Sales: $215 million
Description: Key Personnel
Val Hollingsworth, president and CEO; David von Loesecke, vice president and general manager, Engine and Industrial Filtration; Mike Clark, vice president and general manager, High Efficiency and Specialty Filtration; John Madej, vice president and general manager, Energy and Industrial Systems; Jochem Hofstetter, vice president and general manager, Europe, Middle East, Africa region; Josh Ayer, vice president and general manager, Asia-Pacific; Jeff Sherer, vice president and CFO; Mario Sandoval, vice president of operations; John Fitzgerald, vice president of technology and CTO; Ken Fausnacht, vice president, human resources
Apizaco, Mexico; Corvallis, OR; East Walpole, MA; Easton, NY; Floyd, VA; Greenwich, NY; Hatzfeld, Germany; Hawkinsville, GA; Kentmere, U.K.; Suzhou, China; West Groton, MA; Winchcombe, U.K.
Wetlaid, meltblown, carded thermal bonded (point and flat calendered), latex bonded, thru-air bonded, needlepunched, thermal lamination, aqueous and solvent-based saturation, nanofiber -webs, composites, webs incorporating functional particles
AFM, AFN, AlphaPerm, ALPHASEAL, AQF, AquaSperse, AquaSure, BGO, Capofilter, Capaceon, Cycleguard, DynaSeal, EnergyGuard, Fastock, HiPerm, Holltek, HiPerm Plus, HovoFuse, Hovoglas, Hovoliner, Hovolon, Hovomat, Hovopulse, Hovosorb, Hovotex, Hovotherm, Hovotrim, Hovowipe, Magnaseal, NanoWave, Nanoweb, PerForm, PurePerm, Saf ‘N’ Shielded, Soft ‘N, Stable, Stitchbackers, Technostat, The Cat, Tufguard, Unisorb, ValPac, ViaMat, WallTek
Engine and Industrial Filtration; High Efficiency and Specialty Filtration; Energy and Industrial Systems
The global economic recession led to a 10% drop in sales for Hollingsworth & Vose Company (H&V), last year, but already the supplier of engineered papers and nonwovens is reporting global demand back at pre-recession levels.
Core to H&V’s success is its streamlined business model which includes global business segments—Engine and Industrial Filtration, High Efficiency and Specialty Filtration and Industrial Specialties—targeted specialty, high performance applications. The company offers high performance nonwovens across a number of industrial and consumer-oriented markets.
Within the company’s Engine and Industrial Filtration segment, demand was slow during the first half of 2009, but this was to some degree offset by increased demand for engine filter products, which showed significant improvement in Asia in both the original equipment and aftermarket segments. In the second half, business confidence improved with a steady, month-by-month increase in demand that continues into 2010. “Although some of the improvement can be attributed to re-filling of the supply chain, we believe business conditions have markedly improved,” said David von Loesecke, vice president and general manager of H&V’s Engine and Industrial Filtration business unit. “We maintained our production capabilities through the recession, which enabled us to commit supply in the subsequent period of recovery.”
For its part, the global filtration market has been trending upwards, driven mostly by replacement businesses and some improvement in OEM volume. Also driving demand is increased water consumption, turnaround in motor vehicle and heavy equipment use and rigorous environmental and product purity laws that drive demand for improved filtration performance.
“Some market segments for replacement filters can be considered ‘recession-resistant’ but not recession-proof,” Mike Clark, vice president and general manager of H&V’s High Efficiency and Specialty Filtration business unit said. “Filter replacement cycles are becoming longer but eventually the filter has to be replaced to ensure appropriate system operation.”
Despite the global economic challenges, H&V continues to invest in this leg of its business.
