP and PE. A wider range of hues is offered, including yellow, blue, green and pink.
High-end disposable coveralls, reaching $1.20, are made of spunbond-meltblown-spunbond fabric. The SMS material is usually a PP-PE blend or TPU.
Single-use face masks start similarly at $0.30. Quotes increase to $0.50 based on the material and dimensions of the model.
The selection includes designs with earloops and ties. SBPP is the top raw material option.
Disposable protective wear is available from more than 500 suppliers in China. Most companies are privately owned and over 95 percent have small or midsize operations.
Employing fewer than 200 people, manufacturers in the first group post less than $1 million in export sales annually. Midsize enterprises, which have up to 400 employees, generate between $1 million and $5 million from overseas shipments.
Suppliers are located in areas with a developed textile industry. Hubei province, the most prominent production hub of single-use protective clothing, also hosts a large cluster of fabric makers targeting medical and hygiene applications.
Note: This article "Makers of disposable protective wear target more applications" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.
All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.
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