Location: Manchester, U.K.
Sales: $110 million
South Carolina, Missouri, China, U.K.
Needlepunch, thermal bonded and chemical finishes
Fiberlox, Microfelt, Checkstatic and Pleatlox
Filtration, business machine parts and laundry products
The Andrew Group’s total roll goods sales increased from $96 million to $110 million in 2006 as the company increased its marketshare and participated in new filtration projects around the world. Executives expect this growth to continue as more of its needlepunched nonwovens target filtration media for the power industry and as its sister company BMP (Building Manufacturing Partnerships) moves into new markets for needlepunched nonwovens.
“We feel the main reason we have been so successful in the filtration market is our concentration and devotion to supplying our long-term customers with the best quality and service available in today’s market,” said Danny Grover, president of subsidiary Southern Felt. We have built this reputation over many years and with our recent expansions and capital investment in state-of-the-art filtration equipment, we will continue this devotion and commitment to the market for years to come.”
Andrew Industries, through its subsidiaries in the U.S., China and the U.K., specializes in needlepunch felt largely targeted at the baghouse filter market. Andrew was founded 113 years ago and its U.S. subsidiary, Southern Felt, was established in 1987. Three years ago the company expanded into Asia with the establishment of Andrew Industrial Textile Manufacturing Company (Shanghai) Ltd., its felt manufacturing facility in Shanghai, China.
A big portion of the company’s nonwovens output comprises special needlepunch felts converted to filter bags used for various filtration applications around the world. In response to growth in this market, Southern Felt recently completed a $6 million capital improvement project, which added both square footage to its South Carolina headquarters and a new high speed felt line equipped with special technology to produce high temperature filtration media, particularly the type of needled felts that are going to be needed for the surge of new power plants and other high temperature applications for filtration. The new line is Southern Felt’s seventh, adding an additional 375,000 linear yards of needlepunched felt for the filtration market monthly, and Mr. Grover said that additional capital investment plans would be announced in 2008.
In addition to Southern Felt, Andrew Industries also operates a U.K. subsidiary, Andrew Webron Industries, which was formed last year through the consolidation of two divisions—Andrew Textile Industries and Webron Marling. These two needlepunch producers operate as one corporate entity but continue to maintain separate manufacturing sites in the greater Manchester area.
Also included in the company is Slater Felt, the Missouri-based operation purchased from Tex Tech Industries five years ago, this operation recently benefited from the addition of a new heatsetting calender. This new line allows Slater Felt to process with better uniform heat transfer and produce wider widths to ultimately make higher quality felt, according to Mr. Grover.
Three years ago, Andrew expanded into China to chase baghouse filter applications in this region’s growing power plant market, as well as other filtration applications in this part of the world. The original high speed needlefelt line located at Quinpu, Shanghai is already running around the clock at full capacity and a second line is set to be installed in early 2008. Executives attribute this success to increased demand for bag house filters in China, driven by a surge for various filtration applications in the region.
To meet the varied needs of its customers, Andrew manufactures needlepunch nonwovens from a range of synthetic fibers including polyester, polypropylene, PPS, P84, nylon, PTFE, acrylic and aramid. Unlike other filtration suppliers who choose to play in a variety of application areas, Andrew Industries has been successful by keeping its focus strong and narrow. This focus, along with its abilities to make highly sophisticated needlepunched felts, has made Andrew Industries a leader in this chosen field and, while filtration is the strongest focus, representing the bulk of its business, Andrew Industries also supplies felts for industrial laundry applications as well as the business machine market with felts. Additionally Andrew Industries supplies thermally bonded webs to the business machine industry and other niche markets from its subsidiary Bondex Inc., which is the only Andrew subsidiary diversified beyond needlepunched nonwovens with specialized thermal bonding capabilities"