Sales: $100 million
Description: Key Personnel
Gianni Boscolo, president; Carlo Soave, CEO; Pietro Landone, commercial director
Roasio, Italy; Aschersleben, Germany; Cincinnati, OH
Carded thermal bonded, spunmelt, carded resin bonded, carded ATB, multilayer Spun-Pulp-Carded composites
The big news this year from Roasio, Italy-based Albis is the start up of its new seven meter bico SMS line based on Neumag/Albis technology. Described as the world’s largest spunmelt line, this new line fits into Albis’ strategy of offering value-added, differentiated technology to its customers in the hygiene market.
“The line is in the start-up phase and the quality is already very nice,” said commercial director Pietro Landone. “The entire industry is very interested in this line as well as in the quality and the range of products it can produce.”
The first major nonwovens producer to take a chance with Neumag’s spunmelt technology, Albis decided to refrain from investing in the industry standard Reicofil technology because of Neumag’s ability to offer low basis weight, low denier, high quality materials. Mr. Landone said the new line will enable his company to reduce its basis weights to as low as 8 gpsm. “This technology is very important in order to differentiate ourselves with our low denier filament, low basis weight material, combining softness and superior fiber distribution.”
The line came onstream at Albis’ Aschersleben, Germany facility in March 2008. This investment follows the addition, in 2007, of a large-scale spunbond/pulp/carding line in Aschersleben, which is also based on unique and proprietary technology to the hygiene market. Describing the technology as a next generation spunlace process, Mr. Landone reported that the material has been extremely successful. “The market acceptance of this material and its many possibilities has exceeded even our expectations, and is widely viewed as superior to 100% fiber material,” he said.
Unlike traditional spunlace products, which are weak in the cross direction, leading to breakage, this technology makes a substrate that is much stronger. The new technology is allowing Albis, whose business was once 95% centered on hygiene, to target new markets—particularly wipes and household applications.
These two new investments complete a material technology portfolio that also encompasses one resin bonded-Air Thru bonded line and a bico SMS line (also based on Ason Neumag technology) in Italy, two carded thermal bonded lines and a staple fiber long spinning line in Germany and one resin bonded line in Ohio.
In 2003, Albis was the largest worldwide producer of carded thermal bonded nonwovens with an estimated 30,000 tons capacity, but as the global hygiene market has lessened its demand for thermal bonded nonwovens and become more reliant on spunbond, Albis decided to re-engineer its technology portfolio. This process began in 2004 when it made the strategic decision to reconfigure one of its Italian lines to make air through bonded and resin bonded material and add an Ason Neumag AST bicomponent spunbond technology on another line. More recently, Albis converted one of its carding lines in Germany to be a swing line, i.e. a through-air bonded/carding line, to take full advantage of market trends. Albis continues to operate two carded lines—both at full capacity—in Germany.
To be ahead of the ever-changing demands of the market, Albis is creating a diversified technology base that is flexible enough to respond quickly as new needs arise. “Our strategy is always the same—innovation and customer focus, presenting ideas and materials to the marketplace sometimes before our customers have even thought of them,” Mr. Landone explained."