Coated Fabrics, Not Rubberized

SIC 2295

Companies in this industry

Industry report:

This industry includes establishments primarily engaged in manufacturing coated, impregnated, or laminated textiles, and in the special finishing of textiles, such as varnishing and waxing. Establishments primarily engaged in rubberizing purchase fabrics are classified in SIC 3069: Fabricated Rubber Products, Not Elsewhere Classified, and those establishments engaged in dyeing and finishing textiles are classified in various textile industries or SIC 2231: Broadwoven Fabric Mills, Wool (Including Dyeing and Finishing).

The coated fabrics (not rubberized) manufacturing industry is regarded as a part of the larger miscellaneous textile goods business sector. While the textile goods industry as a whole saw its employment figures drop over the last decade of the twentieth century, employment figures for the coated fabrics industry increased for a short period before taking a downturn, as with other manufacturing sectors. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2007 the total number of workers in the coated fabrics industry was 8,575, as compared to 9,081 in 2004 and 10,929 in 2000. The total 2007 payroll for this industry was about $367 million, and the workforce was comprised primarily of hourly production workers (6,117 in 2007).

During the late 1990s and early 2000s, the value of products shipped fluctuated slightly. Figures rose from $2.12 billion in 1997 to $2.22 billion in 1998, dropped to $2.15 billion in 1999, increased to $2.41 billion in 2000, and fell to $2.27 billion in 2001. The downward trend continued in 2002, when shipment values fell to $1.9 billion, before climbing to $2.6 billion in 2005. Shipment values evened out somewhat in the late 2000s, reaching $2.5 billion in 2007. The majority of firms engaged in coated fabrics manufacturing post annual sales in excess of $20 million. About 195 establishments operated in this category in 2007, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

During the late 2000s, industry leaders included Hexcel Corp. of Stamford, Connecticut, with 2008 sales of $1.32 billion and 4,275 employees, and Cytec Engineered Materials of Tempe, Arizona, which operated as a subsidiary of Cytec Industries Inc. Cytec Industries had overall sales of $3.63 billion and 6,700 employees in 2008. Another significant company in this industry was Trelleborg Coated Systems U.S. Inc. (formerly Reeves Brothers Inc.) of Spartanburg, South Carolina, with $108 million in 2008 sales and almost 1,000 employees. Former industry leader Collins & Aikman had been operating for 116 years when it went out of business in 2007, two years after filing for bankruptcy.

High demand for nonrubberized coated fabrics existed in the area of furniture and wall coverings. Nonrubberized coated fabrics also were used in the manufacture of children's toys, nonwoven shoes, soft luggage, awnings and canopies, tents, sports equipment, industrial and marine supplies, and protective clothing. Strong specialty markets included vehicle air bags used by the automotive industry. However, as with most segments of the manufacturing industry, imports from abroad--particularly China, which exported $69 million in coated fabrics in 2005, up from $54 million the previous year--remained a challenge to American companies.

In 2007, the largest share of coated fabric demand, 28 percent, came from the motor vehicle market, including upholstery, trim, airbags, and truck covers. Nonrubber-coated fabrics accounted for more than 75 percent of sales in 2007, with PVC-coated fabrics being the most widely used. Other popular materials were polyester, vinyl, and nylon. Rubber-coated fabrics, however--including those coated with natural rubber, neoprene, silicone rubber, or butyl rubber--were predicted to show the fastest gains into the second decade of the twenty-first century.

In 2009 the Freedonia Group predicted that U.S. demand for coated fabrics would grow 2.1 percent per year to reach 655 million square yards in 2012. Total revenues were expected to hit $3.0 billion in 2012, representing a 3.4 percent annual increase. The rise in sales in the coated fabrics industry was expected to be due to an increase in protective clothing shipments (e.g., for military personnel and first responders) and growth in building construction. A rebound in motor vehicle production following the downturn in 2007 and 2008 was also predicted to boost the industry.

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