On August 19, 2013 Sandler AG had two reasons to celebrate: CEO Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler’s 60th birthday and two new investments at the Schwarzenbach location. More than 460 guests from politics, the economy and society accepted the nonwoven manufacturer’s invitation to the Freiheitshalle in Hof. A gala evening ensued and included an acrobatics show, musical interludes and a first look at Sandler’s new production line.
Backbone of the economy
“He is one of those entrepreneurs, who ensure that our economy is being strengthened and its full potential tapped,” said keynote speaker Dr. Hans-Peter Friedrich, Federal Minister of the Interior, when describing Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler. He did not only speak as a politician to an entrepreneur, but paid tribute to the Sandler as one friend to another.
With his speech, Friedrich preceded other prominent personalities who also congratulated Sandler on his birthday including Alfred Gaffal, President of the Association of the Bavarian Industry; Peter Schwartze, President of the Association of the German Textile and Apparel Industry; Heribert Trunk, President of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce for Upper Franconia Bayreuth; Bernd Hering, Hof District Administrator; Alexander Eberl, Mayor of Schwarzenbach; and Holger Knaack, Director Rotary International.
In their personal addresses, the speakers characterized innovative, medium-sized companies such as Sandler AG, in which entrepreneurs take comprehensive responsibility, as being the backbone of the economy.
“Tonight we celebrated a lot, and I would like to give something back as well,” said Sandler. Thus, in his address of gratitude, he presented a donation of €20,000 to the city of Schwarzenbach for an art object to be set up in front of the “Erika Fuchs house” - a museum for comic and language arts that is currently being built in Schwarzenbach. Being a citizen of Schwarzenbach, Erika Fuchs had worked as a translator for Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse comics and had effectively turned Schwarzenbach into “Duckburg” by using local street names and even mentioning the “wadding factory Sandler” once.
Sandler also donated €20,000 to the Schwarzenbach retirement home “Haus Saalepark” - for purchasing a new minivan that will allow senior citizens who are confined to a wheelchair to go on trips and generally be mobile. Maria Mangei and Martin Abt, managing directors of the Diakonie social services organization of Upper Franconia as well as Marion Götzl and Volker Riedel, managers of “Haus Saalepark” were on hand for this surprise.
Production line “VS 32”
Sandler also used the evening to promote the development of the family-operated company that he helms in the fourth generation. Since April, a new production line, the “VS 32”, has been installed in plant 4 at the Schwarzenbach location. The guests in the Freiheitshalle in Hof received a first impression of the assembly work and subsequently, Wolfgang Höflich und Dr. Ulrich Hornfeck, members of the management board, answered the questions of Katja Herrmann, host of the evening.
With an investment of €15 million, a base area of 5,000 square meters, a weight of 500 tons, and manned by up to 100 technicians a day, the VS 32 expands the capacities of Sandler AG for the production of bulky roll goods and panels for diverse applications. Thermal bonding, needle-punching or the combination of both processes will be possible on the new line. The combination of different fiber properties is the key to a wide range of products: lightweight, easy-to-handle materials, particularly insulation materials that efficiently prevent heat loss through roof and walls in the home or create a quiet working atmosphere in the office, will be manufactured here and have the following properties: 3 to 200 mm thick; weighing 40 to 6,000 g/square meter, and all of them with a large inner surface for excellent sound and heat insulation properties.
Expansion of the service center
To continue ensuring the flexible availability of the nonwovens, Sandler AG also invested €2.5 million in the expansion of the technical service center. The building will become the central warehouse for the spare parts kept on hand for the production lines. The new part of the building alone offers room for approximately 20,000 machine parts. On four levels, high-bay racking as well as almost 1,500 square meters of warehousing space are available. After a construction time of about four months, the service center, that has a base area of 23 by 30 meters, was scheduled for completion this month.in August 2013.
Conclusion of a series of investments
The technical service center and the production line VS 32 are part of a series of investments, in the course of which Sandler AG expanded its Schwarzenbach location to become one of the largest locations for the fiber-based production of nonwovens worldwide.
“We managed to put a 10-year investment plan into practice in half that time and, in doing so, invested a total of more than €60 million,” said Sandler. “And once the current investment is completed, we will have created 115 new jobs during the past 5 years.”
On that note, the CEO also thanked his Sandler team for their loyalty, their commitment and their identification with the company.
“Only with good and qualified employees can we master challenges such as the investments undertaken during the past years and accomplish further medium- and long-term goals,” he said.