In November 2009, H&V announced plans to install an additional meltblown production line in Hatzfeld, Germany that would expand a technology platform already available in Floyd, VA and a line previously installed in Hatzfeld. This investment responds to a growing demand for its technically advanced products used in air filtration, automotive air and fuel filters, specialty liquid applications, as well as face masks and respirators. The new line is expected to be operational in 2010. Meanwhile, in January 2010, H&V struck a deal with Fiberweb to acquire its AQF line of carbon-containing composite filter media, which allows H&V to better serve the growing global market for gas phase filter media. This new technology asset, including improved testing capabilities, increases the breadth of H&V’s technological competencies, according to the company. “H&V recognizes a growing market need for gas phase filter media and wants to bring these capabilities to our North American customers,” Mr. Clark said.
Also, H&V recently announced plans to rebuild one of its production lines at the Winchcombe, U.K. manufacturing site. This investment will result in step change performance improvements in the microglass media produced at the site and will more than double H&V’s European microglass filtration and microglass battery separator manufacturing capability. The rebuilt line is expected to be operational by the second quarter of 2011. H&V has owned and operated the Winchcombe site since 1982.
Another business unit, H&V’s Industrial Specialties business is comprised of a number of segments, including ECM, AFN, apparel, home furnishings and label. “Many of these segments are consumer oriented businesses which have come back slowly with the recovering economy,” said John Madej, vice president and general manager of H&V’s Energy and Industrial Systems business unit.
“The ECM business continues to expand into areas which have the ability to utilize our proprietary wetlaid process technology and focus on new applications outside of the historical core markets of friction and gasket for this material,” Mr. Madej said. “The Advanced Fiber Nonwoven (AFN) group continues to work with unique aramid, glass and carbon fibers to produce technically demanding composite materials. During 2009, high capex costs were an obstacle to bringing new capacity online in many industries, but economic growth will resume, driving growth and supply tightness along with it.”
H&V reinforced its presence in the Asian market with its Suzhou, China facility, which now entered its third year of operations and continues to be the manufacturing base supplying customers in the Asia-Pacific region. The facility already offers a solid platform of OEM-approved products in engine filtration, HEPA, HVAC and battery separator media and output continues to increase there.
On the new product front, 2009 saw the launch of Capaceon filter media, a new line of products for automotive and heavy duty air applications that offers significantly greater dust-holding capacity. “Capaceon represents a new category of filtration media that breaks the link between performance and basis weight,” said Mr. von Loesecke. Capaceon filter media were designed specifically for application across an extensive range of original equipment and aftermarket requirements.
H&V’s High Efficiency and Industrial business introduced Technostat Plus, an electret media that exhibits exceptionally low resistance at any given efficiency, which ties in with all the other durable, high efficient low pressure drop filter media solutions offered by H&V.
Additionally, H&V’s capability to produce a wide range of NanoWave extended surface filter media products beyond ASHRAE bag filters will ensure continued market leadership. For example, the Nanowave technology platform can be adapted to residential air filter media as a cut-and-frame concept; it can also be used in respirators, facemasks and vacuum cleaners.
“Despite the economic downturn, Nanoweb has been very well received in the market. H&V has recently introduced flame-retardant Nanoweb grades and will be promoting all-synthetic substrates in 2010.
H&V will expand its Nanoweb line with products for the automotive air filtration market later in 2010. “Nanoweb for automotive air applications will be specifically designed to eliminate the need for oiling yet will retain high element capacities,” Mr. von Loesecke said. “This new media will prevent de-misting and minimize mass air flow sensor fouling for optimized engine performance.”
Beyond filtration, H&V’s most recent innovation is its Stretch and Recovery Nonwovens, launched in conjunction with the 2009 IDEA show, which represent a proprietary and innovative design of wetlaid and drylaid nonwoven fabrics with high stretch and elastic recovery characteristics that can be used in applications such as apparel, medical and personal care. It is products like these that will help H&V continue to stand out in the nonwovens industry.
“H&V’s strategy is to differentiate itself through new product innovation, market focus and key customer relationships, which will continue to drive growth and ensure leadership in the current markets served,” Jürgen Gaudry, product manager of H&V’s new business development group, concluded. “H&V will foster innovation, evaluate selective geographic expansion opportunities and continue to apply key Lean Six Sigma principles to its overall operations.”