Location: Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany
Sales: $218 million
Description: Key Personnel
Dr. Christian Heinrich Sandler, CEO, Dieter Magiera, Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Wolfgang Höflich, members of the management board
Carded, waddings and drylaid nonwovens, thermally bonded, mechanically bonded, meltblown, thermofused, needlepunched, air through bonded, spunlaced, hotmelt and thermal lamination, flexoprinting, embossing, aperturing
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, sawatec, sawabond White Lace, sawabond Silver Lace, sawatex mariquita, sawatex orsettino
Home textiles, technical nonwovens (civil engineering, automotive, filtration, horticulture), hygiene, medical, wipes (baby, cosmetic, technical, oil)
Describing 2009 as a record year was German nonwovens producer Sandler who attributes a solid cash flow as well as the agility to react quickly to market shifts for its success. “We are divided into a lot of different markets so if we are really struggling in some places, it is likely that we will recoup it in other markets,” said vice president of sales, logistics and purchasing Ulrich Hornfeck. Some of the year’s bright spots, he said, were disinfectant wipes and facemasks where concerns over Swine flu and other infectious diseases drove growth; meanwhile, automotives led the list of difficult markets but already this market is recovering.
In total, sales reached a record €168 million in 2009, up from €166 million the year before, on a production increase of 13%, after increasing 33% in 2008. These sales are expected to continue their upward trajectory as the company is still investing in growth, namely a recently announced spunlace line, targeting a range of markets with a diverse set of technologies and participation in varied markets ranging from hygiene to wipes to automotives to filtration.
One market that has continued to be strong for Sandler is the wipes market. The company makes not only baby and other personal care wipes substrates but also products for industrial cleaning, medical, adult care and household cleaning. In May, the company again reaffirmed its commitment to this area when it announced it would add a third spunlace line at its Schwarzenbach/Saale, Germany plant producing wipes and other technical applications. The new line will be part of a €40 million plant addition announced in spring 2009.
Sandler first entered the spunlace market in 2003 and added a second line in 2007. Both lines are run under stringent hygienic conditions, Dr. Hornfeck added, and Sandler has been able to be successful by offering innovative designs and structures to allow its customers to offer a diverse product range. Additionally, the company’s “Less is Best to Nature” products offer unchanged functionalities at lower basis weights. This product range was enhanced with improved tensile strength as well as innovative designs and structures for new cleaning and technical applications.
While wipes have received the most press recently, Sandler continues to offer a diversified nonwovens line with technologies including thermal bonded, meltblown and needlepunch nonwovens. One market that continues to be strong for Sandler is automotives. This business has grown nicely for Sandler since it invested in a new line for the market in 2008 and currently, more than 40 automotive models worldwide are equipped with special nonwovens manufactured by the company. These include lightweight absorber nonwovens made of 100% polyester, which are included in sound and heat insulation systems in the engine compartment and textile wheel house liners which are particularly resistant to the fluids found in that area of the car. Other products include nonwovens made of water and oil repellent specialty fibers to prevent the accumulation of dirt and snow below the fender. The material dries quickly and features excellent temperature stability. While Sandler did face some decreased orders within automotives due largely to troubles in the market in general, they have begun to see new projects that are compensating and helping to drive up sales in general in the category.
Another industrial area where Sandler has profited from its diversity is filtration. While the economic situation did lead to slightly decreased sales in some industrial filtration areas, Sandler was able to offset the effects of this development with nonwovens for vacuum cleaner bags and face masks. Additionally, the company has benefitted from paper and glass fiber filter media’s replacement by synthetic filters. Particularly pleatable filter nonwovens with a large surface, which allow for the conditioning of air and liquid filters for climate and automotive filtration in small installation spaces, represent innovations with a promising future. In cabin and engine air filters as well as fuel filters, for example, Sandler nonwovens are already used.
Meanwhile, in construction Sandler nonwovens are helping builders save on energy costs with applications in the exterior and interior part of buildings that insulate heat or cover cracks in walls. In interior walls, these products reduce noise levels, creating a more comfortable atmosphere. At the same time, building owners may profit from the convenient handling and processing of the polyester as well as its positive properties.
Other areas where Sandler participates include upholstered furniture, bedding and fashion within its home textiles segment, all of which were described as very satisfactory.
In fact, executives are pleased with Sandler’s course, in general.
“All of our investments have been absolutely the right thing to do at the right time,” said Dr. Hornfeck. “We are on a solid growth course.”
As one of the largest family-owned nonwovens producers in Europe, Sandler prides itself on having trustful partnerships with both its suppliers and its customers that combines the synergies of different markets, a strategy that executives feel has worked well so far and will continue to do so moving forward. “Our strategy is absolutely clear—it is growth with our partners in targeted markets,” Dr. Hornfeck concluded.