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Product Profile: Nylon Filament Yarn (NFY)

Introduction

Nylons are polyamides with recurring amide groups. They contain carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen elements. Nylon has good tenacity and the strength is not lost with age. Nylon has a high strength to weight ratio.

It is one of the lightest textile fibres and at the same time also one of the strongest. It is one of the fibres which are added at the points of wear such as knees and seats of jeans and toes and heels of socks. The strength of the nylon fabric is lost when wet. Nylon has excellent abrasion resistance. Nylon has good elasticity which makes it much suitable for the apparel purposes. Nylon fabrics have excellent resilience. Nylon fabrics retain their smooth appearance and the wrinkles from the usual daily activities can be removed easily.

The nylon fabric is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides and first produced on February 28, 1935 by Wallace Carothers at DuPont.

Features of nylon fabrics - Fibers of nylon fabrics have high elasticity and luster, highly resistant to abrasion, chemicals like acids alkalis, etc, wrinkle proof, has the potential to be used as a technical nutrient, Nylon 6 absorbs up to 2.4% of water which results in reduction in tensile strength, and Nylon 6 is a semi crystalline polyamide. Nylon is very much suitable for hosiery and the knitted fabrics because of its smoothness, light weight and high strength. Nylon is a lustrous fibre. The lustre of the fibre can be modified by adding the delustering agent at the molten stage.

The major process licensers for Caprolactam (raw material for NFY) are DSM/ Stamicarbon, BASF, Ube, IFP & CIECH. LIBOLOB and Formosa, Asia Fiber Public Co. Ltd, Chainlon, and BASF are some of the biggest producers of NFY in the world. Northeast Asia consumes 78% of the world's nylon fiber for textile filaments and 51% of the world's nylon fiber for industrial filaments. In both cases, China is the largest producer in the region. China's textile filament market is expected to be the fastest growing in the next five years, at about 4% per year.

The main applications of nylon filament yarn is innerwear, swimming wear, fishing net, sewing thread, socks, gloves, magic tape, rain coats and shower curtains.

Manufacturing Process of Nylon Filaments

The two varieties of nylon, which are used for apparel purposes which include Nylon 6 and Nylon 6,6. Nylon 6 is made from one monomer (Caprolactum) containing 6 carbon atoms. Nylon 6,6 is made from hexamethylene diamide and adipic acid which has six carbon atoms each.

Manufacturing Nylon 6

The raw material for manufacturing Nylon 6 is coal. Cyclohexane oxime is produced by a series of chemical reactions on coal.

  • Cyclo heaxaneoxime is then treated with sulphuric acid to form caprolactum.
  • The caprolactum is a monomer with 6 carbon atoms that are polymerized to from chains of caprolactum. Polymerization is done by gently heating it in a steam – jacked stainless steel vessel. The solution is stabilised as a super polymer under constant steam and pressure.
  • Nylon may be delustered by adding the delustering agents like titanium di oxide, barium sulphate, zinc oxide, and zinc sulphate.
  • The molten nylon 6 polymer is allowed to flow onto a slowly revolving casting wheel.
  • These are sprayed with cold water, which hardens it into milky white ribbons.
  • The ribbons are transformed into flakes that are sent for spinning and are then drawn into the fibre form

Table 1: Nylon Filament Yarn Manufacturers and their capacities in India – Thousand Tons

Source: Industry

Table 2 provides data on production, imports, exports and consumption of nylon filament yarn in India. While capacity is around 78,000-tons, production of NFY in the year 2016-17 was 40.91 thousand tons indicating capacity utilisation of around 52% only. Imports of NFY have grown from around 6.62 th tons in 2009-2010 to 31.06 th. Tons in 2016-17. As against this exports have been hovering around 1.5 to 2 thousand tons during the same period.

Anti-dumping Duties on NFY

India has imposed an anti-dumping duty of up to $719 per tonne for five years on import of nylon filament yarn from the European Union (EU) and Vietnam following recommendations by the commerce ministry’s investigation arm DGTR.

