The drop stitch material is an important semi-finished material for sporting goods such as inflatable paddle boards and yoga mats, with superior performance. And it can be expanded to the fields of rescue, national defense, agriculture, etc., and has a broad market space.
Before 2012, China’s drop stitch fabric mainly depended on imports from Germany Heytex, South Korea and other manufacturers. Domestic manufacturers began to develop drop stitch fabric material in 2011, and it was not until 2013 that they achieved mass production and introduced them to the market.
The drop stitch fabric manufacturers we are currently cooperating with insist on continuous independent research and development and introduction, digestion and re-innovation. They have 21 independent intellectual property rights and master the core technology of the entire industry chain. In particular, it has strong technical advantages in the two core process of base fabric weaving and finished product lamination, which distinguish product quality.
2. Production Process
The production process of drop stitch fabric material includes base fabric weaving, PVC film production, finished product lamination and other processes. Among them, the PVC film production process is relatively mature and does not have high technical barriers. While the base fabric weaving and finished product lamination processes are complex, and will affect the finished product. Quality and performance have a significant impact, which is the core standard to distinguish product quality.
The technical barriers of the drop stitch used in the material are high, which are mainly reflected in the production width of the spacer layer (the wider the more difficult), the density of the drawing in the spacer layer (the lower the density, the lighter and lower cost), the yarn threading method (surface of the finished product has different texture structure) and so on.
①At present, our cooperative manufacturers have mastered the modification capabilities of relevant looms, the design of supporting production control software, yarn threading technology, base fabric weft slope control, flatness and other professional production technologies, and have various spacing specifications of 3-42.5 cm. The production capacity of base cloth can meet the application needs of customers in different application scenarios.
②By adding/adjusting the base fabric motor and the designed supporting production control software, and controlling the swing frequency of the loom comb section, the base fabric density can meet the requirements, and the base fabric pattern is also increased.
③Mastering the unique threading technology, by controlling the ambient temperature and humidity of the production workshop, the situation of yarn breakage is effectively reduced, and the thread strength and yield of the product are improved.
④ Pay attention to detail control, the finished product has the advantage of small weft inclination, and maintains the surface flatness of the finished product after inflation.
⑤Choose suitable polyester industrial yarn raw materials and suitable polyester yarn oil to solve the problem of air leakage in the base fabric yarn.
The quality of the coating and lamination process directly determines the appearance, flatness, weft inclination, firmness and other indicators of the product, which in turn affects the air tightness, use effect, and service life of the final product.
①Our cooperative manufacturers use advanced wheel coating process, and continue to improve production equipment, slurry formulation, and process details, which are lower in cost, higher in production efficiency and product quality than traditional coating and squeegee methods.
②Using the wheel coating process, the slurry used is significantly reduced and the cost is lower; the volatile matter is less, and the environmental protection is better; the one-time lamination is completed, the production steps are few, and the efficiency is high.
③The use of self-made pulp has the characteristics of low dosage, less volatilization and high fastness. Different formulas of pulp are also developed according to different products to achieve the best coating and lamination effect.
④Find out a suitable temperature and speed ratio, which can not only ensure a high lamination speed, but also ensure the performance qualification rate and stability of the finished product.
⑤Through the detail control in the coating and laminating process, the finished product has the advantage of small weft slope (the weft slope is kept within 1 cm).
⑥ Control the temperature and air volume of the oven in the lamination process, so that the width difference between the upper and lower layers of the drop stitch material is reduced to within 0.5 cm, which ensures that the final product is not deformed.
3. Price Trend
In recent years, the unit price and gross profit margin of drop stitch material has declined to a certain extent.
The decrease in product unit price is mainly due to:
① The cost of raw material decreased, and the unit purchase price of polyester industrial filament, which accounted for the highest proportion, decreased.
The raw material cost of drop stitch material accounts for more than 70% of the production cost, and the raw materials are mainly polyester industrial filament, PVC resin powder and plasticizer, which account for about 75% of the total raw material purchase. As the three main raw materials are all petrochemical downstream products, their price trends generally fluctuate with oil prices (in terms of correlation, polyester industrial filament is the strongest, and PVC resin powder and plasticizers are relatively weak). Since 2018, affected by market changes and the epidemic, the international crude oil price has shown a downward trend as a whole. Therefore, the unit price of polyester industrial filament purchased by manufacturer has dropped from RMB12.6 to RMB7.7, a drop of 39%, and the unit price of plasticizers has also declined to a certain extent. In addition, manufacturer conduct circular procurement according to production plans and needs, and conduct centralized procurement of some raw materials according to market supply and demand conditions to reduce procurement costs.
② Decrease in processing and manufacturing costs:
Since the proportion of self-produced drop stitch base fabrics by manufacturers has risen sharply since 2018, the manufacturing cost of self-production is lower than that of outsourced production, and the cost is diluted under the scale effect, so the manufacturing cost has dropped significantly.
In terms of pricing, mainstream suppliers adhere to the market-oriented route and strive for a larger market share in maintaining reasonable profits. The decrease in unit price is not a manifestation of the company’s decline in product power.
4. Application field
Drop stitch fabric material belongs to plastic composite material, which is a kind of industrial textile. According to different air tightness standards, products can be divided into two categories: air tight material and flexible material. Among them, airtight materials include drop stitch fabric materials and inflatable yacht materials, which are mainly used in sports and leisure fields such as inflatable paddle boards, yoga mats, recreation docks, and inflatable yachts. Flexible materials include canopy materials and light box advertising materials, which are mainly used in transportation, logistics, plane advertising, etc.
Different from the single-layer polyester base cloth used in inflatable yacht materials, canopy cover materials, and light box advertising materials, the drop stitch fabric material is a composite material with a drop stitch cloth as a reinforcing material, which is a 3D space structure. It not only retains the characteristics of conventional inflatable airtight materials, but also has the advantages of good mechanical strength, buffer function and strong impact absorption. The drop stitch material is mainly used in the manufacture of sports equipment in outdoor water and indoor fitness scenarios such as paddle boards, kayaks, air tracks, yoga mats, etc. In addition, it is also expected to be gradually applied to medical and health care, protection and rescue, national defense and military, agricultural greening, etc. Wide range of fields, such as medical mattress, life-saving air cushions, septa, etc., are highly scalable.
70% of the end products of the drop stitch material are paddle boards. The SUP board involves the personal safety of consumers and requires high product safety and stability. The product quality of mainstream suppliers must be verified by the market for many years. Only in this way can a company has strong brand power.