Geotextiles are fabrics used as reinforcement in foundation and soil in order to avoid erosion caused by water and wind. They can be manufactured using synthetic or natural fibers and are knitted, woven or non woven type based on the application they are used in. Geosynthetics is a broad term, and covers a number of different products that include geotextiles, geogrids, geonets, geomembranes, geofoams and geocomposites among others. Geosynthetics are highly durable and have applications such as civil engineering, hydraulic, geotechnical and transportation in areas such as mining, roadways, airfields, erosion control, retaining structures and agriculture. Geotextiles were the largest segment of the geosynthetics market accounting for over 25% of geosynthetic market revenue in 2013. Geotextiles are mainly used for their properties such as separation, filtration, reinforcement, drainage and protection. Geotextiles have a greater advantage over other materials on account of their ability to perform multiple functions. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive, and when designed and installed correctly, they can replace traditional granular treatments with significant cost savings in terms of labor as well as fabric. Flexibility in terms of their specification such as thickness and permeability gives this fabric an added advantage over other materials. The life span of geotextiles can be controlled depending on the raw materials used and various chemical treatments performed on them.
Natural geotextiles are manufactured using jute, sisal and coir. However, synthetic fibers from polypropylene, polyester, polyamides and polyethylene are commercially popular and extensively used. The key factor responsible to growth in geotextiles demand is the growing infrastructure activities in emerging economies of India, China, Brazil and South Africa. The governments of these countries have been extensively promoting the development and use of geotextiles which is further expected to augment the demand over the forecast period. Cost effectiveness, longer life span as compared to other materials, and growing environmental concern is increasing the demand for geotextiles on a global scale. In addition, countries such as Russia have witnessed fourfold increase in consumption of geotextiles over the past decade. They are mainly used in road construction and maintenance. However, there are a few key challenges which are affecting the consumption in this region, which include lack of regulations on the warranty of roads. This results in usage of low quality raw materials in road construction and awareness about geotextiles and its advantages. The implementation of Minimum Average Roll Value (MARV) and California Bearing Ratio (CBR) is expected to impact the growth of geotextiles on a global level.
The report estimates and analyzes woven, non woven and knitted geotextiles. Non woven geotextiles were the largest utilized product segment accounting for over 60% of global geotextiles volume. Nonwoven geotextiles are increasingly being used in the construction of roads, drainage and erosion control due to their functionality of providing an avenue for water flow. In addition, innovation in using nonwoven geotextiles within drainage sub-systems and increasing life span of dumps is further expected to aid in the growth of the market. Knitted geotextiles have lower popularity due to the high cost and longer production process resulting in delayed supplies. On account of to high tensile strength, coupled with excellent hydro-filtration characteristics, woven geotextiles are finding increasing applications in erosion control applications. The ability of woven geotextiles to filter particles and drain water coupled with soil reinforcement which facilitates vegetation growth results in growing demand in developed countries.
The application segments analyzed in the report include road construction, erosion control and drainage. Other applications such as geosynthetic clay liners and composites have also been considered in the study. Road construction was the largest segment for the market accounting for 43.5% of global geotextiles volume in 2013. Geotextiles are used as a part of the foundation in laying roads, as they help in strengthening weak soil by holding it together, resulting in increased life span of roads. Geotextiles have high demand in developing countries such as China, Russia and India among others, due to the concentrated infrastructural development in these countries. They are also being used in road maintenance in the North American and European regions. Erosion control was the second largest application for geotextiles consuming over 470 million square meters of geotextiles in 2013. Erosion caused by natural calamities such as tsunamis and floods or due to the encroachment of water on riverbanks and excessive rainfall is posing an enormous threat globally. Geotextiles help in holding down the soil as well as promote vegetation growth. On-going experiments in using geotextiles in unpredictable climatic conditions are helping in promoting their use on a global scale. Geotextiles used for drainages act as permeable separators that allow water to pass into the drainage system. These fabrics also help in preventing clogging of the drainage system by separating soil and other materials from the water. Drainage geotextiles are mainly used in developed regions of Europe and North America to improve the efficiency of drainage systems and increase their life span.
Geotextiles market volume share, by application, 2013
Asia Pacific was the largest regional market for geotextiles, accounting for over 43% of global geotextiles consumption in 2013. There is a growing demand for geotextile fabrics in the Asia Pacific region due to large infrastructural projects. Geotextiles are being used in large volumes for governmental infrastructural projects which include construction of highways, dams and dumps. In addition, countries such as China and India have highlighted geotextiles in their 12th five year plans. Innovations in geotextiles and their applications is expected to further fuel the growth of the market in this region. Brazil and South Africa are expected to be a key market over the next six years owing to large construction activities in light of the Summer Olympics and FIFA World Cup. The demand is developed regions of North America and Europe is expected to arise from maintenance and repair of roads.
The global geotextiles market is quite fragmented, with top four participatns accounting for just 30% of the market share. The primary reason is relative ease in manufacturing of synthetic fabrics. Royal Tencate and GSE Holding were the largest companies in the market with a combined share of close to 19% in 2013. The other key companies in the market include Officine Maccaferri, NAUE, Propex, Low and Bonar and Fibertex.