Location: SCHWARZENBACH/SAALE, GERMANY
Sales: $171 million
Description: Key Personnel
Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, chief executive officer; Dipl. Kfm. Christian Heinrich Sandler, Dieter Magiera, members of the management board
ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001 certified, Ökotex Standard 100, OHRIS
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermal bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hot melt lamination, coating and flexoprinting
sawafill, sawabond, sawaloom, sawavlies, sawaloft, sawaflor, sawatex, sawascreen, sawagrow, sandler sports, sawacomp, sawaflock, sawaform, sawalux, sawaflex, sawasoft, sawasorb, sandler-fibercomfort, sandler-fiberskin, sandler-unico, sawadur, sawadry, sawabond whitelace, sawabond silverlace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino
Fashion, home furnishing, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)
Thanks to strong sales in hygiene, automotive and filtration segments, Sandler AG closed 2007 with a turnover of €125 million. The company’s sales increase of 12% was in the expected range and, according to Sandler’s management board, its positive results should continue throughout 2008. The company continues to maintain its position in the worldwide market as an innovative player—last year Sandler achieved a global exportation rate of higher than 60% with more than half of its products being introduced within the last five years.
While growth was accomplished across all of its markets, Sandler characterized the wipes segment as “exceptional.” Heightened demand for wipes led to a further increase in production as the company continued to promote its “Less is Best to Nature” philosophy. “Our approach addresses both the need to compete in the marketplace on price and performance levels as well as the need to take care of the environment,” explained Ulrich Hornfeck, sales director.
From Sandler’s point of view, basis weight reductions in substrates at similar or even equal functionality as well as aesthetic demands are the highlights for new developments in wiping substrates. As a result, the company has unveiled its latest sawatex generation with a 10% reduction in basis weights, achieving a lower utilization of raw materials as well as a lower waste volume. “Our products offer improved tensile and calliper—supporting the trend toward lower basis weights—but performance is not impacted.” Dr. Honfeck added that wet wipes substrates are a good opportunity to provide end users with a highly convenient and trusted product.
In many cases, this means differentiation, which, according to Sandler, is another important trend in the wipes market. The company has seen an increased push for methods of differentiation such as hydro-embossing, thermal embossing and printing. Additionally Sandler is adding cotton-based, flushable and biodegradable products to its wipes portfolio.
“A lot of new ideas and developments are out there and spunlace technology will certainly make its way into new applications and markets,” predicted Dr. Hornfeck. He pointed to the hygiene and medical sectors as key areas of potential for new wiping applications as well as elastic composites and high elongation super-soft nonwovens. The products—offering a high level of differentiation by using color or new special features for better fluid handling—bring new solutions to the commodity hygiene sector as well as for new products in other markets.
For hygiene applications, the company offers Sandler White Lace and Sandler Silver Lace topsheet materials, which are premium-class sawabond thermal bonded carded nonwovens characterized by good opacity and softness. Offering a decorative and luxurious fine-lace lingerie design, these feature excellent fluid handling as well as favorable masking properties. Sandler White Lace and Silver Lace target high-quality feminine care and adult incontinence products. Also for hygiene applications, Sandler has introduced polyurethane-free breathable elastic sawasoft nonwovens. The latest generations of CD-extensible sawabond nonwovens also offer superb softness.
Sandler has also been busy developing and selling innovative new products in the area of engineering. For instance, in the filtration sector Sandler has teamed with its market partners to launch a range of synthetic products for specialty filtration applications, such as HVAC and automotive filtration. “The demands on filtration media are especially boosted by the current discussions about fine particulates,” he said. “The finest fibers allow for the highest air quality. Thus, Sandler filtration media are applied to vacuum cleaner bags that are used to remove fine particulates from interiors.”
Sandler also sells a range of nonwovens that can be used for a variety of technical purposes—from sound and heat insulation, impact sound insulation, light construction to synthetic wall coverings. Special properties of the nonwovens such as high air circulation, lint-free surface, repellency of oil and water or absorption of moisture or dust and dirt allow Sandler to offer the perfect solution for numerous, individual and sophisticated technical problems.
In terms of investments, in 2007 Sandler wrapped up its two-year, €33 million investment program. This included a new carded needlepunch line as well as a second spunlaced line, which came onstream on time in December. “We are very pleased,” said Dr. Hornfeck. “Thanks to these financial investments, capacities could be enlarged and in-house logistics were optimized.”
Another factor impacting Sandler’s success has been ongoing research and development work as well as the launch of new markets and applications for innovative nonwovens. “We attribute our success to highly qualified and motivated employees, longstanding quality management practices as well as effective training and ongoing education.” He added that the company has a keen awareness of its social and environmental responsibilities and implemented an environmental management system several years ago. Sandler regularly offers ecology-focused training courses for its employees, utilizes energy saving systems, heat recovery systems, the use of waste heat for hot water generation and waste reduction measurements.