“The anti-dumping duty imposed...shall be effective for a period of five years (unless revoked, superseded or amended earlier) from the 6th day of October, 2018 and shall be paid in Indian currency,” the Department of Revenue has said in a notification.

The Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR) in its probe has stated that nylon filament yarn (multi filament) has been exported to India from these two regions below normal values and the domestic industry has suffered material injury on account of such dumped imports.

Imposition of duty aims at guarding domestic manufacturers of this yarn from cheap imports coming from EU and Vietnam. The anti-dumping duty imposed ranged between USD 719.44 per tonne and USD 128.06 per tonne.

Import of this yarn from the EU and Vietnam has increased to 13,799 tonnes during October 2015 March 2017 (which was the period of investigation) from 7,201 tonnes in 2013-14.

JCT, Gujarat Polyfilms, Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals, Prafful Overseas and AYM Syntex had jointly filed for initiation of the investigations and imposition of the duty.

The major uses of this yarn are in home furnishing and industrial application such as curtains, sewing and embroidery thread and fishnets.

Table 2 Production, Imports, Exports and Consumption of NFY in India (Thousand Tons)

Consumption of nylon fibres

Consumption of NFY has grown from 34.83 th. Tons in 2009-10 to 70.41 th. tons in 2016-17 registering CARG of 10.56% during the period of last eight years.

Fig 1

Source: Association of Synthetic Fibre Industry

In India, the consumption of nylon filament yarn (NFY) is mostly in sarees with a market share of approximately 55 per cent. The textiles industry is one of the major applications for nylon fibres. Increasing population is expected to boost the overall textiles industry. In addition, rise in the overall disposable income and change in the consumer's preference has driven the textile industry, which in turn will enhance the overall growth of the nylon fibre market.

The automobile industry is expected to be the next largest consumer of nylon fibre. A developing economy coupled with rising disposable income has boosted the overall demand for automobiles. Nylon fibres are widely used in manufacturing under-the-hood parts of automobiles. To comply with environmental regulations, many manufacturers are manufacturing light-weight automobiles. The light-weight automobiles exhibit high fuel efficiency which in turn helps in reducing overall carbon emission. Thus, a growing automobile industry is expected to increase the overall demand for nylon fibre.

Global Scenario

The global nylon filament yarn market is expected to post a CAGR of nearly 4% during the period 2018-2022, according to the latest market research report by Technavio.

A key factor slowing down the growth of this market is the availability of substitutes. Synthetic fibers such as polyester filament yarn, polypropylene filament yarn, and acrylic fiber are major substitutes of nylon filament yarn. Polyester filament yarns are advantageous owing to their cost-effectiveness, moisture resistance, high elasticity, and wrinkle-resistant properties. Consumers prefer polyester and polypropylene-based filament yarns in clothing and textile accessories as these alternatives offer comfort and softness and are lightweight in nature. The demand for polyester fiber is anticipated to increase during the forecast period due to its abrasion and chemical resistance. Thus, an increase in consumer preference for yarns that offer cost-effectiveness and comfort can impede the growth of the market.

Nylon filament yarn is extensively used to manufacture sports apparels and sports accessories, adventure equipment, and travel accessories. It is extensively used to produce sports accessories such as jerseys, tracksuits, ropes, socks, swimsuits, shorts, and T-shirts, as well as adventure items such as ropes and monofilament nylon products.

The sports accessories segment held the largest market share in 2017, accounting for nearly 47% of the market. This application segment is expected to dominate the global market throughout the forecast period.

Fig 2: Estimate of Global NFY market by Application Segments

APAC led the market in 2017 with a market share of nearly 54%. This region is expected to dominate the market through 2022.

Some Leading Global Players of Nylon Filament Yarn : DowDuPont Formosa Chemicals Fibre Corp NUREL Superfil TORAY INDUSTRIES W. Barnet

References

  • Ministry of Chemicals & Petrochemicals Annual Reports
  • CPMA
  • Technavio
  • ASFI
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