Suppose you may need to customize a cellulose sponge product. To ensure that the profit margin is large enough, you are more likely to cooperate with factories instead of trading companies.
What will you do?
You may browse third-party service platforms such as Google or Alibaba to search or filter potential suppliers.
You may think you have found the source factory, Does that real?
The truth is 99.99% of the people typing on another side are sales from cellulose sponge fabricator or converter.
This article will explain what caused this, the differences, and the relations between cellulose processing plants and raw material plants. The industry’s current situation and who you should find to make your products.
Foaming manufacturers are extreme few in the world
The number of real manufacturers is countable in the world. For Eg in China, there are only fewer than three foaming manufacturers. All of them only focus on producing blocks and selling to converters. Please check below for the reasons:
Technical: Technical may be the main reason, similar to other types of foams. Cellulose sponge also has their formula, but few engineers know how to produce. Most manufacturers who are producing cellulose sponges now are copying the formula of 3M .
High production cost and low production capacity: Unlike Polyurethane sponges, cellulose sponge production always costs several times higher. Once the manufacturing process occurs some minor problem, the whole product is scrapped.
The average production capacity is deficient. (approx 5~10 cubic meters/day), each cubic could produce approx 12,000 pcs cellulose cleansing sponges.
High raw material costs: Raw material keeps rising in recent years.
Understand the differences between raw suppliers and manufacturers
When discussing the cellulose supply chain, we must understand the difference between raw material suppliers, manufacturers and their supply chain roles.
How cellulose sponge supply chain works
The complete process of delivering a sponge to the consumer:
- The foaming manufacturer purchases the initial raw material from the raw material supplier, performs the preliminary treatment in its factory, and mixes and foams with other reactive components to obtain the initial foam material.
- Sponge processing manufacturers purchase foam materials and perform processing operations such as segmentation. If buyers need OEM, they will perform additional assembly and packaging.
- Importers, distributors, and wholesalers buy finished sponge products from processing plants and distribute them to retailers through their own sales network.
- Local retailers sell products to consumers online and offline.
What are raw material suppliers and manufacturers
Always, a cellulose supplier should refer to the company that can provide the original materials or semi-finished raw materials. A cellulose sponge manufacturer should be the company who transferred the materials into finished products/commodities through technical and mechanical ways.
Since cellulose sponge’s raw materials are wood pulp fibers and cotton, the companies and individuals that supply these primary agricultural materials are the actual raw material suppliers.
What about the manufacturer?
Manufacturers contain foaming manufacturers and processing/assembly manufacturers (fabricators).
The current situation and challenges of the factories
Cellulose Foaming Plants
Foaming factories hold the core technology, and the quality of cellulose from a specific foaming factory can even determine the entire industry. In most cases, they could control prices, but it does not mean that they can monopolize the market alone. They face the following challenges.
There may be less than 10 global factories with stable foaming capacity. However, new competitors come into the market every few years, which means that you have to have a better price and quality if you want to keep your position. Otherwise, there is a possibility of being eliminated.
The foaming process is rigorous. It is not only equipment but also technically challenging. Sometimes technical engineers will decide the survival of a factory.
Although it is a purely natural ingredient, cellulose sponge production requires chemical additives. Factories need strictly follow the region’s environmental protection laws and regulations.
High production and raw material cost. Unlike traditional PU sponges, cellulose requires many costs in terms of raw materials and the entire production process. That’s why most foaming manufacturers produce less color.
Some more substitutable sponges materials may replace the cellulose sponges in the future. No new technology occurs in the cellulose industry in the past 10 years.
Cellulose Sponge Fabricators
The cellulose processing plant can do a lot of things. They can fabricate almost any foam products you need, such as PU sponge, EVA foam, Melamine Sponge. They allow you custom-made sponge or OEM service for your brand. On the other hand, cellulose fabricators are more professional than foam manufacturers. Their challenges as following:
Their cost is completely limited by the foaming plants.
Very knowledgeable in the processing of sponges. No control on materials’ quality which from cellulose sponge makers’ side.
Sometimes, they may have to be sent some processing steps to other cooperate factories.
Too many competitors.
Need to have a more complete and stable supply chain.
Require higher marketing and sales skills.
Chinese Cellulose Suppliers VS Overseas
As an experienced cellulose processing manufacturer, we have to say that the foreign raw material foam experience will be better, especially in terms of flexibility, pores, chromatic aberration, natural ingredient content, and shrinkage control performance. The only disadvantage is that they are too much expensive. Generally speaking, the imported materials are about 40% higher than China’s.
It is easy to understand that. The wood pulp made sponge technology originated from 3M, an American technology company and leader known for its quality thru diverse industries. Their entire production process and the final product represent world-class quality. 90% of wood pulp foam factories are imitating them. Unfortunately, 3M completely banned the distribution of their raw materials, and their factory located in Buffalo only supplies 3M’s brand.
There are also manufacturers in Europe and Japan, considering that they are expensive in materials, processing, and labor. In some places, the quality is not even as good as that of Chinese factories.
You can rest assured and boldly choose Chinese materials for everyday cleansing, skin beautification, makeup, and promotional purposes. They can be fully qualified. But the premise is that you have to find a truly technologically stable and environmentally friendly factory.
A short story on 1 a terrible Chinese cellulose foaming manufacturer:
Years ago, we ever had one customer who worked with one cellulose sponge manufacturer in South China. One day, he paid a visit there, the foaming plant’s salesman refused him visiting their workshop (Saying it’s commercial secret). so he had stand in the yard, and take a glance from outside.
The floor inside the foaming plant is fully moist with dark stains, by the corner of the wall laid some dirty bags. The factory manager comes says” the workshop just like a garbage station”.
Their workers do not clean their machine or molds either, to prevent ”this may delay new production and costs money for clean the production line” .
This situation is too bad. Of course, this is only an isolated situation. Such problems rarely occur in large-scale foaming plants.
Who should you find to make your cellulose sponge products
If you are a sponge processing factory or engaged in the sale of semi-finished sponge raw materials, then the foam factory is your best choice.
If you want customized wood pulp cotton products, or need OEM wood pulp cotton, then a fabricator is your best partner.
You don’t hesitate to choose a Chinese factory because more than 65% of retail and processing factories in North America use Chinese materials.
There are not so many actual manufacturers of cellulose sponges. In most cases, finished sponge products are processed by fabrication plants. The raw materials used in factories in China and North America are the same.
By choosing UC Sponge, you can get better quality, more competitive prices, the most professional and comprehensive cellulose sponge manufacturing services in China.